Opossums and friends

It's been a sorry week in the wellness area for this Harrington household. The rugby team is kind to Chris and lets him play even though he is geriatric compared to the undergrads ... undergrads who have called me Mrs. Harrington when on the sideline, ha! Anyway he played in the game last Friday night, and it was not a kind game to him at all. Then the week started, and I could tell my lower back was going as it does twice a year.  Tuesday and Wednesday I alternated between crawling around or, when I was feeling sprightly, walking with my upper body bent almost parallel to the floor ... super interesting conundrum with two toddlers who love their time perched on my hip. When I was finally on the mend, Conor fell into the (rounded) corner of a little toddler chair, and he is now sporting a slightly black eye. Poor guy. Maybe he wants to look like a rugby player? Ryan saved the worst for last with his 3am announcement of, "I frew up," which lead to all of us in our bed. Conor nursed the rest of the night, and Ryan was tucked into me with his head on my shoulder. When Chris woke up at 6am, he said they looked liked opossum babies hanging off of me. I didn't really understand until I saw this photo:

And I feel like the look in her eyes is telling me, "Solidarity, Girl."

(Ryan has been feeling well all day! Two thumbs up).

So it has been a week, but today is now a wonderful day even though you wouldn't think so judging from last night's pajamas never leaving my body today. For right before bed, after pausing from scaling every structure in the room and while stubbornly trying to pull his freshly donned pajamas off so he could "sweep in his un-duh-wear," Ryan looked at the giggling and screeching Conor waddling around, fueled by that last gust of slap-happy energy, a few slow steps here, some fast steps there, a teeter here, a totter there. Ryan let out a little toddler guffaw and contently sighed, "He's my fwiend."

Good day. Good week.

 

Halloweenie meenie minie mo

(Thanks for the love on the new blog design! It made me smile a whole lot. Rosie was smart enough to let me know that if you use Feedly, the blog isn't automatically transferred over so you will have to resubscribe - so sorry for the trouble!)

The weekend before Halloween was spent tossing around costume ideas for the boys. I feel like this is the last year that we really get to choose what they go as. Chris came up with the idea of Calvin and Hobbes. Of course he did! I thought it was perfect so I spent all of Monday morning going to two thrift stores and Once Upon A Child. Black pants for Calvin that Ryan could wear again were easy enough to find, but this must definitely not be the year of the tiger because when I couldn't find a tiger costume that morning, I called Target, Old Navy and Walmart and none of them sold them! Good ole Amazon to save the day (although I soon learned that a true Hobbes really should have rounded ears ... oops!) Finding a red shirt with very thin black stripes were also like finding a needle in a haystack so I considered myself lucky when I found a red stripe with very thin white stripes for a couple of bucks. They were nothing a little Sharpie couldn't take care of. 

Jana had let me know about St. Mary's traditional trick-or-treating in the dorms that was happening Wednesday, and I'm so happy she did! My favorite St. Mary's grad showed me the ropes, and Ryan, Peter and Mary Frances ran around Le Mans in a sugar search frenzy. Conor and James were unmoved by the excitement. I definitely see it as a new tradition. Their majestic dorms are huge so a good candy return is pretty much guaranteed, the girls are so sweet and genuinely excited to see kids or really anyone under the age of 18, and it is inside, but you still knock on doors and say trick or treat like the real deal. It's a winner, and when it snowed during the city's trick-or-treating hours on Friday, and I most definitely did not want to go out around the block, Ryan was happy to stay at home. 

(Poor Chris still had to go out to play a rugby game in wind chill that made it feel like 19 degrees). 

^^ Hobbes, Calvin, a knight, a fairy princess and a parrot. Conor and James just appear pleased with the spectacle. ^^

And for a walk down memory lane ...

^^ 2011, Prego Tomato Sauce and my friend, Meagan, is a shot in the dark - she's clever! ^^

IMG_5918.JPG

^^ 2012 Ryan the Lion ^^

^^ 2013 - a hobbit and his pastry ^^

Was it cold for your Halloween/All Saints?

Oh, is that a new dress? It IS!

Well, I have always known that I am terrible at giving gifts on time, especially if I am making them. I still have lofty plans to finish a sketch for Chris that I started for his birthday ... four years ago. So it isn't surprising that this blog birthday post is occurring when the blog is two years and one week old. 

Last year I got a fancy schmancy custom domain on the first blog birthday, and this year I decided that October 29th would be a good time to make the switch to Squarespace and finally redesign the blog's look. I thought I could do it in a night. Ha! It's been a hair-pulling, head-banging-on-desk, kids-watching-lots-of-Netflix, husband-hearing-I-CAN'T-FIGURE-OUT-WHY-IT'S-ONLY-250-PIXELS-this-and-that redesign. I'll get more into it if I write a post on what not to do when changing blogger platforms. 

^^ Kind of an unrelated photo, but this is what my brain felt like this past week. In case you are confused, Ryan told us the top sequence spelled "Christopher" and the bottom sequence says "Katrina." ^^

Until then, it's here! Cedars and Tiny Flowers' new dress is finished. Well, some of the seams are raw as there are broken links galore so please bear with me for a few weeks, probably months, while I get all of those sorted out. I'm still in recovery code and every element painfully and annoyingly reminds me how long it took me to solve, but I'm sure I'll forget about it soon

My time with this blog has been good. Wonderfully good. If you are new around these parts, here are my five favorite posts from the past two years.

- No Whispers, Sisters - We have many dear friends and family members that I look up to who are happier mothers and have happier families because they work outside of the home. I love that mothers aren't automatically banished to slave over the stove and ironing board all day anymore. This post touches on the flip side of the culture change. I was pretty darn nervous to hit publish on this one. (It's really not that controversial).

- On Marrying Young - Let me preface this post by saying there is nothing wrong with getting married when you're older, if it's for the right reasons, and there's nothing wrong with getting married when you're young, if it's for the right reasons. I only have experience with the latter, and so I wrote about it. This post was one during which I felt most vulnerable writing since I had to open up quite a bit

- Grin and Bear It - Chris' grandpa told me that he loved this tale about my solo flight with the boys which automatically puts it in the top five. He is not one to aimlessly toss out mom blog post praise so I take his opinions very seriously.

- How We Met - I'm so grateful I have our How We Met story written down. (Thanks for the push, Grace). I love going back to read it, and I always end up thinking, "Hey! That was fun ... hey, it's still fun!"

- Birth Stories - I mean ... I think this one is self explanatory.

On this second anniversary of my over-sharing, if you'd like to, I'd be really touched if you would comment with a little about yourself or even link to your blog so I can start following along! How did you happen upon this corner of the internet, and what kinds of posts do you like best? I'm so thankful for all of you, and I'm not just saying that because it's the month of Thanksgiving!

 

More of people's favorite things over here.

One Year Old

And he is one. One! Cliché or not, my how time flies.

We had a lovely,albeit busier than preferred, Sunday celebrating Conor's birthday. My parents drove up for the weekend, which was so kind of them. My mom cooked the whole weekend including lumpia, my favorite food. They had to leave around noon on Sunday so we decided to celebrate Conor's birthday with brunch and cake. I made chocolate chip pancakes, cheesy scrambled eggs and sausage. And as you would for a birthday in 2014, much of brunch was spent discussing who was going to be FaceTiming, Google hangouting and Skyping on which corresponding device. Then I deleted multiple apps off my phone in a mad dash to make enough space to video the happy birthday singing and Conor blowing out his candle, scratch that, Ryan blowing out Conor's candle. 

I had baked spice cake for all to enjoy including a little smash cake for the birthday boy, which sounds a lot fancier than it really was. I just poured enough batter (made from a box! Top knotch homemaker over here) into three tiny  ramekins in addition to the regular cake pans, stacked them on top of each other and slathered on some buttercream. It was tilting over by the time for songs came along, but that just added to the cozy, rustic, homey, just-like-mama-made-it look, right? Right.

As expected, Conor was happy we let him eat cake. 

Wait ... so what's so exciting about this?

Still not impressed.

Still not impressed.

THIS is how you do it. 

THIS is how you do it. 

My sister was Skyping from CA, my brother and sister-in-law were FaceTiming from MD and Chris' brother and sister-in-law were Google hangouting from AZ. We had some technical difficulties with Chris' family in San Diego so we got to video chat with them later in the day :) 

My sister was Skyping from CA, my brother and sister-in-law were FaceTiming from MD and Chris' brother and sister-in-law were Google hangouting from AZ. We had some technical difficulties with Chris' family in San Diego so we got to video chat with them later in the day :) 

Contemplating his opinion.

Contemplating his opinion.

Close up of our Phoenix family

Close up of our Phoenix family

Happy. 

Happy. 

The rest of the day for Conor was spent napping, walking around our friends backyard at a pumpkin carving party and hanging out at home until I brought home one of his favorites - starts with a Ch and ends with -ipotle. 

Thank you for an amazing first year, Conor Daniel Harrington. You helped us grasp a better understanding how God is able to love all of us. Our heart didn't split between you and your brother; it grew and grew and grew. It's kind of crazy how much you put up with having such an opinionated and enthusiastically strong older brother, but you've got spunk yourself, kid. You also can be terribly dramatic, but hey you make up for it with your jolly good mood the rest of the time. Your current favorite activity is chasing the broom as I sweep and trying to get your curious hands on the pile just before it makes its way into the dustpan. You also love banging blocks on the top of the printer and computer. That needs to stop. What doesn't need to stop are your goofy pursed mouth smile, adorable clapping and animated conversations consisting of one syllables repeated over and over and over. We love being yours.

Love,

Your favorite family

Netflix #StreamTeam - What Helped Me Lazily Prepare for Birth.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam so I will be writing one post a month about movies and shows that have made me happy to have in our family queue. To be totally forthcoming, I have been compensated with a streaming device and a one year streaming subscription to Netflix, but this is a service that I have used at minimum four times a week for the past four years (and at many points in the timeline, everyday) so you can say that I am definitely excited to be partnering with them. 

As I just mentioned, I've been utilizing Netflix Streaming for four years. It all started when I had to watch a movie for my French film class my last semester of college. The movie was available in the library which was all the way across campus, and I would have to hope no one else was watching the movie when I got there. My professor had noted in the syllabus that the movie was also available on Netflix so when comparing the pros and cons between signing up for a free one month trial with Netflix and trekking to the library, I quickly got myself a Netflix account and watched the film from the comfort of my own bed (and my dorm bed was actually very comfy thanks to an excellent mattress pad, but I digress).

Just me, Netflix, and my poor interior decorating skills, fall 2010

From then on, I pretty much have a Netflix movie or TV Series to go along with the memories of the past few years. I designed, stamped, addressed, and stuffed our wedding invitations while watching every romantic comedy Netflix had to offer. Our time in Chicago had Grey's Anatomy in the background whether I was writing one stack of 300 thank you notes, making dinner or folding laundry after work. I unpacked to Private Practice when we moved to South Bend. I watched Tangled way too many times for an adult to be able to during its stint on Netflix. The summer when Ryan was a baby, my brother-in-law put Cheers on everyday he got home from class. Downton Abbey in two days two winters ago. And don't get me started on 24! Anyway, last fall was no different; I had a Netflix soundtrack, if you will, yet again, and it turned into a makeshift birth prep cheerleader. 

I mentioned in my last post and here that even though I had already gone through labor and delivery with Ryan, I was still pretty nervous for our second because 1) I KNEW how much it hurt and 2) what if the first time was a fluke? I planned on reading the Bradley book again as a refresher, but other than that, I had no other plans to up my confidence even though I needed it. 

Here is how Netflix helped me via a British television series. 

Call the Midwife.

One day, I read somewhere that if I liked Downton Abbey, I would love Call the Midwife. As luck would have, I saw it pop up in the Netflix New Releases one day when I was flipping through. The BBC series is based on the memoirs of a nurse midwife in the East End of London in the 1950s. It follows a group of nurse midwives based out of a nursing convent as they tend to one of the poorest parts of London both when mothers are giving birth and when the neighborhood's residents are ill. The series is not always happy, but there is a sense of optimism throughout the times of heartbreak; maybe it comes with the territory of new life. Chris does say, "If you were to hear Call the Midwife from another room, it would be the least relaxing mix - babies crying, women screaming and my wife crying from watching it," but I found it fascinating and confidence building. The history in itself is interesting, but seeing women give birth in all kinds of circumstances was incredibly motivating. I'd think, if she could give birth in a shack full of fish, I can give birth again in my sanitary hospital. If she could give birth aboard a ship, I can so do it in a spacious labor and delivery room. The third season has been up for a bit, and I'm finally rewarding myself by starting the third season. I highly suggest it!

Other films that helped me prepare and that are only available through Netflix DVD:

The Business of Being Born: this is an extremely biased documentary, but it did provide some food for thought and prompted me to do much more research about our options. 

BABIES: this documentary follow four babies and their mothers who are each in completely different environments and cultures. It is not an incredibly active piece, but I enjoyed it because it calmed me down about pending parenthood. The babies were happy and healthy whether they were in Mongolia, Japan, Namibia or San Francisco. 

Any other Call the Midwife fans out there?

Do you have any genres you would like to hear about during the #StreamTeam series?