1 year ago

Just dropping by to share my warm fuzzies

P A L M  S U N D A Y.
Worst Mass performance by the children Svellinger thus far.

Let me build it up first before rolling around in the mud that was yesterday’s folly.
Mass with our 4 boys usually consists of:

-one trip to the potty
-one trip to nurse Jude
-3 or 4 face slaps or hair-pulls from Jude.
-frequently reminding Collin to sit/stand/kneel
-shuffling the missal/chorus books around so each child has ONE JUST ONE! or none at all if I sense page-tearing is on the agenda.
-on the rare occasion, asking Lexington to stop undulating his head like a banshee.

Of course, Emmett brings a different level of young-child-at-Mass challenge: he has Autism. He frequently quotes movie lines which are mostly inappropriate for the occasion.  But we only watch G-PG Disney’s so the worst you’ll hear from him is “GET OUT AND STAY OUT!” (Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas) …and on the super rare occasion, Emmett might remember that one time Craig was playing with the Dubsmash App and Emmett overheard a “HELL YEEEYAHHH!”

Sometimes, sometimes things work out perfectly and Collin sits still, and Jude doesn’t even need to nurse, and Lexington actually pays attention, and Emmett sings out “Ave, ave, ave Maria. Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-ri-ah.” during the Consecration and oh, my goodness do Craig and I feel so fuzzy and full of proudness and zest and sprinkles from the twisty soft serve waffle cone ice cream. Yes we do, man, life is good.

But yesterday.

Okay, so we arrived 20 minutes late, the Gospel was already being read.
I was really excited, knowing it was a long read, the Palm Sunday Gospel (LK 22:14—23:56) and Emmett, who loves to read along would enjoy this.
So we shuffled into a pew -a FRONT ROW pew- situated in the in the middle of the entire place.
As it happened, the spot that Emmett and I were standing was directly under a light– basically a spotlight, for the events that were about to blunder onward.
Emmett sat, and even though we were supposed to be standing, forcing Emmett never works out in the favor of silence, so I sat with him while the others stood.

I opened up the Missal, caught up to the right spot, and pointed at the words so Emmett could follow along. He was delighted.
He was even more excited when he discovered the entire congregation was required to speak parts of the reading, in unison.

This is going good. We are doing good. And right as I thought that, we came upon the part when “the crowd” cries out:


Well. Emmett thought that was funny. Hilarious, in fact.
So he starts giggling. I can handle giggling.  I ask emmett to “turn the volume down”. This is how he understands that he’s too loud, but it works 50/50.
Still, giggling is okay, there are wors–


Emmett was now using a guttural, throaty voice and bellowing those lines repeatedly, cackling in between.

So there we were, me and my possessed child, sitting under a harsh ceiling spotlight, for everyone to make note of.

So I’m scrambling to point Emmett’s finger to the bottom of the next paragraph, where everyone else had carried onto, looking forward to the next crowd response, hoping Emmett will latch onto whatever’s next, but he waves my hand away, cackling, with eyes only for CRUCIFY HIM.
I glanced up at Craig, who was now being repeatedly head-butted by Jude.

My armpits were sweating, and my head felt the heat from those ridiculously focused ceiling lights, and I prepared to excuse Emmett and myself, but I looked down and was relieved to see he’d flipped to an entirely different page and was reading quietly to himself.

I stood up, wishing I could evaporate into nothing at will, and finished following the Gospel reading.

Really, aside from Collin loudly whimpering, flailing as I picked his person up from the church floor, and completely going noodle-body multiple times as both Craig and I tried to correct him; aside from Lexington’s sudden intense thirst for water “MOM! I AM REALLY REALLY REEEEEALLY THIRSTY” He scream whispered multiple times with big doe eyes, and Emmett delving back into his loud-voiced mutterings…
…that was the worst part.

A kind gentleman passed us his oragami’d Palm-into-a-Cross after Mass and told us we had good boys.
I will leave you here to imagine my inner facial expression.   


1 year ago

Shall we?

Begin with a sponsored post? You got it. I’m always on the lookout for Catholic artists, companies, shops- what have you- and it really wasn’t until I came out of my blogger shell into the Catholic blogging community that I found them.  They are abundant if you know where to look!  The problem is, a lot of it is hokey, or trying so hard to be cool that it looks protestant (no offense, protesters, but there’s a reason I’m Catholic).

Catholic Threads tapped me on the Instagram shoulder and said, this shirt: you like. I nodded, and here we are.

I’m a funny person about shirts- the short sleeves can’t give me armpit wedgies because I’m not 15 anymore, the neck can’t be too low cut for sooo many reasons but one of them includes me learning a lesson going out in public with a V cut and bending to put down my child after nursing him, only to catch a glimpse of a free-hanging nip through the open neck of my tee– viewable to everyone in front of me. The crowd cleared brilliantly fast.

Anyway- I picked this one and oh how pretty! And NAVY!

And listen- you people who fashion blog with multiple children in tow –how? HOW.  Because by the time I’d captured this shot, all four children were mewling loudly for no reason at all. And then my nerves were fried all for this photograph.  Maybe everyone else does have wailing and gnashing of their children’s teeth in the background and I’m none the wiser?  Anyway, you win, fashionista mamas, you win. I go drink a large …glass of water… now.

YOU, on the other hand, are welcome to 10% off at Catholic Threads with the code: SVELLERELLA

Happy Sunday!

1 year ago

The merciful grace in my child’s question.

Yeah, hi February.  I started this year doing something I’ve never done before: I chose 3 words to live by:

Property of Carolyn Svellinger


Except, as usual with me, things have beelined the opposite. I’m trying to deal with strange chronic pain that seems to have popped up out of the blue over the last few months.  When you try to do your daily things- you know, like balancing 4 children on one finger, but it hurts to lift that finger -things just suck, and those words you were pumped up to live out are staring at you and they just suck.
And so January flies by and one day you’re standing in the kitchen peeling a tangerine for your 3 year old, who is perfectly able to peel it on his own but insists that you do it at the pain of falling to the floor in devastation per usual 3 year old style.  And you flop the first half of that tangerine into a bowl and hand it to your child, who at his age, is best known for demanding things from you instead of engaging in genuine conversation, but he stops you with an unusual question:

“Mom, do you want to smell my orangie?”

Property of Carolyn Svellinger

And in my grey state, I consider distractedly saying, “No, just eat your orange.” mentally adding “and leave me alone for 10 minutes together.”


But instead, I chose the opposite. And let me tell you, it was an effort to muster, “Yes, I do, honey.” and it was an effort to bend down and actually sniff the thing. My body resisted leaning forward, and putting my nose on that piece of fruit.

One sniff was all it took to drop me into a California orange grove.  I stood there and felt the warm western sun. I inhaled the vibrant greens and the clear sky.  I felt my skin open and accept vitamin D. The tension in my neck, legs, and spine relaxed.

Property of Carolyn Svellinger

And then I exhaled, landing back in the kitchen where bare brown trees stood dully, staring at me through the window with long Ohio faces.

I looked down at Collin and smiled.

property of Carolyn Svellinger

In one simple question from my child, I was given the decision to choose all three of my words this year. I took it.

Thanks, C. That’s all I needed.



1 year ago

Hi there- 2015 Svell Recap

I guess I took Advent off? Sure.
Plus, I had some (not serious at all) health issues to deal with and holiday stresses and with a baby who is now crawling and climbing and cruising everywhere, sitting down to think for a few minutes hasn’t been an option.  I’m not complaining. I’m the epitome of a silent sufferer –oh look, there went Craig’s eyes across the floor.

I hope you had a brilliant Christmas day.  We have been able to celebrate with family, and this is the first time in 2 years that we haven’t been sick! I have a brand new nephew, another nephew or nice on the way, and the love I have for my family is just brimming more than normal this time of the year –Maybe because I got a hammered, copper cookie jar, maybe not. wink.

I cannot wrap my mind around sending out little slips of paper with our picture, and the energy/postage it takes to accomplish that feat, only for them to be tossed in the trash, so here’s our Christmas e-card for you:

Property of Carolyn Svellinger


and here’s one that didn’t make the grade:

property of Carolyn Svellinger

Three (or so) things:

  • My Etsy Shop! Brass & Mint co. will open 2016.  After realizing I’d drive myself nuts trying to open during Advent while still working out printing/mailing/shipping, I knew it’d be best to wait. I feel so much better opening into the new year. Keep a lookout on Instagram for me to post my shop profile soon, and you can follow along with my sketches and scribbles.


  • New Year Goals! I. Dislike. Them.  SOMUCH. But here’s the funny: I found a video I made almost one year ago exactly for my online Catholic Women community, and watching it made me realize that we have conquered those and so much more. Um, WE BOUGHT A HOUSE this year. Collin was in pull-ups and mostly dry 24/7 by the time he turned 3. Emmett has also started the long, slow (for him and us) process of potty training. I HAVE SURVIVED HOMESCHOOLING– and I love it. LOVE IT! <<words I was so afraid I’d never utter! So I’ll make a new video with our new goals for 2016 and post it here this year. Maybe.  Here’s the one from January 2015 (which I never intended to make public, so its not the best quality, but serves me as a reminder not to be overwhelmed with the prospect of heavy life loads):


2015 Selfie Collage

My personal favorite is Jude’s coming home video:

I’d be a stupider fool than I credit myself for being if I didn’t mention Craig and I have so much for which to be joyful and grateful from 2015. Looking back, I feel indebted to God and every single person He set in our path to help us accomplish what we have.  Profoundly indebted, and blogging it can’t even cover the extent of it, so I’ll just leave it alone for now.

If I don’t post again til January, you’d do best to find me on Instagram, or playing Mario Kart with my people.  Bye.