around here & advent

04 December 2017

04 December 2017

Life around here has been simple lately.
We've still been taking it easy (for the most part). Still adjusting to a dad&husband who has cancer.
And yes, it's still weird for me to write that.
I think my brain is stuck in survival mode and it's going to be awhile before the whole situation sets in completely and I feel back to "normal."

Honestly, though, things are great.
If this experience has taught me anything, it's that not much changes even if you're going through a crazy time.
Babies still need to be bathed. Toddlers still need to be disciplined. Laundry still has to be folded and the dog still has to be walked.
There's a great simplicity and order that can be found in those everyday things, and it helps to cling to their rigidity when everything else feels fluid and wobbly.

David is doing really well. Especially for how sick he was.
He's home, and actually back to work (part-time for a little bit) this week, so we're adjusting to that.
House projects have resumed, because why wouldn't they when you've got Gokie blood running through your veins, cancer notwithstanding?

I've been trying to write about this whole thing in a more meaningful way than short blog posts, but I think it's too fresh for me to conceptualize. 
I have lots of thoughts that swirl around, but putting them down on paper doesn't seem to happen the way I want it to. 
I'm going to give it time.

Meanwhile, Advent is here.
I'm taking this opportunity for slower reflection to try and refocus, to find peace throughout the day, to savor the slow moments and take each new day with a small thought towards Him. 
With two wild ones running around, there's not much time for that normally. 
But I'm waiting in anticipation of the baby Jesus coming, and trying to work that into my daily living.
With the craze of October and November, I didn't get any sort of journal or Advent reflection program (like I have in the past). I didn't get my act together with a Jesse tree or devotional Advent calendar. 
But I know He understands.
I know He sees past my frazzled brain and understands that some seasons don't allow for everything you want them to be.
And that's perfectly alright with Him.
I'm taking it one day at a time.
One small prayer at a time.
Praying for all those who are worse off than we are. 
Praying in thanksgiving for all the love we've been shown lately.
Praying for a fruitful Advent and a drawing home for those who need His comfort and love in their lives.
Praying for a forgiving heart, and an outpouring of His love where it's needed most.

I hope you have a blessed and peaceful Advent, and a glorious Christmas. 
Know that if you're reading this, you are in my prayers, small and simple and humble as they are.
Pray for me, too. 

Cora, 11 months (bonus 10 month photos!)

27 November 2017

27 November 2017

Cora is just shy of one year old and wowza, that doesn't get any easier to say the more I say it. This post has been sitting in my drafts for a few weeks so it's behind as well, but c'est la vie.


Weight: 24.5 lbs by the home scale, but she wiggles around so much on it that that's probably not accurate.

Height: no clue, but too long for 12 month pajamas and 18 months are too long.

Firsts these two months: crawling like a normal baby (instead of her weird slide crawl that she hung on to for a long time), tentatively standing up without grabbing something, etc.

Nicknames: nothing new

Other things to note:
-- Cora is an eating machine. We're done nursing so she's all solid food, and she eats an enormous amount. She eats more than Kitty, who I think eats a lot for a toddler. A normal lunch for her is a full PB&J, a cheese stick, some veggie straws, and an entire plum.
-- She does this adorable laugh thing when there's a lot of us laughing - she'll join in with this totally obviously fake laugh, because she sees everyone else laughing. It is hilarious. I need to get it on video sometime soon.
-- She's still napping twice a day, most days. She fights naps way more frequently than Kate ever did, but oh well. Usually she sleeps from 10:30-12 and then from 2:30-4:00, give or take. She has a hard time falling asleep if there's any noise or distraction, and the car doesn't usually work unless she's way overtired.
-- Her dancing is another one of my favorite things. She'll hold onto the edge of the coffee table or couch, and just slightly bounce up and down if she hears a song she likes. It's as cute as can be.
-- I can already tell she's more opinionated than I could have anticipated. She wants specific foods, wants you to hold her but not for too long, wants a certain toy, etc. etc.
-- With David's cancer diagnosis, I didn't get around to writing a 10 month post but I took the photos, so they're below!

We <3 you baby!

7QT // 62nd edition

10 November 2017

10 November 2017
It seems...frivolous, self-indulgent, and rather silly to write a quick takes post in times like these (how many more times am I going to need to write that?), but I need something to distract myself and I haven't blogged about books and clothing and toddler antics for awhile so here we go. Linking up with Kelly.

Crazy children update first!

These two.
Every day with two children is an adventure. Will I want to pull out my hair by 8:03 a.m.? Will I dissolve into giggles watching them interact? Will I have to fight them to eat food that yesterday they gobbled down easily? It's a party, let me tell you.

Kate is growing up a lot lately, able to be very helpful when she wants to be, and I love shamelessly making her fetch and carry things for me. No shame in my parenting game, most especially because she loves doing it. She's slowly losing her nap and I am weeping tears of sadness in anticipation of when it's gone forever.

Cora is a non-stop ball of energy and destruction all wrapped up in a tiny body that can't do everything she wants it to do, so that's really fun. She crawls and climbs and gets into everything, mostly cords and plugs and dust bunnies and her new favorite, chewing on the shoes we leave by the front door. Almost 11 months old and already more of a troublemaker than Kate was at 18 months. It's gon be wild, y'all.

Book updates! I've been doing a lot of reading lately while David's home because he's been reading too, and it's nice after a break of a month or so.
Amazon links below are affiliate. If you click through and make any purchase, I get a tiny percentage. Thank you!

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green: A+. Highly recommend. I have never been so immersed in a character's brain, and simultaneously wanted to escape it but had to keep reading it before, and it's quite an experience. Short summary, a girl with OCD tries to find a fugitive millionaire for the reward money. But it's SO much more than that - as is every John Green novel.

Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey: A+++. GUYS. I'm a huge sci-fi and space nerd, if you haven't gathered that already, and this space adventure series is the perfect blend of every aspect of that. I didn't think this one, since it is book 2 in the series, could be any better than the first one, and somehow it was. Great, fast-paced read although it is long. I can't wait to get my hands on book 3. Leviathan Wakes is book 1, if you wanna start it.

Still Life by Louise Penny: I've been searching for a good mystery series for awhile, and after hearing Christy talk over how many of these she's loved, I finally got my hands on the first one. (Our public library needs to get more copies because the hold list for one copy was 20 people long!) It was everything I want in a mystery series: bold and somewhat indiscernable detective, fascinating characters, crime without being gory, etc. I have the second one sitting on my nightstand right now, and can't wait to get into it.

The Good People by Hannah Kent: B-. I adored Hannah Kent's first novel, Burial Rites (my all-time most recommended book, I'm pretty sure). Because of that, I had super high hopes for this one, her second book, about the faery culture in early nineteenth-century Ireland. I loved the first half of the book, but it lost steam in the second half and just didn't mesh well so I can't give it a glowing review.

Currently reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty, which I anticipate I'll speed through like all of her previous ones.


A very awesome problem to have, but since I lost all that weight (I'm at 35 lbs down right now, hoping to go a little farther and tone up a bit but I digress) I've grown the opposite direction of almost all my winter clothes. So I've been doing some shopping!

These jeans from Gap are my new favorite. I already detailed them on my Instagram stories a few weeks ago, but I purchased a second pair since then and I love them equally as much so I still need to share the love. They're $50 right now plus an additional 20% off with code CHEERS right now. I also got these amazing sweatpants from H&M, which are super comfy. Still rocking my amazing Lucky boots (50% off on their website today!).

David and I are still trying to decide where to go for vacation next year. I keep waffling between a relaxing all-inclusive vacation on the beach, or a trip to Ireland/France/Scotland with b&b stays and a different feel altogether.

Or alternately, a train trip to Chicago for an extended weekend with play tickets and fancy dinners.
Or a secluded mountain cabin for a week somewhere in Wyoming. get the picture.

If you've got an eye for great deals or something comes across your view that you think we should do, feel free to send it my way. I'm obviously open to pretty much anything.


This cutie, although being totally messed up sleep-wise from Daylight Savings Time ending, has developed a ton of great facial expressions. This is her concerned look, wondering why on earth Kitty was galloping around our front lawn and throwing leaves around. She also has a fantastic pouty face when she doesn't get her way, but I haven't captured a photo of that...yet.

Some great reads from around the internet.

Why Catholics Should Be Aware of (and Denounce) the White Supremacy Ideology of the Alt-Right by Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas.

Thriving, Surviving, and Tithing by Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee.

Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent by Brit Marling at the Atlantic.

I need to finish painting and staining our new nightstands this weekend, as well as fold a bunch of laundry and get some photos printed. It's cold and gloomy so the walk I wanted to do tomorrow morning might not happen, especially since it's supposed to rain/sleet, but oh well. With David's cancer and low energy levels because of it, we've been taking it easy for awhile and it's kind of nice but I'm itching to do more (as is he, even more than me I think!). We're going to the Nebraska football game next weekend at Penn State, as long as David feels up for it, so I also need to prep for that. Probably by doing more laundry.

What are you up to this weekend? Head to Kelly's for more quick takers!


31 October 2017

31 October 2017
It's been a whirlwind around here, as you can probably imagine since my last post. Blogging is usually the first thing to go, and that pattern seems to be the case here too.

So, if you missed it: David has cancer. Chronic myeloid leukemia, to be specific. All things considered, he is honestly doing *really* great. I feel a little weird writing too much about it, because it's his battle and he's not a big share-er of things on social media...but I also want to be able to look back on this time and have a little bit written about it, so that tightrope line is what I'm walking with this post.

He's been home from the hospital for just a week now, and for someone who only got out of the hospital a week ago, he's doing great. He's up walking, not even nauseous enough from the chemo to need his anti-nausea meds, but really pretty tired most of the time. All things to be expected, for sure. We're trying to adjust to him being here all the time, which is a weird sentence to write because duh, he lives here, but it throws us girls off our usual routine and that is always stressful, no matter the reason.

We have had family visiting off and on for a few weeks, and so today was our first day with just us 4 home. My work has been really slow this month, which is a blessing and a curse at the same time. Good because I can concentrate on keeping up the house/feeding us/cleaning more than normal (those are all things I basically do not do from Monday-Friday if I'm working my full 40 hours, in case you've ever wondered), and keeping up with insurance calls/doctor visits/etc. etc. It's also a bit of a bummer because we need the money, but next month should be a little more normal and I think that will be good timing.

We've been shown an insane amount of generosity from every corner of our lives since the diagnosis. It's been overwhelming in the best way possible: meals brought to us, prayers said for us, cards and well-wishes from all over the globe. It's incredible, really, and hard to express the thanks we feel in just words.


In non-cancer news, we've had a great fall. I keep meaning to update on all the house projects and things we've done, but as it's been go-go-go I haven't yet. This winter! I will take a bunch of crappy photos of stuff and regale you with it all. Gotta keep it all documented for posterity's sake.

I do not have high hopes that a 10 month post will be written about Cora, but I did take the photos so I'll probably squeeze those in with her 11 month ones. Sorry to disappoint everyone, I know you're probably all depressed because of it.

A short update on her: she is crawling everywhere SOOOO fast, loves getting into every single thing she can possibly get to, still sweet and a little clingy, but otherwise basically the happiest baby on the block. She eats big people food like a person twice her size, cut her first tooth 3 days ago (beating Kate on alllll the milestones), and I'm guessing she'll be walking in the next few weeks. YIKES. Lots of changes for a cutie this size but we love her.

She fell asleep sitting up, I'm pretty sure, and then just doubled over. Flex-i-ble.

We carved photos! Guesses on which is mine and which is David's? :)

Target trips these days leave little room for actual purchases. That is another double-edged sword: good for my bank account, difficult for when we actually need to buy stuff. 

Seriously, can she GET any cuter?

This spitfire is another story altogether. We're nearing a calmer part of the threenager behavior, but entered into an all-new negotiating phase and it is exhausting. She's definitely inherited her father's penchant for arguing and negotiation.

For example:
Me: Kate, 5 more minutes until dinner time.
Kate: No, Mama, 10 more minutes!
Me: No, I said 5 minutes.
Kate: 7 more minutes?
Kate: 3 minutes?
Me: *silently rages because toddlers*

As you can tell, she needs a little practice with some numbers being smaller or larger than her intended target, but the natural gift is all there. She's got a great career as an attorney in her future, if she wants.

On the other hand, she has been extra sweet and cuddly with David's health stuff, and always tries to be very helpful, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the tantrums and stuff. It's a very faint light, but it's there.

Don't you worry, as soon as naps end (not wanting that to come quicker), I'll be taking an insane amount of photos of these two cuties in their Halloween costumes. And I'll be making an effort to take more sibling photos - I seem to have lots of photos of them separately but not many together. Whoops.

Thanks for sticking with that randomly-conglomerated photo dump. I'll be doing more of those in the next few weeks interspersed with home improvement progress stuff so you don't get too overwhelmed.

Keep us in your prayers, and thanks to everyone who's reached out already. <3

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