random things

I’m almost 39 weeks pregnant and I’m tired and can’t string enough coherent thoughts together to write a full on blog post, so here are some completely random things.  Don’t you love random things?! I sure do.

Random thing #1: My kids have discovered Charlotte’s Web (the movie version) and they love it, so I went to find a copy of the book so I could read it aloud to them, and found that the hardcover version is only $5.16 right now!  That’s a steal!  I try to buy the hardcover versions of classics like this, because I know they’ll get lots of love over the years.  When they’re on sale for even cheaper than the paperback version?  SCORE!61+3z1o4oUL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

Random thing #2: Have you ever heard of prodromal labor?  I hadn’t.  But now that I’ve experienced it and googled it a lot, I’ll give you the rundown: It basically feels like you’re going into labor and getting contractions, but the fun part is that you’re NOT!  Psych!  No baby, just contractions that wake you up in the middle of the night!  And maybe, if you’re lucky, your labor will be quicker when it finally happens, but you know, MAYBE NOT!  SO fun, right?  Riiiiight.  So much sarcasm. So over being pregnant.Orangatan-Pregnancy-Meme-Humor

(photo cred: Motherhumor.com)

Random thing #3: For a long time, I’ve really wanted to get my kids involved in some kind of community service, but struggled to find a way to include them in the opportunities that are available in our community.  They are too young to bring to most homeless shelters (per their rules) and they don’t hit the lower age limit for places like Feed My Starving Children yet. But today I found out that our local women’s shelter accepts meal donations- as in, you make a meal for the residents and bring it over on the night you sign up for.  I love this!  I can get my kids involved in making a meal for the shelter residents, we can take the extra time that’s necessary for them to be of help, they can come with to drop it off, and it still benefits people who need the help.  I didn’t even know that was a thing, but I think once we get back on our feet after this baby, I’m going to sign up.  What a great way to get your little ones involved in helping others, yeah?

Random thing #4: I’m intrigued by this Osmo Genius Kit.  It looks really cool and like something that might be really helpful for when we start working on some “math” skills type of stuff with Joey this coming year.  Anyone tried it?  I’d love some input if you’ve tried it or something like it! I’m thinking ahead to Christmas. I know, I astound myself.  Marvel at my forward-thinking and organization!

71fz6Ed+SdL._SY500_

Random thing #5: I finally bit the bullet and threw away my non-stick skillets that were like, crazy chippy and flaky and cancer-causing to the max.  I’ve been mostly using my cast iron skillet anyway, but it was still really hard for me to throw them away because they were expensive.  Even though I really know that even in good condition, that nonstick stuff isn’t great for us.  I have issues.  But I did it.  But I took a picture of them before I threw them away… because… I have issues.FullSizeRender

Random thing #6: I’m at the stage in pregnancy where so very few of my clothes fit that I wind up wearing the same 2 dresses over and over and over (because at the moment, pants, even maternity pants=the devil). So obviously, I’m not doing much clothes shopping at the moment, but I saw these tees from Ekubo Ministries, I had to knab a few.  So cute, and for a great cause!  They’re running a summer sale at the moment, so if you head over to their instragram, you can get a code for 25% off. I can’t wait to wear my tees once I can fit in them again!

Random thing #7: This open letter to Mindy Kaling from my girl Shannon had me cracking up SO hard. If you need some feel good chuckles, give it a gander.

*Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.  Head over and check out all the other posts that are most likely much more coherent than this one!*

*This post contains some Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click over and happen to buy anything, I’ll get a small commish and you don’t have to pay anything extra (that would be rude!) It’s a win-win!*

seven favorite freezer meals

So I’m in full-fledged nesting mode over here, and by that I mean I’m stocking my house with food like the end of the world is coming.  Some people nest by cleaning, others nest by organizing the nursery, some people nest by clearing their e-mail inboxes.  I do basically none of these super useful and sensible things to prepare for the birth of my next child.  HOWEVER, I have enough spaghetti sauce in my freezer to feed several dozen people. Need a chicken casserole?  I have 3, just waiting to be popped in the oven. Continue reading

the hardest job in the world (CAPC series)

*For the past several years, I’ve been contributing to an amazing site, Catholic Attatchment Parenting Corner. (What can I say, I’ve really got a thing for niche-writing, yeah?) Due to all kinds of life circumstances, the site won’t be live for much longer, and the editor and creator of that site will be focusing solely on her other (wonderful) endeavor, Intentional Catholic Parenting.  So I decided to run a few of my old articles as a little mini-series, so they can find a new forever home here. Some of them are recent, and some of them were from a few years ago, but I hope they all speak to the experiences of different stages and moments in motherhood. *IMG_1266

“Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.”

I hear this a lot, both from people who are mothers, and some who aren’t.  I even read an article some time ago that said that if a stay-at-home mom’s jobs could be quantified, she would earn $115,000 annually.  When I first read this, I thought to myself,  “Wow! How validating!  My job as a mom is worth way more than any other job I’ve ever had!”

And yet, so many moms feel lost in these important, demanding “jobs”.  I have often felt this way myself.  Even though I knew that these jobs were part of the foundation of love and security that I was establishing for my son, my day-to-day tasks seemed empty.  I would clean the kitchen only to turn around to face a decimated living room.  I’d fold a load of laundry only to have another three appear in the hamper.  I’d finish the dishes from breakfast only to realize that it was time for lunch.  And as if that wasn’t enough, the management didn’t even have the decency to give me a solo bathroom break! I started to think that this job didn’t have the benefits that I had expected.  And where the heck were my vacation days?!

Oh yeah, and you can’t quit.  Ever. Continue reading

seven quick takes: good stuff this week

IMG_1151

  1. The Library Thing App! As someone who has so many books that I often forget which ones I actually own, I’m kind of in love with the idea.  It’s super easy to scan in all your books, and you’ll never be stuck in a bookstore or library wondering, “Wait… do I already have this?”
  2. I’ve talked before about how much my kids love their Magnatiles, and I was shocked that these existed and I didn’t know about them. I love finding ideas for Christmas gifts in July! If there’s anything my kids will love more than Magnatiles, it’ll be trucks made out of Magnatiles.
  3. I’m still reading Kristin Lavransdatter.  Still.  I am really loving it, but I keep getting distracted.  For example, I got my advanced copy of Who Does He Say You Are?: Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospelsand when I started perusing it, I got sucked in and of course read the whole thing in a couple of days because it’s SO good.  Colleen Mitchell is so warm and funny and thought-provoking and has some wonderful stories to tell.  Likewise, I did the exact same thing with the copy of Everyday Grace: The Messy Sacrament of Parenting that I got at the Finding your Fiat conference last month. So… yeah, I’m still reading Kristin, but I’m focused now and I’m sure I’ll be done before this baby comes.81L73O6nxNL
  4. Speaking of which, holy contractions, Batman!  This baby is definitely a mover and a shaker and I’m under strict midwife instructions to take it easy, at least until I’m officially at 37 weeks and can deliver at my birth center, just to be safe and ensure that this nugget doesn’t try to make an early appearance.  I SERIOUSLY doubt that an arrival before 40 weeks is going to happen, but my children DO like to be unpredictable, so you never know.  As long as I make it to next Monday and 37 weeks, I’ll be a happy camper.  Please remind me of this when I’m 42 weeks pregnant and want to die.  Thanks.
  5. I’m running out of my mascara this week, so I’m re-ordering it.  You guys.  This mascara.  I have used so, so, SO many different kinds in search of the perfect mascara- one that’s not full of harmful chemicals that make my eyelashes thin and fall out, that goes on smooth without clumping, that doesn’t wind up giving me raccoon eyes halfway through the day because it melts off.  Last year, I had pretty much given up on such a mascara existing.  Then I got a sample of this Jane Iredale Mascara along with this primer and was immediately hooked.  It’s a bit pricey (but not too bad as far as makeup goes), but it lasts FOREVER. Like, I’ve been using it for at least six months, almost every day, and I’m just running out. They’re not paying me to say this or anything, I’m just a girl who understands the quest for the perfect mascara.  It also makes me super happy that most of Jane Iredale‘s products fare really well on the EWG’s SkinDeep Database. Which, if you’ve never checked out, is an amazing resource!
  6. I nest really weirdly, it turns out, so instead of doing things like pulling out bins of baby clothes, preparing a nursery, or making healthy freezer meals, I’m cleaning out my closet, stocking up on mascara, and filling my freezer with random things like naan and sourdough and ice cream.  Anywho, I found some sweet stuff in my closet and made the slightly hormone-fueled decision that ALL THE SMALL CLOTHES MUST GO, so I set up a fun auction-style sale over on Instagram. Come and buy all my clothes and shoes and benefit from my strange nesting tendencies. It ends at 11 am CST today, though, so hustle! 😉

  7. I know basically half the internet has already read this, but I really loved this piece on “Scruffy Hospitality” I read last week. Because, you know, you can call me Scruff McGruff when it comes to pulling it together to entertain friends. If anyone actually remembers Scruff McGruff, you get the prize and all the internet gold stars.

*Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.  Head over and check out what everyone else is up to! *

*This post contains some Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click over and happen to buy anything, I’ll get a small commish and you don’t have to pay anything extra (that would be rude!) It’s a win-win!*

slow brain, bursting heart

IMG_2225I used to hear the term “mommy brain” and cringe. It seemed to me a polite way of someone suggesting that women can’t have it all; you either have to be a strong, intellectual career woman without children, or a flighty, insipid stay-at-home mom who’s not capable of holding a conversation with anyone over the age of 5.  I told myself that as a smart, intelligent woman, I would not let motherhood get in the way of my intellectual needs or satisfaction.

What I didn’t anticipate is how my intellect would change.  Or, as I have come to realize, how very real “mommy brain” can be. While I still grimace at the phrase, I now understand the realities behind it.  So much of motherhood feels like being emptied out in service of others so that we can be filled up with something greater.  That “something greater” just doesn’t happen to be well-articulated thoughts or the ability to form an opinion on anything other than the most simplistic current events.

I’ve always love to think. To read. To discuss. In college, I studied English Literature and Sociology, two subjects that are basically all about reading things and then thinking and talking about them to death.  I loved it.  Exploring new ideas, being challenged in my assumptions, recognizing the many cultural and sociological facets in not only what we read and talk about but in the way we go about our daily lives- I found it all fascinating.  And I loved to think on these things and write them down.  Man, I could write.  I could write and write and write and I was pretty certain it was all very good and intelligent, but at the very least, I know I was putting coherent thoughts on paper.  I’m not a genius by any means, but I put a lot of value on the fact that I was smart and willing to explore new ideas, I was well-read, and I worked hard.  This was as much part of who I was as anything.

When I graduated college and got on with life, this stayed with me.  I found opportunities to write, I continued to be a voracious reader, I was proud that I could be quick on my toes and a problem-solver at work.

Then I had my son.  I had a hard recovery from a c-section I hadn’t planned, he was a poor sleeper, not a great nurser, and motherhood was hard.  I was so tired.  I started back working from home and wondered why it was so gosh darn difficult. Not only was I tired, but turns out working while also caring for a newborn is basically impossible. (Can I get a “duh?”) However, after I stopped working, I felt this huge void in my life. After the initial exhaustion of the newborn phase passed, I missed having the intellectual stimulation of work.  I still read a bunch of books, but had no one to talk to about them. I would sit down to write and the baby would wake up from his nap.  At night, when I might talk about adult things with my husband, I was so exhausted I would just pass out on the couch. The monotony of diapers and nursing and baby talk was mind-numbing, despite how much I loved my child and loved being with him. I had to really question my commitment to staying home with him many, many times. Then another baby, another newborn phase (this time accompanied by a toddler phase!), and I could feel more of my intellectual prowess slipping away. I’d sometimes find myself talking to someone about my kids’ sleep habits or how much laundry I do, and I’d stop and think, “No! It’s a grown-up!  Ask them their opinion on what’s happening in the MiddleEast! Tell them about that article you just read! ” But it all seemed so exhausting that it didn’t often happen.IMG_2205(This is basically what my brain feels like all the time.)

So here I am, pregnant with number three, with two small kids at home, and barely two brain cells to rub together.  I find myself often staring at a page in a book wondering what I just read. Or worse, trying to think of a word that’s on the tip of my tongue and not being able to get it out. Memorably, I tried to recall a line of poetry the other day and the theme song for SuperWhy came out of my mouth.  I wish I could say that I bear these indignities with grace and patience and the understanding that some day I will no longer be a sleep-deprived, hormone-addled mess, but that’s not always the case.  Some days I long to have a  conversation with someone about literature in which I can actually contribute something rational and intelligent. It makes it harder knowing that some people manage it, but I just can’t.

But there’s a silver lining in all this.  I’ve had to come to the tough realization that I can’t be everything at all times.  My brain is still my brain, despite the fact that it’s tired and geared almost entirely to my family’s needs right now.  Instead of being resentful, I have to look on this as a gift.  When it takes me 20 minutes to write a thank you note, where I used to spend the same amount of time to write an entire paper on some literary analysis, I can use that opportunity to accept with humility my limitations and my stage of life.

It also has shown me that while I value my intelligence, it’s not the full story of who I am.  I’m not just a brain, I’m a soul.  And allowing my brain a rest while I pour myself into my vocation is nothing to be ashamed of.  It doesn’t make me any less of a strong, successful woman.  Rather, it’s allowed me to make room for other aspects of myself that were always overshadowed by my analytical side.  It’s allowed me to see the beauty and graces present in my everyday life more than ever before.  It’s made me slow down and enjoy beautiful sunsets, sweet moments with my children, and the simple pleasures of doing a small task with love. It’s caused me to be more in tune with God’s will for me, allowing me to spend moments in quiet, when my brain is all emptied out and I can just sit and be. It’s made me small and humble and open to Christ in a way that I don’t think I would have been able to understand before. And in turn, my intellectual understanding of who I am in God’s eyes has been vastly expanded and deepened. I couldn’t have done that one my own, when I was so caught up in my own intelligence and maintaining my intellect.

I do know that, God willing, some day my mind will sharpen again and I’ll be able to laugh at the haze of early motherhood with fondness.  My hope is that when I emerge from this phase I will do so with a humility and gentleness and depth of spiritual peace that reflects my experiences now.  I can see this mark of motherhood on so many smart, kind, vivid women who are well past this stage of life; I can see how they’ve embraced the each season of their life with their eyes on something bigger and more important than the frustration of that word that won’t make it’s way past the tip of their tongue. So for my fellow women who are in the midst of these humbling, frustrating, maddening years with me, let’s have hope and be gentle with ourselves.  Good things are happening in our hearts, even as we think we’re losing our minds.

a lesson in mercy (CAPC series)

*For the past several years, I’ve been contributing to an amazing site, Catholic Attatchment Parenting Corner. (What can I say, I’ve really got a thing for niche-writing, yeah?) Due to all kinds of life circumstances, the site won’t be live for much longer, and the editor and creator of that site will be focusing solely on her other (wonderful) endeavor, Intentional Catholic Parenting.  So I decided to run a few of my old articles as a little mini-series, so they can find a new forever home here. Some of them are recent, and some of them were from a few years ago, but I hope they all speak to the experiences of different stages and moments in motherhood. *

IMG_3595(My clearly perfect children who obviously never cause a commotion in Church. <insert belly laughter here>)

The Mom and the Sacristan: A Lesson in Mercy

I’m in the narthex of the church again, trying to pay attention to Mass while Grace stumbles around stacking and unstacking the brochures on the display table. Pretty much the same place I am every Sunday, at one point or another. I’m cool with it.

But this Sunday, about 20 minutes into Mass (yeah, we didn’t make it that long in the pew this week. Sigh.), I glanced out the window to see a woman crossing the street, holding the hands of two small children, pulling them along, looking determined and in a rush. She made her way across the street and into the church. But she camped out in the back with me and a few of the other parents of young kids. I gave her a quick, sympathetic smile. I tried to imagine the circumstances that culminated in her pulling her two boys into church 20 minutes late, the hustling and frustration and finding shoes and making sure everyone had breakfast. I noticed her boys, the younger probably around 2 or 3, and the older boy, who was 4 or 5, who had Downs’ Syndrome. She gently took off their coats, found a spot against the wall, and then started to attempt to calm the boys down. Continue reading

7 things I wish I knew about the first time I was pregnant (and one I wish I didn’t)

IMG_4788As I head into the end of this pregnancy, I’ve been thinking about the things I wish I’d known about the first time around. I can’t really call myself any kind of expert on being pregnant, but I’ve done it three times now and I’ve learned about so many tips and tricks from many wise women along the way.  Here are a couple of things I wish I had known about from the beginning that make pregnancy easier for me (or at least less uncomfortable).

  1. Ditch the saltines. Ok, so maybe I don’t even follow this one all the time when I’m feeling sick.  But during my second pregnancy, my midwife told me to combat morning sickness, I really should try to avoid just eating so many carbs (but… but… carbs!) and try to eat protein when I’m feeling nauseous. And the annoying thing is that she was totally right.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it cured me of morning/afternoon/evening sickness, but I really did feel better when I snacked on protein instead of crackers (or cold pizza. or donuts. or mall pretzels.)
  2. Lemongrass oil for Restless Leg Syndrome Who knew?  Apparently the awesome midwife I’ve been seeing with this pregnancy.  She suggested giving it a try after I complained about that tingly, uncomfortable feeling in my legs that was making it hard to fall asleep.  I dilute a couple drops in a carrier oil and rub it on my legs before bed and it seems to really help take the edge off.  I’m no essential oil expert, so don’t sue me or anything if it doesn’t work for you (you should consult and expert), but it worked for me.
  3. Epsom Salt Baths and Arnica for Aches and Pains Dude. Dude. Dude.  Epsom baths were a total game changer for me.  Towards the end of pregnancy I get so achey all over and really the only thing that can make me feel better is getting in a bath with Epsom salts.  As a bonus, the magnesium that you absorb through your skin can help with those pesky leg cramps that are so common in pregnancy.  And if a specific spot (i.e. my back, my neck or shoulders) are getting achey halfway through the day, rubbing a little arnica on the area helps immensely.IMG_4704(Why yes, that is Joey lovingly caressing my baby belly while Grace punches it.  It sums up so much, so perfectly, I think.)
  4. Chiropractic Care I put off going to see a chiropractor for a long time because I thought it was too expensive and looked at it like a luxury.  But after the first time I got adjusted when I was pregnant I changed my tune and was all, “Take all my money!” and “Can I just live in your office?” Not only did it help my aching back, but it eased the migraines that I often get and I’m convinced that it made my second labor a lot easier because I was so well-adjusted.  Another bonus is that if you find a chiro who is familiar with the Webster technique, they can help you get baby into a good position if they are breech or in a sub-optimal position. Chiropractors are my spirit animal.
  5. Papaya Enzyme Chewables for Heartburn I always get pretty nasty heartburn during pregnancy right from the get-go.  The first time I munched on Tums all. the. time.  But they didn’t help a ton, and I wasn’t crazy about all the sugar and food coloring I was consuming. The second time around someone told me about these Papaya enzyme chews and they were a game changer.  They actually worked and they don’t have the yucky stuff I objected to in the Tums.  And they taste pretty good!
  6. Witch hazel Men and children, cover your ears.  Ladies, if you’ve been pregnant, you know there’s just a lot going on down there, both before and after you give birth.  Whatever it is, just put some witch hazel on it. It doesn’t matter what.  Just put witch hazel on it.  You’re welcome.
  7. A Doula  Man, how I wish I’d have had a doula the first time around, I think it would have saved me a whole lot of grief.  I honestly didn’t even consider having one, because it was expensive (I’m SO cheap, y’all), and I kind of thought that doulas were only for hippies who didn’t want drugs. (Which I totally now am, probably as one of the side effects of my terrible first birth experience. Irony.) My experience with my second birth was a thousand times better and I think having a doula was a MAJOR part of that.  Seriously. Get one. If you’re in the Chicago area, look no further- Lindsey is the best. If you’re not, check out doulamatch.net so you can find someone in your area.

Ok, are you ready for the one thing I wish I hadn’t known about my first pregnancy?  This book.  It’s the worst.  It will tell you literally every. possible. thing. that can go wrong in pregnancy with both you and your baby and scare the crud out of you.  If you want the week-by-week of how your babe is growing and all the stuff you really should know, there are plenty of better books about that- or better yet, phone apps.  And if you really want to get excited about giving birth, I recommend reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It’s encouraging and helpful, and you get to laugh at all the crazy hippie anecdotes along the way.  So worth a read. IMG_5269

So, what things did you discover on your second, third, fourth pregnancies that you wish you’d known about earlier?  What did I miss?  What do I need to know about? Hit me with your best stuff!

 

*Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum because she rocks and it’s Friday.  Go check it out and see what everyone else is up to!*

 

i’m hot. (and a summer salad)

DSC_0020-2  I like to cook.  I love to cook!  But the combination of summer (spending lots of time outside instead of inside cooking, not wanting to turn on the stove, not in our usual routine, etc.) and being in my crabby-pregnant phase, has me kind of dreading dinner each night.  As much as I love trolling the farmers’ markets each week, the idea of cooking elaborate meals with my finds just isn’t thrilling me at the moment.  Have I mentioned that it’s hot?  Or that I’m pregnant and crabby? Continue reading

life in bullet points.

IMG_5456So… I accidentally let a month go by without updating this little old  blog?  Oops?  I don’t know what to say, other than the lack of posts basically sums up the past month, with all it’s excitement and stuff. Here’s a quick recap:

  • My mom turned 60 and we threw her a surprise party and it totally rocked.  My mom loves celebrating birthdays (especially her own). So after spending the last year beating cancer, volunteering for like everything at church and various ministries, and continuing to care selflessly and with reckless abandon for everyone else, including me and my brood, she definitely deserved a huge celebration and some good surprises.  We actually managed to surprise her, not only with the party, but with both one of her best friends coming in from Texas and my brother flying in from California.  It was an amazing weekend with lots of surprises, happy tears, and partying.  Birthday girl approved. I spent the entire week after napping.  (No, I didn’t… but I wanted to.)
  • My brother’s been in for almost an entire month and both of my children are obsessed with him and refuse to acknowledge the fact that he’ll be going back home in a few days. It’s going to be pretty sad around here come the end of the week. But we’re so glad we’re getting in some serious QT while he’s here. IMG_0207
  • For my 30th, my mom planned a fun day out with my friends. We went to see the Broadway Chicago Sound of Music (my all-time favorite!) and went out for dinner.  So, so, so fun, and just how I wanted to ring in a new decade. IMG_6320
  • I had the chance to attend the Finding Your Fiat conference down in Peoria the weekend after, and it was incredible.  Not only was it pretty fun to have some time away from home ALL BY MYSELF, but I met some truly incredible women, got some really amazing inspiration from the speakers, and just overall really enjoyed myself.  I had been nervous about going on my own and not knowing anyone, but I’m so very happy I did.  Oh, and did I mention that I got to spend a night in a hotel room ALL BY MYSELF?!IMG_0347
  • I got a minivan.  Please note the lack of all-caps, italics, excessive exclamation marks, or glow-y adjectives.  I’m still coping.  I took no issue with turning 30.  I feel like I handled it pretty gracefully. But trading in my cool mom car for a minivan is somehow taking me longer to accept… which is serving as a great reminder that I clearly have some work to do on the humility front and I’m maybe way more shallow than I had previously thought.  I’m working on it.  But it helps that my new ride has a cd player that works and a place to plug in my iPhone and one of those thingies that makes my voice louder in the back so I can yell at my kids to stop touching each other more efficiently.  Oh, and it will also hold all my children after the baby comes next month, so I guess that’s good, too.  13269299_10101080025607279_5452544678305418081_n
  • Speaking of my new swagger wagon, we took it on our first family road trip last week to go visit my grandma and relatives in Minnesota.  We didn’t know what to expect from the 18 hour round-trip, but we were actually pleasantly surprised with how the kids behaved. (Ok, ok, and also how we behaved.  We hardly had any arguments about navigation or whose turn it was to pick up projectile toys.)  Anyway, it was actually relatively pleasant, as far as road trips with young children go.  If you want to know all my secret amazing parenting tips for a road trip, here you go: This and these. That’s the extent of it. Screen time and snacks, baby.  Screen time and snacks. The trip was great, the kiddos loved seeing their great-grandma and seeing some aunts and uncles and cousins, and we even snuck in a Twins game on the way home (first baseball game for both the kids!) A couple days in Wisconsin, complete with pool time and a morning at the beach, rounded out our trip before we headed home on the 4th. Again, I will be napping for the next week. Either that or doing the 18 loads of laundry we somehow accumulated within 5 days away.  IMG_0632
  • Why yes, I AM super pregnant, thanks for asking.  I actually had a dream the other night where I showed up at the birth center and told my midwife I was ready to have my baby now and she was all, “You’re only 33 weeks, you can’t have your baby now.” And I cried.  All drama aside, I’m actually feeling pretty good, aside from the usual feeling huge and hot and achey.  My biggest struggle is patience- in each of my pregnancies, I get really kind of crabby and impatient with things, and I feel badly because I’m sure my family feels the effects, especially the kids.  BUT!  Only another month and a half and we’ll be ready to meet this little nugget.  So it’s all good.
  • My official plan for the rest of the summer (well, at least until the babe comes next month) is to just relax and enjoy it with the kiddos and take it slow and easy.  It’s already going by so fast, and I’m looking forward to lots of mornings in the backyard with the sprinkler on and picnic lunches and lazy naps in the afternoons.  A girl can dream, can’t she?IMG_5552

Ok, so that’s the wrap-up.  I know ya’ll were on the edge of your seats. 😉  I’ll be around a bit more, hopefully. What have you all been up to so far this summer?

favorite kids’ poetry collections

IMG_4345When I posted a while back about what we do for “homeschool”, a bunch of people mentioned that they loved the idea of circle time.  A big part of circle time for us is that I let the kids pick a book of poetry and we’ll read a few poems from it.  So I figured I’d share a list of a few of our favorites, some of which we always have, and a few that we check out from the library over and over again.

51-sWUYBdfL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_

The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders– This one is just the right combination of silly and lovely, and just overall really fun to read.

519E2NY0Y2L._SX371_BO1,204,203,200_

A Children’s Garden Verses– The classic collection from Robert Louis Stevenson. I crack up a little how many of the poems refer to “nurse” or “nanny”, but lots of treasures in this one.  My kids also really love the illustrations in this one. Can’t go wrong with Gyo Fujikawa, in my opinion.

51p6bbqB4XL._SX459_BO1,204,203,200_

A Children’s Book of Verse– This is, sadly, not in print anymore, but it can be found used (and pretty cheaply!) on Amazon. My copy was mine as a child, and it’s fun to read some of my old favorites with my kiddos.  Whimsical illustrations and classic selections- can’t beat it. Joey is obsessed with reading, “The Skippery Boo”.Which is terrifying, but he loves it.  Random.

51o8LuYT2IL._SX378_BO1,204,203,200_

Where the Sidewalk Ends For our daily dose of pure silliness, my 4 year old picks out a poem from this one almost every day.

51vhNdt88QL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

Favorite Poems Old and New– Not just for kids, this collection is really enjoyable and I often find myself browsing through it, looking for inspiration or just plain old entertainment.  It’s a big book, so if you were looking for ONE poem book to rule them all, this would be a great candidate to take your kids from itty-bittys to adults.

51QEXSAXMYL._SX421_BO1,204,203,200_-2

A Child’s Calendar– If you love John Updike, this is a must.  A short, simple book with a poem for each month of the year.  I like the idea of reading the month’s poem on the first and last day of the month, kind of as a celebration of a new month.

61-TD1WVx0L._SX449_BO1,204,203,200_

Outside Your Window– We got this one out of the library, and after the first time we read from it, I went straight to Amazon to buy it, because it was an instant favorite. The illustrations are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a children’s poetry book, the poems about the natural world are truly lovely and the kids enjoy them immensely.  Not only are the poems fun to read, but they’re actually pretty informative, so I can see using these as part of nature studies and such.  LOVE this book.

These are just a few of the poetry books we’ve read from and loved, but I’d love to hear about some of your favorites that we can add to our list!

*Linking up with This Ain’t The Lyceum today. Head over and check out all the other great posts over there!*

*Links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means if you buy something, I get a small commission.  You get a new book, I get like, 15 cents!  Win win!*