Julia Donaldson Fan Club #StreamTeam

I have finally found the pot of gold - a movie that Conor follows the whole time. I hope that doesn't sound too horrible that I'm finding this find monumental rather than writing about a book, but as I tell Chris, screen time really helps me out especially since I started working from home. You see, neither of our boys have been great nappers, or really sleepers, ever. Thus, I use Netflix to stretch out my supposed-to-be-productive time. They get to watch their one TV show (or when I'm really struggling to tread water, more than one) for the day after their nap. It works for Ryan, but half of the time Conor bids his daily attempted babysitter adieu and ends up in my lap while I'm finishing up on the computer. Until now all thanks to Julia Donaldson's books being made into shorts (and Oscar-nominated shorts at that!) Room on the Broom just has magical powers, as do the The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child. I believe the key is that the dialogue is kept to a minimum so there is more visually to pay attention to and the stop motion animation is interesting and more lifelike to him. If you have a toddler, do they love Room on the Broom as much as mine does? 

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. Woohoo!

Neither hear nor there

We live in an apartment now which really seems oddly luxurious to us right now. No mowing the lawn! You just call maintenance when something happens! Built-in playmates! I haven't gotten stressed about cleaning it up once. 

But it's still an apartment which means sound seems to travel as much as Flat Francis. This jet-setting of sound led me to a resounding realization in my mothering and wiving (real word? you know what I mean) efforts today.

When irritable Katrina irritatingly made her presence known via scary mom voice and snippy wife voice, I remembered we lived in an apartment and worried, "What about the neighbors hearing me?"

But a better question came at me:

"What about my children hearing me?"

I'm not one to like my own voice (whenever I hear it on video I normally think I sound stoned, how lovely!), but I do want my children to know it. They can know it with love, with patience and with patient and loving discipline, but boy! I shouldn't cringe about the neighbors hearing me be mean. I should cringe about my two boys and girl hearing me be mean. And I mean it.

Freshly Picked!

Chris and I always love to pick out traits of our children and assign them to one of us. Ryan and Elise have my dimples, Conor has Chris' double crown. Ryan and Chris have the same temperament to a T, and Conor can hold a candle to my temper.  And Conor's dislike for going barefoot? That doesn't come from me. 

After the boys joined us in our new apartment, we started our playground mornings. Get up, get dressed, get fed and out the door to the playground. Ryan would scurry out barefoot, and Conor would try the same but once his feet met the tickle of grass or a bit of dew fell on his toes, whew! It was loud. Shoes it was. But his little pitter-pattering feet had become not only wide, but thick. Someone joked with us he had hobbit feet, but sensitive hobbit feet. We don't know where the hobbit feet gene comes from, but we held a wrestling match every time it was time to don his shoes. Hand-me-downs are our favorite clothing line so we went through every pair in the box from Ryan and uncles. Nada. Then we got new-to-him shoes multiple times in two weeks each time moving on to the next after being frustrated because it shouldn't take more than a few seconds to put shoes on his sausage feet. For a bit, he was just in old man sandals that would stayed strapped about his ankles, but let his toes loose when he would go "wunning! wunning!" Finally, I told Chris we should put him in my favorite moccasins, and I don't know why I waited so long once I figured out none of the free hand-me-downs worked. 

Freshly Picked makes a true quality product. Their moccasins are durable, buttery soft, let the little ones learn balance with their soft soles and the elastic ankles easily stretch over Conor's cute fat feet. They carry moccasins from size 0-9, and now they offer hard-sole leather shoes in size 7-13. Bonus - all US orders ship free! 

I've sung their praises twice before, and I'm happy to offer a pair to you in a giveaway!

Enter the Rafflecopter below:

Look, Baby! Two Hands!

A common question asked while you are bouncing a newborn is, "Is she a good baby?" But don't you think all babies by nature are incapable of being bad? 

Elise is a good baby as I believe all babies are, but let's cut to the chase - she is very good at building virtue. I'm sure that can be argued for all babies as well, but Elise takes the cake ... err breast milk? ... for us so far. Things aren't always rosy over here even though we have added some pink to our lives. 

I'll admit that I expected our third addition to be a calm baby. Any baby, boy or girl, healthy or not, bald or not would be a baby that I wanted, but I needed a calm baby to slide in so we could pick up right where we left off. I would be able to hold her in one arm with the loaf of bread that came with her and deftly go about our days once the first few weeks of recovery passed. 

I thought this because I've got the one handed mothering down. Nursing a baby balanced on my knee while changing a one year old's diaper while reading to the three year old? Got it.  I've got the Instagram in one hand and baby in the other down too well.  Yes, I have one handed mothering down pat. But maybe I have a baby who can build a skyscraper of virtue scream by scream right now because I need to be retaught how to mother with two hands.

I feel like I was really sucking at motherhood right before her, which could have been aided by hormones. Yet ever since she was born bellowing, my cup runneth over in patience and humility. I suspect part of comes from reading this book and part of it comes from just being sick with feeling like a selfish, failing mom. The rest is from her and a recommissioning to mother. I needed Elise, our feisty Elise, to grow in this vocation of mine. Sometimes your vocation feels like a vacation, and sometimes you feel like you need a vacation from your vocation. Right now, it's the former for me. A hectic vacation that can make me cry sometimes from all the clamor and exhausts me more than a day at the fair, but gosh, all this love for my children has bought me a pair of rose-colored glasses for this loud, roller coaster time. 

So yes, our girl is not a calm baby, she is not a magazine baby, but she is our baby. And what could her crying and shrieking mean? It could mean she needs some time to adjust to the brightness of this world. It could mean she needs some time to learn how to nurse just right so her belly isn't aching. It could mean she needs some time to figure out this whole new home while being homesick for her first.  It's endearing to realize that the home she is missing is me. 

Here's to making her fall in love with me all over again. I have my hands free. 

(Case in point: I started this post 10 days ago, which was also the day she first smiled).


Dressed in the gown my siblings, the boys and I wore, Elise Anne was baptized last Friday evening in the Log Chapel, the same chapel we had the boys baptized in, and oh was it a joy. Led by her godparents, our family and friends filled the tiny chapel and our hearts to welcome our daughter into the Church, the priest used an astounding amount of chrism (I couldn't believe our good fortune as he rubbed more and more on! One should never be stingy with chrism) and her soul was set free. Truly, what a joy. 

I've been very meticulous ever since to only wash the sides of her head so some of that heavenly scent has stuck around. Our priest's homily has also stuck around in my mind. I can't stop meditating on and growing in gratitude for one specific line, "It is not an imposition; it's a liberation." What truth. 

Fun facts:
- our daughter who can't normally be described as peaceful didn't cry during her Baptism and stared contently at her godmother for most of the Sacrament. 
- our almost two year old who hasn't seen a full Mass in months sat quietly in Chris' brother's brother-in-law's lap the entire time. I heard afterwards that this was aided by the crinkly Airhead wrapper he was playing with. 
- My grandma came with my parents! She never misses a Sacrament - even when my brother and sister were baptized in the Philippines and Thailand. 
- When asked by the priest if he wanted to smell heaven (Elise's anointed head), Ryan answered, "No." After the Baptism, Ryan did finally sniff her head and declared, "Yuck."
- Elise's antique French lace cap was given to me when I studied abroad in France by my host-grandparents. I had the best host family, in case that was up for debate!
- My friend Alexandra gave Elise a Miraculous Medal that she can wear for every sacrament - definitely brought tears to my eyes, and even more so when she helped me put her baptismal gown on and mentioned that I'll help her put her wedding dress on, too. 
- Her godparents are two of Chris' siblings - Brad and Annie. They make an exemplary team :)