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!