Thanks to Hallie for hosting this fun link-up which this week is totally devoted to Dwija and her sweet baby Nicholas, and their family who needs a new laundry room! Praying for them.
Okay this is going to be a bit of an iPhoto dump, so bear with me,
but it's still going to include some of my recent FIVE FAVORITES!
Toyota Sienna 8-seater Minivan
This Sunday we had various kids over at various times and I was the taxi driver! We had 7 kids in the car in this photo, right before I dropped 3 of them off at Confession down the street from our house, and let Daddy handle the rowdy boys for a bit while I went back and went to Confession myself after the girls. I mean, how awesome is it when little girls want to go to Confession with their friends?
Here the Sienna is only holding my 4 kiddos, but see how they all have their own space to eat their Shipley Donuts? I actually won an Instagram photo contest with this picture! Kristen Duke Photography is always encouraging moms to "Capture the Joy" by getting in the photos with our children. I got her photography e-book entitled "Say NO to Auto" as my prize! Can't wait to read it!
So yeah, love my minivan :)
Our new ballet studio.
My discontent with our previous ballet school was one of the main factors of my discontent with our new city. I'm still not crazy about living here, but I have so much more peace in my daily life now that we've switched studios. It's our main activity for the girls which we attend at least twice a week, and in the past it was also a weekly social outlet for me.
When I had to drop them off at the previous studio here (feeling not all that confident with the people I was leaving them with), and find something to do with the boys during that time, I was missing out on part of my weekly social interactions and was exhausted from running the boys around. Not to mention we are now only about 7 minutes from the new ballet school. And other kids there have young siblings! And people talk to me! And they are disciplined and have an enforced dress code and...
(Also loved the grandparents' visit to ballet last week!)
And...one of my favorite things about this new studio is the fact that they have a great adult ballet class! There were about 24 of us dancing last night. So much fun!
Lands End Swimwear
A few people asked for reviews after I bought MC some swimsuits online. Our first time to buy (skirted) tankinis. And I'm really happy with them. She's a petite 10yr-old and I think they're both 10 slims. The shoulder straps can adjust, and Ellie can actually fit in these, too (she's only an inch or two shorter than MC even though she's more than 2yrs younger). Most importantly, they're long enough and don't ride up and show her belly!
I also bought a rash guard for Steven which I'm really happy with. The fabric of their swimwear always seems much thicker than other brands. I also have a Lands End swimsuit for myself that I really like (no pictures of that though, LOL!). It's almost too thick!
While I'm talking swimwear, let me just rave for a moment on my love of the pool in the next neighborhood over. So glad we splurged on the membership. A saving grace for me on many summer days!
This is the life.
Living by the beach is fun, too :)
Kid-friendly stores and shopping carts.
I was thrilled to find this monster of a shopping cart at Target last week. We were having a major errand day which included the donut outing pictured above, Hobby Lobby, Target, Academy, Chickfila, and HEB. I think I may have already blogged about this. But I'm still proud of myself for surviving that day, and even ending it with a trip to the pool! Go me!
Anyway, this shopping cart had a 5 POINT HARNESS for Thomas! They need these in all shopping carts. Seriously. He was trapped the entire store visit, unlike every other store, where he climbs out 5 minutes into the trip. Steven sat in MC's lap here while Ellie was in the basket. A good workout for me!
This was ~3mins into the Hobby Lobby trip. See how he's there in the back of the cart just waiting for his getaway moment!
Oh and here we are getting to our car at Target. See? Tommy still buckled in cart. This was only stop #3 on my Frazzled Friday crazy day.
Okay, last but not least.
My 5th Favorite is Some Summer Structure!
So, we normally sit around and don't much in the summer. But this year I've been making checklists for the kids. Schoolwork and chores. They can earn sno-cones and apps and stuff. And I don't really follow my point reward system and let them earn things with a little less, but they know they have to get stuff done before we go to the pool or the library or some other summer fun activity! We've also had a ton of guests so that has kept our house in decent order.
And we're getting some schoolwork done! Yesterday we did reading and spelling. Tommy always wants his turn doing "spelling" (i.e. draw with the dry erase markers). He can color-in a heart with marker just perfectly.
Oh my goodness and I almost forgot the RAINBOW LOOM!
See Steven Joseph's bracelet? I could share this next week but we'll have company and will be traveling the week after so I don't know when I'll get to another Five Favs. Just go and search Rainbow Loom and find one for your kids ages 5 and up. They make fun rubber band bracelets and it takes up lots of summer hours. Thanks to the V family and O family who both got us looms as a thank-you gift for their visits here. They're only sold in specialty toy stores but I think some of the big box stores are getting similar ones soon.
One of my goals this week is to learn this chant. It is so hard. And 4 pages! We're going to try to sing it for our pastor's last mass here next weekend.
Last but not least, my own goal of getting fit again! This is always a goal but once I started ballet I was ready to improve my eating habits too. So I'm using My Fitness Pal on my phone here and I think I've already lost a few pounds in a week! We'll see if I can keep it up. I've never counted calories in my life. It's hard! And I'm hungry! But I think it's important that I train my body not to act on every hunger urge like I have been most of my life. It's really a spiritual battle, no? Not giving into every feeling in our body or hearts, but knowing the right things to do. I hope I can stick with it. And I hope one day I won't have to stick my chin out in photos so it's not a double chin :)
The longest Five Favorites in maybe the history of Five Favorites, but I wrote out all that I was wanting to share and now Steven is home from an overnight work trip. Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends, if you made it this far :)