Thursday, April 30, 2009

Refocus

I've been very prayerfully seeking direction about our family planning.  My Catholic faith believes that you should not avoid pregnancy unless you are financially or emotionally incapable of adding to your family.  Our marriage vows included a promise to accept children willingly and lovingly from God, and while some may believe that they've accepted their 2.5 children lovingly, I'm a bit convicted about the idea of having more children.  On one hand, I'm blessed with super strength fertility (seriously, if it were a qualifying trait of superheroines, I'd have my own comic series), my pregnancies have been flawless (unless you count gaining way too much weight with my second), and my babies have been healthy.  On the other hand, I am constantly behind on laundry, more often than not it looks like a toy box exploded in my living room, and my children are a bit on the unruly side.  Obviously the emotional capability is in question! 

In the midst of my prayer and reflection, it dawned on me (ok, fine.  He hit me over the head with it) that my lazy tendencies, inconsistent organization, and lack of firm discipline are NOT reasons to avoid more babies!  I plan to spend the next two or three months weaning off my one child lifestyle that I've been naive enough to think I could keep with three running around.  My firm discipline is already evident in my son, though we have far to go.  The next step will be to simplify my life in order to make time to create the haven that I, as a mommy and wife, am obligated to create!  Once that it accomplished, I'm sure God will let me know what my next assignment is!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wake Up Call


I was just setting my alarm and wanted to share this incredible free website that I use any night hubby is away for work.  (Usually he's my alarm)  I'm notorious for leaving my phone/alarm in the car because I don't get cell reception out here in the woods.  When it's dark or cold, I just request my free wake up call- no registration needed!  

From the Mouths of 8-year-old Girls

There are 24 3rd graders at my daughters school, and most of them have attended since preschool.  It's a close-as-siblings type group... if you know what I mean!  Two of the girls in the class have planned parties for the same Saturday.  One is my daughters BFF, and the other is her very close friend who carpools with us.  This was the conversation I overheard about the BFF.

From the girls in the backseat in carpool:

Girl:  "I hate to say this, but most people don't really like Angela."

My Daughter:  "I know.  I don't know why."

Girl:  "Well... she lies.  Like when she said her Grandpa was in World War II.  I just don't believe that.  And then she didn't even believe me that my mom went to the North Pole to see Santa!"

I was silently rolling in the driver's seat.  I couldn't even compose myself enough to reprimand them for gossiping.  Apparently, my child learned younger than most (at 6) the truths about Santa and his posse!

Wordless Wednesday: 3 Springs Ago

A first time Wordless Wednesday participant!


To participate or find other Wordless Wednesday posts, click here!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday 4/28

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


Anyone else have a place where everything gets dropped?  It seems like my countertop is cluttered more often than not.  It's not usually dirty, just piled with papers and the like, so it's the last priority.  Today I sucked it up and sorted through the junk!


Before: I think this pretty much speaks for itself!  

After: Yay!  A place to work on homework out of reach of toddler hands, and a whole pile of stuff returned to my mom's!


Click here to see other Tackle It Tuesday bloggers or to participate!

  

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunny Morning Muffin review



This morning in my day book, I mentioned a muffin recipe I'd seen on Cooking for Real on Food Network.  I just tasted the fruits of my labor, and MMMMmmmmmm... these are to-die for!  I now understand why Bri from Desperate Housewives shows up on doorsteps with muffins!  I'd certainly do a favor for these!

In fairness, my local grocery store was out of lemons (yeah, I know... seriously!?!), so I substituted orange zest.  I think these would be even better with the lemon.  I plan to bake a round 2 and find out!  These muffins have the perfect balance of sweet and tang.  The walnuts offer a mix of texture, a must for my liking!  To sweeten the deal, they were SO simple to make!  The hardest part was washing and chopping strawberries.  I'm betting that even my daughter, who turned up her nose when I added blueberries, will devour them in the morning!  


Company Meeting

My husband cracks me up.  He is, as I type, watching the new Star Trek trailer in preparation for his company meeting Friday.  Yep, that's right.  The company has booked the theatre, employees that arrive early get $15 cash for concessions, and after their meeting, they will watch the premiere of the flick.  Does that say enough for the techie-nerd environment that my hubby fits into?  I truly love his nerdiness! 

On the other hand, I am so very thankful that God placed him in a company he meshes with and one that makes the work environment fun and engaging.  He's always ready to come home to his family, but I rarely see him dreading the 2 hour commute to his job.  I'm a lucky girl.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: 4/27

For Today... April 27th, 2009

Outside my window... a soft rain falls

I am thinking... about my relationships... how they develop, evolve and change... what responsibility I hold for those changes

I am thankful for... my daughter's new confidence in going down the stairs.  We'll be baby gate free very soon!

From the kitchen... Sunny Morning Muffins that I watched on Cooking for Real

I am wearing... brown athletic pants, blue ribbed tank, messy bun

I am still reading... In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to expect from this read.  I've read a few of her other books and have found them all very helpful.  This book was not supposed to be helpful, but rather a thumbs-up of sorts for SAHMs.  

Last night, I shed a few tears as I turned the pages and thanked God that I am not the only mommy who experiences the wide range of emotions and struggles that I do as a SAHM.


I am hoping... to find a replacement for my morning walk since the rain kept me inside

I am creating... a packing list for our family vacation.  Only a month away!

I am praying... that God holds my words in His holy hands, that He leads me to grow personally and discern the validity of my feelings

Around the house... laundry waits as always, but a sparkling kitchen offsets the looming clothes

One of my favorite things... is listening to my son play pretend in the bathtub.  The adventures that take place in there... sometimes prehistoric, sometimes futuristic, sometimes a pirate adventure... very fun to watch.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Teaching my last week of religion class for the year, working on PTA responsibilities, being Mommy, trying a new recipe

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... from our wedding.  So much has happened since we held hands and headed into our new life together.  It's wonderful to know that I'm where He wants me!

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Join the daybook group or see other daybooks here!

Random Thought: Whippoorwill

One of my top 10 favorite things about summer arrived early this evening and gave me a serious bout of summer fever!  A single whippoorwill serenaded me into the house this evening.  Growing up, I remember having going to bed before the sun went down in the summers, and while I was a little bummed to be missing the daylight, I loved- and still adore- the lullaby of the whippoorwill as I fell asleep!  


As many times as I wish we lived closer to civilization, I hope that my children grow up with the same appreciation for the nature around them.  While I can't stand the bees, the bugs, the possibility of poison ivy, and the 10 minutes drive to town, a walk through the dew sprinkled field at dusk or a pause in the driveway to take in more stars that I've seen anywhere else is all it takes to remind me that God has led us to our home in the stix.  What a wonderful way to grow up!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Game On

Friday, I reached my limit.  My dear son displayed the worst behavior I've seen from him thus far.  Hitting, screaming, and yelling, "I HATE YOU!!" were only the tip of his performance.  Who knows what set him off; all that I'm sure of is that I found a mommy in me that I didn't think was there- or that I hoped I wouldn't have to meet.  After mad dash baby-proofing the house, I took the hellion into my room, held his hands to keep him from throwing a fist toward me, and waited out the storm.  I felt like Anne Sullivan taming Helen Keller.  I refused to move or acknowledge him, refused to let him go in spite of his horrendous fit.  After 30 minutes, he finally settled down enough to apologize.  

This morning, we had a round two when he was told to pick up the board game he'd been playing with.  As soon as his fit started to escalate, into the bedroom we went.  This time it only took 5 minutes of storm for him to decide he'd rather put the game away than be stuck there trying to fight to get a swing at me.  We didn't have another problem today.

Myself along with other mommies often seek advice for raising our children.  We look for a new approach when we can't seem to produce results with our parenting.  Sometimes, we truly need advice, but other times, I think we just need someone to say, "Find your self-discipline and stay on your game."  There is no way in the world I can pretend that I am 100% consistent in disciplining my kids.  If I'm in the middle of something important or timely, like dinner or a phone call, they know that it's a good time to try to get away with something.  If my patience is wearing thin, I sometimes choose to pretend not to notice mild misbehaving instead of flying off the handle because I'm about to pull my hair out.  

I'm reminded that raising my children isn't just a fun thing I get to do.  It's a JOB, and I have responsibilities to fulfill just like I did when I was working for an employer.  There is a difference between a mom who stays home with her kids and a mom who stays home to RAISE her kids.  The mom who stays home with her kids is the type who does what she pleases and tends to the basic needs of her kids.  She provides entertainment for them in the form of toys or videos, feeds them lunch, changes, bathes, and cleans up after them.  The mommy who stays home to RAISE her kids is actively involved in their daily life.  She acts as a leader of play and learning, and her attention is focussed on her children rather than her own interests.  No, her interest IS her children!  

Oh, how I hope to consistently be the mom who is raising her kids!  I hope that weeks like these last few- when I'm swamped with tasks outside my mommy duties- are not the ones that stick in my kids' minds.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recharge brought to me by Super-Hubby!

Tomorrow I get to go shopping child free!  Even better, I get to go with a girlfriend!  I am SO excited about not having to favor stores with carts, being able to cary a purse instead of stuffing my id and debit card into my pocket to save hands, and not having to yell over whining in the car. 

I am truly blessed to have a husband who gets that I need to recharge my batteries every so often.  Seriously, when was the last time you moms left the house alone?  If it's been a while, sweet talk your hubby, and make some time for yourself this weekend!

Shoutout

I wanted to welcome by baby sister to the blogging world!  She started her blog yesterday, and while it's rather empty right now, I know she will have inspiring words to write.  You'll want to add her to your reading lists for sure!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Photo Adventure

I love this kid!  This afternoon we went on a photo adventure.  We found cool spots, he posed, I snapped away.  He had fun at first, but when he said, "Mommy, these are BAD pictures!" I knew it was time to call it a wrap!






This old, decrepit shed is my absolute favorite spot for portraits!  The wood is rotting and covered with this turquoise mildew- I find it amazingly effective in photos.

I'm hoping that Missy Lou cooperates one day this week- I need to get her into my studio for 18 month portraits, and I still have to do portraits of the 3 of them in their Easter outfits.  I know, I know- I'm a slacker mom!

Tackle it Tuesday: April 21st

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Another Tuesday! Today I finished tackling before we left for school. In fact, I did it while my daughter was in the shower! I tackled the dreaded...

Tupperware Cabinet!!!!

Before: A pile of tupperware, paper plates, plastic cups and lunch boxes was crammed inside this cabinet.  What makes it worse is that the cabinet is blind, so you access the 3 foot wide space from the 18 inch door opening.  Add to that the fact that this is the one cabinet that I don't have a child safety lock on.  Not good!

After: Lids matched to containers, cups neatly stacked!  I was hoping to discover a lost collection of tupperware in the back corner, but no luck!  It just goes to show that tupperware really does disappear like socks in the dryer!  Maybe I'll safety lock this cabinet too.  I better do it quick; otherwise, I'm certain it will be in disarray by the end of the week! 

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

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FOR TODAY, Monday, April 20th.
Outside My Window The sun is peeking over the hill behind my house.  Long shadows of tree trunks stripe across the grass.
I am thinking about how silent this house is in spite of two children who are awake.
I am thankful for this silence, even if it only lasts for another moment.
From the kitchen, breakfast dishes wait to be rinsed and filed away in the dishwasher.
I am wearing my "drop the kids off at school" outfit- athletic pants and a T-shirt.
I am creating photographs today.
I am reading "In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
I am hoping that this week is productive.  I need a productive week!
I am hearing little footsteps on the hardwood floor upstairs.
Around the house there is lots to do to recover from a weekend of house renovation- laundry, floors to mop, a bathroom to scrub.
One of my favorite things about this week is that I'm starting a regular walking-schedule with a friend!
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Edit Pictures, order pictures, complete my cabinets, tame the yard.
I am praying for guidance and patience, for the wisdom to be the friend, wife and mother God would desire me to be.
Here is picture thought I am sharing... 
New life is amazing to watch.  Our cat had kittens a week ago, on Easter.  Jewels is a reminder that I can trust my mommy instincts.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Little Mister on Mommy

Thanks again to my fellow blogger mommy who borrowed these interview questions from a friend of hers!

Little Mister on Mommy

1. What is something mommy always says to you? "Let's go to the beach!"

2. What makes mommy happy? "No climbin' on the counter.  That's what makes you happy."

3. What makes mommy sad? "Climbin' on the counter"

4. How does your mommy make you laugh? "Be silly"

5. What was your mommy like as a child? "You slid down the banner (bannister) when you were a kid."

6. How old is your mommy? "4.  Are you 4?"

7. How tall is your mommy? "4."

8. What is her favorite thing to do? "Play games like I do."

9. What does your mommy do when you're not around? "Play games."

10. If your mommy becomes famous, what will it be for? "I don't know."

11. What is your mommy really good at? "Playing games."

12. What is your mommy not very good at? "Being orangy" (Your guess is as good as mine!)

13. What does your mommy do for a job? "Play games"

14.What is your mommy's favorite food? "Oranges"

15.What makes your mommy proud of you? "Going potty in the potty"

16. If your mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be? "Fee Fee"

17. What do you and your mommy do together? "Play games"

18. How are you and your mommy the same? "We take walks to Radiant" (Grandpa's horse)

19. How are you and your mommy different? "You're big and I'm a little bigger"

20. How do you know your mommy loves you? "I love you too, Mommy"

21. What does your mommy like most about your daddy? "When he comes home"

22. Where is your mommy's favorite place to go? "To pick up my big sister from school"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moment from My Day

The other day I was organizing the storage closet at my moms where I keep all the clearance deals I've found that the kids haven't grown into.  

I found a stocking there.  

When I had my eldest, I bought wool, knitted Christmas stockings- the old fashion type.  After I married my husband and added to our family, stockings that matched were harder to find than a great pair of jeans!  One day when I was prego with Little Miss, my mom called me to ask if I wanted her to pick up a matching stocking that she'd run across.  I had her get 2- "just in case."  

I stood staring at this soft, cream and red knitted stocking thinking what a shame it would be to never get to sew a name across the top of it.  

Big Sister on Mommy

My fellow blogger mommy borrowed these interview questions from a friend of hers.  My youngest isn't quite ready for this challenge, but I interviewed my 2 year old son and 8 year old daughter.  Look for my son's answers tomorrow!

Big Sister on Mommy



1. What is something mommy always says to you? "I love you."

2. What makes mommy happy? "Me being good."

3. What makes mommy sad? "Me being bad"

4. How does your mommy make you laugh? "Tickling me"

5. What was your mommy like as a child? "You took good care of your siblings but yet you still had fun.  I guess occasionally Uncle L and Aunt J bossed you around."

6. How old is your mommy? "I don't know. In your 20's?  Really how old are you? 25?"

7. How tall is your mommy? "I have no idea."

8. What is her favorite thing to do? "Hang out with the family... I think."

9. What does your mommy do when you're not around? "Take care of the other kids."

10. If your mommy becomes famous, what will it be for? "Being the best mom in the world. Really!  That's what I think."

11. What is your mommy really good at? "Reading to me."

12. What is your mommy not very good at? "What do you think you're not good at? I think you're not good at keeping my little brother and I settled down."

13. What does your mommy do for a job? "Teach.  You're still a teacher.  You teach us."

14.What is your mommy's favorite food? *shrug* "Carrots"

15.What makes your mommy proud of you? "Being an A student."

16. If your mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be? "Tweety"

17. What do you and your mommy do together? "Karaoke"

18. How are you and your mommy the same? "We both have High School Musical PJ's.  We both have blue eyes."

19. How are you and your mommy different? "You have stub toes and I have long toes." (yeah, thanks for that, hun...lol)

20. How do you know your mommy loves you? "You care for me."

21. What does your mommy like most about your daddy? "That he's my father.  If it says 'What do you like least about my dad' I'm going say that he lets me watch Shrek." (this is my ex-husband we're talking about.)

22. Where is your mommy's favorite place to go? "The mall. My favorite place to go? A bookstore to get Warrior Cat books."

Tidbit About the Author

It started with a trip to Portland and escalated when I decided to do my house in blue and brown: my obsession with Starbuck's City Mugs!  It's bad.  I love them!  I wasn't a Starbuck's regular until I tagged along when my husband attended a computer nerd conference in Portland.  If any of you have been there, you can attest to the incredible number of Starbuck's planted in the area.  Sitting at a stoplight, I could see three or more locations before me.  They're practically on every block.  Of course, I had to take a city mug home as a souvenir- what better way to remember the city? After snagging another on a girls' trip to Chicago and a receiving a gift from my sister who moved to LA, the collection was officially started!  This summer, we're heading to Charleston on our way to the South Carolina beaches, and I'm almost as excited to hit the Starbuck's mug shelves as I am to explore the history of the city! Just a little silliness about me!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rare and Valuable

I don't have many intimate friends. It's not that I don't have opportunities to cultivate friendships. The wives of my husband's married friends and the moms in my community are wonderful women. The other mothers at my daughter's school are fantastic as well and welcomed me into their community from day one. Many women that I've known since childhood are women I still catch up with on occasion. I love and appreciate these women for their roles in my life. I would extend a helping hand or a listening ear to any of them. I go shopping, share lunch, and swap stories, but it often ends there. I don't have many, but I'm thankful for my ability to invest time and love into my small circle of true confidants.

Friendships are tough. Finding someone who gets you- your values, weaknesses, quirkiness, shaded past- is hard! Finding someone you can respect for who she is can be equally difficult. Factor in God's timing, and conceiving a true friendship is almost as much a miracle as conceiving a baby! Once a true friend is found, intimacy in that friendship is a lot like intimacy in marriage. It is a two-way street built on grounds free from selfishness, condemnation, or jealousy. Should any of those factors sneak into a relationship, it will never be the same. An intimate friendship cannot exist unless both women respect, trust, and appreciate each other.

Now, that is not to say for a second that we are not allowed to disagree or disapprove of the actions of our friends. In fact, friendship relies on respectfully spoken disapproval to some degree. A woman has to be willing to nudge a wacky friend back into sane mind and at the same time be open to being nudged out of craziness herself. An intimate friend is one whose values are respected so much that her opinion of your decisions can be trusted and considered defenselessly.

If this posts makes choosing friends sound like choosing a spouse- it should! However, unlike a spouse, I believe that God places friends in our lives, and sometimes He leads them away or changes the dynamics of a friendship according to His will. Your friends will influence your personality, your marriage, your finances, your CHILDREN. Heaven knows we should choose wisely, thinking with our minds and our prayers more than our emotions.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Giveaways

I have been wanting to do a giveaway on my blog because I have a couple items that I would love to share with you all, and I've been trying to decide how best to set it up, determine the winner, and so forth.  The set up that Crackers and Chaos has for her current giveaway seems to be the best I've seen so far.  It's simple to enter, easy to keep track of the entries, and the website she lists will pick her winner randomly- have to be fair.  No pulling names from a hat these days!  

I'll be posting my mommy giveaway soonish.  I know, the anticipation is agony!

OMNs

I've joined a couple online mommy networks- and have come across some fantastic fellow bloggers in the process- but the abbreviated lingo is out of control!  Here are a few that I've noticed.  Some I've deciphered, others I'm guessing about, and the rest have me completely confused even within context!

DH- dear husband?
SS- step son 
LO- Little one?
TTC- trying to conceive
PIOG- huh?
BF- breast fed
MIL/FIL- mother in law, father in law

Seriously, the list is endless.  Here's what my first sentence would read like in mommy forum language.

"I've joined a few OMN- and have come across some fantastic FBs in the process- but the AL is OOC."  

I find this whole element of the forums mildly amusing.  

Re: Just Wondering

Ok, one day last week I asked how often you all cleaned under your fridges.  I just found out that moving a refrigerator is not as hard or dangerous as it seems to be.  I hadn't dared try to move the thing by myself in all the years in this house, but I finally decided I'd put it off long enough.  Guess what?  The entire stocked fridge moved as if it were on wheels!  No longer do I believe that my strapping husband needs to move it aside for me to keep the dust out or retrieve a toy that rolled under never to return!  Now I can put his muscles to use elsewhere-- maybe push mowing the lawn???

Yes you do!

My preschooler has taken to asking questions like most kids his age.  Sometimes I'm distracted or at my question limit, so I default to, "I don't know."  I know, I'm horrible.  Little Mister's response to that is always an indignant, "YES YOU DO!"  Then I snap to it and see if I do, in fact, know the answer.  Sometimes I do- to questions like, "Where are we going?" Sometimes I don't have an answer, like when he's asking, "What's that man's name in the blue truck?"  Last night while we were waiting for big sister's gymnastics class to let out, the questioning took a different turn.

Him: Mommy, who built this building?

Me: I don't know.

Him: YES YOU DO!

Me: Who built this building?

Him: You tell me.

Me:  You tell me.

Him: A builder guy

Me: A builder guy?

Him:  Yes.  A builder guy "Alfred." *giggle, giggle, giggle...


My son is so much fun!  I hope all parents make it a point to take in the moments of silliness with their children.  Too often, our cell phones are smashed to our ears and our to do lists take priority over playtime with our kids.  I think it would be great to take one day a week and not make or take a phone call.  It's unheard of these days to be unavailable for a 24 hour period, isn't it?  The sad thing is that while we're busy being available for the rest of the world, our kids get the short end of the stick.  When we make ourselves unavailable to acquaintances and friends for a while, it leaves attention for truly conversing with the little guys and gals running around our living rooms and sneaking into our refrigerators.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Yes!! I'm considering myself officially successful as this is my second-in-a-row Tackle It Tuesday accomplishment! My world will be orderly in no time-- or maybe not if I only tackle on Tuesdays! Such is life! Today, I decided to tackle my kids' mess at Grandma's house. We moved the Wii there to play while their aunts and uncle were home for Christmas (yes, you heard me- almost four months ago!), and there it has set getting more tangled by the day. Compounded by post-Easter candy sneaking (note the wrappers), the television cabinet became a hazard zone Sunday and yesterday!

Before: A wad of electronics, game cases scattered around, and general disarray that appeared this afternoon.


After: Wii returned to it's rightful home, Windex and elbo grease used on the television screen, and we're back to a child-free appearance!

Monday, April 13, 2009

ABC's of Teaching ABC's

The preschool years are probably my favorite years of parenting. The kids are still cute enough, and their brains are still largely play do, able to be molded to my liking. I've learned that as much molding as possible should be done before 6 years old because, at least for girls, attitudes start to harden those squishable blobs! One thing I've had an easy time with is teaching my kids their letters. My goal with my preschoolers is for them to recognize letters as individual characters (rather than memorizing the alphabet) and to learn the sound(s) that each makes. From there, we move to pairing two letters together and before you know it, we're beginning Dick and Jane! Here are my 4 most successful ways to teach letters.



1. Cheez-It Scrabble. My son is an eater, so anything that can feed his stomach and his mind at the same time is alright in his book. I would show him a cracker, and if he knew the letter he ate it. It not, we learn the letter along with the sound it makes and a simple word that starts wtih that letter. Given another chance to name the letter, the cracker usually ended up in his tummy.



2. The Z was Zapped, by Chris Van Allsburg. A great book where the letters are mutating and getting attacked. The images in the book are just as large as the cover, so the letters are easy to see. Whether it's a D that's drowning or an I that's being iced with icing, my kids had a great time filling in the blanks while we read this book. There's a great Teaching Guide available too!




3. Sesame Street's Do The Alphabet video is a favorite in my house, and as most Sesame segments do, this one engages children. In my house, Mommy usually has to join in the fun to keep the kids from zoning out, but as a group activity, this teaching tool is fantastic!




4. Noticing letters during car rides is a regular activity for us. Whether it's air writing a name, pointing out letters in commercial logos, or playing the alphabet game (a race to see who can find words that begin with each letter of the alphabet, in order), we're constantly using our down time in the minivan to expand our reading horizons!

I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and angles for teaching reading, so feel free to share what's worked for you and your kiddos!

Mammalog

My very own blog is in the works! My super-duper husband is creating a page free from photo rights and the like, and last night we decided on and purchased a domain name-


For now, the site is a parking space for godaddy advertising. Hubby is using this as a learning experience for himself.  It's hard to say how soon Confessions will be moving, but I'm very excited to take my blog in an independent, possibly income producing direction!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Images

Although we have yet to photograph the kids together in their church attire, these are a few of my favorite shots from Easter weekend.

Saturday's Easter Egg Hunt- we were missing my oldest as she was spending Easter with her dad this year.



Today after church~ I loved this suit, and so did he! He says it's his Clark Kent suit.

Spotting her Easter basket.

Easter Bunny gets sneakier as you get older!


Roger that, God!

I just had a moment to share this while I'm waiting for my contribution to Easter dinner to finish cooking... 

We walked into church this morning toward our regular pew- second from the front on the right.  As we approached, it was covered in popcorn crumbs, and I whispered to my husband, "That's what our pew would have looked like if we'd brought the kids last night."  Mass commenced shortly thereafter, and it certainly didn't take long for God to put His two cents into yesterday's post!  Somewhere in the midst of my musings, I mentioned that I didn't feel like we would get anything from Easter Vigil mass with our kids in tow.  Well, as it turns out, one of the comments during my dear Father Dave's homily this morning was that he might scream if he hears another person complain that they don't get anything from mass.  He further explained that we do not come to mass to get something from it but rather to GIVE something.  I was reminded that I am there to offer my praise and thanksgiving, and while I might learn a few things along with way, like I did this morning, my purpose in attending mass is to offer myself and my life up for His Most Holy Purpose!  Further, it is my responsibility as a parent to raise my children to attend mass for the same purpose.  

Oops!  Shame on me for being so self-absorbed in a time where it is most important to focus on Jesus Christ!  Perhaps our priest is a silent reader here, but whether this morning was God working solo or in cahoots with Fr. Dave, I hear Him loud and clear!  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil mass is commencing as I type.  I miss that service so much!  It has been 3 years since I've attended the 3 hour service to rejoice in Christ's death and resurrection.  There is something about the candle light service, the solemnity, the sound of a song like "Go Light Your World" ringing at the end of church that brings Christ's sacrifice and my task here on Earth into perspective.  At the last vigil I attended, my then fiancee was baptized in confirmed into the Catholic faith.  A couple months later, we married.  A few hours after that, God blessed us with our honeymoon souvenir.  Nine months later, our son was born, and that was the end of Easter Vigil as I knew it.  Trying to tend to children for the 7:30 to 10:30 duration is, well, impossible!

I am floored by the number of people I meet who have quit going to church because their children are nutty, antsy, cranky, etc.  I listen to their justifications in awe.  Sometimes my own kids are no picnic during church, so I sympathize with their problems.  I just didn't agree with the solution.  Tonight I find myself wondering if I fall into this group when it comes to Easter Vigil.  I'm certain we would spend all our energy and attention containing nutty, antsy, cranky kids, and I feel like it would be a huge distraction to the other parishoners along with preventing my husband and I from getting anything from mass.  Perhaps we should leave our children to God and trust Him to take them through this most holy service.  

For this year at least, we will go to Easter Sunday mass, but I will do some serious praying and listening to God's desire for next year's Easter celebration.


Go Light Your World- Kathy Troccoli

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home

So Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

So Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

Cause We are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let's raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times

So Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Making the Switch

Being off school for Good Friday and Easter Monday to prepare for and rejoice in Jesus' death and resurrection is just one of the things I'm going to miss when my daughter moves from parochial school to public next year.  I pulled a Rory Gilmore prior to making the decision to change schools and made pro/con lists until I was blue in the face.  I'm confident in my decision.  It's the best thing for her, even if it's not easy for me.  Although she will not have the blessing of attending weekday masses designed for children, she is avoiding a burnt-out teacher that I've heard nothing but warnings about.  Seriously, not a single positive remark about her would-be teacher!  She is getting aquatinted with the kids she'll be attending high school with.  She is being exposed to more technology and more extra-curricular opportunities.  She is excited about her new adventure.  I, on the other hand, am leaving a school where I spent 6 years finding my niche.  I'm giving up my volunteer opportunities along with the friendships that I've made with other volunteers.  I am giving up a network of moms who are genuine and faithful, who challenge me to be a better Christian and parent.  I am disappointed that my daughter will not be graduating from 8th grade with her classmates as I had planned for her to do.  I am afraid that I will not be able to fully compensate for reinforcement of faith and religious beliefs that we've been able to count on these past 6 years.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Irked

It can drive a quiet natured woman to screaming hysterics.  It pierces through a room sharper than nails dragging slowly down a classroom chalkboard.  Those who live with it walk guarded, never knowing when it might emerge.  

8 year old attitude.

Me (after 2 weeks of requesting she get started on this project)- "Let me pass you the sticker letters and you stick them on the paper."

Daughter: "I want to use the shiny letters."

Me: "There aren't any shiny A's. You need A's for your title."

Daughter: "Why can't I just do it myself?!?"

Me: "You could have if you'd started this over spring break like I suggested.  Now it's past bedtime, so I need to help you go faster by handing you the stickers.  Let's go."

Daughter: "I'm going to tell Ms. R everything.  I'm going to tell her that you wouldn't let me use the shiny letters and that you handed them to me.  She'll give me a bad grade, and it'll be all your fault!" 

Me: "Stop sassing.  If you do it again, you'll be in the naughty spot."

Daughter: "But..." Whine, whine whine...

Me: "Ok, set in the naughty spot, I'm setting the timer."

8 minutes later...

Me: "You have until 9:30 to finish your book report.  Then you're going to bed, finished or not."

Daughter under her breath: "Fine, but if I get a zero, it's going to be your fault."


I had stopped using time out as this one became a tween, but it's made a come back recently around our house.  I use it for my 3 year old, so I think the combination of the longer time (8 minutes is forever!) and the fact that she's sentenced to the baby's naughty corner really irks her.  Good. I'm irked by the constant shirking of responsibility.  By the blame that is placed on anyone and everyone but her.  By her seeming blindness to her ability take control of her tasks.  By the boundary pushing, arguing, and assumption that she has equal say in this house.  By her attempted use of guilt to get what she wants.  Grr...  Anyone else feel like taking up kickboxing?  If you don't, your kids probably aren't 8 yet.  My game plan is to pray that this is yet another phase that must be beat (figuratively), be consistent yet open to new discipline ideas, and pray some more that we come out the other side of this still gabbing about what boy she thinks is cute in her class.  

Just Wondering

Just out of curiosity:

How often do you move your refrigerator and clean underneath/behind it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Those who've visited me can attest to the fact that I have 5 people living in a 900 square foot house right now. I love babies, but the need to have toys in the general area of the house kind of drives me crazy! My oldest was 5 when she became a big sister, and I had just succeeded in relocating the last of her toys behind her bedroom door. My house no longer looked like a day care play room! However, my honeymoon conception soon brought about the need for high chairs, toy boxes, exer-saucers and swings in the main area of our house. I was too blissfully engulfed in my newborn to care at the time that my clean, entertaining-ready house had become consumed-- again. Now, after 3 years of baby gear, I find myself wanting to scream when I look at my family room sometimes. It can be clean one minute and in less than an hour look like I haven't picked up in a week or two! Seriously.

My first Tackle-It Tuesday mission: My Family Room.


Before: This is what my family room looks like on laundry days (and for a day or two afterward). There are baskets and piles of clean clothes all over because I do laundry during nap time and can't sneak into the kids' room to put theirs and mine away (yep- I share a closet with the kids). Inevitably, items get scattered around by a 3 year old looking for a super hero cape or wanting to build a tent.

After- I didn't shove everything behind me- Housewife's honor!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Leap of Faith

When it comes to deciding to have babies, I am in awe of those parents who planned to have their first.  So far, my kids have all been happy accidents which comes mostly from trying to get natural family planning right! Now, we've successfully avoided pregnancy for over a year- Hooray!- and we're seriously looking at the option of one more child.  We're looking at timing because I've had two winter babies and was semi-miserable because of the weather, germs, and lack of sunny hours.  But more than that, I'm praying and trying to discern God's will in this.  I asked my husband last night, "If we could skip the baby stages and just have another 3 year old, how would you feel about another child in our family?"  It turns out, he and I are on the same page.  The only reservation we have about having another is the newborn stages.  I'm sure he remembers an irritable pregnant wife, hauling his butt upstairs in the middle of the night to stick a pacifier in a fussing mouth, and trying to figure out what the little squirmy bundle was screaming about.  I remember having to be available every 3 hours to nurse that little bundle causing mommy time to be put on hold until we introduced solid foods.  Oh, yes.  We remember!  We know all to well the cons of what we're considering.  We also know the rewards- the unconditional love that we get to share amongst our family, the enjoyment of watching our kids grow up to play together, the excitement of the holidays, and the comfort of knowing that we're creating a safety net for our children to rely on throughout their lives.  

The point to all this is that I have SUCH admiration for all you moms out that who were brave enough to decide to take the plunge into mommyhood!   I'm only now realizing what a commitment and leap of faith it is!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wal-Mart = Yoga

I am an 8 AM visitor of Wal-Mart. When I need to shop there, I drop the carpool at school and head toward the big blue letters with my little ones. I love it at this time of day. I get to park in the very front because there are literally 10-15 cars in the parking lot. The morning greeter is extra friendly with my kids- I guess her smiles and cheer are not as thinly spread as the PM workers. My kids are generally in cooperative moods this early. The store is peaceful, there are no lines to check out, and no traffic to speak of on the way out of the parking lot. Yes, 8 AM shopping at Wal-Mart is one of my tiny blessings from staying at home. Today I was extra thankful for it!

On a Saturday, Wal-Mart is pure chaos. Cars fill all but the last five spots in each row, engines are humming, kids are crying, parents are scolding. That's just the parking lot, and that's all I saw today before deciding to shop at Payless for the kids' shoes I needed and skip the non-emergent items for the time being. I'm all for beating the doors down to get to a good sale, but I can't stand fighting a Black-Friday type crowd just to pay normal prices for low-demand items.

Thank you, God, for my 8 AM Wal-Mart trips; compared to today's mosh pit, they're like yoga!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Viewpoint

I've been realizing how different some people's worlds are than mine lately.  Years ago, my opinions and values fell somewhere in the grey area between black and white, but now I have very solid opinions and views of how life should be lived.  I'll be the first to admit that I fail to live up to my own standards sometimes, but for the most part, I believe that I back my morals by standing up for them.  It truly amazes me that the world can be seen from an infinite number of viewpoints.

I was blog-browsing this evening and ran across a working mom blog that I thought would be interesting to read.  One entry in particular caught my attention.  It was an explanation of why this mom worked.  I read the words she had written and was so taken aback.  While expressing how much she hated leaving her kids in a daycare every morning, she wanted to give her children opportunities in life.  Huh.  My heart went out to this mother who felt like the best she had to offer her children was summer camps, violin lessons, and an ivy league education.  Of course, I know that some homes truly cannot function on the salary of one parent, but I really think that too often it is the difficulty of changing a lifestyle that keeps both parents at work.  Sometimes it may mean giving up a house that offers a room for each child.  Sometimes it means giving up private education and making a commitment to supplement with extra attention to education at home.  Sometimes staying home to raise children means giving up some ties to the professional world, going a day conversing with no one but a 3-year-old.  

It is my hope that my children never have to feel my absence in their lives.  I my hope that I am always there to pick them up from school and ask how their day was.  I hope that I know the friends of my children, and the parents of those children.  I hope that my home is one known for responsible adult supervision of play dates and parties.  I hope that my children grow up not being able to fathom choosing opportunity over family and commitment.  I want my girls to be able to give up a career to raise their children with no remorse.  I want my son to want a wife who, should they have children, will ambitiously take on her role as mom.  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dr. Laura!

I just purchased tickets to see this live broadcast in my semi-local theatre!  I am SO excited!  Dr. Laura is the biggest public supporter of stay-at-home-moms and traditional marriage I've encountered, so while my only clue to the content of this show is what you see above, I KNOW it will be an hour and forty minutes of witty, heart-tugging, no bull praise and encouragement of my life's mission!  Now I just have to figure out who's going with me!



Baby Steps

I learn so much from my children! My oldest has taught me to be creative in parenting and that kids can comprehend much more than adults give them credit for. My son has established my belief that there are fundamental gender differences and that nurturing the male or female in a child is vital. This little stinker has taught me PATIENCE! I believe she will be ALWAYS do things in her own time. She's been an observer from day one, content to sit and watch the world around her rather than explore it for herself. A girl after my own heart- or maybe it's just that we're both third in birth order. In any case, she started crawling at the absolute latest end of average, and when it came to walking, She was a week shy of 16 months when she finally traded in her knees for her chubby feet. Had another week gone by, our pediatrician would have been sending her to a specialist. Silly girl.



Already, I'm weighing my options for dealing with this personality later in life when it's apparent that she has all the skills and capability needed to accomplish something great but just needs to decide she wants to accomplish it. The same proved true for my 16-month-old as did my 3rd grader earlier this year: motivation comes from within. No amount of encouragement, reasoning, bribing, punishing, or throwing in the towel will produce a motivated child. Yes, these tactics get immediate results, but lasting change? Not unless the kid was motivated to being with. Instead, I believe that, in general, parents have to be motivated themselves in order to provide a healthy model for kids to follow, and the rest is up to a lifetime of prayer!



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oh My Darlin' Clementine

I'm not sure what would possess a parent to let a kid loose on a normal orange when there is an alternative!  I detest sticky citrus fingers that smear on everything 3 foot and lower post-orange consumption.  If I'd known with my first kiddo what I know now, navel oranges might never have graced the blue surface of my kitchen countertops!

Clementines are the best take-along snack!  Just ask Produce Pete! All of my kids love them.  They easily peel without needing a helping start from a knife or peeling tool making them perfect even for a school lunch.  They're small, so one kid always eats the whole fruit.  With bite-sized slices, there's no sticky juice on hands or chins, and they're sweeter than most navel oranges!  I've rarely had an unripe or overripe purchase.  They run $3.50 for about 2 dozen around here.  Not incredibly cheap, but well worth it for a snack that my sugar fein son will choose over a cookie!

The Mom Blogs

I am SO excited about this find!  Always on the search for new advice and ideas, I stumbled on  The Mom Blogs.  This is a database of blogging moms, and my favorite part is that you can search by state for moms in your state!  I've registered and am awaiting approval for being listed as a Blogging Mom on their site! What a wonderful way to find more of the priceless blog stories and advice upon which I've begun to rely!

Day in the Life

Daily Routine of this stay-at-home mom:

* Up at 6:30 to start the school-day preparations.  

* 7:15: Pack the kids in the car and either drop my 3rd grader at carpool or pick up the carpool girls and deliver the set of them to school.  

* Back at home, I usually start a movie while I get the little ones breakfast.  This gives me the opportunity to take a quick shower and MAYBE fix my hair.  

* Baths for the little ones

* Play time- toys, Play-Do, books, blocks, etc. for the kids; house work for me between playing with the kids

* Lunch

* Baby's nap time/quiet time (usually playhousedisney.com) or outside play for my 3-year-old.  

* 2:30-3:00 leave for school dismissal 

* 4:00: back home, kids play outside, Mom cleans or gets ready for dinner

* Homework

* Dinner

* Homework/bed time preparation

* 8:00-8:30 bed time

* Until 10:00-10:30- mommy time or hubby time depending on whether or not he's home from work.

** When the house renovation is complete, I'll start running again on the evenings when Daddy comes home before dark!  I loose this ability during the winter when it's dark long before he gets home, so I'm very excited to have this time back!  For now, I've been trying to sneak it in when I can with little success.  
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That's a typical day with no extra to-do's or kid-friendly trips.  In reality, we have gymnastics, church, and voice lessons scattered through our evenings, too.  I'm still searching for a way to work a family dinner into that mix!