Friday, September 6, 2013

Our Love Story Part 2

The Night He Asked Me to Be His Girlfriend

The night I came home from my mission trip, I called him right away. I needed a ride back to my house, which any of my fellow mission-trippers I knew would do, but I wanted to talk to Mr. ADM right away. I felt this was where God wanted me to be. I had spent a good chunk of my pre-teen and teenage years with boyfriends that were not good or right for me. I did a lot of what is often termed "missionary dating." I finally had met someone who I was attracted to and held the same faith and beliefs as I did. I knew that I needed an equal in intellect and faith to spend the rest of my life with.

Mr. ADM answered right away and said he'd be happy to take me home. In a few short minutes, we were headed back to the house I shared with four other girls. All was quiet, as most people had not come back from spring break. We sat on the living room couch and talked and talked and talked. We spent the next four hours talking about our spring breaks and who knows what else. Finally, around 2 am, Mr. ADM looked at me and asked, "Will you go out with me?" I immediately said yes, with a sense of relief and excitement. We had our first kiss which will always be engraved in my mind. It was beautiful kiss. I had never felt so much love from a physical act of affection before.

Our first formal dance with some of our closest friends to this day.

The Whirlwind of It All

We spent the next few months learning more and more about each other while finishing up our junior year. I was beyond excited for my family to meet the man of my dreams, the one for whom my soul longed. Mr. ADM had already declared his love for me about a week after he asked me to be his girlfriend. We had discussed our faith, our morals, our families and what we were hoping for in our futures. I met his grandparents (who are, to this day, some of my favorite people on this earth), his dad and brother, and a good childhood friend of his. He let me cry on his shoulder when my parents had to give our dog back to her breeder. I knew this was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I was pretty sure he felt the same. We set it up so Mr. ADM would come home with me for a week before heading back to school to take some summer courses. My dad was picking us up, along with a girl who lived nearby who I didn't know, but this is how our school worked. We were 8 hours away, so finding fellow students who lived nearby was like finding the golden ticket! I didn't want to set up too high of an expectation, so I told my mom he was okay-looking...good-looking to me, of course. Now, this makes my mom sound shallow, but I promise she's not. She already knew he was a solid man from what I told her about him, so now the only part of the test left was to see what he looked like. This was just around the time that digital cameras were making headway to where it was the norm, so we took a picture and emailed it to her, but it was quite a task and I was still shy enough so that I only took one picture of us and it was terrible.

My dad came and I told Mr. ADM ahead of time to make sure to give a firm handshake. My dad and brothers are big on that. They've been given whimpy handshakes by other guys in my life before. Mr. ADM made sure to give a firm handshake (the first thing one of my brother's observed when he met him). We set on our way back and I remember feeling giddy at having him with me and anticipating the rest of my family meeting him. My mom instantly gave Mr. ADM a hug the moment he walked in the door, and, later that week, my brothers grew to respect him because he could beat them in Halo. The first thing my mom said to me when it was just the two of us was how he was SO good-looking! Why did I make him sound like he wasn't? :) I knew she'd be impressed.

Last day of Mr. ADM's first visit. There's my youngest brother and sister who are now 6'7" and 5'11" respectively.

After a week of bliss being together and having no schoolwork, Mr. ADM said his goodbye with the promise to return later that summer. We spent every single day talking on the phone and sent greeting cards to each other with long love messages written inside. We missed each other deeply and there were times it hurt to not be able to see him. However, we survived and absence did make our hearts grow fonder. I started hinting at our future together, but per my mom's advice, let him bring it up directly. And he did. We talked about how many kids we ideally would like (I couldn't believe I was with someone who wanted a large family like me! It was a dream come true!), where we would like to live, what we wanted to do, and on and on. At one point, he asked me what I would like in an engagement ring. I told him, "Surprise me." He said, "That's not really fair. I would want you to have something you truly liked." So, I offered to email him some pictures and I spent the next day looking at all different types of engagement rings. I finally sent him the details. I wanted 1/2-3/4 karat solitaire diamond on a thin gold band, just like my mother's was. Simple but classy was what I was going for. And practical since I wanted to be able to wear it doing laundry and dishes and raising a house full of kids.

We went to our first rodeo while camping with our friends.

The Proposal

The week before Mr. ADM was coming to visit again, I started getting the feeling that he might actually propose that weekend. He told me one day that he was going shopping and to please not call him during that time because he wouldn't be able to pick up. BIG HINT #1. Well, really, besides talking about marriage, that was my only hint, but it was a whopper of a hint. My mom and sister weren't going to be in town for Mr. ADM's visit so that was my only thought as to why he might not propose then, but I told my mom that I was thinking this was a possibility. When Mr. ADM arrived, we immediately got on the road and took a 5 hour drive to visit one of my best friends and her husband. They had invited us to go camping for the weekend and while I had never camped, Mr. ADM was an Eagle scout, so he was very excited. We had a blast and I knew Mr. ADM wouldn't propose then, but we still had 3 days after camping for that to happen. We came back home for the 4th of July celebrations and hung out with my family - eating good food and shooting off fireworks. At one point, one of my brother's friends asked if we were going to get married or something like that. I don't even remember my response. After everyone had pretty much settled and gone home, minus my family, I suggested that Mr. ADM and I start watching my favorite movie of all time, Pride and Prejudice. This was before the Keira Knightly version came out, so it was most definitely (and still is) the 5 hour one. Mr. ADM had seemed agreeable to that earlier in the night, but he asked if we could maybe watch it another time because he was kind of tired. "Okay, " I thought, "That sounds reasonable." However, my brothers decided to pop in some guy movie of their own and Mr. ADM got sucked into the movie. I was pretty insulted that he had no energy for MY movie but plenty of it for whatever silliness my brothers decided to watch. With that, I got up, said I was going to go upstairs and work on my homework and he could do whatever he wanted. Of course, still completely in love with me, grumpiness and all, Mr. ADM immediately got up and followed me upstairs to my room where I proceeded to ignore him and work on Statistics. He just hung out. I don't even remember if he had a book or anything. At some point, while I was engrossed in my homework, he ran downstairs for awhile. He came back up and all was good again. My sister came in at one point and started to talk to us about her life's problems. We spent the next 2 hours, listening to her and giving advice when she asked for it. It was about 2 am (see a pattern? jk) when my sister yawned and said she was going to bed. She said goodnight and left. Mr. ADM got up and closed the door, which I thought was odd. After all, we were in my bedroom and my parents would never allow closed doors, no matter how old we were.

Mr. ADM sat next to me on my bed and asked if I wanted to pray. Did I mention how much I loved that my love was Catholic just like me? We prayed some of our normal prayers- Our Father, Hail Mary, etc. and after that, Mr. ADM broke out into spontaneous prayer. I knew something was up when he started praying in thanksgiving for our relationship, as he was not normally one who prayed so freely like that.  Once we finished praying, he hopped off the bed and reached underneath, pulling out a pitcher of water and a giant bowl. He then started to wash my feet, and I knew he was going to propose. When he was finished washing my feet, he got on one knee, pulled the ring out of his pocket and said, "Jennifer, I want to spend the rest of my life loving you and serving you. Will you marry me?" Immediately, I said YES with a huge grin on my face. We were giddy with excitement and I kept staring at the ring, MY ring. We stayed up a little bit longer, looking at potential dates and picked a perfect weekend in July of that next year. Just a little over a year before we were to be husband and wife!

A couple months after our engagement with both sets of our parents.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Five Favorites and a Pregnancy Announcement

1. Book It!

Wow - does this bring back memories! Just signed Matthew up for his first experience of Book It! I'm excited about this. I loved reading, so this didn't cause me to love reading, but it was still a lot of fun to get my personal pan pizza and sticker on my pin. I'm hoping that's how the game goes this time around too.

2. SO Delicious Coconut Kefir

I am lactose-intolerant, except when I drink raw milk, but I'm not a huge fan of the taste of kefir in general anyway. Problem solved with coconut kefir! This is a daily drink for me right now and I love that I can get my probiotics in a non-pill form.


One of my close girlfriends just had her 3rd baby last night - a little boy and I can't wait to meet him! And another one of my close friends is due in two weeks! And I have three cousins expecting, although I will probably not meet one of the babies ever, one of the babies for a while after, but one of the babies fairly soon after, I hope! And of course, we announced on Facebook, that we, too, are expecting our own bundle of joy with this picture:

4. Vending machines

At work, I have no car generally because Mr. ADM and I share a vehicle and he's now officially working AND being a student full-time. That's fine except these cravings have begun and I'm having major food aversions as well. So, eating is not easy. I tried to gag down some eggs and bacon this morning and it was HARD. So, I've been utilizing the vending machine, although even then, sometimes it just doesn't do it for me. However, it has helped a little.

5. Amazon Instant

I just signed up for a free trial and tried it out last night. It comes with Amazon Prime/Mom which we're thinking about signing up for, so when I saw the free trial, I thought I'd test it out. Last night was a doozy for my morning sickness, so my wonderful husband told me to take it easy and he handled all the work of dinner and getting the kids to bed. AND then he had to sit down and do homework, so I took it upon myself to watch some good ol' TV. I love it!

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes - Puppy Party and Some Randomness

1. Miriam turned TWO last week! I can hardly believe time has flown by so quickly! I look at her every day in amazement that she's no longer a baby. We threw her a birthday party at a park with lots of friends and family. She had a blast! More pictures to come in a later post...

Taking her puppies for a walk with her new double stroller.

2. Our summer has been full of busyness and my family is no exception to that as well. My dad has been contracting all over the US for the last year and a half and so we see him on weekends only most of the time, and even then, they don't seem often enough. Along with that, one of my brothers is finishing up his last semester in college, 8 hours away, this fall, so he's been MIA for a good portion of the summer too. My sister who works for Disney hasn't been up here for a good year and a half too, and we miss her terribly! A couple weeks ago, Mark told us he wished she lived close by. With that and hobbies and travelling and jobs, we rarely seem to get together as a family, so I took the opportunity, even though we were missing 2 of my siblings here, to take a family picture. This used to be a typical Sunday evening where we'd go eat at my parents' house and I'm looking forward to the day when this becomes the norm once again. Maybe down the road, there might even be cousins ;)! None of my siblings are married yet, but I know it's bound to happen eventually as they grow up! Plus, our little family wants to expand too :).

 Special treat - story time with Papa!

3. So, yesterday, Mr. ADM was off from work and decided to get some cleaning done because we have this random spot in our carpeting (think size of a plum) that is stained - like burn a hole in your rug kind of stained - and since we're renting, the managers kindly offered to send in a professional carpet cleaning team to attempt to remove it so we wouldn't get charged down the road. That set Mr. ADM, who is the organized one in our marriage, in a whirlwind of cleaning frenzy. Not only did he clean up and move the furniture out of our dining room where they'll be doing the main cleaning, but he also cleaned our bedroom AND our closet! That's a feat I've been attempting to think about doing for months now! And he did it in ONE day. Not even. ONE afternoon! As well as taking care of the kids - they took a wagon ride/walk, played dominoes, and who knows what other kind of fun - he also washed, dried and FOLDED almost all of the laundry...which brings me to my point for #4.

4. Mr. ADM kindly asked me if I wouldn't mind throwing one last pile of laundry in the washing machine last night as he was heading out for a fun hangout/board game night with some friends. Once I wrangled the kids into bed and got myself moving again, I walked in to the laundry room. I started the machine up and took the top two towels out of the laundry bin we have for dirty laundry (it divides into 3, so towels are one section). That's when it hit me. This TERRIBLE smell. I looked down into the bin and sure enough. MOLD. Lots of it. Half a load's worth of towels were covered in mold because we had a bunch of wet towels at the bottom. I threw everything in the washing machine with half a gallon of vinegar (we were out of bleach!) but it still smells terrible. I have never had this happen before. I threw out a reusable snack bag, but I'm hoping to be able to salvage at least a few of the towels. We shall see...

5. Which brings me to another laundry quick take. I also set to working on my kids' clothing. We live in a tiny apartment with a small amount of storage, but certainly not enough for 5 people to store a lot. I started a system last spring where I bought one plastic bin for each person in the family. In each bin are all the clothes we are not currently using. If it doesn't fit, I have to throw something out. This is great except that I'm realizing it's not going to work for much longer. I shop second-hand most of the time, so tossing clothes out of our residence doesn't generally bother me but there are a handful of outfits I am sentimental about or I REALLY want future children to wear. So, I just spent the last couple of weekends shopping resales for the kids' fall/winter clothes and now that they had all been washed, I was ready to put them in the bins til the real cold weather hit (as opposed to this high of 70 schtuff we've been experiencing here lately). I thought I had done a great job until I looked at the piles and saw the following:

Matthew: Shirts - 4, Pants - 5 (if they still fit)/1 (if he's grown into the next size up)
Mark: Shirts - 25, Pants - 15

WHAT HAPPENED? Guess who's NOT going to get anything else? And guess who's going to have to run around naked if it gets cold before mid-September and I don't have time to do laundry every other day???

6. Mr. ADM GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL!!!! We are beyond excited! My husband is officially a full-time student. Prayers would be appreciated that we can make everything work!

7. Mr. ADM also taught the boys how to play Dominoes (for real and like the picture below). This is their new favorite toy/game.

Happy Friday all!
For more 7 Quick Takes, visit Jen@ConversionDiary!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Five Favorites Quick-style

1. Instagram

Find me on Instagram at lotusblossomjin. It's a combination of life plus AlmostDomesticMama crafty-ness.

2. Lighthouse Catholic Media

I love listening to CDs while on the road, esp. when I had a long commute to work. 

3. Relevant Radio

On that same note, I just downloaded their app, so I can now listen at work (my computer won't let me stream it)! Yipee!

4. Owl City

My sister introduced me to this musical group/guy and I'm enjoying them. They sound so similar to RelientK who I LOVED during college. 

5. Annie's Mac n Cheese

This has been my lifesaver in a box over the past month where we seem to never stop moving.

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1.    1.   I’m slowly getting myself back on the wagon of losing weight. After spending 4 months on the GAPS diet and losing a whopping 15 pounds, we (my whole family) stopped doing GAPS and I fell off the wagon. Majorly. I gained back 10 of those 15 pounds and have been sitting in that same position ever since. It’s a depressing day when 2/3 of your wardrobe no longer fits/looks good on you. So, I’m working on eating healthier and cutting back my carbs, which is my kryptonite. I know I can do this. I just need to look at the short-term. So, my goal for this weekend? Do NOT pig out. Discipline. Moderation.
      2.     We spent this past weekend in Ohio, visiting my in-laws. It was a good time and we got to see some wonderful friends and family who we had not seen in a year. But let me tell ya, the mosquitoes were a’plenty and for the second time this summer, I got chewed up! Mr. ADM and I were discussing this on our way home and I reminded him that they spray for mosquitoes where we live, so our reality is really not reality at all. Any good recommendations for a natural bug spray? I may have to test a few out, esp. on the kids.
Cousins all together for the first time

Visiting the Great-grandparents!

Miss 'Tude

Birthday Celebration with the Ohio family. Lovin' on her cake.

Pool where we first encountered aka "got mauled" by the mosquitoes. Yes, Miriam is wearing her brother's underwear. We do have a swimsuit for her...she just grew out of it before summer hit. So, after this, my sister-in-law and I went to the great land of Target and found her a more gender-appropriate suit. 

Cousins enjoying the zoo.

      3.     For the first time in our short lives as parents, we’ve hired someone to babysit our children who we’ve never met before! SCARY! Just kidding. She’s a friend of a friend of my sister’s, so we kind of know her. Plus, she attended our alma mater which right there means absolutely nothing probably, but for us, it means we trust her character a lot more. I’m sure the kids are having a blast as I’m typing this. They love babysitters. Sometimes more than us.
      4.    I was going to attempt to do the 7 Posts in 7 Days and royally failed. What can I say? Cleaning our apartment so the babysitter didn’t assume we were hoarders was a priority. Because we’re not hoarders. Really.
      5.    I have to admit something. Some of you may strongly dislike me after this. I do NOT like Finding Nemo. Dori and Nemo’s father just get on my nerves the entire time. They did from the first time I watched it. Yes, I put myself through multiples viewings of this movie, because my kids got their father’s taste in movies apparently and love it. Go figure. I’ll take Toy Story, Bolt or even Monsters Inc (which is more on the “eh” of my likeable scale) over Nemo any day.
      6.   Craft fair! My dear partner-in-crime, Heidi, and I did our 2nd ever craft fair - first time as both being under AlmostDomesticMama! It was a great day and we had a lot of fun minus getting gnawed on by some really mean flies. Heidi's husband rescued us with bug spray and the rest of the day went smoothly!
This was only half our booth. The other half was filled to the brim with backpacks, aprons, more flag garland, blankets and bibs!

      7.    This weekend kicks of resale season! I’m SO pumped! Resales are one of my favorite ways to shop – I can buy higher-end clothing for my children that I normally would not be able to afford. I don’t mind second-hand, esp. when it comes in excellent condition for a price I can afford. My husband shakes his head at me because the delight I get from these things is like a foreign language to him. Not resales in general – he’s right there with me when it comes to toys and books and fun stuff like that. But clothes = momentary happiness just doesn’t make sense to him. 
     I will be attempting to link-up later, but in the meantime, go to Conversion Diary for more great Quick Takes!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Love Story Part 1

Yesterday was our 7th wedding anniversary. Seeing as how I've been wanting to write down our love story to add to Grace's link-up, I thought I'd attempt to jot it down on this blog during my lunch hour. Let's see how it goes.

 Mr. ADM and I attended the same university, but didn't actually meet until our sophomore year of college. I spent a semester studying abroad during the fall and became friends with several of his friends, while unknowingly, he became friends with several of my close girlfriends back on campus during the same time. When I started back in the spring on campus, we were introduced. No sparks flew or anything of the sort, as he was dating a girl back home and I was working on being at peace with being single. However, we did become fast friends and hung out with our mutual friends on an almost-daily basis. We each have a few memories of each other during that time, but nothing significant. It's amazing how one's memory can work when the focus is not the other person. However, the few memories we do have of each other were good ones - laughing, hanging out and feeling comfortable around each other. Looking back, I know I was attracted to him by the end of the semester, but he was pretty much oblivious to me, so life went on.

 That next fall, I decided to live off-campus and we rarely bumped into each other. I no longer ate at the on campus "caf" and that was the place where we spent the majority of our time together the year before. I remember one of my housemates/best friends coming home one day and saying, "Did you see Mr. ADM? He got a makeover!" Yes, my dear husband was a bit geeky back in the day and loved to wear cargo pants with Hawaiian shirts almost all the time. When he came back in the fall, apparently, gone were the Hawaiian shirts, along with his glasses and braces and he had a new hair-do to boot. So, I was intrigued and was semi on the lookout for him from then on. Not long after, I happened to run into him on campus and we stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I was able to go back to my friend and confirm that indeed Mr. ADM was now attractive, although, really, I was attracted to him, glasses, braces and Hawaiian shirts too.
A bit pixilated, but one of my favorites when we were dating.

When I Fell for Him

 That was about all I saw of him that fall, but the first week of spring began what would be a whirlwind romance. Our campus hold a fair to recruit students to these sorority/fraternity-like groups called Households once a semester. We all set up tables with all our "stuff" and students who are not members of a household can come to find out more about all the different ones. Well, the guys who were at the table next to my household had a jar full of pickled eggs. I have never tried a pickled egg and after this experience, definitely never plan to. The joke behind the pickled eggs was "Eat an egg, save a soul." Not sure why, but hey, isn't college all about things that don't make sense anyway? Mr. ADM walked up to our table and chatted with us - and got dared to eat an egg. He said he'd do it if another friend of mine did it, thinking she wouldn't ever rise up to the challenge. Well, lo and behold, she did. So, they both grabbed an egg and set to eating it. Mr. ADM had never tasted anything so repulsive in his life, so after chewing for a couple minutes, he promptly ran to the bathroom and dry-heaved for awhile. Gross. When he came back out, I offered him my Coke and he gushed it down. That, for good reason, still sticks out in his mind. I pretty much saved his life that day.

 Once he was over the egg, he went to grab some lunch and one of my best friends and I decided to take a break from recruiting and sat down with him. She quickly had to leave for class, but I had another hour to kill, so I stayed and caught up on life with him. I learned his girlfriend from back home had broken up with him and he was not heartbroken at all about it. She just wasn't for him. I think that set my radar off, although, it was still fairly tiny. Having gone through a few rejections over the past couple of years, I was finally okay with being single and enjoying myself. I didn't want to lose that. But at the same time, we talked and talked and it was so nice being able to be so normal with a member of the opposite sex. I've always been terrible with that, so I definitely saw the potential.

When He Fell for Me

 Mr. ADM and I didn't see each other or talk again until the end of February. There was a household on campus that put on a dance called the Singles' Mingle. I had gone each year so far and it was a fun time. What I did not know was that the members of this household spent time in Eucharistic Adoration during the dance praying for those attending.

 So, this year, I actually had not planned on going. I mean, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to dance, but none of my friends were originally going to go and who wanted to go alone? At the last minute, we all decided to go and got dressed up. I remember trying on a bunch of different shirts to go with this really pretty twirly black skirt I had bought over Christmas break. I finally settled on a red faux wrap top and I'm pretty sure I even curled my hair. I was feeling quite the pretty lady that night and having found my new-found love of being single, I was going to have fun and not worry about which boy liked me. So, we set out and landed at the dance. I think we got there just as a song was ending and the next song that began playing was a slow song. I thought to myself, "I'm going to ask the first available guy I see. I'm tired of waiting on a guy to ask me and then getting disappointed." Looking for the first available guy, I found Mr. ADM standing fairly close to me straight ahead. I marched right up to him and asked him to dance and he said, "Yes." Little did I know that at that moment, he was actually working up the courage to ask another girl to dance and go on a date night that his household was hosting a week later. When I asked him and we began dancing, he forgot about asking this other girl and it was as if a lightbulb went off in his head and right in front of him was a beautiful girl that he might like to get to know better. That night, we danced 6 or 7 more slow dances together and he was caught - hook, line and sinker. He never looked at another girl again.

The Pursuit

 I knew Mr. ADM now had a thing for me. He practically followed me around the dance floor that night. I spent the slow dances, dancing with him and the fast dances, dancing it up with my girlfriends, having so much fun and knowing he was watching me. That next week, I found out that one of his household brothers called one of my household sisters to ask for my phone number. I semi-anxiously awaited a phone call, but nothing happened with that. Mr. ADM forgot I did not live on campus and looked for me everywhere and couldn't figure out why I wasn't around. At some point, either we asked him and some other guys to come hang out with us or they asked us. Regardless, we were set to hang out the night before his household's date night, but they weren't sure it was going to work because they had a previous commitment. The night we were set to hangout, I decided to stay on campus and sleepover  at a household sister's dorm room. By dinner, I was feeling pretty ill and had come down with a stomach bug. I stayed over and the guys never showed up, but I was in bed all night. By the next day, my stomach was beginning to return to normal and that evening, I even felt up to getting up and out of the dorm. We all made it to the caf and I saw Mr. ADM with his friends. He came over eventually and the girls gave him a hard time about not coming around the night before. He apologized and suggested we all go see our friend's movie that he wrote/produced/whatever, since he wouldn't be going on the date night. So, after dinner, 5 girls and 2 guys all trekked up to the movie theater and enjoyed a movie. Not sure how the seating was going to end up, I was happy to sit a row behind all my friends and next to Mr. ADM. After the movie, we all hung out in one of the hangouts on campus and Mr. ADM had been told that I had not been feeling well, so he bought me a Sprite. *swoon* I was so touched. We hung out more that night and then the whole next week, we bumped into each other. I had this really long, camel-colored, pea coat that I got for Christmas that year. I worked in the City when I was home on break and it was really chilly, so I wanted a coat to cover all of me and found that one. I matched it with a bright red hat and a colorful scarf and Mr. ADM remembers that probably the most out of anything I wore during our dating season.

To Date or not to Date?

 One week later, we were upon Spring Break. I was set out to go on a mission trip across the country and Mr. ADM was set to spend it at home working. One of my closest friends asked me if we had defined the relationship yet. She wanted to make sure he wasn't leading me on and knew I was already in deep. Since we hadn't, I figured we'd talk about it after Spring Break. He did ask me to dinner where I met his mother who came up to pick up him and his sister, who I'm pretty sure I had met previously. I figured he had to be at least semi-serious if he was asking me to meet his mom, but still nothing had been said. He left for Spring Break with a hug and a goodbye and called me later that night while I was packing and getting ready to head onto campus to head across the country. Over the week on my mission trip, I spent a lot of time in Adoration, praying for God's will for this relationship. I felt very much that this was the path I was supposed to take and came home with a renewed mind and spirit.

(Running out of time...more to come!)

Car Ride Wisdom

Linking up to Conversion Diary's 7 Posts in 7 Days, I'm going to attempt to do the impossible. And I already failed, but posting TWICE today to catch up!

I wish I had a tape recorder for car rides. The boys have said half a million hilarious things, but these are the few I can remember...

Matthew: Why do you think airplanes are called airplanes?
Mark: Well, I think, probably because they are in the air and they are planes.
Matthew: YEAH!

Going over the days of the week.

Mark: Is tomorrow Tuesday?
Me: No, tomorrow is Thursday.
Mark: Is the day after that Tuesday?
Me: No, then it's Friday.
Mark: Then Tuesday?
Me: No, Saturday.
Mark: Then Tuesday?
Me: No. Sunday, then Monday, THEN Tuesday.
Mark: And the next day, and the next day, and the next day and then HAPPY EASTER! And then it's CHRISTMAS!

Mark: Mom, I used to think that monsters drove monster trucks, but now I know that good people drive monster trucks!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Family in Pictures

Little girl who refused to smile at the beginning and the end.

Family picture - we haven't updated our family picture since I was pregnant with Miriam.

She smelled the pretty flower and then let us know how she felt about it.

A little back story - for our wedding pictures, the photographer wouldn't take any pictures of us looking at each other, so now it's all we do. The end. :)

Love this one!

Classic Mark face when expressing pretty much anything.

This is what happens when you tell your kids to say "Monkey toes!" instead of "Cheese!"

Like father, like son.

Classic Miriam face (and we finally got her to smile!)

Sibling love.

*All pictures were taken by M.Schmitz Photography.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let them eat cake! (or spaghetti)

I could let them eat olives off their fingers instead.

This month is looking bleak in the budget department, as it has always and will forever. I was thinking we'd try to cut down our grocery budget, since that seems to have the most room to go up and down, and thought back to the good ol' college days and how I ate spaghetti every single day for an entire school year, save the occasional treat meal from a friend or going out or chicken leg on sale. But most days, it was the same exact meal and I loved it. And it costs next to nothing.

Then...I remembered I have 3 kids. One of whom does not like spaghetti at all.

When "they" say that kids are expensive, I pshaw them all the way. I cloth diapered, breastfed, baby-led weaned (aka let them eat my food), bought their clothes used, bought most of my baby gear used, babywore (is that the past tense of babywear?), and currently homeschool. We grew a garden the couple of years my parents loaned us their yard, made my kids share a room, have been gifted memberships for Christmas and spend most of our time doing free things . My kids grow excited when they see a garage sale, Goodwill or hear the word "resale." While we hope to be able to help them someday in their pursuit for higher education, we also hope to teach them the benefits of hard work and junior college education to start - to teach them where we have made mistakes.

No, all those things that the "experts" talk about being expensive, those aren't going to break our bank.

But our lack of spaghetti might.

Friday, July 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes Happy Independence Day!

Okay, the whole post will not be on the 4th of July, but it's close enough to the date and, of course, I never actually posted yesterday, so there you have it.

1. Mr. ADM and I both had the 4th of July off, so we were happy to have a day with our little family. We started with a nice family breakfast of bacon, eggs, pancakes and strawberries. I have not made from-scratch pancakes, gluten-filled and all, in years. So, I grabbed a recipe off of Pinterest that had only ingredients I had in my tiny apartment...and royally FAILED. They started out as little buttery tortillas. I added more flour, added more milk and finally found some organic sugar hiding in my cupboard from the days where I was planning to make water kefir and voila! Not half-bad pancakes. They still weren't your Bisquick-fluffy pancakes, but they at least resembled a pancake. And the kids took great delight in them. I thought about taking a picture, but then thought, "REALLY, does anyone actually want to see a picture of my food?" And so, here you lack a picture of my triumph.

Miriam having a pre-breakfast snack out of Mommy's lunch bag.

2. From there, we headed to do one of my favorite things in all the world. Shopping. The boys both have grown out of their sneakers, so we headed off to buy them new shoes. And let me just say that, I know the selection is better at say, a Foot Locker or something, but wow. Fluorescent, neon, blind-your-eyes, whatever you want to call it. Shoes today are not subtle in any way, shape or form. Or mostly color. Matthew settled on a blue pair (the blue was toned down) with neon green trimmings and shoe laces. And Mark, I forget what we bought him b/c unlike his brother, he actually is really picky. He tried on about 4 different pairs, after completely denying me the privilege of trying on an orange pair (reminded me of Tennessee...go Vols!) because, in his words, they were "girly." What 4 year old says this and where did he learn that phrase? Certainly not from Dad or Mom...or maybe.

3. Potty-training is going to happen. I'm debating between this weekend, when I really don't have the time but may need to make the time and around her 2nd birthday in 3 weeks. Miriam let out a stink bomb while we were shopping (and did not have easy access to our diaper bag). She's ready and that type of thing really makes me ready. Plus, we've only been half cloth-diapering lately, due to our schedules and lack of time and I'm just ready to be done. It'll be cheaper and easier and maybe she'll get her brothers on board to night-train as well. The only yuck factor is the fact that little hands tend to touch toilet seats in public restrooms, no matter how hard you try to keep them away. Gag.

4. From shopping, we headed to a local festival in our area. Mr. ADM treated the kids (and yours truly) to fair food. We ate like all people do at a fair and spent a lot of time in the children's section, watching all kinds of animal shows and one singer. The kids had a blast and Matthew and Miriam met Sonic the Hedgehog. I learned the power of the sun combined with sunglasses combined with my skin that tans in 2.5 seconds added together equals raccoon eyes. Anyone have suggestions on how to get rid of such a thing?

Matthew with Sonic

 5. When we had had enough of the hot sun pelting down on us, and the kids started begging for overpriced ice cream, we decided to jet out of there. My parents, amazingly, had no children celebrating with them except us. Now, to give you a tiny bit of background, for the 1 or 2 people who may read this and don't know me, I have 5 younger siblings. 2 don't live here and 3 live at home. Usually, it's a packed house at my parents'. I love the chaos and seeing everyone and generally, it's not WWIII erupting. However, this year, all my siblings are either still out of town or had plans. So, it was a relatively quiet evening, minus the dogs barking at every single person who dared to pass by (another festival was happening near my parents' house, so that combined with nice weather made for plenty of passers-by). My dad grilled a delicious dinner with sides done via Mom and we brought a watermelon (our first of the season!) that Mr. ADM picked so expertly. He does actually have a method, trained by my father. After dinner we took my parents' dogs and our children for a walk, introduced them to sparklers (Miriam and I watched from a distance), prayed a patriotic Rosary (one Hail Mary per state and patriotic songs in between), and ran over to the nearby school to enjoy the fireworks, where we had to move twice before we were able to see the fireworks without any trees. We had the usual conversation of oohs and aaahs and how the city should chop down all the trees so we could see the fireworks from the convenience of my parents' home (just kidding on the trees).

A bit fuzzy b/c my good camera's battery was dead, but Matthew enjoying the sparkler.

Mark, somewhat enjoying the sparkler, a bit hesitatingly.

6. If you haven't read Simcha's blog post - The Earth Is a Nursery, go read it. Now.

7. Matthew's TSW eczema is still continuing to heal. He had a flare the other day, but not too bad. You can totally tell he's a TSW/RSS (red skin syndrome) kid because he's constantly scratching/picking skin/fidgeting. He got the opportunity to go on stage at the festival and play the maraca while the singer sang a song. Another little girl was up there with him playing the tambourine and while she was standing there just playing, Matthew would play for a couple second, then adjust his shirt aka "pick at this skin underneath," then go back to playing. Someday...

For more great 7 Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Boys and Their Thoughts

All my kids are pretty darn adorable to me. Hilarious at times too. Mark is currently at that age where he says some pretty random and interesting things. I've jotted a few down for your enjoyment (or torture jk) with a sprinkle of Matthew-ness as well.

As Mark and Miriam were bickering in the car, I'm blocking most of it out, but all of a sudden I hear...

"And Miriam, do NOT ask for anything to eat. We are almost home."

Mark: "Do you know what can knock a building down? Nothing can do that. Except maybe a fire can knock a building down."
Me: "Okay..." 
Matthew: "Or if a house was next to a water tower and the water down fell down on the house, it could break it." 

As the kids were leaving Costco with my mom...
 "I wish we could live here."

As my mom was making the kids lunch...
 "I do not like lettuce in my salad!"

Talking about going to the doctor...
 "Grandma Sue, after lunch you are going to your disappointment."

"Knuckle sandwiches are just tacos."

And one of Miriam, my sister took awhile back...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Five Favorites Take 2

Welcome to Five Favorites (of randomness)! For more five favorites, visit Moxie Wife. I'm not sure if she's doing it this Tuesday, but since I rarely actually write a post and I did this in anticipation, well, it's going up anyway :). Well, you should visit her anyway - one of my favorite bloggers!

1. Consignment Shops

 We have several really adorable consignment shops in our area. My favorite one for the kids recently closed and it made me a little sad, but I have discovered a couple others that, while they don't have the same homey feel, they are still really great to browse. AND the best part is they have Facebook pages, so I can let my fingers do the shopping (even if just window shopping). Consignment stores are like treasure chests for me. I love going in and never knowing exactly what I'm going to find. There's one particular one that I love for me. The layout is easy to navigate and the ladies who work there are so nice. I will admit to being a brand-snob; not the kind that only wears something expensive, but I'm picky. I love Target brand clothing just as much as Banana Republic, but there are some on both ends I just am not a fan of. Consignment shops tend to be a bit pricier than your average thrift store or garage sale, but I don't have to sift through the garbage because clothing and accessories are always in excellent condition. Now, don't get me wrong - I love thrift stores and garage sales as well, but when I'm looking for something in particular, I always head straight to the consignment shop first.

2. ACV and Baking Soda

 I have discovered two great uses for these bad boys. Toilet bowl cleaner and shampoo/conditioner combo. Yes, those seem to be on opposite ends and it kind of sounds gross that I put those two uses in the same phrase, but they truly are great for both (and cheap!). My favorite apple cider vinegar (ACV) is Braggs, but really, it's only because I haven't really tried any others (once, I tried Whole Foods' 365 brand and it seemed to work well too).

Toilet bowl cleaner recipe: 1/2 cup baking soda (add in first all around) and 1 cup of ACV. Scrub and flush. Voila! And I love the reaction that comes from combining the two.

Shampoo/conditioner: Roughly 2 tbsp of baking soda - mix with equal parts warm water. Soak and scrub in base of scalp all over. Rinse thoroughly. 1/4 cup of ACV with 1 cup of warm water. Start at ends of hair and work your way up. Leave the ACV in a couple of minutes and rinse. Soft, beautiful hair!

3. Hawthorne Threads

 When I'm unable to shop my local fabric shops (because taking 3 kids anywhere is an adventure, and not always of the fun variety), I love to hop online to Hawthorne Threads to make my fabric purchases. They have a wide range of choices and some great ways to search/browse fabrics, plus some adorable patterns! They also offer discounts, the more yardage you buy. I heart them. A lot. (I can't put a < with a 3 on this blog apparently. It freaks out on me.)

 Betty Duffy linked two things that have been on my mind over the last week. Thanks to Relevant Radio for their interview with Elizabeth Scalia on her new book and the fact that my smallish apartment seems to be never-endingly overflowing with STUFF and voila! Perfect post for me. Seriously. Go over and read it. You won't be sorry. :)

5. Fertility Friend app

 I must say that I'm not a terribly great NFPer. Well, Mr. ADM and I aren't. And by "not terribly great" I mean, we're pretty lazy. And by that I mean, we use the sympto-thermal method, but I never in, I've temped maybe 5 times in the last 2 years. Yeah. But, I am thankful because I do have regular cycles (I know - more than you EVER wanted to know about me), so it's easy to use Fertility Friend without recording many of my NFP signs (if you don't know what this is and aren't afraid of TMI, ask away! It's totally interesting and a great tool for getting to know your body and NFP is a great tool to strengthen your marriage!) and still be right on the ball as to the whens of my monthly cycles.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Updates in Pictures

I got to meet up with two beautiful friends of mine from high school. We see each other about once a year now, but it's always great to see familiar faces and do a little catching up:). 

A food picture of Mr. ADM's birthday breakfast. I was quite proud of myself. GF/DF pancakes, blueberry sausage, cantaloupe, and bacon-wrapped eggs (courtesy of Pinterest), along with cupcakes and a fruit tart from the Foods that are Whole. Everything was delicious and my kids gobbled down breakfast like they've never been fed before. 

I forgot to take pictures of the finished product, but another Pinterest attempt - I made carrots and zucchini in the oven. A little EVOO and some salt and peppa and they were delicious! Well, the zucchini was to Miriam and me. We gobbled them down. I accidentally burnt a good portion of the carrots. I was trying to get the boys (ALL of them...ahem, Mr. ADM) to eat zucchini, but it didn't work out so well. 

We went camping this past weekend with our local Catholic homeschool group and had a BLAST! We're new to the group, so we didn't know a ton of families, but everyone was so welcoming and inviting and the kids had a blast, esp. Miriam who had never been camping before. 

The first fire I helped build. Ever. Next trip, I'm going to build one from the ground up and start it myself!

My camping girl. Notice the bare feet. She pretty much had no shoes on the entire trip.

Back at home and this is what my kids think of the Vitamix that Grandma uses to make us all delicious smoothies! (Notice Matthew's arms - that's the TSW he's going through, poor guy. But HEALING FINALLY HAS BEGUN!)