7QT: School, Still Preg, a Million Links, + a Million Photos

1. Back to School

Oliver is in FIRST GRADE! That seems so big to me! So far he loves it.

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People keep asking me about Atlas, but lil big man still has another year before Kindergarten and I’m keeping him home and doing some preschooling with him when I get one of my rare bursts, or more like nudges, of energy. Basically all I’m doing is 15 min a day during Prim’s nap to sit with him while he works on a different topic each day, 4 days a week.

Monday: Shapes, Colors, and Patterns workbook + drawing a picture of whatever the topic was like circles, green…etc.

Tuesday: Numbers 1-30 workbook

Wednesday: Letters— finishing out Uppercase Letters and soon starting Lowercase Letters

Thursday: Science — Read a page from The Big Book of Bugs and have him draw a picture.

Seriously not too much and his temperament and mine mesh well for this kind of stuff. He still spends most of his day doing stuff like this:

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2. Mammoth

This is our second year in a row going up to Mammoth for a few days in the summer thanks to Daniel’s aunt having a condo up there that we stay at. This year I was as lazy and pregnant as ever and didn’t venture out much because walking up and down the stairs at 8000 ft was enough for me. But we still had fun! The kids got a random fever for like half a day and I think it was altitude sickness because nothing came from it. We took the long way home so we could drive through Yosemite National Park since Daniel and I both haven’t been since we were kids and it was as beautiful as we remember and mega crowded.

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3. 36 weeks

ALMOST TO THE END. I loved Blythe’s insta story yesterday recapping her first trimester because it is basically me in my third trimester. I wake up achy, help get Ollie ready for school and maybe help throw together breakfast (Atlas has actually been pouring everyone cereal….NOT SENDING HIM TO SCHOOL), go back to bed all morning while the kids play and bring a million toys into my room or I put on a movie, get up to do something productive like some laundry/dishes/vacuum and make lunch, pick up Ollie (been early day all week), put Prim down for a nap and maybe snooze too, get up and straighten the house a little bit and throw together something for dinner or NOT, Daniel comes home and I hang for a little bit and then get in the bath, help put the kids to bed and watch something on TV and try really hard to not have my nighttime birth anxiety, and go to sleep. Atlas took this picture of me the other day which is pretty accurate. Me in bed sitting up because I’m probably uncomfortable before I lay back down. -____-

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Babymooning in Paris: Part One

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Will I ever type out a trip recap in a timely manner? Probably not, but here I am months after our amazing trip to Paris + London finally ready to lay it all out aka just post a million photos.

I feel like I need to start with how this trip came to be because it was nothing short of a bunch of pieces coming together. Last Black Friday, I signed up for a new American Express credit card because they were having a promotion that if you were approved, you’d get 100,000 points! Signed up I did and approved I was so when those 100,000 points slipped into my life, Daniel and I couldn’t stop thinking on how we wanted to use them for airfare for a Euro trip. We threw around a few different trip itineraries (one of my favorite hobbies tbh), but it all felt a little hypothetical because 1. we couldn’t afford to take a big euro trip as a family— I know you’re thinking “Well they’ve taken a big trip to Mexico as a family” but remember that a week in Mexico is basically cheaper than living a week in Ventura. 2. If we left the kids, who the heck would watch them for at least a week?

So the new year rolls around and we find out that we’re pregnant! We bring up the idea of the trip again and decide to sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a service that emails you with cheap flight alerts, to keep our eyes open for flights for some of our possible trips and just to be aware of what flight prices looked like for different times of the year so we could get the best deal possible. Jump ahead a couple months and I’m talking to the wonderful Erica Tighe about how traveling is something that I really need in my life and have always craved and desired since being a child and how it’s something that nourishes our marriage and how we are sitting on these points but don’t know how/when we’ll be able to use them with a baby on the way + needing the kids watched and she ever so graciously offered to watch them for a week as long as I gave her a far enough in advance heads up so she can plan work around it. I couldn’t believe it. That heart of hers is so golden. Daniel’s family also agreed to watch them for a few days. Bless them all.

With child care now taken care of, we just waited for the right cheap flight to pop up for us to snag. We ended up deciding on Paris + a mini side trip because we were thinking longterm and it seemed necessary to start with some of the main cities of Europe before deep diving into some of the other trips we’ve dreamt about. Plus Paris was always the creme de la creme in my mind growing up so we just had to. We ended up finding an amazing deal for a flight at the end of May-beginning of June, all planned around important things happening at Oliver’s school so that we wouldn’t be missing anything. We were having the hardest time figuring out our weekend side trip because the options were so endless. Train to Amsterdam? Train down to Milan? Rent a car and drive through the French countryside? Rent a car and drive through southern Germany???? We ended up with the very vanilla choice of taking the Eurostar to London because Daniel had only spent a day there as a teenager and I had never been so I also wanted to knock out another major city. Also London. The Monarchy. Harry Potter. Plus is was the cheapest/easiest/most relaxing choice -____-.

About a month before our trip, I found out that Ollie’s last day of school and kindergarten graduation was changed to the day we were flying back home during the morning school hours…. so we’d miss it because we would be getting home that evening. I was a hormonal, crying mess. I talked to his teacher and principal and they were so understanding and sent home a parent survey on what time to make the ceremony and miraculously the evening won so we’d have a chance as long as our flights were on time + 405 traffic was decent. Phew, but also didn’t help with the mad anxiety I was having about leaving the kids for that long. We went to confession the day before our flight and the priest gave me the best encouragement and advice after I told him how anxious I had been feeling. He said, “Think of this time with your husband as a time for you guys to reconnect and fall back in love. Being parents, you have to work together and be a team. To strengthen the bond and connection, you need to spend time away from your kids and focus on each other— especially with baby number four on the way. You need this time together to move forward as a stronger unit in order to be the parents these 4 kids need.”. Well, there ya go. Exactly what I needed to hear. My friends had all been saying similar sentiments to me, but hearing it from the priest in the confessional was what finally pushed me over into accepting it and being at peace.

 

Now to the good stuff.

 

We got to hang out in the lounge for a tiny bit before our flight where I stocked up on a childhood favorite, “Delta Cookies”.

Processed with VSCO with f1 presetMy grandma used to work at LAX and would bring us bags of these cookies.

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Anyway, our red eye flight to Paris was brutal. Not all of it was— like I got to watch half of Bad Moms and Daniel and I watched the uplifting movie Silence for 3 of the 11 hours. That maybe wasn’t the best film choice to watch before trying to sleep. I was 24 weeks pregnant and still recovering from bronchitis and already sleeping horribly in the most perfect conditions so scrunched up in my tiny seat in the dry airplane air thinking about the movie and leaving my kids was bad. I on and off cried for a little bit because I’m a wuss (very much due to exhaustion putting me over the edge) and slept for maybe 30 minutes. We landed in Paris with me feeling like I had the flu and might pass out in the customs line. We make it onto the train to the city from Charles de Gaulle and I finally was getting a second wind and so thankful for Daniel being so quick on his feet and figuring out train schedules and whatnot because I was kind of a wreck.

When we emerged from the Metro into the middle of Paris, I’ll never forget it. I feel like it’s not often you visit a place and it’s exactly how you pictured it (at least for melancholic me), but it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I also may have been a little delirious from lack of sleep, but just everything was magical. It was still too early to check into our Airbnb, so we pulled up the handy map I made showing places of interest, restaurants, cafes, etc. to find somewhere nearby to get coffee. Felt a little overkill when making it, but it was such a life saver during the trip.

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Brave Self Care: Goal Setting and Coaching With Charissa

I want to tell you all about something I jumped into earlier this month that really was so eye opening and changing for me mentally + spiritually and it’s thanks to the encouragement and coaching from my new friend, Charissa Pomrehn at Brave Self Care.

Charissa is a life coach for moms who reached out to me about us getting to know each other and offer her services as a gift and at first I was a bit hesitant thanks to the ol’ pride of mine thinking that I don’t see how I could benefit from a self care coach, but once I pushed that aside, I decided that I would love the try this out and see where it would take me. Also, I was kind of confused on what a self care coach actually does, so let me explain a bit if you’re wondering just as I was. She works with you to find clarity on what fills you up and how to find time time for yourself which us moms really struggle with sometimes. You also plan out practical steps together on how to make your self care goal, whatever it may be, become a reality and achievable.

So we decided on the this package and I scheduled mine and Charissa’s 90 minute call where we would hash out and plan out all the details surrounding the goal I was making as well as filling out some background in the information packet regarding what areas in my life I feel I am thriving in and which areas I want to work on which was beyond helpful.

As our call approached, I could NOT think of a goal I wanted to set out to accomplish with her. I naturally am very goal oriented and self-motivating so typically once I make up my mind to do something, it usually happens. However, through becoming more self-aware by learning more about personality types, I’ve come to realize that I also tend to get in my way and self-sabotage if my goal gets unpleasant or difficult. So I was thinking and thinking what could my goal be and then one morning, thanks to pregnancy insomnia, I woke up at 5:30am for the day and it was absolute bliss. I read the daily Mass readings, caught up on a few emails, and most importantly, sat in silence. Once the kids woke up around 6:30am, I was mentally ready to handle the day and didn’t feel like I was starting out empty. For the longest time I have heard about the benefits of waking up before your kids to start the day more centered rather than waking up to kids jumping on you to get up and make breakfast but I had always made excuses of going to bed too late, not sleeping well, kids waking up too many times through the night, anything that pointed to it not being a good time to start this practice. But after realizing what a difference it makes and how crabby I normally am when I am woken up by the kids, I knew this had to be the goal I worked on with Charissa as my coach.

 

So during our call, we discussed the informational packet I filled out beforehand, the process, and lastly, all the areas surrounding making my goal into manageable steps and into something achievable. What I LOVED about Charissa is that she is knowledgeable in personality types so it was easy talking about ways I naturally thrive and struggle and how that would play a role in achieving my goal and even foreseeing practical and emotional issues that may arise along the way.

 

For 2 weeks I practiced my goal of waking up early and it really was as life changing as everyone says. I noticed I was such a better wife and spouse when I had that quiet time every morning. Charissa would check in with me during the 2 weeks so see how I was doing and at the end of the 2 weeks, we had a 30 minute call to wrap up our work together and talk through the successes and challenges of my specific goal and how I was going to move forward with it.

 

Charissa offers a free 30 minute consultation so if you are feeling like this is something that will benefit you (let me just tell you, IT IS), reach out to her and learn more on how you and her can make your self care a priority.

 

You can follow her over on Instagram and find more info on her website, Brave Self Care.

 

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7QT: Spooky Story, San Diego, + Primmy’s Days

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1. Home Alone

Daniel had to go to New York for 4 days last week and whenever he leaves, something annoying always happens. Let me paint the picture for you. It was a spooky 10pm in my spooky house on a spooky Wednesday night where I was in my spooky living room watching some not spooky romcom when I heard a loud, “CCCCCCRRRRRRRACK! BANG!” from our side yard. #1 benefit from having a dog is to keep me safe when Daniel is gone, so I selflessly sent Poppy out into the backyard to investigate because if it was a murderer or average human, she’d go nuts, but if it was safe she would silently come back to me. Luckily it was the latter and I went out and saw that my neighbors tree had fallen over onto our fence. -_____-

Good thing that came from it was Atlas got to watch a group of men cut down a tree a few days later and now wants a chainsaw.

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2. San Diego

While Daniel was gone, I took the kids down to San Diego for a night because we had a meeting with a doctor down there (all is well!). Anywho, we survived the drive thanks to Jim Dale + JK Rowling, even though for some reason I just hate that drive so much. We stopped by the first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcala, since visiting all 21 missions is a life goal and it was really pretty! (FYI, Carmel Mission is by far the best I’ve been to). I also drug the kids to this ice cream shop so I could finally try rolled ice cream but sad for them, the only soft serve flavor they had was charcoal vanilla or “grey vanilla” as I told them. We went to our hotel in Carlsbad (after trudging through even more traffic), swam at the pool, ordered room service, and lost our minds* during bedtime.

*only mine was lost because they just wouldn’t stop goofing off.

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Next morning we checked out the amazing Starbucks in Oceanside where I had another new milestone of publicly disciplining and yelling at my kid (Prim) who was mad she couldn’t carry a bag so she ran from me on one side of the car to the other and into the street. I say milestone because I’m in the mom camp of quiet threats and sneaky too tight handholding. So that was a sight, but we stopped on the way at Downtown Disney to walk around and go to the Lego Store since my kids are obsessed. Also took a photo with a parrot in front of Rainforest Cafe. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Long story short, I lost my temper too much, but we survived and the ending of the story isn’t so grim because the kids got a couple new lego minifigures and a sparkly Elsa ball.

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Primrose is 3!

Zero

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One

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Two

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Three

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My number 1 lady, Primrose Lucia, is 3 today! I know I sound like a broken record, but HOW IS MY YOUNGEST 3! Quite ironically she was born during NFP week— my surprise when I found out I was pregnant with her when Atlas was only 5 months old to now having successfully used NFP to have a 3 year gap between her and baby 4.

Her birth was magical (aka not traumatic like the first 2) and it gives me hope that is can be repeated this time around.

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She is the absolute sweetest thing, but knows how to go from zero to screaming toddler in no time. She still sucks her thumb like she did in her ultrasound photo and lugs around this raggedy pillow as her lovey.

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She has a deep love for pink, kitties, bread, and extra girly princess-y things. She loves pretend play like pretending she has a fake mom and sister that lives at her “old house”, making coffee and hot chocolate for everyone, or pushing her sick other sister, Cheetah, around in the stroller to perform check ups where cheetah usually just has a diagnosis of too much ear wax or needs some essential oils.

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Primmy has such a deep love for her brothers and often calls them “her boys” and easily follows their lead while also holding her own. Although, she probably averages a good 15 cries before nap time because “he looked at me!”, “he touched my pillow!”, “he is pretending to be scary!”, etc etc on repeat all day long.

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She’s fierce. She’s loyal. She’s hilarious. She’s caring. She’s chatty. She’s the best. Like all the babes, I can’t imagine life without her and she is still the best surprise we’ve ever received.

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A nice little scroll through her life so far:

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Happy birthday dearest Primrose!

 

 

Here is her first ever birthday video!