{pretty, funny, happy, real}

Why yes it’s another meme…


A jellyfish washed up on our beach trip…it would be more beautiful in the water, but kind of hard to photograph. Still a wonder of creation to behold…


Little girl in Daddy’s enormous t-shirt (it dragged on the floor).


Little boy who was terrified of the water just a few weeks ago is in love with the beach. Happy boy. Happy mama and daddy!


The world’s two laziest dogs. Ever.

Please join us in sharing!


Small Successes

1) I have summoned up the courage to make both cheesecake and blueberry muffins from scratch for the first time…will let you know how they turn out.

2) I didn’t freak out too much when Jeff cut Shelby’s hair without  my knowledge and it turned out looking like he put a bowl on her head and cut around it. It is hair…it will grow out.

3) Joey has finally mastered pooping on the potty! He has even used the potty outside of our home multiple times now.

4) We had a date night! First one in forever!

5) I have started the spiritual bouquet for Kate Wicker and all of YOU have so graciously responded with your love and prayers!

Don’t forget: Small Successes is now hosted by Sherry!

It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that.~Danielle Bean

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

1) I am incredibly thankful for the awesome swim instructor working with my daughter and older son. Not only is he trained to work with special needs children, he is excellent with children of varying abilities.

2) I am thankful that we live close enough to the coast to go to the beach daily if we choose and close enough to my husband’s parents that we can use their club pool. Summer is a little more bearable (the heat part at least) with these little joys.

3) I am thankful for a husband who has dedicated time to date nights this summer. Even if it’s just watching a movie together after the kids are asleep :).

4) I am thankful for the firefighters who have been battling two wildfires in our area (we have a county between each of the fires but we are getting the smoke and some ash). In this oppressive heat, it has been even more difficult, but they are persevering!

5) I am thankful for all of you! Especially those who have contributed and are contributing to our spiritual bouquet for Kate Wicker and her baby and family. I am thankful for the social media networks that have brought us all together. We are many parts but indeed one body in the Lord and this shows that! Much love and many blessings to all of you!

Please join Judy and the other lovely women for A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings!

Yarn Along

One of these days I am going to get my sister-in-law to teach me to knit so I can a)knit and b) share a project in this meme…but until then…

Right now I’m still plugging away at Jane Eyre. Love the book but it’s going kind of slow with all of our day trips which don’t lend themselves to reading because I have three toddlers who require constant supervision around water! I had Jeff pick  up Silas Marner at the library for me based on Ginny’s glowing recommendation. Just started it but enjoying it already. That last book is Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. I have a very soft spot for Julia Child because she was humble and she was a terrible cook which prompted her move into the world of French cuisine while living overseas. (My husband is a chef which, before you all start swooning too much is a bit of a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, he cooks. A curse  because, sometimes I’m afraid to try making something because he can do it better!) I am hoping it motivates me to try a few new things! Please join Ginny over at small things and Yarn Along with us!

Having children young…an issue of maturity or selfishness?

People magazine has run this article about singer Kellie Pickler saying she is “in no rush” to have children. Ms. Pickler is recently married, age 25 and in the article states she is not in a rush to have children and makes a broad sweeping statement that young mothers are not ready for the responsibility of having a child and equates having a child at a young age with a “fad.”

The commenters on this post are  rabid. “Having children is selfish,” they say. “I want more time to spend with my husband,” others say. There are a few who dare to post that not all young mothers fall under these sweeping accusations of young motherhood.

My issue with Ms Pickler’s interview is that, first of all, her comments are not specific enough. She refers to “kids” having babies. Is she speaking of teenagers or women her own age? Being that she says she does not feel ready for children, if appears her reference to “kids” is directed to men and women of her own age group. Which, to me, is disturbing on a number of levels.

First of all, maturity is not a matter of age. While I will be the first to say that teenagers should not be having children, if a man and woman are in their twenties and married, they may in fact be mature enough to have a child. The Church teaches us to be open to life (and I recognize not all people are Catholic, but I cannot speak of faith practices of churches to which I do not belong) in our marriages and to only avoid conception for the most pressing of reasons (but certainly gives us room to determine what that means within the unique circumstances of each individual marriage). By this rationale, couples who wish to “enjoy each other” for a few years before having a child do not exactly have a compelling reason to put off pregnancy and therefore, should not be married. I am actually in complete agreement with that statement. I know it is unpopular in today’s world, but I don’t apologize because what is “of God” is very often not “of this world.” Couples unable to have children, as long as they are remaining open to life,’s marriages are not considered invalid under this rule.

Secondly, selfishness is not a matter of age either. A selfish parent will be one at age 20 or age 40. Someone who is saying, “me, me, me, mine, mine, mine” in regards to either having children or preventing them is selfish regardless of age.

But the most disturbing trend I am noticing both in Ms. Pickler’s comments and many of those in culture at large is “it’s a choice, not a child.” Not only is this message pro-abortive, it is also pro-contraception and ignorant of God’s role in our lives. It is to say that we have complete control in our lives, not God. A child is an inconvenience not a blessing from God. And unfortunately, some of these couples who take this belief to heart are stunned to find out that when “they decide” that they are ready, their bodies may no longer co-operate. God gave us fertility and He allows it to us for only a limited time.

People have long bought into the lie that they can completely control their lives and destinies. It allowed us to believe that taking a pill or wearing a condom was the way to go. Or that if that pill or condom failed, having a life obliterated was the correct solution. In our culture of death, we have not just disregarded human life, but God Himself and His will. And that is true immaturity and selfishness at its core.

Potty Mouth

So, in case you don’t know, June is/was potty-training month. Potty training, as Maurisa has said here before is, “the bane of motherhood.” Rachel Balducci has a post up over at Faith and Family Live and Sonya just posted today about S’s potty training progress so I thought I would update you all as to how we are doing here.

Some of you may remember that in November we had some great success with Joey. Three whole days worth. Then he refused to use the potty at all. Even stripping him naked he would just pee or poop wherever he was. Discouraging did not even begin to describe my feelings about the situation. We were ready for him to potty train, but he was in full resistance mode. We tried incentives like money and candy. We tried taking away privileges and toys. We tried sticker charts and peer pressure and everything else in the book. Nothing worked. I was beginning to feel that he would indeed be going to college in diapers.

The new year was bringing no breakthroughs in the great potty training standoff. Finally, in May, I just forced my hand. Although having brand new Lightening McQueen underwear had not prevented him from peeing or pooping in them before, I was going to do something drastic. My in-laws were coming over to watch the boys while I took Shelby for her first dentist appointment. That morning I informed Joey that he had no choice but to wear his big boy underwear and pee and poop on the potty because Nan and Poppy would not change a diaper on a big boy. I put his potty in the living room as I know that sometimes kids feel the urge kind of late and don’t make it to the potty in time. Joey peed on it all day. He held his pee while his grandparents were there. We had a poopy accident after they left, but I couldn’t believe it, he was being compliant. So, as of now we have been potty trained with pee over a month (with just 2 accidents the whole time pee-pee wise) during the day.

Poop, a totally different story. One day he would go the next day not. And the culprit here, laziness. And no amount of incentivizing, again, was working in our favor. Until, last week, when he started swimming lessons. Joey has, for the last two summers, been terrified of the water (thanks to his father diving into a wave with him the summer before last at the beach) but after a couple of beach trips this year he has shown great improvement. We found a swim instructor for Shelby (he specializes in adaptive swimming for special needs children) who said he would love to take Joey on as well. We were skeptical, but we decided to leverage pooping on the potty with getting swim lessons. We are now three days (and one day last week) poop-free accidents! I am hoping for continued success of course, and I think this time, we are actually on our way.

Some things I have learned from this trying experience:

1) What works for others may or may not work for you. Just because so-and-so-mother-of-the-year did it the same way with all 29 of her kids, doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for you.

2) Pull-ups are just expensive diapers. And don’t use them at night on an untrained child unless you like doing laundry every day that must be done by nap-time.

3) YOU might be ready, but if you’re child is not, it just will not happen. Don’t forget, your child is a person with his or her own opinions and free will. It’s kind of like that old proverb, “You can take a horse to water…”

4)  Not all children in the same family will train the same. Will is training himself now with Joey. Who would have thought?

5) People will feel free to give you tons of advice about how old your child should be when potty trained. Ignore them. Unless a daycare that you have to use is forcing it (and in that case, they should be offering to help you by training during the day), pressuring yourself and your child will only result in disappointment for both of you.

6) Be ready to try new things. Incentives you think are fool-proof may end up being fails. Something you may think has no chance of working might be the golden ticket.

So good luck to all you potty training parents out there. We are in the trenches together!


Movie Mondays

This Monday’s movie is Madeline, the 1998 version starring Frances McDormand as Miss Clavel and Nigel Hawthorne as Lord Covington (aka Lord Coucouface). It begins as Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic books do:  “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines …” and tells the story of Madeline, a ward of the church, living in the boarding school run by Miss Clavel and owned my Lord and Lady Covington. Many of the stories from the books are told in the movie, for example, Madeline getting her appendix removed. Next door to the house a young boy, Pepito son of the Spanish Ambassador, moves in and a prank war ensues. There are many hijinks that occur and in the end Pepito and Madeline survive a kidnapping plot and become good friends. For anyone who has never seen the movie, I don’t want to give too much away. I will say there is no violence or profanity although I think the kidnapping scene may be a bit scary for some kids. Some parents may want to issue warnings about some of the pranks as well and the disrespect Madeline show toward Lord Covington is a little over the top sometimes, but she is always corrected by Miss Clavel and I stress that with my children. Frances McDormand is excellent as Miss Clavel and Hatty Jones is an adorable Madeline. Appréciez !

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1) So, summer is finally here which means that Jeff is home full time and we’ve had our first beach trip (living 20 minutes from it has its advantages). Joey has decided not to be afraid of the water this summer and has enjoyed it along with Shelby, of course. William is our dare devil.

2) Shelby and Joey started swim lessons at the YWCA this week. They are both taking private lessons. Shelby is having adaptive lessons where she is mostly learning survival strokes. Both of them have the same instructor who has really enjoyed them thus far. And they both appear to be making progress!

3) William had his first “date” with Mama solo during swim lessons today. He was crushed not to get to go but thrilled when he learned that he would get to color with markers.

4) I’m writing this at 9:55pm on Thursday and thank you God it is raining for the first time in 4 weeks.

5) I love Parks and Rec especially the character of Ron Swanson :).

6) Since we gave up satellite a few months ago, I have been discovering the fun of 2 special PBS stations (in addition to the original) and that THIS tv plays Inspector Gadget in the mornings. I have happy go-go-Gadget memories as a kid. Fun to share that with my kids.

7) Sometimes I really wonder what algorithm Pandora uses with its free service. I have some strange selections pop up on a few of my stations quite a bit lately!

Please head on over to Hallie’s this week for Quick Takes! And stop by Conversion Diary too and congratulate Jen on Baby Girl Fulwiler!