Sunday, June 16, 2013

We've Moved!!

Not from our house, but from our blog.  We have a new address!  And a new name!  Over the past month we made the decision to combine our two blogs Fresh Coat Of Paint and Crinion Clan into one.  We're giddy excited to welcome you to...

House for Five

The new blog will be the familiar journal you could find at Fresh Coat Of Paint - the DIY adventures of transforming this old house into our home.  We'll just be sharing more about our life as a family of five there now too.  We were nervous to make the switch, but are so excited about the change!  We hope all of you will move over to House For Five right along with us!

Our Welcome post has all the juicy details on why we did it and what's in store at the new blog.  So, come on over and join the house warming!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Grant the Great

The past couple weeks have had the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  Within a two-day span four friends announced news of a new baby on the way.  Delight!  Another friend proposed to his perfect mate in the most romantic way (you can see his awesome video of it here).  And we made a last minute decision to book tickets to CA to visit my family next week (instead of later in the summer).  So much to be excited about and look forward to.

Then there was this past week....heart shattering with the loss of our dear friends' 6-year old son Grant and the devastating situation in Oklahoma.  I just came back from Grant's wake and funeral mass on the east coast and my mind is just reeling.  His death rocked us to the core (I'll share more about how this impacted our own family in a later post).  And every time I start crying in the grocery store because I'm overcome by his loss, my mind goes straight to his parents Joe and Bridget and his siblings, whose sense of loss is magnified by the thousands. 

And God.  God who weeps with us and feels every stabbing pain that splinters our heart is there in the midst of both.  An artist knitting in a life-filled womb, and building hope into a lifetime of together, he receives our thanks, and praise, and pleas for all is well as we bask in the highs.  And He is there in the darkest hour too, turning all is lost into the opportunity for something new.

For all of you that have and continue to pray for Grant and his family (and ours), we thank you and wanted to share a bit about him from the funeral.  The Priest knew the family well and his words at the mass were a beautiful tribute to him.  He described Grant as many Artist, a Theologian, a Defense Attorney, an Olympian, and many others.

I won't share the whole letter from the family about who their son was, but here are some bits and pieces about "Grant the Great"...

"He was a sweet, sensitive little boy with a heart for serving and sharing  It gave him great joy to divide his candy equally among eager siblings, to offer dessert to a sibling who had lost his, to give money to the poor, to give away a prized possession saying "I want you to have this".  He was given a gift for compassion and would advocate for amnesty even for a sibling who had wronged him.

He loved being from a big family. He wanted to be home and home was wherever the family was.  He loved cuddling on the couch and surprising us with acts of service.  He was the first to say, "Thank you for this great meal, "Thank you for taking us here", "Thank you for the work you do, Dad".  He loved playing sports with his brothers, wrestling, playing board games, collecting bugs, and jumping from the stairs into his Dad's arms.  He had a special place in his heart for his baby brother Luke and was always delighted to hold him.  He had a special love for animals, and was so sad to see others suffer.  He accepted apologies quickly, responding with forgiveness, a hug and an eagerness to get back to playing together.

Looking back, in many ways, the Holy Spirit was preparing us that the soul entrusted to us 6 1/2 years ago would be returning home to his Creator.  In the past 3 months, we were blessed with more carefree timelessness as a family than we have had in years.  We read Little Pilgrim's Progress together this past month, a story about children on their journey to heaven.  Grant couldn't wait and read the whole book himself.  He was so excited to read the final chapters this past week, with the children arriving in the Celestial City.  Grant said that this life was just "God's hotel", a stopping place on our way Home.  When his sister asked him this past week where he would go if he could go anywhere, he enthusiastically said, "Heaven."  When Holly asked again where he would go on this earth, he persisted in his same response, "Heaven.".  We were all able to hug and kiss Grant and tell him we loved him during the Sign of Peace at Mass two hours before his accident.

He would have been so grateful to the scores of medical personnel who gave all they had trying to save him, to those who let his mother fly on the helicopter with her dying son, for the priest who was there in minutes to administer Last Rites, to Fr Rathan, who spent hours with our family during the longest 36 hours of our lives, saying Mass at Grant's bedside twice, administering his 1st Holy Communion and Confirmation, taking the name of his favorite saint, Padre Pio.  He would have been grateful to each one of you, for the support, love, faith, and hope you surround us with and the mercies that are new each morning that remind us of God's love and presence."

As Bridget spoke at her son's funeral, she described the difficult conversation they had with their children the night Grant passed away.  Grant's story had quickly spread all over the internet and there were thousands of people all over the globe praying for his recovery.  Praying for a miracle.

The kids asked with so many people praying for Grant how could he not be healed.  In that moment the Holy Spirit gave them the analogy of Grant's life being like a little tea light that's is now a grand chandelier....

"His little tea light on earth touched many.  In his dying and death, he brought us all to our knees because it was the only place to go.  He was surrounded with thousands of prayers from family, friends, and strangers that transformed his little tea light on earth into a chandelier in heaven that is touching so many more."

The priest who was with the family at the hospital described this scene at the time when Grant's condition and his future were completely uncertain.  Joe (Grant's dad) came into the hospital room and said, "Well, there are three possibilities. The first is that there's a miracle and our son rises from this which case we'll give praise and glory to God.  The second is that Grant lives but will forever be which case we'll give praise and glory to God.  And the third is that God takes Grant which case we'll give praise and glory to God."

And so we do.  We thank you God, for taking Grant.  We thank you that he did not have to suffer through the rest of his life here on earth, and for all the ways his precious life continues to touch those near and far.

Rest in peace, sweet Grant.  You are home at last.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

One Special Boy

Happy Pentecost, Friends! 

First, a huge thanks to all of you that have been praying for Grant and his family.  Earlier this week Grant was playing in a field with some other kids when a horse was spooked and kicked Grant in the throat.  He was without air for some time and although they were able to revive a heartbeat, he remained in critical condition with brain activity unknown. 

On Friday night Grant went to be with the Lord, passing peacefully and without pain.  We are overwhelmed by the loss of this precious child, and for the pain and loss our dear friends are experiencing.  Yet, we are also inspired by their faith, hope and joy in the midst of such tragedy.  We chose pretty amazing Godparents for our own two boys. 

I was also this special family's nanny when Grant was a baby and am grateful to be able to attend the funeral Mass/services this week while James mans the fort here with the kids.

We truly appreciate you keeping this family in your prayers as they mourn, grieve, and celebrate their son's life.  
This picture is actually from last spring but here's the Thill Family.  From left to right....Back row - Joe (dad), Holly, Autumn, baby Luke & Bridget.  Front row -  Ryan, Grant, & Troy.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Request

I'm going to hold off on my 7QT post for today and ask instead for your prayers. The 6 year old little boy on that stretcher is Grant.  I was his nanny when he was a baby and his parents are Sully and Jack's Godparents. 

Grant and some other children were playing in a field on a farm while the family was on vacation.  A nearby horse got spooked and kicked Grant in the throat.  They've assessed that his trachea was broken and he is in critical condition.  He was without oxygen for a significant amount of time and although they were able to revive a heartbeat, brain function is unknown.  If you would keep this sweet boy, his other 5 siblings and his dear parents in your thoughts and prayers we would greatly appreciate it. Their faith is strong, hope secure, but hearts very fragile.  

We created a Facebook page for the blog and will share any updates there.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Mother's Day Edition!

Prepare yourself.  Some seriously underwhelming Mommy's Day attire is ahead.  But for good reason!  This year our parish started an American Heritage Girls troop.  It's very similar to Girl Scouts, but is Christ-centered in every aspect.  They are a "...non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country." And we have loved every minute!

Mia is part of the youngest unit, The Pathfinders.  And I am their fearless leader.  I seriously lucked out with the sweetest group of 5 year old girls and we've had a blast.  We got a late start and had our fair share of first year hiccups, but we were still able to work in flag etiquette, meteorology, first-aid, cake decorating, a few community service activities, religious badges and finish the work for our unit level award.  We had a lot of fun and are looking forward to the crossing over ceremony later this month where my girls will officially become Tenderhearts! 

Now this is a What I Wore post, so without further adieu, here we are in our red, white and blue AHG gear, looking a little more like the 4th of July than Mother's Day.  I don't think there was a single good shot.  Here's how it went down...

Too silly and squirmy to look at the camera..

Then Mia decided smiling was for the birds...

We tried to cheer her up

And then decided to just forget pose - go!

Nothing says “Happy Mother’s Day” like a polo and khakis.   If these pictures weren’t outside, you might think it was “Visit Your Favorite Target Employee Day”.  In fact, Mia and I made a trip to Target later that afternoon and I spared myself from being asked where to find____ and changed before we left.  For anyone looking for a decent basic polo and khakis and or ready to start their new Tarjay career, both these are from Old Navy.  

Linking up with folks at Fine Linen & Purple where I'm sure the Mother's Day finery is much finer than I.

Happy Day to all the Mama's!

Friday, May 10, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday: Teeth, Magazines, Thrift Finds, and Food

Joining Jen and the gang for another week of 7 Quick Takes.

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 216)

1.  We're 10 days into our 30 days of better eating.  We're following the Perfect Health Diet and while we're still learning and figuring out meals, this week I have felt a huge improvement in my overall energy level.  The first week I felt like crap. But now that the sugar cravings have faded, I'm feeling so much better.

2.  This Lazy Sunday Casserole was by far our favorite meal of the week.  So hearty, so tasty, and just straight up farm-to-table goodness.  The only thing I added to the recipe was a bit of red wine with the balsamic vinegar.
Lazy Sunday Casserole

3.  Does anyone else's calendar feel like it's going to explode?  Must be end of the school year stuff, but I'm barely keeping my head above water here.  I actually blocked off next week for spring cleaning...things were popping up on the calendar so fast and the house is a wreck.  It's giving me an anxious twitch, so I blocked off time to clean.  And already two other things have wormed their way into my cleaning week.  Pretty sure that's the end of that.

4.  I went thrift shopping with my bloggy friend Sharon and stumbled upon these beauties.  

Not sure exactly what they are....I think they were giant sconces, but they're glass and fun and I'm thinking they would make some pretty fine lamp bases.  But I have no idea how to do it.  I will be Googling later...

5.   The other day I had to take a second look at our "5" pillow.  Looks like a certain 3 year old was getting in a little number tracing practice.

I'm just bursting with Mommy pride over here.  Really. I am. 

6.  A very excited little girl finally lost her first tooth!  She was bouncing off the walls and couldn't wait to share the news with her teachers and friends at school the next day.  
It took a bit of work to get it out, but she was one brave cookie and had a very patient Daddy working the noose he engineered out of dental floss.  I was skeptical but just look at that gap :)

We finished an easy-sew Tooth Fairy Pillow just in time!
Tooth Fairy Pillow by Fresh Coat Of Paint

7.   So this week the June issue of This Old House magazine hits news stands and guess whose breakfast nook is on p. 38....

Crazytown!!!!!   Seriously, this is just beyond anything I ever imagined would come of our Fresh Coat Of Paint blog.  It all came about from the Young House Love feature back in January.  I'm so grateful and humbled and walking around with a goofy perma-grin on my face. 

And Jack just busted into the office announcing the end of his nap with, "It's Jackie!!!"  So that's all she wrote.  Have a great weekend and a wonderful Mother's Day to all you mama's!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Perfect Health Diet Weekly Menu - Take One

Ok, so the first week of our PHD was a little....strained.  We still have "off-limits" foods in the house from our latest Costco run that we didn't want to just dump.  We're still using it for the kids' meals.  My grand scheme was to do this as a family, but I think we'll have to transition the kids over a little more slowly.  It's mind games really.  I gave them a paleo "cookie" tonight that consisted mostly of almond flour and mashed banana. They saw the dark chocolate chips in them and were all about it.  Even though the texture was really odd.  And I snuck some flax seeds undetected into their smoothies this morning...and they drank them.  So, we'll get there!

The other issue that caused some tension was my total  lack of meal planning....remember when I wrote that post all about how we were going to set ourselves up for success?   The one that centered on planning?  Yeah.  I didn't do that.  It was a nice week, so I figured we would grill for dinner and made sure there were plenty of veggies in the fridge to go along with whatever we seared.  Nice in theory but still not a very good plan.  I didn't really cook and James and I just sort of came up with whatever was easy.  We felt like we were dieting and missed that comfort and satisfaction of eating a home-cooked meal.

So this weekend, I did.  I planned a Perfect Health Diet friendly dinner menu for the week that will hopefully give us enough leftovers for lunches too.  Here's the line-up:

Monday: Farm-To-Table Stew

I think Kayotic Kitchen actually calls it "Lazy Sunday Casserole" and it is delicious.  It completely hit the spot.  Hearty, wholesome and full of flavor.  I followed the recipe almost to the letter, just adding a splash of red wine along with the balsamic vinegar.
Lazy Sunday Casserole

Tuesday: Better Than Take-out Chicken Fried Rice

This is a recipe I pinned ages ago and have yet to actually attempt. Rachel recommends the Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken in it, which I think I'll try.  The chicken recipe does call for sugar, so I'll have to either come up with a substitute or just omit it altogether.  I'll let you know how it goes!
 better-than-takeout chicken fried rice. homemade! no yucky msg. and its easy

Wednesday: Hamburger Vegetable Soup

I'm anxious to try this Hamburger Vegetable Soup recipe from Money Saving Mom.  The picture totally sold me.

Thursday: Turkey Meatballs & Brussel Sprouts

I've seen a few turkey meatball recipes floating around Pinterest, but think I'll try this one.  I'm thinking maybe almond flour/meal or coconut flour as a binder?  It's the PHD test kitchen here folks....

And I think we'll whip up these sprouts to go with them.  Minus the brown sugar.

Friday: Orange Chicken, Broccoli, & Steamed Rice

This is a favorite of ours and I think it's originally from   It super easy and always tasty.  I'll have to tweak the recipe a bit and will share it with you if I can make it edible and still PHD friendly.

Here's to a better week!

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