Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theme Thursdays: Self-Portrait

Theme Thursday with Clan Donaldson is self-portraits this week...

becky moody age 5

rebekah lucey moody swafford age 38

Cuteness factor has decreased a polled 98%, but I'm pretty sure I'm still the same little girl under there.

I believe the first photo was taken by a family friend the summer of 1980. The second was taken on the black and white setting of my non-DSLR, by moi, yesterday. I took a million, and in all but this one I resembled either Gollum, Rosasharn from Grapes of Wrath, or inexplicably, Steve Buscemi. I used Picasa's infrared film and glow filters to get the same effect as the first photo.

Kind of humbling to see how the face changes and not be ashamed of everything that comes with age. And so wonderful to see how little features are passed down to the children. Far more often family and friends point out how much the kids look like Obi than they do me. But I asked AnneMarie, Naomi and Isaac who the picture of the child was, and they all thought it was themselves! So there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Know What You Did Last Weekend

You know how big important, overworked performers like Beyonce or Flavor Flav make news by cancelling huge engagements "due to exhaustion?" Well, I believe the Family Es has joined such distinguished ranks, because this weekend, all plans were cancelled due to exhaustion.

Honestly, I don't know what happened, but something like Obi and I woke up Saturday morning and just. couldn't. move. So we didn't. I mean move - move. We were supposed to pack up a big truck this weekend and bring it down to the new place, but instead, we enjoyed a rousing weekend of doing absolutely nothing. No packing. No visiting. No home fixing upping. 

It was glorious.  Due to exhaustion.

Anywhere, here are some lowlights of our nonsense:

 Due to circumstances too confusing and yet still too boring to share, Obi and I ended up going to Mass alone with Peter and Jude. I can't remember when we have done this, but it can't have happened since probably Joseph was a toddler. I am all for taking the big glorious family to Mass, babies, toddlers, skulking teens all together in the pews. But this was just so nice with just the two of them. I know God speaks to me and gives me grace through all those wrangling motherhood moments that leave me feeling more frazzled than refreshed after Sunday Mass. But I felt like He Himself was so grateful for this quiet Mass with just the big boys, and actually gave me the grace to just savor that short hour alone, praying with those two. It is easy for me to forget I need the grace to simply relax and enjoy little gifts when they are unexpectedly given. God is Love.

And then we got ice cream, so...

And it was nitrogen ice cream? Are you kidding me? Internet? Why didn't you tell me? NITROGEN ICE CREAM?

Yeah, they pour some sugared cream into a bowl, spray some nitrogen in it, and Abracadabra! (which was the name of the place) Ice cream! Seriously, I didn't know this was a thing!


...and gallant
So extremely cool, so extremely good, got to bring the other kids here before we leave.

What else did we do?  

Seriously, I'm not kidding that we did nothing.

Other than Joseph dug in the random trash heaps, as is his usual,

here he is actually taking a nice print out of a gross frame,
not because he wanted the print, but because he lives his life
in hopes that someone stuffed their life savings behind the paper
of a frame and forgot about it. 

and spotted Slenderman's Army of Girlfriends at the mall.

which really freaked him out. he is never going to the mall
or to bed again.

Where, actually, we did really go and got crazy deals at The Gap, I am embarrassed to say. I'm not kidding crazy. I guess it pays not to be barbecuing and beer swigging and beach going, because I got this dress for Momo for $6.30.

And here is AnneMarie, after Jude and I coached her into posing like a bonafide OOTDer: pigeon toed, one hand on hip, looking demurely askance and downward. 

diaper by luvs

Anyway, dress for $14, leather shoes for $2.85. Yes. Really.

Jude WAS NOT satisfied at AnneMarie's half-hearted attempt at fashion blog greatness and had to get in on the action himself.

Brah-veaux, Jude Marcus, Brah. Voh.

...And I bought him that shirt pictured for $3.47. Cheaper than Goodwill, dear Weblog.

Which brings the three day weekend to a screeching hault. Good morning, Tuesday. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Six Shades of Grey or Theme Thursday : Bodies

How fun! Theme Thursday with Cari this week is Bodies!  

I thought (which isn't that easy for me) that it would be really cool to take a closer look at my children's beautiful eyes and all their varied colors, because that is just so darn fascinating to me and this is my Web Log. 

Honestly, I was planning on doing a little mash-up of my and Obi's eyes, our powers combined to create this sparkly color palate, but Obi's not here and I have crow's feet, so... 

Let's just say my eyes can best be described thusly: a shallow bland puddle of meaningless greyness. 

Obi, on the other hand, has gems to be described by only the most hyperbolic language as Otherwordly Supernatural Ocean Mystifying Lightness of Green-hinted-Blue.

And here are the offspring:

Peter: the babiest of blues

Jude: the bluest 

Joseph: indescribable color changing cat eyes, closest in our family to yellow speckled green, probably what less poetic people call hazel

AnneMarie: soft, powdery, yellow tinged grey-blue

 The Girl Formerly known as Momo: the lightest eyes in the family, almost translucent, water-color cornflower blue

Isaac: jury is still out on little guy, as I've read your eyes are not their fixed color until you are about three. But for now, I'm going with yellow speckled sweet baby grey.

I tried to take all the pictures in the same light at the same time, but still they caught different angles and light saturation, so it isn't a perfect photo shoot or comparison. But I think I captured each kids' eyes pretty accurately. Eyes are timeless, and looking at these, some of them look so so old, and some so so young. But I'm not saying which about whom. I'm their mom.                                                                       

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Five Favorites

Joining Moxiewife for Five Favorites, because I am just so grateful for so much, really, no sarcasm. Really!

photo credit Jude himself, he has only himself to blame for his weirdness

Teenage Boys!   Boy, do they get a bad wrap.  But we have never moved before with two of them.  Peter was 13 when we moved in here, Jude was 11. Now, they are 16 and almost 15 and both at least 6 feet tall.  They have been so unspeakably helpful moving all the big stuff.  We have taken three loads down to the new house, and Obi has only directed while they have done every single bit of the lifting and moving.  Obi (who to be totally fair, is stronger than the two of them put together) has a really bad back, and constant lifting always ends with him in super bad pain. No more! Thanks, boys!


Ohmigosh! we love U Haul! What a blessing. Obvious? But still, how could we do it, or anyone?  And even better, Obi keeps reserving simply a trailer, which would be small, etc. but they are cheap.  And U Haul keeps running out of them, but since we have it reserved, they keep giving us huge trucks complete with a car trailer on the back FOR THE SAME PRICE! Because they are that committed to keeping their commitments.  Thanks!


Jamaican Blue Mountain Reserve Coffee!  My dad ordered this for me for my birthday last month, and it came WITH MY VERY OWN NAME ON IT!  I cannot tell you how that lifted my spirits.  A truly excellent personalized gift that really had the effect of making me feel special? Cheesy! Yes, please!  And to top it off, this stuff was so, so good. Probably the best home brewed coffee I have ever made, and I am unapologetically well known for spending more on my coffee than my children's combined well being. So I know good.


Towelhoodies!   These are the beautiful brainchild of my fantastically talented and creative sister-in-law Melissa Moody. She hand makes each one with care, and they are the definition of beauty and luxury.  Each of my kids has one of these and we take them everywhere.  They cut down on so much towel laundry for me because each kid really only uses their own and they hang them up by the hood and keep them clean.  Absolutely one of my favorite all time products.  AND!!!! She has just opened up business on Amazon, so, you go girl!


ragamuffin not included

Speaking of birthdays and handmade beauty, my darling little sister sent me this gorgeous pocketbook handmade by Anagrassia. The artist is none other than my sister's sister-in-law's roommate's sister, which basically makes me famous. Anyway, it is a thing of loveliness with real leather, real silk, and basically too beautiful to be seen with me, but it is an inanimate object and therefore I have power over it. Soooo....

Thanks for stopping by! And I have no time to proofread (much to my professor-father's chagrin,) so sic. sic. sic. All covered.  There ya go! On your way!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What Life Looks Like Right Now

Dear Web Log,

There is nothing normal about these awkward, frantic-frenzy filled days Team Es is living out, but instead we are attempting to rely on whatever rhythms have established themselves as the backbone normal of the past. 

That means getting up, getting kids up, feeding and lunch prep, off to school, play with my own babies and babysitting kids while doing laundry, cleaning kitchen and meal prep, Momo goes off to school, Isaac and babysitted kid take a nap while I pray, clean up more, plan rest of day, try to get workout in, get Momo from school, feed her, and big kids while they come home from school one by one, say goodbye to babysitted kid(s), start dinner, take miscellaneous kids to miscellaneous practices, finish dinner, pick up kids, eat, clean up dinner, help with homework, finish laundry, bathe little ones, brush, floss, jammie them, pray together, read and sing to little ones in bed, yell at big kids to get off whatever electronic device and get into bed, wander aimlessly from room to room picking up socks, math assignments, ping pong balls and my car keys (why my car keys!!!) and interiorly scourge myself for not getting a run in before I collapse into my comforter induced coma.

So that is the backbone I am working from, but These Days have the added bonus categories of
 "No Dad!" 
"End of Year Projects!"
 "Spending Every Weekend Hauling Six Kids and a Truckload to The New House Four Hours Away!"
 "Training an Adult Dog That the Bathroom is Just for Human Pee!"
 "Training a Toddler That Five Pound Doggies Don't Like to Give Piggyback Rides!" 
Did I mention "No Dad!"

So it's basically non-stop fun. I have had the absolute pleasure of removing the category: "Show Your House Like a Model Home in Order to Sell It," because the second family that toured the place gave us an offer, we accepted, and it is now under contract. So Hoo to the Ray to that, and a shout out to our man, St. Joseph, without whose prayers we would have long ago settled for lodging at Hope Rescue Mission in South Bend. Which is actually a nice place, so thanks for nothing, St. Joe.

Here are some shots of our present normal, Rebekah Es commentary to the minimum:

Momo in just about the only place we can keep her contained in her much deserved time-outs. She has recently insisted on being called "Naomi" wherever that came from. Not now, Momo, not just now.

Finally learned to put himself for a nap.  Necessity is the Mother of Discipline.

Our pretty? faces. Sunglasses to ward off the incessant headaches, unbrushed hair (all) (wish it was because of the Excuses) Melasma mustache, no time for the thrice daily regime that keeps it at bay of exfoliate, acid treat, apply SPF 400.

Obi wanted to make a billboard titled "Child Size" for this one. In defense of my mothering, this was a lemonade grossly shared amongst our whole family.  It wasn't a liter of Mountain Dew Extreme for Isaac to call his very own.

What we have to look forward to, from the top: view out the front windows of the new house, banyan trees out back, a too young coconut from the trees in the yard, the milk was delicious but the flesh wasn't quite ripe. 

So, twelve days of school left, a whole lot of work before us, so much to look forward to. We'll make it. But most days, it doesn't feel like it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Theme Thursday : Animals

Thought I would take a break from the regularly scheduled  panicking, cleaning, showing the house rotation with regular intervals of vomiting from exhaustion and crying out to God in anguish, to join Cari for Theme Thursday: Animals! Aren't you glad I did?

I was planning on just re-using this old post where Joseph's beautiful snake swallows a mouse whole (as opposed to a mouse hole), but then I said, you know what, that's not in the spirit of the rigorous guidelines behind Theme Thursday, I'll just get AnneMarie of the Sunshine Hair a dog.  And I did.

Or something like that. I cannot imagine how we ended up with this little fluffball.  But I think amidst all the panicked frenzy of the Big Move AnneMarie had her 9th birthday and ONLY wanted a little bitty doggie, and prayed ceaselessly for one, and the weekend before her big day we checked in with Craig and his list of strangers with goods and found her soul mate. She is a Yorkie-Bichon Frise designer dog three years young who was owned by a young lady who really did not have the capacity to care for her. And somehow we did?  

Anyway, she is AnneMarie's now, with matching curly blond hair to prove their destined friendship.

She is surprisingly a complete delight and I feel it was a blessing that God led us to her, whom AnneMarie has named Brie. 

Well, almost a complete delight, if anyone has any suggestions on training a grown dog to be crate-trained through the night it would be greatly appreciated.  We have figured out she spent enormous amounts of time in there and unlike any well mannered canine, wets it every single night. I think she has just assumed she is going to be in there forever, so she might as well be comfortable.  

How do we get her to understand she doesn't have to do this?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Thanks be to Jen for hosting!

Can't stop thinking about Micaela from California to Korea and her excellent post about the hardships of day to day life and transcendent joy. Such an outstanding reflection on the nature of deep fulfillment vs. the daily experience of the grind that takes you there. And it so much reminded me of this:

which everyone in the world has already seen, but if you haven't, what...what are you waiting for?


Ever wonder why someone wouldn't join Facebook? Colleen wrote a great assessment of why she is not on Facebook. I wouldn't say my issues with it are exactly the same as her's, but I love the basic idea of understanding where your personal temptations lie, and acting accordingly.


To continue with blog wonderfullness, my friend Dave Fantz and his family have been chronicling their experience adopting two toddlers from China, and he wrote a heart wrenching piece about his thankfulness for the birth mothers of his children. Astoundingly fresh take from a father's perspective on the sacrifice that all mothers make, perfect for Mother's Day.  Read it at his blog, Born Anew In Our Hearts.


No, not through with the blogs just yet! (Do I have a life outside this computer? No.)  Britt at the Fisk Files organized a 30 day pact to anyone willing (and I was? what is wrong with me? rhetorical) to do the Jillian 30 Day Shred, for yeah, 30 days. But I agreed to do my own altered routine, ditching JM for the Busy Mom Bodyweight workout + my 20 miles running a week, for the next 30 days. In times of stress (moving) I tend to hibernate and live off of peanut M & M's. So maybe this will help? Started on Wednesday, so far so sore. 


Yesterday was Obi's last day at his Orlando job. Very sad for him, and especially for them. Anybody would be sad to let this guy go:

this photo sponsored by 7-11, awaiting the check's arrival any day now
Is there ever anything quick about the Quick Takes? I declare a misnomer.

Why am I such a crappy blogger you ask?

This is why. No, not the messy kitchen or the unclothed toddler, that never hurt anyone. The fact that three keys are missing off of my keyboard. Courtesy unsupervised unclothed toddler and a not very entertaining educational video in which a small boy named Diego rescues a baby sloth. 

Honest to goodness, with just three more keys at my disposal, I would be giving Dostoevsky a run for his rubbles. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Theme Thursday: Mom

Guest Post: Catherine Sophia Nolan

Joining Cari for this week's Theme Thursday: Mom, which I thought would be the greatest opportunity for a first here on the weblog since my own beautiful mother is a thousand miles away: a guest post! The middle sister of the girl band Felicita, featured here on the weblog a couple days ago, is my charming and talented niece Catey, who celebrated her 11th birthday just over a week ago.

Without further ado, here are Catey's pictures of her mother, my little sister Anne.

"Nothing compares to a mom, with their warm and soothing smile, and their finger that points you to the right direction, with help from God. Everyone needs a mom." 

-Catherine Sophia Nolan

 Trying to suppress my urge to add my own one hundred and two cents,because these pictures and caption make me want to cry, but I think they speak for themselves. But I must say Catey absolutely knows what she is talking about in the above quote. Her mother is the one and only teacher Catey has ever had. Go homeschool!  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Deep Thoughts With Peter and Jude

Can I just say I love blog posts with little kid conversations and observations?  Rosie is particularly good at this, or maybe her kids are just particularly adorable so that's really cheating. 

Anyway, I am here to let mothers of littles know that the hilarity doesn't stop at five, at least around here, where we tend to grow them on the blond side, it lasts well into the teen years. 

Smart lookin' fella, right? Riiiiight. Peter recently attended his JROTC award ceremony where he received recognition for Academic Excellence, Varsity Sports, and winner of the Cadet Challenge push-up competition (99 in 60 secs, give it a try if you think you can do better).

For which achievement he was given a family size package of peanut M and M's, or in the Es House, the candy equivalent to solid gold, and a sighting more rare than Bigfoot (which isn't really all that rare). 

So in typical Peter (doh!) fashion, he blurted out mid-weekend loungetime, "HOW DID I FORGET?! A FAMILY SIZE BAG OF PEANUT M AND M'S!!! IN. MY. BACKPACK!" Bringing all the boys to his yard.

But being Peter, he also generously shared with all the comers.

please ignore the deep cleaning that be a'happening in the background

But of course a certain someone wasn't satisfied. Never is.

So the convo went like this:

Peter: Jude. You've had enough. I earned these. Back off.


Peter: Fine. You can have one and walk away, or we can play rock paper scissors for double or nothing.

Jude: Double or nothing.

Peter: Rock. Paper. Sci...


Which ended in Jude stuffing half of the remainding in his mouth during a wild chase through the house, ending with a hold down tackle by Peter and Obi, and owing Peter a new bag.

But both being...challenged?...they are the best of friends, as evidenced by a recent car conversation during which I remained completely silent and utterly mortified.

Jude (staring mindlessly out the window): Peter. (prolonged silence and staring) How could They invent cars?

Peter: I know! Crazy.

Jude: I just don't understand how someone sat there and just thought that and then made it. 

Peter:  I know. Crazy.


Peter: I don't even understand how They made electricity, really. I don't understand how They made anything.

Jude: I have no idea.

Peter: It's just the same thing as magic to me. It's just like magic. No different.

Jude: (prolonged silence and staring) Me too.

Peter: But I can't wait 'til They make hoverboards. That will be awesome.

Jude: Yeah, that's gonna be awesome. I can't wait.

*Whoever "They" are, take note. My sons are truly impressed. And get with that hoverboard thing, will ya?*

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shout Out to My Girls: Felicita!

My darling little sister, who somehow grew up and gave birth to six of the most precious little babies the world has ever seen, managed to have two daughters on the same day, four years apart. And that day is today! 

Nine short years ago, Mara Faustina received the best birthday gift a four year old girl could wish for: a brand new sister, Felicity Claire! (My sister comes up with the best names, doesn't she?)

These girls, 9 and 13 (13?!?!? is that possible?) have the most amazing spirits and have enriched our family with their friendship and fun since the day they were born. 

But not only that! Talent! Along with their dad, a musician by trade, Mara and Felicity and their middle sister, Catey, created their own band, 


Their first song "Backyard," about the true childhood joys of summer time, was written, can it be? three years ago, and is so spectacular we are still blown away. Witness, trust me, just click for two seconds and you'll be hooked:

And the second, written two springs ago, "Listen," a Midwest girl's pining for summer to hurry up and start already, truly shows how much they grew in just one year as musicians and young ladies:

Which leads me to ask, on the anniversary of their birth, "Where is the next video?" My summer was totally incomplete last year without a Felicita video as its soundtrack, so please, girls,

 Happy, Happy Birthday!

but come on, we need a song!

Friday, May 3, 2013

7QT: 5k + 5 kids

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 215)

Thanks again to Jennifer Fulwiler for the opportunity to join the Seven Quick Takes madness!


Been trying so hard, and failing even harder, with sticking with an adequate running routine. Because of our moving upheaval, the babysitting during the day, and taking the kids to activities in the afternoon, I either have to get up at 5 to run by myself, or run in the evening with an entire entourage of children of various ages and talents. Which means I have been running in the evening with an entire entourage.


And I am here to tell you, dear Web Log, it is entirely doable!

I stick Isaac in the jogging cart, put Momo and AnneMarie on their bikes, and inevitably Joseph will join us, even though he is old enough to sit home and clean up dinner for me, which is the only thing that seems less appealing to him than tagging along on my run. And inevitably some neighborhood kid or other will see us gearing up and ask to tag along. So there we are, not a spectacle at all.


It goes a little something like this...

I get a good pace going, just start to zone out and listen to the pitter patter of my footsteps in my head, when...

One of my five companions notices the moon is out and begging to be gazed at, the magnolias are just blooming and begging to be sniffed, "just ONE time." And the whole operation comes to a hault.


So I round them up, move 'em out, and we're off again, because these things happen.  And then we're just getting a good pace going, ignoring the fact that Isaac has Houdinied his way out of his seat belt, and...

Joseph's chain falls off. Every time. Every time.


But it's all good, these things have a way of happening, we just go forward, ever anticipating that moment where I feel like I am actually exercising.  And then...

we stop to scare away a gator, because you know we haven't seen one since our last run.

Which is just fine, but results in this:

And Isaac has his own personal workout for as long as he can keep the stroller straight without tantrumming. While I walk, practicing interior mortification and suppressing all urges to leave them all in Joseph's charge for about 30 short minutes so I can just run three feet without stopping!


And somewhere about this time, we get a real run in because Isaac is worn out, the scenery is the same because we are on our way back, I can finally feel my heart rate raising from something other than frustration, and we stop for this:

Because who wouldn't?  

Total distance traveled: 5k

Duration: Just one short hour

Reward: Tired kids, tired mom, tired sun

Like I said, doable.