quick takes – back at it

My friend Mindy texted me recently, “I’m a little bitter at your podcast because now you never blog anymore!” Ha, I knowwww. But the other night I looked back at old posts and was like, oh, these are nice little snap shots into how life looked at different moments. And I haven’t blogged at all since we moved to Maryland.

So here I am, Mindy, back at it with a quick takes.

  • collecting a home birth kit – I am slowly reading through the birth stories in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and getting pumped for labor and this home birth. But it took me a couple weeks to wrap my mind around all the stuff I have to collect for it! Luckily a lot of women have had home births in my neighborhood and I’ve been able to get a lot of stuff from them, even a hose and faucet adapter for the birth tub – who knew!
  • homeschool – has become cross stitch, art, read-alouds, slowly making a calendar, and I judge the success of the day largely on how much time we spent outside. Evange will be starting first grade at a classical Catholic school, St. Jerome Academy, in the fall, and she is PUMPED. She’s already asked if she can walk to school by herself. Nature Study club, a little homeschool co-op we do every other week, will be starting up again soon and that’ll be fun.
  • podcasts – Evange loves listening to podcasts during cozy time (Circle Round and Molly of Denali are current favorites) which is great until she turns the volume up way too loud on the speaker or Zelie decides to stop listening and take a nap and I don’t realize it for 2 hours and then she doesn’t fall asleep until 9pm. I’ve been enjoying my friends’ podcasts, A Growing Home and The Pilgrim Soul Podcast, and also have dabbled into a few Messy Family Project episodes about marriage and discipline. And the My Essential Birth podcast is fun because it’s two doula friends talking about different birth topics – thanks for that rec, Megan! And, of course, Laughs and Littles has been a fun, creative outlet for me! We’re coming up on a year in early May and we’ll be wrapping up Season 2 sometime before this baby comes!
  • afternoon outings – It’s become a real struggle to find the motivation to do my pseudo-Peleton work outs at 33 weeks pregnant. I tell myself I walk a lot with the girls most afternoons, which is true.
  • Easter and April birthdays – I’m excited for the girls’ Easter baskets! I got them bamboo toothbrushes, summer dresses from the thrift store, a stuffed animal cat sewing kit for Evange, and am making a St. Louis Martin peg doll for Zelie and a Blessed Chiara Badano doll for Chiara. And my MIL kindly contributed sticker books, crafts, and lots of candy. For Zelie’s 4th birthday coming up, I finally got her baby book made! My plan was to make them for each girl for Christmas but I didn’t get to it so now the plan is they’ll be birthday presents this year. Chatbooks was easy to use and it’s so cute!
  • postpartum plans – I got my Kindle charged and Overdrive finally connected to our new library system. So I’ll be needing postpartum book and TV show recommendations soon! Hit me up. Previous reads were lots of Reese Witherspoon Book Club books and the Outlander series, and TV shows have been a Turkish soap opera that was on Netflix called Kurt Seyit ve Sura (fabulous) and Poldark and Downton Abbey. (I have access to Hulu, Amazon Prime, and PBS Masterpiece Theater, but not Netflix).
  • Chiara’s skin – We went on a journey the last two months trying to get to the bottom of the red/rashy/sensitive skin around Chiara’s mouth and chin that she’s had going on since she was 7 months old. I started to think it was maybe food allergy related and the pediatrician I found here ordered blood drawn to test for that. We found out she is highly allergic to dust/mites and dog dander, and the results showed some abnormalities to peanuts, eggs, dairy, and wheat – but they were way less than the dust and dog. But for 5 weeks I cut those foods out of her diet … and it kind of sucked. I have way more empathy for food allergies now. I got a Roomba and an air purifier to tackle the dust, started washing her bedding weekly on hot with a de-mite additive, dusting/Roomba’ing her room weekly, and took the rugs and stuffed animals out of her room. So, thanks to the Roomba, our house is way cleaner than it’s ever been, and I dust more than I ever have before, but with all those changes, her face didn’t show any significant improvement. We met with an allergist, who confirmed what I suspected – she doesn’t have the food allergies, she was just born with sensitive skin. And it should get better around her face as she gets older, and we’ll just keep it clean, moisturized, finger nails cut short, keep working on the dust, and never get a dog. PHEW! So thankful. I was getting pretty sick of flax eggs in everything we baked. She’s still her happy, delightful self, and getting more and more like a full-blown two year old every day. 🙂

life in the time of COVID

Some quick takes from these last six weeks!

  • Life update. Just before Notre Dame moved classes online and everything shut down, Chris and I ended two weeks of intense discernment with a decision to move to Washington D.C this summer! Chris accepted an offer from Catholic University of America to do a PhD in Theology and, while I am very sad to leave South Bend, we’re excited for this next adventure! Now is the time for big, bold moves, right? Ha! (That’s Evangeline’s letter to her friend, Joe, saying, “You won’t see me because I am moving. I will send you letters.”) If you have friends in the D.C/Hyattsville area, hit me up, I’m looking for connections! 🙂

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  • Podcast. I had this idea while I was thinking about how sad I was to be leaving – that I could do a podcast one day with my friend Annie, to keep our friendship going long-distance. When I mentioned it, she was so pumped and got the ball rolling, and here we are, about to record our first episode! Ha! I would still be in the brainstorming phase without her initiative. It’s called Laughs & Littles, and we’ll be talking about anything and everything about mom life – getting into the nitty gritty, because that’s what we always want more of from talks and podcasts! And now with COVID, it feels like a time to try new things. So, stay tuned for more on that!

  • Homeschool mornings. We love Evange’s preschool class, and it’s sad she won’t get to finish the year. But she adjusted really well to “school at home,” and the first three weeks were so peaceful, I couldn’t believe it. She never said she missed her friends and seemed so content to be home. We have a loose routine now, mainly, once Chiara takes her morning nap, we have about an hour of focused time. At first, Zelie would do her morning quiet time and I’d have one on one time with Evange, but lately Zelie’s been staying with us. Here are some things we’ve been rotating between that have been fun:
    • Math
      • coin game – “bring me a penny, bring me a quarter, bring me 1 cent, bring me 26 cents, etc”
      • “buying” things
      • worksheets/dry erase workbook
      • patterns, Set, shapes on geo board
    • Writing/Reading
      • writing with bananagram tiles
      • writing letters to pen pals
      • labeling things around the house
      • making a calendar project
      • worksheets/dry-erase workbook
    • Art
      • Thursday is our Art & Prayer Corner day so I try to come up with an art project, or just get out paint and paper.
      • These paper dolls have been a hit
    • Science
      • We have these great children’s encyclopedias from Chris’s mom, and Evange loves reading the World and Space one. She and Zelie say they are going to be astronauts when they grow up.

and then we try to get outside and play until lunch. Zelie usually wanders off and plays with her dolls, which is fine. If we get a warm sunny day, we just do as much outside time as possible.

  • Sundays. We made it to Eastertide! Holy Week at home was actually really cool. I always feel a lot of FOMO with littles that I can’t make it to everything, but this year I was drowning in resources for ways to do Holy Week at home! Since then, we’ve been keeping Sundays special by getting dressed up and either watching Mass with Bishop Barron or Mass at the Basilica, but lately we’ve had more success with “home Mass.” Evange likes processing in with a candle, cross, and cloth, and then we do the readings and some prayers and songs. Then we make a big brunch and, after, the girls watch this Children’s Liturgy of the Word that is fantastic. My sister-in-law also wrote up 9 ways to keep Sundays special and it’s a great resource.

  • April birthdays. We celebrated Zelie turning 3 on the 10th and Chris turning 30 on the 20th! Zelie requested an ice cream cake (not sure how she even knew about those) and it was delish, especially since I didn’t make it. We had a “party” all day with balloons, cinnamon rolls for breakfast, FaceTiming friends and family, cards and gifts from grandparents, a Lion King viewing, and pizza. And I made a carrot cake for Chris that I was happy to eat all the rest of the week, it was so good.
  • Books. Currently reading The Thorn Birds, and I love it and hate it. Love the setting and scope but the relationships are so messed up and I am ANGSTY about it. I didn’t love Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine but I’m glad I finished it. It was very similar to The Cactusanother Reese Witherspoon Book Club book … hm. I really liked A Gentleman in Moscow, and Olive, Again was okay. Then I read The Mercies, about a fishing village in Norway that loses all its men in a storm in 1617, and had to skip over parts when it got to the witch trials. I was reading while nursing in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep, I was so upset. So, not sure I recommend that one. The Water Dancer was really good, though. The magical realism was hard for me to get into at first, but then I enjoyed it.

  • Chiara. But speaking of nursing in the middle of the night, that’s down to only once in the very early morning now, and I’m stoked! Sleeeeeep! Chiara, or “The Keek,” is the best, and at such a cute age right now. She’s crawling and cruising around, playing peekaboo, starting to get into everything, and trying to climb the stairs. Can’t believe she’ll be a year old next month. Crazy.

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That’s what’s new with us!