Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes- I'm not gonna lie, slightly boring edition

Just wanted to update you guys on the ant situation.  This week, I found two HUGE carpenter ants in my car whilst I was driving.  yea, I know!
That being said, I have been very brave and challenged myself to play outside with the boys in the backyard!  I have done well. I am pretty much a hero!
This week was crazy. I started swim lessons for the boys on Tuesday night.  We are going to be taking them Tuesday/Thursday nights for June/July.  It's a bummer having somewhere to be each night though.  You moms, with lots of kids who are old enough to play sports...you are my hero.
I LOVE the X-men series but I REALLY liked this last one. It was an awesome blend of great themes, good humor, visual fun and more!  Go see it, you won't regret it.
My parents have a three legged dog named Daisy.  I don't like her.  BUT, as I have said before...wait for it...prepare the judgments... I don't like dogs.  I know!  Anyway, their three legged dog always attacks my kids with her whipping tail, which makes me like her even less.  Last Friday night my parents had lil' A and Joey over night.   This week I was driving with lil' A and he said, "I love Daisy mommy, she is my best friend!".  great!
I'm glad today is Friday.  And, we have zero plans for this weekend.  I'm into it.
I'm also psyched that it's June.  At the end of this month we will be taking a little family vacation to Chicago and then to the Wisconsin Dells. It should be delightful, I kind of can't wait.

Sorry these takes were a bit boring, it's all I had this morning :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes- Dear Jesus help me, it's 4:49 am

It's 4:24 am.  Aaron (the husband) woke up hacking away at 2:30 am. It took a good 15 minutes of me asking before he was ready to go take some Claritin (I feel so bad for him with his allergies, that is a reality I have never dealt with).  He is now sleeping, I am still up at 4:26 am, eating frosted animal crackers, which I am sure are not Weight Watcher approved.  Thank GOD sleeping is in the cards tonight, or I would be mighty cranky.  I do, however, wonder when I am going to be able to fall back asleep.

So I have a real honest to goodness debilitating problem that I would like to discuss on my blog. I have a real 'ant' phobia.  I know where it comes from, where it started and I am pretty sure it is not going to change. I came home to my apartment one day (ugh Bree, remember this?) and there were ants.everywhere.  Including in my bathroom. I am talking thousands (maybe hundreds).  Anyway, when I turned on the lights to my bathroom, somehow a whole bunch crawled on me.  My rooomate got home, and was like 'don't move' because she saw them crawling up the back of my shirt.  Although I can talk about it without twitching now, it was probably one of the grossest moments of my life.  Now, back to the debilitating part. I hate being outside in the summer because of it.  The ants and other bugs.  I love the spring, I love the fall but summer is terrible with all the bugs.  BUT, I now have three boys and going outside is an essential part of our day.  I don't mind walks, or nice parks where I can pretend bugs don't exist.  I love pools and swimming- because, generally, I don't find many bugs there.  Our backyard on the other hand, SKEEVES me right out.  I used to think it was not only because of the bugs, but because our grass was gross.  But, Aaron brought in a service and our grass is looking rather nice, and I still hate being out there.  Anyway,  I don't see any real solution except maybe years of therapy, and that's not gonna happen.  So I am just telling you.  I know bugs have a place in nature- but I wish God didn't invent them.

I got annoyed with a facebook article the other day.  Let's talk about it.  It discussed people who facebook over-share.  There are apparently going to be a few tools that help people to know when and what to share and to avoid 'over-sharing' with people who don't care.  It bugged me.  Here's why. Well, first, I should say I am probably a facebook and blogger who over-shares.  Now here is why it bugged me.  I just think we go about things totally wrong when it comes to social media.  And, even worse, I think it is indicative of how we go about things in this country/culture in general.  HERE'S.THE.THING.  Social media is simply a tool.  It is not responsible for anything bad happening. It cannot have power over you unless YOU let it. It cannot annoy you UNLESS YOU LET IT.  It cannot make your day better or worse UNLESS YOU LET IT. The common denominator is YOU.  PEOPLE who are using social media are responsible for the way it's used.  So, like, if you don't like how I share on facebook- take me off your newsfeed and you will never have to see it again.  If you don't like the things I blog about, stop reading my blog.  When I find someone who over-shares, over-complains, over- whatever on social media I simply remove them from my viewing capabilities.  It's really that simple. We have to start to change the language we use regarding social media.  Facebook isn't annoying. Twitter isn't annoying.  Instagram isn't annoying.  You, on the other hand, might be.

You.Guys.  I got a Keurig for my birthday! I have been wanting one for a couple o' years but we haven't dug in and made the purchase.  Aaron and my in laws surprised me with one.  And it is so fancy and so pretty and does such wonderful things.  With the Keurig came a 'sample pack' of coffees.  Here's my issue/advice seeking statement.  Most of them were entirely too dark for me, I like my coffee VERY mild.  Anyone have any suggestions on the type of K-cup (ooohhhh snap withe fanciness) I should buy if I want lighter coffee?

I really like Weight Watchers.  A LOT. The program works for me.  And helps me to eat healthy and be aware of eating habits. I tried for lots of months to just go to the gym 3 or so times a week, hoping that with a little tread mill action, the last three years of baby carrying would become less evident.  Turns out, on the flip side of 30, eating choices are much more essential.  Anyway 3.5 weeks in, and 10.9 pounds down.  That being said, yesterday I ate a snickers bar and just now I had coated animal crackers....so- um, better get back on track.

I'm also drinking a shiza ton more water which is awesome.  Fun Wilkerson Fact. Our kids drink primarily water with MAYBE a glass of milk a day.  It's lovely that they know to ask for water, because all the juice ain't gonna happen. I'm not a weirdo about it- but they only get a glass of juice once a day and even with that, it is usually watered down to a crazy degree.  Wanna hear something that will make you giggle out loud?  This primarily has to do with the cost of juice, rather than the health benefits.  CHEAP A$$es we are!

Remember how I said I get to sleep tonight?  Well I do!  Grandparents on both sides are taking the kids and Aaron and I are escaping the insanity for a night. I am super geeked (oh yes, I just said geeked). I have said it before, for Aaron and I (not everyone) the nights away are really good for us.  And I bought a fancy polka dot dress, fancy shoes (I know!!!) and a pink scarf.  It should pretty much be awesome.  Then, we've got a weekend of BBQs and family/friends lined up.  As we enjoy the day off on Monday, we will be keeping in mind all those who have sacrificed in order to allow us to live like we do.  Praise God for our veterans and those who have paid the ultimate price with their lives.  Let's not forget them in our joy this weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, May 16, 2014

7 Quick Takes written at the crack o' dawn

--- 1 ---
Now seems like a good time to remind all of my fancy blog readers I have absolutely zero writing skills. When I began the blog, I noted that though I was excited to write our family's history (it evolved to more), I was well aware that basic English writing rules escape me.  It ALMOST kept me from writing a blog to begin with, but decided to forge ahead.  Somehow I slipped through the cracks of the Public Education System and College without taking one.single.english.writing.course!  A dear friend once read a paper of mine in college and said, "I can't believe they let you in college".  A professor once wrote on my paper, "this is not a speech, you cannot write the way you talk". I say all of this, because I know my blog must drive those of you who DO write good (see what I did there?) CRAZY.  So, thanks for sticking with me, and not correcting me or my million typos/writing mistakes.  It's REALLY not worth it at this point.
--- 2 ---
I have something to say that is apparently controversial these days. I don't think there is anything wrong with encouraging women to dress modestly both for the sake of their inherent beauty and dignity AND to help others in their struggle to fight against the norm of objectification.  I also think, to believe the latter does not, in any way, support a rape culture.
--- 3 ---
Our local Church, St. Robert Bellermine, has their annual festival this weekend.  We brought the boys last night, and will bring them again this weekend.  Wanna see two pictures?  Ok.  
This was before the ride began, note Aaron's wide smile.

This was when a ride was moving...note Aaron's extreme caution.  Remember what I told you about the horse, caution and no caution....see?!?!?!
--- 4 ---
Final MOPS was this week. It was pretty life-changing this year.  I needed a very a very safe and easy avenue of socialization during this cold, snowy winter with three littles.   MOPS was a little gift from the baby Jesus.  I am thankful.
--- 5 ---
Wanna know a weird Mary Wilkerson fact?  Ready?  I disagree with almost everything she says, but I love me some Rosie O'Donnell.  Enough that I check her website at least once a month to read her Question/Answer with fans.  Weird right?  I know.
--- 6 ---
Remember when I told you about NYC for Aaron's 30th birthday?  We are not doing that anymore.  I tell a lot of lies.  INSTEAD, we are looking at an all-inclusive weekend in Mexico :)  I know!  We gotten some great suggestions, want to give us more?  
--- 7 ---
John Paul is sitting up like a rockstar now.  It's that perfect time, right before crawling when we have to put back up the baby gates and keep all doors shut again.  Also, he is super cute.

For more Quick Takes visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Five Favorites- Mother's Day Surprise Edition

Participating in 'Five Favorites' Hosted over at http://moxiewife.com/

Mother's Day began Saturday...we were going on an adventure.

Getting in the car with Aaron's announcement of a 'surprise' trip.  That surprise started with a 3.5 hour car ride which was unexpected. Now, if you have lots of littles, you might know an unequipped 3.5 hour road trip is a recipe for disaster.  And so, after 1.5 hours I got cranky. And at 2 hours I had it.  BUT at about the had it moment, cars came to a rushing stop on the highway, which caused my 'not totally clicked in backseat seat' to click out. And I went flying, hitting both my head and my arm so hard I started crying.  THEN I was pissed and let Aaron know it.
Fakin' it till we make it
The car was filled with a special kind of tension on my Mother's Day surprise trip.  BUT, then 'Kiss From A Rose' by Seal came on the radio.  If you are not familiar with the song, it is the worst song in the history of songs.  It gives me a headache and makes my ears bleed simultaneously.  The trip journey was so ridiculous, Aaron and I both burst out laughing.  Then I wasn't cranky anymore and I gave the boys a slice of pizza.  We laughed and it was my first favorite part of the day.
Better Moods

Aaron surprised us with a trip to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and  Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, complete with a picnic lunch.  The picnic lunch was my favorite.  Shrimp Ceviche on Cucumber slices with avocado!  Heaven.  It was my second favorite part of the day.
Dad is a chef


It was so delicious


So happy together...

The Frederick Meijer Garden has a great place called the 'Children's Garden'. It is huge and fun and super special.  The cutest thing though?  This little door, just for kids.  It was my third favorite part of the day.
If the adorable isn't just about melting your heart, you are not human

Following his brother

Watching the boys play with boats, sand, and have a tea part with their dad was my fourth favorite part of the day.
brothers and best friends...sometimes ;)

Help me!

His Cheese face, what are you gonna do?

Love that boy

Pouring tea

drinking tea

For serious...who needs a girl?

My fifth favorite part of the day was walking around the Sculpture Garden with the boys and lil' Aaron's constant questions of, 'what's that mama?'.
um, so none of my children are looking at the camera #daddypic

What a guy!

it's a big horse

All and all a very successful surprise Mother's Day trip.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Catholics are weird. We have a history and a depth to our faith that stuns me when I take the time to think about it.  BUT we are also really REALLY weird.  Maybe not to those of us that are on the ‘in’ but to those of us who are not catechized, or not part of this faith, man, we are weird.

I was watching St. John Paul and St. John XXIII’s canonizations on TV a couple weekends ago.  You guys, it was SO LOVELY.  My John Paul got up in the middle of the night, so he and I were able to watch it together, just the two of us.  I watched with tears and in joy.  How special those two popes were to our Church.  How fantastic they were declared saints in heaven! However, if you are a person of faith and not Catholic, you probably thought to yourself, ‘Catholics are weird’. 

I watched, at one point as the relics were brought up in a ceremonious manner, a vial of blood and a piece of skin.  For one hot second I thought to myself, ‘wow, I wonder what people who are not Catholic (or Catholic for that matter) are thinking about this little gem’.  My heart rejoiced when the person narrating explained Catholics have a deep respect not only for the soul, but for the body.  The narrator explained Catholics believe the body to be good and even holy.  When we look at our saints, many who are incorruptible (you know, their bodies DO NOT DECOMPOSE?!?!?!)- We celebrate who they were in their bodily form.  It’s so cool. It’s so complete.  But, to those outside of our theology, it’s probably weird as heck.

Weird like…
When we appear to be oppressive regarding sexuality…
and yet, we have an entire Theology written and believed about how fantastically cool the sexual act is. 
When we appear to be a Church of ridiculous riches…
and yet, we do more for the poor than any other organization in the world.
When we appear to be a Church lacking in an understanding of Scripture…
and yet on a weekly/daily basis we read more Scripture than most in our Liturgy.
When we appear to be a Church lacking focus on a relationship with Christ
and yet, we claim to be so intrinsically tied to him that we CONSUME him on a weekly basis.
When we appear to be a Church sometimes out of touch with reality
and yet, the letters/documents/encyclicals coming out of Rome are often far before their time in the understanding of the human person

And there are many, MANY  more examples.

A couple months ago I was hanging out with a group of friends.  They didn't know I was Catholic.  The topic of religion came up and the comments started.
One guy said, “oh, I used to be Catholic and then I found Jesus”.

Another friend shared, “Oh, I obviously had a messed up understanding of who God was, because I was Catholic”

One last man said, “I am a recovering Catholic, thank goodness I am finally beginning to know Christ”

You know, at first I wanted to be mad.  “That’s not my faith you are talking about”.   After prayer though, I had to admit I was actually just really sad.  Unfortunately, often times, people encounter Catholics and see nothing but the weird, because of HOW we choose to act and WHAT we choose to say.  This past year, I can feel God pulling me more and more away from that.  You see, my words will not mean anything, unless my joy and invitation come first.

So, do YOU think we are weird?  Chances are…you’re probably right, but maybe for a different reason than you think.  And here’s my invitation.  If you read this blog and you ever have a question about faith/’the Catholics’/things you have heard or things you disagree with- please feel free to ask me. I will answer you or do my best to get you the answer!

Because honestly, we might seem weird- but once you get to know us, we are actually pretty normal (vials of blood and all!)

Friday, May 9, 2014

7 Quick Takes o' fun

--- 1 ---
My boys were sleeping like this last night...

I mean. It's the best.

--- 2 ---
Aaron and I were planning on going to NYC for his 30th birthday (yes, my peers, my husband is a child).  I have been saving all my 'talk' money to go towards this mini-three day adventure.  But, after looking at our options, it appears a 3 night trip to NYC (doin' it up fancy) would be the same price as an all-inclusive, or a cruise!  We are leaning the all-inclusive way.  Plus, it's August so it is going to be HOT- why not do HOT the way HOT was meant to be done... swim up bars!
--- 3 ---
Aaron has been making ridiculously awesomely delicious meals every single morning and night to reflect his paleo diet.  SO- they are all pretty fantastically healthy as well.  You guys. I tried spaghetti squash last night...and didn't die.  So, that's exciting. 
--- 4 ---
Tomorrow, the husband has set up a fancy 'Mother's Day' day o' fun. I have complicated feelings on Mother's Day- but I pretty psyched for surprises.  I also only asked for a day of bonding with our little family.  Then, at night, I get to go hang out with friends AND a sleep in on Sunday.  Le Sigh...
--- 5 ---
My birthday falls 9 days after Mother's Day.  Aaron was expressing how it isn't really fair that he should have to come up with two celebrations in such a short amount of time.  Aaron was shot a look and words were exchanged. I don't think we will hear anymore about that.
--- 6 ---
I had a sitter scheduled for today in order to attend a meeting for work.  The meeting got canceled, I didn't cancel my sitter :)  I need a new pair of sunglasses and might just do a solo-lunch of sanity.  Question- where do you think the best place to go get a weight watcher friendly lunch?  Not salad. I have ate entirely too much green this week ;)
--- 7 ---
John Paul is at a tough age for me.  He can't sit up without tumbling and he doesn't like to do anything but sit up.  Back in the land of one child, I could handle this phase pretty easily.  BUT, in the land of three children, "ain't nobody got time to pick up the fallin' kid everything three seconds".  Hopefully another week or so and he will master the art of sitting so I can go out about my business (of writing blogs and neglecting children).

For more Quick Takes go check out Jen's blog who, incidentally, I dreamt (this is not a word according to spell check, but I am going with it) was on "Celebrity Apprentice" last night, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, May 2, 2014

7 Quick takes in which I tell you why I don't read (hint-housewives)

--- 1 ---
Confession. I don't really read books. I used to. A lot. But, since having the three in three, it's just been too hard to gather the concentration for all the words. Plus (get your stones ready), if I did read books, it would probably cut into my housewife time... And "ain't nobody got time for that". So like 99% of the time,  when the interwebs go all freaky for the newest book by a Catholic blogger- basically I ignore it. The only exception was "The Sinners Guide to NFP" and that was only because of the whole three c-sections in 3.5 years thing.  

This is all to tell you, I've pretty much glanced over all the buzz about a new book called, "Something Other Than God" by Jen Fulwiler. Well, until I watched the trailer.  Even that, with all those famous Catholic faces, I was pretty indifferent to, until the end, when this quote was shared.

"And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Oh. Snap. Tell me how it's possible that I would have studied Theology for 4 years, worked in ministry for close to 15 years, have a self-proclaimed love for C.S. Lewis... And yet don't remember this quote?

It spoke to me enough that I just may, indeed, forgo a bit of my housewives, pick up this book by our fancy "7 Quick Takes" host, and give 'er a read
--- 2 ---
You know I am not one to regularly get down on teenagers and the younger generation. But I have been stunned in the last couple of weeks as I have watched the reality of "it doesn't matter what truth is, it matters what I feel" play out in many circumstances in my life. The damages caused by the crippling lies of modern popular philosophy are starting to be felt concretely. And.it.is.terrifying.   That is all I have to say about that.
--- 3 ---
Watch this movie. Right now. It will be game-changing if you have ever wondered what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality, or, if you've ever heard it explained poorly. Game.changing. Also, if any of you lovely blog readers are part of the private Catholic woman's group Theotokos, on Facebook, which allowed bigoted philosophies to thrive regarding this teaching... Please post it there (as I have been blocked- not that I'm bitter)
--- 4 ---
I am always learning my kids. I continue to learn just how many snuggles my Joey needs to be in a good mood and head space. The kid's love language is definitely physical touch and I need to remind myself of that when he is riding the struggle bus
--- 5 ---
I joined weight watchers! One of my very good girlfriends is doing it with me, more as a favor to me, than a need for her (super grateful). The weight thing, after the babies, has gotten a bit out of control, and i need something a little more intentional than "healthy living" with a little more accountability. Anyone who's done it got any tips?
--- 6 ---
Some of you who have been to workshops or presentations of BOLD MINISTRIES  know I always joke about, "making it rain" hand-outs and candy. Then, I talk about reclaiming the term for Christ. Anyway, last night, I was speaking at an all girl's high school retreat and one of my co-workers came up to me and said (because I forgot) "you should make it rain candy"! And I laughed. A lot. Maybe you had to be there...
--- 7 ---
Sunday marks my last talk/presentation till June. I'm looking forward to the break and the epic plans that Aaron (the husband) will surely have for Mother's Day and my birthday :)

For more Quick Takes and to check out the fancy pants writer of the book mentioned above, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

To my son, on his 3rd birthday...

Dear Aaron...

Three years old?  You’ve got to be kidding me?  I feel like sometimes, because we had you and your brothers so quick, it flies by, like a blur and in between the blur, there are these moments of so much beauty I can hardly stand it (and let’s not lie, moments of a type of frustration I never knew before).
This year you learned so many things.  Sometimes, I just stare at you in complete awe, because I can’t believe we made you with God, and that you are becoming this little person right before my eyes.  You are a nutball, and a whipper-snapper.  You drive me crazy, drive me to my knees, and allow me to experience a love I have never EVER known.

The newest thing you do about sums up this year.  Occasionally you will crawl up on my lap and say, ‘I love you mama’. I always respond the same… “SSSSStop kid, you are breaking my heart!!!”  Then we both crack up laughing.  The last couple days, if I don’t say, “Stop kid, you are breaking my heart”, you will say, “am I breaking your heart mama?”- yes, lil, munch, you are constantly breaking my heart.  But not in a bad way, you are shattering it with your love and teaching me in the process.

I said you were a whipper-snapper, that wasn’t a joke. This year is the year you learned to swear (that would be my fault), learned you can boss your little brother around (that would be your fault) and learned how to push my buttons like none other.  I hate every time I lose my patience with you, every time we have to go in a time out, every time you drive me so crazy I need to go into a time out.  Sweetheart, you are teaching me how to be a mom, and in the process, you are teaching me who God is.

You see, I hate discipline you.  It’s awful.  I’d rather just let things slide.  Following through with threats is a huge bummer. I’d rather say no ten times and then say “yes” because; if I have to say no one more time I am going to go CRAZY.  But I know it is important. I know consistency is important. I know it is important that you learn your limits, learn to be a good boy, learn to accept disappointment in a healthy way.  So, although it is so tiring, I keep trying to fight those battles with you patiently.  The thing about it teaching me who God is…I wonder if he feels that same way with us sometimes, when He tries to teach, and we try to resist.  It’s difficult, but so good getting to know God better though being your mom.

Lest you think you are all trouble, you are not.  You are a complete joy.  Your imagination is just starting to fully show itself. I listen to you play your cars and construction toys for hours.  Making sounds, making up story lines.  You were able to go to “Monster Jams” with daddy- and I watch you line up anything you can find to make the courses, so your very own monster trucks can ride on them.  You love to do projects and you LOVE to learn.  You have your ABCs down (in terms of saying them) and can count to twenty.  You love to sing songs, but especially, ‘What Does the Fox Say” with daddy.  When you two sing that song, I crack up. It’s so funny, because you always do it as loud as you can.  I love at nighttime, after we say our prayers, and I ask you to sing me a song. I love that you always choose “Twinkle Twinkle” and I adore that you always say, ‘stars’ rather than ‘star’.

The winter was long this year.  Right after having JP, the snow started and the cold started. We basically had to stay inside for four whole months.  But you took it like a trooper.  Lil’ Aaron, you are in LOVE with your brother John Paul.  You can always be heard saying, “he’s TOO CUTE”.  You love to snuggle him, to lay by him and your newest thing is making him laugh.  Oh my goodness how you love to make him laugh.  And he loves you.  His eyes light up when you come in the room.  It is nothing short of adorable.  Joey and you have a very complicated relationship. I’m not gonna lie, you like to boss him around.  But he worships you.  You will see, as you guys grow older.  Anything you do, he wants to do.  He is more adventurous than you, so he challenges you to do some crazy thing.  I am glad you won’t read this till you are older, but I am going to tell you a secret…I like finding you guys getting into mischief.  Even though I always have to correct you and sometimes give you a punishment, I love watching your relationship with your brother grow.  I really do think you two will be the best of friends. I love to think about you growing up together, love to think of you learning life’s lessons as a duo…
But on that growing up thing?  It’s kind of going by a bit quicker than I anticipated.  I want to slow it down and I want to speed it up at the same time. It is a very complicated feeling.  Sometimes, I still hold you in my arms like you are a newborn. I did it last night, you pretended to be asleep (with a crooked smile on your face), and I rocked you.  While your eyes were squeezed close in make believe, I held you extra tight, knowing that the days when you can fit in my arms like that and be rocked are numbered.

Thank you for being my son.  Thank you for giving me the gift of learning and the gift of mothering.  We are so lucky we have a God who is good enough to let us participate in this thing called creation.  We are lucky to have a God who loves us enough to guide us through this thing called life.  I love when you say your prayers lil’ Aaron. I love saying the Guardian angel prayer! I love asking Baby Jesus, Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph to protect us each night.  And I love that you are discovering how much God loves you and that he lives in your heart.  That might be the coolest thing about you this year sweetheart, God is becoming your friend.

I love you big 3 year old.  Thanks for being you!