Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Beauty in the Everyday

As much as I'd love to blog about more interesting and worldly topics, I usually just end up sharing about special events in our family, the ones that force me to get out the camera and the ones I want to have in our collective memory...holidays, birthdays, new pets, trips, park visits, and family outings. But I really love the Instagram phone app because it challenges me to snap photos of the everyday moments and to find beauty in them. 

It's often hard as a mom to find beauty in those mundane moments throughout the day. It's much easier to find annoyances, frustrations, things out of place, eyesores in the house, and areas (or people) that need tidying! I tend to have a critical eye, but I need to train it to be more of a beauty-finding eye! Grabbing my phone for a quick shot is an easy way for me to find some of this beauty, and the Instagram filters and editing options make it fun! I'm trying to do this more with the big camera too, so I can work on my photography skills. But here's an Instagram set from my iphone starting with just after Christmas...

Top row L-R: kids all painting together, making Leo's tag, New Year's with friends, Katie and Leo buddies, MC getting her nails done on her birthday
2nd row: Tommy was ready for back to school, Katie with brother's cars, Katie at the movies, a little reunion at the IL's house, and sweet brothers reading
3rd row: Vera floral beauty, MC's bday gifts-camera and tripod, craziness of boys, skating rink with friends, and Apple store fun
4th row: Rays shining on St. Joe after mass, boys at playground, MC with Katie at playground, our new playset, and a silly selfie
bottom row: new backyard, goddaughter's skate party, sweet sick sleepy baby on a rough day, grandparents visit, and a MC/Katie selfie!

January has been a fun month for our family. We celebrated Mary Clare's birthday, and have had some nice family weekends and some visits with friends and family. We have worked on our backyard, getting a new fence, new (used) swing set, and new picnic table. We've had a lot of rain and then a lot of beautiful sunshine to enjoy the backyard! We're still working out some kinks and trying a new reward system with schoolwork, and we have to finish up semester grades and some work to be turned in for the oldest in the next few days.  I just realized that my birthday is in a week! I love February and am looking forward to my birthday, Valentine's Day, Katie's birthday, and hopefully some more sunshiny days with family! God is good and I am grateful for these everyday moments to share with my beautiful blessings <3

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


After saying goodbye to our brief friend Copper, and remembering Timber our faithful yellow lab, we wanted to be sure we found a dog that was the right fit for our family. I had heard that another large Catholic family in the area was looking to rehome their dog.  There were a lot of unknowns, but the family would be traveling for Christmas and so we agreed to pet-sit while they were gone to see if he might be a good dog for our family.

We were all guarded and scared to commit. We wanted to be totally sure. But right away, he seemed like a great fit for us. He is a 1yr old Maltipoo (half Maltese, half Poodle). The other family got him as a young puppy and took very good care of him. He is house-trained and used to children. He is comfortable outside and inside, and he doesn't freak out in the crate. Every now and then he starts chewing on a toy or something, but for the most part we can trust him around the house all day, and we don't have to worry about escape antics from the backyard.

He loves "bully stick" teething sticks and loves to sit on the couch with us. He loves cuddles and scratches and going on walks down the street. He has run out the front door a few times, but he usually runs back to me right away! He has started liking other members of the family too, but mostly he's attached to me. We've had him about six weeks and he has only had one accident in the house. He enjoys eating table scraps, which is another perk of having a dog again! He loves car rides and going to the park too. He has a funny underbite that kind of makes him look like an old man!

So a few days after Christmas we told the other family that we would love to keep him.  They had called him a Spanish nickname, "Lalo." We decided to keep a similar name, especially since the other family would be coming to visit him. We opted for Leo, short for Leonardo da Vinci. He's already bringing about some extra beauty and joy into our house! These past few years when we were living away, I just knew that having a pet wasn't a good idea, but now I am so glad we are at a place where we have the time and ability to care for a dog. They really are a fun addition to a family!

Thomas seems to love him most. He asks all day if he can give him a treat. He loves on him and is very sweet and affectionate. I even put him in the shower with Thomas a few nights ago, and although Leo hates showers, he was staying pretty calm in there with Thomas! Mary Clare enjoys him too and the baby loves to grab him. He's gentle with Katie and although he sometimes play-bites he has never hurt her. Ellie was working on some training with him outside today! Steven Joseph is kind of detached, not really an animal-lover, but he will help out and play with him here and there. 

I joined a Maltipoo group on Facebook and am having fun learning about the dogs and getting tips on the best foods, shampoos, grooming regimens, training, and ways to treat their eye tear stains. I've always loved Maltese dogs, and was so excited to get a pretty white doggy. His fur is so soft, like a lamb! I'm not sure how well I will do with the grooming, but so far I've dealt with the tear stains and clipped his nails, and he only freaks out a little bit ;)

These last two are phone photos from right after we got him. His hair had been shaved a few months back, so I'm excited to see how it grows out. I'm also excited to see how the kids and the dog play together over the years, and I hope he's with us for many years to come! Welcome to the family, Leo!

(another post on Dogs)

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Mall with Five

Last weekend we spent most of our Saturday at the place where most would consider it torture to take five children...the mall!  Steven needed to find some work clothes, and I had gift to find and a few things to get for the kids, and once we were there walking around, we just kept going...and going...

They actually did pretty well overall. Thomas just had maybe one half hour sob fest (and middle of the mall flail on the floor and continually block my stroller) after I made him leave the Apple Store!  I'm trying to take my camera to different spots to work on getting a photo each day and improving my photography this year.

The kids in the waiting area by the men's dressing room! 

Tommy enthralled in the Lego Store...

The boys headed off for more boyish places like Academy for baseball gear, and we headed over to Barnes & Noble for just a little more shopping there, followed by a quick Costco run! I don't think I've shopped again since that day! I'm in shopping recovery mode :)

These girls are getting so big...

Outings like this are exhausting, but it's fun to be out and about with our crazy crew!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My Babies

A little photo overload here, but these two are just so sweet. Thomas may be four, but he's still my baby boy! These photos were taken early one morning last week as they were waking up and playing. Katie loves her baby doll, and especially likes putting it in and out of the little carseat! I love Tommy's expressions, from somber to smirking. He's a riot!

These were taken once he got dressed for the day in a bunch of items that his cousins had passed down...cowboy boots, new sweater, one mitten, and a Star Wars cap on his plasma (or as he calls it "clasma") car. That's my boy!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Praise His Name in Dance

Let them praise his name in dance
Make music with tambourine and lyre
For the LORD takes delight in his people
Psalm 149: 3,4a

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Dreaming of More Sunny Days...

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

We had one beautiful day last week where I took the kids to the library and let them run around at the "park" next  to it. I put park in quotes because it's not the typical park with a playground, but a big green space, a maze of shrubs, and a waterway, with lots of pretty trees and places to play. It only took a few minutes for the little ones to warm up to the idea of not being at a park with a swing set! I wish we could've stayed all day!


After so many rainy and cold days indoors, these boys were happy to play outside!

This wooden statue/airplane thing was interesting! If only we would've gotten Katie out of the stroller. We'll have to go back again for a kid picture!

Tommy is so affectionate, but Katie isn't thrilled about it!

Also funny is my stroller which always has interesting kid things on it, like wet sneakers and an extra Vera Bradley purse :)

There will always be a Thomas meltdown at some point during our activities outside the house! I'm not sure what he was pouting about here; I think he wanted to ride the ferry which wasn't working those hours of the day!

Always have to bring along the school books.

And a real cute shot of some sweet sisters...

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