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Saturday, October 3, 2015

aging gracefully

Is it possible? I wonder when I am 60 if it will be easy to look 60. I am in my thirties and expecting my 5th. It shows.

Varicose Veins on back of Woman's Legs

I always thought I would be ok with aging. It doesn't make rational sense not to be, after all. But even with some of the negative consequences, the choices I've made have had many positive consequences that more firmly set me on the path I have chosen. My legs are still strong, but one is now tie-dyed purple. Some moms see me coming with my four kids and after polite conversation and ready to escape my chaotic existence. I can't keep up with fashion because I have to keep up with the bills. But none of this makes me sad.

In fact, I am very very happy. Maybe happy is not the word. Maybe content is the word. I am growing more into who I am, with my feet more firmly placed on the ground. I am making real, true friendships with women I admire and who see something in me as well. My kids make me look at how I can be a better person each day. And they make me laugh watching them enjoy each other in what a doctor admiringly called "the truly creative process."

So my house is a long way from where I'd like it to be, the messy chaos showing children at work/play; you'll often find us running/driving through the neighborhood looking for my dog that gleefully escapes through an slightly opened door; I'll never finish putting the laundry away. But I am living the life I have always dreamed. It looks different on the outside than I thought it would, but its what's on the inside that really matters.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

celebrating life as it is

Lovely kids room, particularly the map:
( via pinterest)

There are so many beautiful images out there aren't there? Between blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram ( which I am too lazy to try to get into), we are bombarded by inspiration from other people's life. Or is it really?

I read one of my daily blogs this am and she admitted she wished her life looked like the images she posted for the day. What's funny is that her life DOES look like those images, at least to those of us not living it.

So that, my friends, is the "danger" of beautiful images. We are indeed inspired by beauty, so that is the good side. But the down side is that we can also turn on our present lives because it doesn't always look like a fabulous image snapped in 10 seconds. And that is where we are no longer inspired by beauty but are jealous of it.

Have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

on beauty



( - love her!

Beauty is an attitude. And not the kind of attitude that says, "I'm awesome, I'm beautiful, look at
Me, don't you wish you were me?" The kind of attitude that culturally speaking, most American women are conditioned to think of as beauty. 

In contrast, when I say beauty is an attitude, the attitude is one of loving yourself as you are. And stepping out with confidence that comes from this. Knowing you have great traits, not just seeing the flaws, and getting ready, liking what you see, and forgetting about it.  I see this kind of beauty daily and it is so much more striking and attractive than perfect stylists. These women are not the ones with "perfect" faces and bodies. But they are beautiful, nonetheless, because they accept themselves. The Spanish are particularly good at this. I wish I could put a finger on what it is about their culture that makes this so wide spread. This kind of attitude is intangible, but oh so real and palpable.

So, figure out what holds you back from having an attitude of knowing you are beautiful, strike it down, and get down with your bad self.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

summer musings

How much free time is too much free time? I know there is a push back against over-scheduling in the states. I try to be open-minded about ideas with parenting as long as they don't outright offend my beliefs and values. And this is one of those gray areas. Now that summer is upon me with the kids at home ( camp is $$$ for 3 camp-aged kids) for the most part, I have to reevaluate my game plan.

I've had summers past where besides fixed activities, I've let the kids have hours of free time. Living in an apartment and without the free use of space that would greatly complement this philosophy, these times always ended up in a chaotic environment and fighting. It was hard to shift gears, clean up, and go anywhere! That was frustrating, to say the least.

Limiting technological play ( doesn't that always make your kids cranky, anyway?!) already lends itself to more
creative endeavors. And while I can't say I will have a strict schedule because I can't function that way with a baby who is on the verge of walking, I will embrace some sort of discipline this summer. Here's why:

I read somewhere way back that order is the first virtue. And that it safeguards against impurity. I don't have a fear of impurity at the moment for my kids. Although some of you may have. It's a very real struggle now days with easy access. All the more reason to think on these things! But I can see where having responsibilities in life and having to care for your things- your room, your clothes, your siblings, makes life simple and clear. There isn't a black hole of time that is all for ME, MINE OWN, and therefore, what will please me and give me the most pleasure? As in anything, both virtue and vice grow according to how much it is fed! And pleasures become boring and we find ourselves pursuing more and more until we put our toes in dangerous water. Maybe we don't even know it's dangerous water at that point. The whole slippery slope thing. ( see Screwtape Letters by c s Lewis for more on this) It happens to adults all the time, why not to kids? And besides, childhood should
have some foreshadowing of adulthood so that its not completely separate, and shunned and rejected when it comes, ahem, current culture.

It sounds like a tirade, I know. But it's really not. It's spending time in silence, contemplating reality as the philosopher Joseph Pieper puts it, so as to be prudent, or right judging.

And part of prudence is realizing where I need help. And I do need help! Excuse me while I go and call my babysitter to see if she can help me in the morning! ;)

Monday, May 18, 2015


No, not that Hook. LOL! But that is still a favorite. 

But, my family and I are moving to a new house in the same town. And despite the pain of separating from fabulous neighbors that don't require a drive to hang out with, I have to say I am rather tickled

Last move, I was pregnant, and it was the middle of the school year. I was leaving Miami, which I love desperately, and going to an unknown city... again. It was a wise choice and the right move for our family, but a tough one at a tough time, nonetheless.

This time, I am surprised at how happy I am to purge and pair down; to only keep clothes I will absolutely wear, furniture that fits our lifestyle and is ascetically pleasing and promotes balance in each space (I'd rather have empty space than a room crowded with things I don't like to look at!), and to buy HOOKS! I couldn't keep it serious for long. But I am serious! HA! 

Closets and especially hooks are what make a house with kids WORK HAPPIER. I see this move as a chance to think smarter and very practically about each space and how it functions. Drop zones for after school are key. So are hooks for the pool we are going to have in our linai ( YAYs!). And same goes for hooks in the kids rooms. 

I like this very simple and creative use of hooks for an entire wall. Those button hooks are playful and non-committal. You can keep adding and adding, and nothing has to match. Genius! THIS may be my laundry/mudroom soon...

How I organized my ENTIRE Life - a total must read!

Check out that bright red on those cool animals! Some people are so darn creative.

Neon Nursery Wall Hooks - 15 Unusual and Creative Repurposed Wall Hooks

And these colors are not my fav, but I actually think I could do something like this for my girls who will soon share a room and closet. Inspiration enough!


I used to love the show Friends as a teenager. I loved the witty interactions and the way Chandler Bing and Ross Gellar phrased their comments. We won't mention that it wasn't a wholesome show!!

But I have to say that our culture has become obsessed with witticisms since that time. Everything has become cocktail chatter, and I find it so limiting and in the way of real, honest conversations and even friendships. 

Why should we package our statements into tidy 2 second sound-bytes?

Next time you have a conversation, test it out. See if you are comfortable not knowing where it is going or what the next topic will be. You just might find it is too uncomfortable, too vulnerable. Or, you may just find someone else who is interested in more than a sound-byte, too!

Good luck!!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

color coded

I'm sorry I have been away! I have lots of ideas to share, but not enough time to pursue them to the end and write. This week, my two girlies were sick so we've had a bit of extra girl-time.

What's your favorite color?

I'd definitely go with Peacock, because it is something I need to have in my life, even if in small doses. It's the color I gravitate toward when buying things and complements so many others! Although lately, with Summer coming on and school coming to a close, I've been thinking about Coral. It is a close second for me! It's funny, because it is far from serious and I tend to like to have a bit of a tailored home and wardrobe. But life is too short to be too serious, right? What's yours?

The color you like most tells about yourself!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

she's BACK

I don't know how I missed it, but Helena from a diary of lovely is writing her blog, once again!! Hers is one of my favorite go-tos. I am inspired by her writing a blog in another language than her native Spanish, her outfits, and cooking skills. But the best thing is that for all of her talents, not a shred of pride comes across in her posts. 

Know her yet? If not, head on over!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

your story

Every day we are writing our story, or sewing our family quilt. Maybe the page or the little portion of the quilt seem insignificant in themselves, much like putting glasses back in the cabinet and cleaning the crumbs. In themselves, they do not amount to much.

Have you ever been to Niagra Falls? Have you ever seen all that water rushing down the cliffs into a misty abyss? It's huge. It's powerful. It's grand.

You know where I am going.

I like to look at my own family and imagine my parents as young and starting out.   They did not know what the future held, and day in and day out, stuck to the path. I see what our family has now grown into and I can see the book my own family will have one day, the quilt. It will not look the same, but it will be something magnificent.

And so will yours.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

glory of motherhood

I've been in a pause state with this blog.

Would I continue?
Should I continue?
What is my aim?

What I want to be doing is sharing the journey. Sharing the glory.

Our culture has made a huge mistake in devaluing mothers. You can feel it. It is tossed aside and yet, most women are mothers. And if we devalue mothers, we are devaluing children, and ultimately ourselves. So I begin with a question.

Who is the Queen of Heaven and Earth?

A mother.

Who we are is important. It's importance is deigned by God and therefore, promoted by the Church, who is also a Mother, doctrinely speaking, and funnily enough.

So our goal is to

Let motherhood form us.


Delve deeper into its riches.


Be thankful for its glory.


And Let our motherhood be informed by Mary.
artist unknown

Monday, January 19, 2015

having four

I was out for a walk with my baby and puppy yesterday. The day was gorgeous, the sky was hugely blue and it couldn't have been more perfect. A group of retired ( we are in Florida, after all ;) folks stopped to pet the dog and we got into a conversation.

I never volunteer that I have four kids. They talk to me and are sweet as if I am a first time mom. You know what I mean, right? They ooh and aah over the baby and I love it and we build a little repore. If/when they ask me if she is my first, I say no and prepare them for what they are about to hear. When I say four, their faces quickly and naturally express surprise and I can read the thought fleeting through their mind, "Is this person in her right mind? Is she like us?"

Insert comedian Jim Gaffigan. check out this clip!

I can't tell you how much I love my third and fourth children ( and the first ones obviously but this is about our standing out by having more than 2). And having (so) many, our needs are met. There is the fun one. There is the compassionate one. We have an orchestrator. And we have a baby to snuggle with.

And they have each other. Isn't loneliness one of the greatest problems of our time, after all?

Have a great day, friends!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Organization has been everywhere! So I hope my assimilation of ideas isn't redundant. Eek!

I've been thinking a lot about order with the new year. After all, it is a virtue on which the others rely. Did I really just say virtue? The stuff of old school nuns who inspired fear ( no offense to all I the wonderful religious there are!) in their pupils? No, not that virtue. But real, authentic virtue that lives and breathes and comes in the form of some of your favorite people. Have you ever been in contact with a person that just captivates you with their generosity or genuine happiness? Virtue. Have you ever seen someone who is courageous in the face of difficulties? Virtue. Have you ever seen someone sacrifice the things they want so that they can give their children the things they need? Virtue. Virtue reflects maturity, and that stands out in a crowd.

So, order, my friends, is a virtue. Now there are so many different angles and avenues it covers. It reaches the big picture of our lives and whether it is ordered to what we believe is most important. It goes all the way down to whether or not we have dirty socks on left lingering on our floors. It even reaches into our closets. We maybe don't like this virtue. It doesn't feel like our friend.

But like the best of friends, it knows us well and will hang in there, encouraging us to pick up those socks and hang up those clothes. It reminds us to pray if we say heaven is our goal. It tells us to rethink our closets and have only what we need and where we need it. And it reminds us that people are always more important than creating our perfectly ordered abode.

So what am I focusing on right now?

Getting back to my prayer life. After having my fourth I have been running on low fuel here. But as I explained to the kids ( and myself), if mama's gonna give, mama's gotta be getting it from somewhere. I need God, plain and simple.

Myself- yes. Myself. I haven't been looking my best, aside from the fact that I still have baby weight ( funny aside- a woman at the store told me she's been trying to loose her baby weight for 12 years! Lol! But please don't let that be me in 12 years...). I took a look a the things that were bothering me and made a couple of changes to just those things. I followed Lauren Liess' advice (I've been following her blog for a while) and started her  skin cleaning regiment and I'm so happy with the results so far! I have much more even skin tone. My eldest has even noticed! I also got some cool coral lipstick and it makes a big difference in feeling put together. I also thought more about my daily "uniform" and it really should consist of mostly looser shirts and shorts or comfy skirts. Looking put together feels more like me, so I feel better having a game plan!

Toys- cleaning them out and throwing away broken ones ( or even just extra ;) feels oh so good

Edit edit edit. I saw this on a decorating blog and it really resonated. Some people think about a particular room all day every day for their career. I can and should spend a little time making my rooms feel the best they can, which means paying attention to how they are used, removing excess and for me, redoing a gallery wall and desk area! Much cleaner and more purposeful all around!

Up next? Rethinking and organizing closet spaces. Many years back as part of a new moms group, I did a little series on home organization. Boy did it open my eyes! One of the gems is how efficient and functional closets can and should be. Time to get going again!

Have a fabulous day, friends!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

lively up yourself

Sometimes I feel very non-committal to color. I LOVE color, and especially the play between them. I go through different moods and I want my surroundings to reflect them. I can't help myself! And so when it comes to choosing something new, I feel torn. I want change, but how badly and how long will it last? And when it comes to things we change less often like furniture or a rug, which  I am in the market for because I need something cozy for my not-so-little-baby-anymore to sit, crawl and land on in our family room, it is harder for me to choose.

My current inspiration is in the form of the marriage of coral and pink!!

I've always loved pink, but wearing it or using it in the home is risky. I don't want it to look too sweet. But I need the boldness of it in my life right now.


study perfection!..


How are you going to lively up yourself this year?

despite all odds

for yesteryear!...

As women and moms we are never short on challenges. There are tangible physical challenges of meeting daily deadlines to schools, time deadlines of getting to practices, laundry and housework and meals, thrice daily. These are mere physical realities, not to mention the ever present personal ones. I won't go on, because the picture is pretty clear.

What we don't perhaps do often enough is look back and see our accomplishments as such. A lot happens in a year! We've met big and more importantly little, hidden challenges that only God and us know, and these are worth acknowledging. Otherwise we could take ourselves for granted and I don't think this was intended for us. 

Give yourself kudos, and really celebrate this past year before you think about the next. Perhaps then when you think of 2015, you'll see it as another opportunity to succeed rather than as another year where you maybe have to fix something. 

Happy New Year!