Friday, January 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday - Christmas Catch-Up


Genevieve was asked to be Baby Jesus for the Nativity play that the kids do during the homily at the Christmas Eve Mass.  And since "Mary" and "Joseph" were 7th graders, "Baby Jesus" was going to need a guardian angel in the form of an adult.  Which would be the only reason I would put on an altar server robe and stand up in front of 3500 people.
Yup, that's us, in the middle of the sanctuary for Christmas Eve Mass.  See all those faces up there in the balcony?  There were lots more of those all around.
She actually did lay in the manger for a few minutes, which was really sweet.  And it was worth it, since Baby Jesus' need for being close to the altar earned her whole family a reserved pew front and center, for the busiest Mass of the year.


This was Genevieve's real Christmas Mass outfit:

Minus the little white sweater I was knitting her, that I had planned to have finished by then.  
(In my defense, Sebastian pulled my needles out halfway through the second sleeve and set me back a bit.)
(Also in my defense, it IS finished now.)
I implemented a new method for decorating our tree this year.  
I call it:  Let the Children Do With It What They Please and Look the Other Way When You're Tempted To Fix Anything. 
It looked like this for most of Advent:
 And then like this after pulling out the real ornaments on Christmas Eve:
I did move some ornaments from one spot in the bottom left corner, where someone (I'm guessing by the height, Sebastian) had managed to hang 47 of them in 12 square inches.  Other than that, it was theirs to have-at.  I made a little paper snowman!  I'm going to put it on the tree.  This gummy-bear garland would look so cool on the tree!  On it went.  I'm not this laid back about everything, but the kids loved it and it was one less thing for me to worry about.


I'm going to use my better judgement here, and NOT post the picture of the child who interacted irresponsibly with the advent wreath and ended up with slightly shorter hair.
(You're welcome, Mr. Smith.)


Along with going as a family to the evening Mass, the older boys served at Midnight Mass, and Mr. Smith went with them.  I stayed home and finished up with food/presents/stockings/baby-who-wants-to-nurse-continuously.  Christmas morning is a little bit of a blur, but it looked something like this:

My parents came later in the day, and that looked mostly the same:


I thought we had gotten a decent picture of our new nativity set, but I guess not.  You can see it here, where Blake practices his piano one-handed, and Genevieve plays with her toes.
Mr. Smith bought it for me.  Mostly because he's nice to me, but partly because I didn't let a day pass without hinting about it from the time we first saw it at the store.


Fast forward to the Epiphany.  We started a couple of new, simple traditions for this feast.  
We had a star for dessert:

It's not exactly pretty, but it was really good!  It's just crescent rolls arranged like a star, with raspberry pie filling spread on top.  I used a few leftover bits of the dough to make the decorations on top, baked it, and then drizzled a powdered sugar glaze over it.
After dessert, we watched this movie as a family.

It was a wonderful Christmas season, but there is something very peaceful about Ordinary Time!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cloth Diapers

I've been considering making the switch to cloth diapering for a long time now.  I can remember talking about it as far back as babies #3 and #4, and considering it with each baby since then.  I wasn't entirely sure it would be something I could handle, and the initial cost of buying the cloth diapers was always a stopping point.  I also remember that my mom thought I was absolutely insane when I mentioned the thought to her, years ago.  This gave me pause, as she had diapered four babies the old-fashioned way, and thought disposables were a vast improvement.  Still, I never could quite let it go.
I brought it up again with Mr. Smith just before Genevieve was born, and he was open to the idea.  I clicked around, found a great deal on some bumGenius, the stars all lined up, and I had a dozen colorful diapers before Genevieve was 10 days old.

It's funny, at that time I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do with them:  how to wash them (in what detergent, what setting, how often?), how to store them, how many I needed, what sort of diaper pail I should use, etc.  I foraged the internet, looking for a detailed how-to diagram that I could just program into my routine and call it good.  I realized that that doesn't exist, and now, months later, I know why.

There is some initial frustration in making the switch to cloth, because it's so different from just tossing those puppies in the garbage and not thinking twice about it.  I won't lie, there have been times I've regretted it.  It's really a process of figuring out what works for you, your family, your baby.

After much trial and error, I feel like we have a good routine down.  I started out with those 12 bumGenius, and picked up a couple of GroVia shells on babysteals.  A good friend gifted us with a boatload of Mother-ease that she was no longer going to use.  I still prefer the bumGenius, so I use those first when everything's clean, but the amount I have is only enough for a day or two for Genevieve.  Then I have the option of doing a wash, or, if I don't get to it, falling back on the Mother-ease.  I have a few days worth of those.

As a side note, when we purchased the cloth diapers, I didn't intend to use them with Sebastian.  For whatever reason, I thought that would be a difficult transition.  Well one night we put one on him, just for the novelty of it, and it suited him just fine.  He even refused the disposables for awhile!  At some point (it's been five months now since we started this adventure), his fruit-loving toddler tummy got the best of me.  I think it  was the day I washed out six of his dirty diapers in one day that I bought a box of disposables in his size.  I'm all for saving a dollar, but I try not to be a glutton for punishment.  Now I just try to strategically use each, based on what I think will be ending up in the diaper.

Overall, this is my assessment as of now:

  • we don't have to add diapers into our monthly budget  (this is huge, considering we've had between 1 and 3 children in diapers at any given time, continuously for the past 13+ years!)
  • we never have to panic over running out
  • they're cute!
  • no disposable diaper smell (I realize now the chemicals that must be involved in that!)
  • it feels very old-school, throwbackish, and I like that ;)
  • if we decide to ditch them, the resale value is excellent and we've already broken even 
  • the savings will only multiply with any future children we may be blessed with
  • it is definitely one more chore to add to my list
  • the initial cost can be hard to swallow
  • the diaper pail is tricky... it's not a smell you want associated with your house
Did I mention they're cute though?

Friday, January 11, 2013


Earlier this week, I looked at the calendar and noticed today's date. 

"Oh Blake," I said.  "Friday is your half-birthday."

And in that cool-as-a-cucumber, quick-as-a-whip teenager way, he replied,

"Cool.  Can I have a half-party and a half-cake?"

What on earth do I do when they start to outwit me?

7 Quick Takes Friday


Pray for Jen?  I am.


Genevieve is cutting two bottom teeth.  WHO TOLD HER SHE COULD DO THAT?
This is very early (she's 5 months old) by our family's standard.  I guess at some point I'll stop being surprised by all the ways she's different from the boys.


We had a cold go through the younger kids in early December.  By Christmas, everyone was better.  For the two weeks of Christmas and New Year's, we barely left the house.  It was cold and snowy, and I love being home, so that was just fine with me.  There wasn't a runny nose or ill-fated tummy ache in sight, and in the back of my mind I knew it was because we were in our bubble.  I was ready to rejoin the living world though, once our activities and obligations started back up again.  Wouldn't you know it, within a couple of days we had pukers.  Lots of them.  It's a slow-mover this thing.  And you'll think you're better and then WHAM, you're back to puker status.  Makes me wonder if leaving the house in January is worth it at all.  I'm leaning toward no.


I've been reading a lot lately.  More than I ever have in my adult life until now (which, frankly, was pathetically little).  I realized recently that I'm losing track of what I've finished, and when I try to recall, or give a recommendation, I can't think much beyond what I'm reading now (Pride and Prejudice).  I think I'll try to put a list or something on my sidebar here.
Hold me to that, K?


So I didn't post a single thing about Christmas.  I guess that's because I was just too darn busy living it.  Most of the time I felt a little like this:
 We had lots of great stuff going on though, and a baby girl who's at the age where she's in my arms all. the. time.  It's a good thing, but I'd still like to get back on here at some point and record some things for tradition's sake.  Maybe by Easter?


The Mr. and I got smart phones.  All I can say is, how very easy it is to find a reason to use it for every simple thing in life.


Before we had Genevieve, everyone wondered how all these boys would handle a baby sister.  I think there was some question as to whether a sister could be treated properly.  Let me just tell you, they think she's amazing in every way.
It would be impossible to sum it up here, but let me try to capture it in one little anecdote:
I was washing dishes when several little boy voices erupted in excitement, and a couple of them came to summon me to the site of their joy.  I questioned the necessity for me to join them - Couldn't they just tell me what was happening?  (too many times I've rushed away to find their sense of urgency was a bit inflated.)  The biggest boy came and asked then, if they could just use my camera to get a picture.  Sure, please do that and I'll look at it when I'm finished. 
This is what I found:
"Mom, she was holding the blinds.  All by herself!  Owen was just standing by them, and she reached out and grabbed them!"
Clearly, this is either a gifted child, or a child who sits on a very high pedestal.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Joyfully, we welcome 2013.
May your heart be filled with hope,
may your home be filled with blessings,
and may your soul be filled with the peace of Christ
in the year to come.