Rhea is 5 months!

I know what you are all thinking. But what about her four month update? Well, friends, she turned four months on Ruth’s birthday when we were traveling to Florida. So, I was a little preoccupied. Also #fourthbaby. Also, I am aware you actually didn’t even notice I skipped her fourth month update.  Moving right along! 

 Milestones: Sleeping through the night!!!!!!!!!!!!! My most favorite milestone of all. I realize there might be some regressions in our future, but I am living in the now and enjoying all of this newfound sleep. She is currently still in her little cradle, but if she keeps this up, I am going to move her to the crib in Ruthie’s room and we will have (gasp!) girls sharing a room. We’ll see how that goes. She also consistently rolls from her back to her belly, but can’t seem to roll from her belly to her back. This leads to a lot of frustrated tummy time on her part. You’ll get there, Rhea. And as you can see, she is very close to sitting up unsupported! Girl has got some core strength. I am so relieved because it is much easier to hold her on my hip than try and support her back. She is also standing in the exersaucer and twirling around to play with all the toys. She has been my most phyically ambitious child. 

 Likes: Nursing, playing in her exersaucer, tickles and kisses underneath her chin, baths, playing with her toes, laughing at her sisters, talking to her daddy, being held by anybody, hanging out in the Ergo, sucking on her lower lip, and sitting in your lap and talking to you.

  Dislikes: Initially going to sleep, being squished by Wren, tummy time, and being away from all of the action.
She is such a delightful child. Some days she is so serious and just stares at you, other days she is jubilant and giggly. She is very loud, and can be heard in any room of the house when she is really exploring her voice. She likes to hum herself to sleep while she is sucking on her lower lip, but in an agitated way and not a peaceful way. She has enormous girth, stretching even the 9 month clothing, but all of the sleeves and pants are too long, as her limbs seem to be normal sized. Her thigh rolls and cheeks are delicious. I could pinch them all day.   

We love her.

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Rosie’s birthday and why I’m taking a break from big birthday parties

I am on a big birthday extravaganzas for children hiatus. Forget Pinterest-worthy themed birthday parties, I’m not even having the party! We have reached a new familial low. Or have we? Quite frankly, with four children it was becoming unmanageable to have four big birthday parties a year. (And any party where we invite all of our close family members and friends is going to be big.) I had to clean the house, borrow a large folding table and chairs in order to have enough seating, spend a small fortune on paper plates, cups, napkins, food, drinks, and cake for everyone, and then figure out an activity that is fun for the children but won’t break the bank. And then after everyone leaves,  there is the epic clean up. I’m not saying all this to be whiny, it was a labor of love for sure, and we enjoy seeing all of our loved ones! However, with four little ones at home, doing all of the above four times a year every year was just too overwhelming for us. So Scott and I discussed it, and we decided to take a break from hosting large birthday parties this year.  And it has been liberating. 

For Ruth’s birthday, we travelled to Florida and had an intimate family party with our relatives we were visiting there. Ruth thoroughly enjoyed it. (And we did too).

For Rosie’s birthday this past weekend, we went to a pumpkin patch. And we thoroughly enjoyed that too.  



 Yup, my sister even looks gorgeous while making a silly face.  

RRuth’s grimace fake smile. Oy. 


Please pardon my awkward bangs are growing out stage. I’ve decided they are no longer worth the hassle of finding a babysitter and getting them trimmed every month. 

 Ruth will go anywhere if there is face painting. 

 We live in a weird time. I saw countless families bring their fancy cameras and try to prop up floppy and wobbly babies against pumpkins and just squat there snapping away between dives to keep the baby from face planting.  Has this always been a fixture at pumpkin patches? I even saw a couple bring their dog  and positioned it amongst the pumpkins so that they could take several pictures of it, waving dog treats around to get its attention. I felt very sorry for their Facebook friends who were about to be subjected to a 30+ picture photo album of Fido among the pumpkins. Unless they were doing it as satire. That I wholeheartedly support.  Anyway, fortunately for my Facebook friends, they have to actually click on a blog post to be subjected to endless babies and pumpkins pictures.  You’re welcome, Facebook friends.  I do it because I know if you see one more pumpkin patch picture, you are going to swear off October altogether. As for my beleaguered blog readers, I love you to the moon and back for trudging through yet another pumpkin patch post for me. I have the best readers in the whole world.  

For those of you with big families/lack of time and energy, how do you make birthday parties more manageable?  One friend of  mine said she has everyone bring a dish instead of gifts. That idea sounds intriguing.


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A Reading Rainbow (Of Books for Adults)

Every night, I relax with a (hopefully) good book. I am a devotee of the classics, but I am not above re-reading the entire Harry Potter series every year. It helps me to unwind after a hectic day and keep my mind diverted on lighter things (instead of worrying) and drift off to sleep. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I remember being scolded as a girl because my reading lamp was still on late into the night because I kept saying to myself, “just one more chapter!” I already did a list of books I wanted my girls to read here , but I wanted to divulge what I have been reading lately. Just for funsies.

For the past several months, I have been alternating between cravings for the authors P. G. Wodehouse and Rex Stout. I read Rex Stout when I am feeling particularly braced. Like God is in his heaven, and all is right with the world. My favorite series of Rex Stout’s is the Nero Wolfe series of murder mysteries, of course. Nero Wolfe is a corpulent New York City detective (from Montenegro) who lives in a brownstone with his debonair assistant Archie Goodwin, his Swiss chef Fritz, and his sea of priceless orchids in the greenhouse on the roof.  He solves murders and mahem without ever leaving his office, but only because he can send his wisecracking assitant Archie in his stead. It is an enjoyable romp, but if I am already stressed all of the murders can become upsetting after a while. This one is probably my favorite Nero Wolfe mystery.

If I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed (an admittedly common occurrence), I opt for a P. G. Wodehouse story instead. Wodehouse has two character series that I really enjoy. One is Lord Emsworth, the other is Jeeves. Lord Emsworth is a wealthy peer from England who enjoys a quiet life, but mostly his prized sow, aptly named the Empress of Blandings. His bossy sister and her nagging ways and his goofy son and his foolhardy enterprises are always interrupting his aims, however. Hilarity ensues. This is probably my favorite of the Lord Emsworth stories. The other beloved Wodehouse character, Jeeves, the personal gentleman’s gentleman, you might have heard of from the British comedy, “Jeeves and Wooster,” starring Hugh Laurie of “House” fame as Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as Jeeves. The books are even funnier. This is my favorite collection of Jeeves stories. They are laugh out loud and scare your husband half to death in the middle of the night funny.

My dear friend (and daily texting buddy) of this blog recommended this book for me. She is a lovely mama to eight children, and has been giving me sage advice on how to establish some manageable family boundaries, especially since the holiday season is coming up, and we tend to be confronted with a lot of demands on our time, funds, and energy during that time. I’m trying to get us into a workable routine so that we can avoid being stretched too thin. I’m sure many of you can relate. The Christmas season in particular can be so hectic and distracting during a time when you just want to slow down and reverently meditate on the joyful mystery of the nativity of our Lord. Anyway, the book approaches boundaries in relationships from a Biblical perspective, and I found it very enlightening. I’m not sure if I agreed with everything the author says, but I found many passages helpful nonetheless.  

What are you reading these days? I’m always on the prowl for good literature. I was thinking about starting “Jane Eyre” as my primary education was sorely lacking and I neglected to read it. But I’m hesitant because I’m afraid it will be too stressful. Ah, reading probs.  

Cover photo: “The Story Book” William Adolphe Bouguereau 

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Confession time: I am a Halloween Grinch

Yes, I admit it. I am a veritable Ebeneezer Scrooge of Halloween time. 

You know when you are growing up and you swear you will never inflict the horrible persecutions your parents inflicted on you growing up? Well, not properly getting into the spirit of Halloween was what I swore never to do.   HA!

For Ruth’s first Halloween, she was one month old. I dressed her in a little Halloween themed outfit that my sister bought for her and went to my aunt and uncle’s house to join in their neighborhood Halloween block party. Ruth pooped all over her cute outfit the minute we arrived and got so fussy we had to leave soon thereafter.
Not to be deterred, I took Ruth and two week old Rose out treat or treating the next year. Ruth donned her adorable pumpkin costume (the cheapest one I could find at Pottery Barn), I put Rose in Ruth’s old Halloween outfit from last year (underneath some bundles because it was cold) and we doggedly tried to go trick or treating. Ruth was one, so she was finished by the time we got to the end of the driveway. 

The next year, I was pregnant with our third child, and budgeting was on the forefront of my mind. That was when the seed of my Halloween grinchiness began. I bought Ruth and Rose the cheapest costumes I could from Costco, and we took them trick or treating. Walking to the house next door might as well have been 40 years across the desert with a 2 year old and 1 year old in tow, but we did make it. Ruth very much enjoyed her post two pieces of candy sugar high, and they did look cute in their costumes. 

Ruth only wore hers because I told her it was a Minnie Mouse costume. My sisters were appalled at my deception, and sided with Ruth on the goofiness of the cheap mouse costume with irrelevant questions like, “why does the mouse have a beer gut?” Et tu, Brute? 

I won’t continue to put you to sleep with the litany of Bass Halloweens. You get the idea.  But I will outline the reasons I have become a Halloween grinch in my old age.

  1. Reason 1: The kids’ costumes are so damn expensive. I mean, really! They are in all likelihood going to wear the thing once! For a few hours! And for that reason, all of the reasonable and cute secondhand costumes are harder to come by than Taylor Swift tickets.   

Picture source
You can buy the above costume for the low low price of $89! That better be real magic coming out of the wand and those wings better actually fly. That’s all I have to say.

2. The women’s costumes were clearly designed by 15 year old boys. 


Picture source
Look kids! Mom is a truck stop stripper beloved character from classic children’s literature!  Remember girls, when you grow up, Halloween is all about shedding all womanly dignity and debasing yourself as much as possible. But have fun with it! 

3. All the candy. I mean, I love candy as much as the next person, but the candy aftermath of our Halloweens is just gross.  There is no way we can possibly eat that much candy, so it just ends up being tossed.  So wasteful. (Although I have heard something about donating candy to our troops? Does anyone know about this? And more importantly, do the troops even like it?)

4. Our doorbell being rung all night long. Since our neighbors across the street build a pretty popular “haunted house” every year, teenagers with pillow cases will seriously still be ringing our door bell at 10:30 at night, waking up our kids that we put to bed at 8 over and over again. They don’t care that all of our lights are out, and they won’t pay attention to our little sign. It is exasperating.

So yes, I am a Halloween grinch.  Guilty as charged. But I DO love autumn. October weather in Atlanta is sublime. And pumpkin picking with the babes is so much fun. I love the gorgeous leaves, pumpkin spice everything, hay rides, corn mazes, candy apples, the whole nine yards. So I am not a total lost cause. But you will find me on All Saints Day a much relieved Sylvia.  



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In which I fish Wren out of a pool and other notable events from our vacation

Bright and early at the crack of 10:30 am (just like we planned) on Ruth’s birthday, we left to go see Scott’s many relatives and my aunt and cousins in Florida. Ruth was very excited to “have [her] birthday in Florida.” I had just bought some fall/winter church shoes for Ruth and Rose, and they insisted on wearing them in the car on the way to Lakeland, Florida. We knew that we would spend most of the day in the car, so Scott and I reluctantly agreed. The shoes, specifically, were these . And let me tell you, they are the worst. The girls had to stump around like Frankenstein’s monster to keep the shoes from flying off their feet. And that method wasn’t even always effective. We got some weird looks dragging two girls walking around like their knees didn’t bend into the Chick Fil A when we stopped for lunch.

And the heavens opened up and welcomed us into Lakeland. Apparently, it had been raining nonstop until we arrived. The weather while we were there, however, couldn’t have been more beautiful. Scott’s grandmother and aunt had a birthday cake for Ruth waiting when we got there, and her two little cousins had decorated the place with super hero decorations. They even had sweet gifts for her. She loved it. 

 That cake was delicious.

On Sunday, we headed to Tampa to go to mass with my aunt and uncle and cousins. Ruth and Rose had no fewer than five false bathroom breaks, and Wren was a holy terror as usual. My uncle ended up walking with Rhea in the back while my cousin chased around after Rose and Wren. Ruth very kindly allowed me to sit through the rest of the mass.

After mass, we headed back to my aunt’s house for some delicious Cuban food and birthday cake for Ruth and my cousin Grace, who also had a birthday that week. 

 Rhea is about as big as my cousin Ben.

On Monday, Scott’s dad flew into Tampa to visit and help Scott’s grandmother with whatever she needed. Scott and I immediately volunteered to go to Tampa to pick him up and hurried out the door, leaving all the girls with Scott’s selfless aunt and grandmother. It was like a fabulous vacation for us. We chatted all the way to Tampa without constant interruptions coming from the back seat (“Excuse me, mom! I see a cloud!”) and took a leisurely walk from the car to the airport to wait for Paw Paw’s plane to land. Once he arrived, I convinced the men to go get dinner at the Tampa International Plaza’s Bay Street as the traffic heading back to Lakeland was at a standstill. We drove past the gorgeous bay and ate a delicious meal at the Bay Street restaurant.  I was on cloud nine. Then, Scott’s aunt sent me a text delicately informing me that Rhea had refused her bottle and was being an all-round stinker, so we hurried back to relieve the beleaguered troops. I could not be more appreciative of Scott’s aunt and grandmother for holding down the fort so that we could escape for a little while. What a blessing.

Monday night I got the text from my dear friend Cody asking if we were ready to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, and the rest is history. BTdubs, I wore these shoes  walking all over Disney, and I could not be more pleased with them. It felt like I was walking on clouds, and not a mark was left on my feet. But they also breathe really well and worked perfectly on the surface of the sun during that hot day. 

 That it is, that it is. (As you can see, my snapchat addiction continues. The handle is sylcell, for those interested.)

Tuesday night, Scott’s aunt hosted us and Scott’s childhood friend and his family for dinner. They have a pool in their backyard, so we packed the usual two tons of swimming with toddlers paraphernalia. Wren hates the water and wants nothing to do with it. She even shrieks in  protest during her baths. So we strapped her puddle jumper on her and let her waddle around while her older sisters swam with Daddy. There was a ball that she liked to hold in her arms while she waddled. I’m sure, my dear readers, that you have already guessed what happened next.  As if in slow motion, I watched her drop her ball in the pool, lean over to reach it, and fall headfirst into the water.  I rushed over to the edge of the pool to drag her out. She was wearing her puddle jumper, so she was floating on her back, but I was still anxious to grab her ASAP. It is amazing how difficult it is to fish a toddler out of a pool. I felt like it was taking me forever to get her to shore as she floundered and thrashed. I can only imagine how stressful that would have been if she hadn’t had her puddle jumper on.  Needless to say, if her feelings on bodies of water weren’t that of deepest distrust before, that event certainly sealed the deal. She wanted nothing to do with even being near the pool after that. 

 Sweet sisters keeping warm.

 We left for St. Augustine to visit Scott’s maternal grandparents on Thursday. We wasted no time in heading to the beach on Friday.  



f you observe Ruth pretending to be a mermaid in the background. Ok, I have no idea what is going on with that last sentence, but the WordPress powers that be have decreed that I cannot fix it, so pretend that it gives my blog whimsy. 

 We enjoyed some fabulous seafood and Scott’s grandparents’ hospitality. Rhea, however, was totally thrown off her groove being away from home and was waking up every hour all night long.  So I can’t say I was totally disappointed to finally be heading home on Sunday and getting some sleep! 

 Not sure how she can possibly that smiley after a sleepless night. 

 Scott had to immediately leave on a business trip on Monday, and I have been single-momming it ever since. It is the worst.  Thank goodness for my mom and sisters. I don’t think we would have made it without them helping me with dinner/bath time/bed time (aka, the most hectic and work intensive part of my day which is coincidentally when I am most exhausted.) Counting the seconds until he is home again. 


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