Sunday, July 26, 2009

Busy Busy

What a whirlwind weekend! BUT- I'm SO happy about the progress that we made on the renovation! This weekend, we installed the rest of the kitchen cabinets (doors need to be added), the over-the-range micro-hood, the utility tub, washer, and dryer. The house is coming right along! (We'll ignore that our original move-in date was... April??)








A laundry room of my very own! I've been waiting for over four years for this! Tonight I did four loads, and it might have been my most enjoyable housekeeping experience to date!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Giving up the Pacifier

With my first 2 children, I stopped using pacifiers the day they were 18 months old.  With Little Miss, this date fell smack in the middle of our vacation (which included a 16 hour car ride there and back), so I opted to let her keep the pacifier until after the trip.  Now, 6 weeks later, she's learned to talk more clearly and is starting to ask for her "fafier" at nap time and bed time.  Like nursing, I think if she's big enough to ask for it, she too big to have it.  The reason for the delay in breaking this habit is, quite simply, that I chose to potty train instead.  I was afraid that if I chose to train and take the pacifier away at the same time, both attempts would fail.  As she has taken to big girl panties fairly well, I'm about to take the pacifier away.  I hear lots of creative ways to get rid of the pacifier, but I'm more of a down-to-business type.  It's more about me giving it up than my daughter, so the plan is to gather them and get rid of them.  

Cold Turkey.  No option to give in.  

Tonight was the first night that she went to sleep without it.  I laid her head on her Little Mermaid pillow, tucked her crocheted baby afghan around her, and kissed her cheek.  

Then came the sugar-sweet reminder from her little mouth, "Mamma.  Fafier?"  

Oh geeze.  "All gone Sweetness.  Be a big girl and go night night."  

"Fafier." Again, but with a hint of worry.  

I'm slowly backing away toward the door.  

"FAFIER! FAFIER!"  

I glance at the clock to make sure I don't let her scream too long.  Less than a minute later, silence.  Another parenting task complete. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Second Chances / Seeds of Doubt / Faith Testers

Sometimes it's tough to see where God is leading.  When two choices are presented, neither bad and both likely to change your life, what do you do?  I generally pray, listen, reflect on the ways that God may be speaking to me, pray some more, and make a decision.  BUT, what happens when the decision is made and then you're presented with an unexpected turn of events, an opportunity to change your mind?  Do you consider it a silent nudge from the Big Guy or an evil effort to deter you from God's will?  I had a conversation with a friend along these lines recently, and today I'm faced with a "turn of events" myself.  

Actually, I find myself in these circumstances more often than I'd like... or maybe I create them by overanalyzing... of maybe it's a direct result of... and there I go again.  Deciding whether to send Little Mister to preschool this year or homeschool for a year first, deciding whether to purchase my grandparent's house from the estate after they passed away, deciding if we are called to have more children, deciding to switch Big Sister to public education... these are all major decisions, just in the past six months, that were initially made, after much prayer and thought, confidently and finally.  BUT, after each of these choices were made, there was a curve ball or a chance for a do-over presented.  The teacher we'd tried to avoid, who factored heavily into our decision to change schools, was switched to a lower grade only days after we'd enrolled my daughter in public school.  After signing Little Mister up for preschool, the tuition was raised enough to make us rethink enrolling him.  We met wall after wall as we dove into the paperwork and jumped through the hoops that is closing on an estate purchase.  

Reading His signals about another baby has been possibly the most frustrating.  First we decided to delay the process a while, and God immediately verified that the time wasn't right yet.  We felt ready, and then God's sense of humor kicked in and he threw me a 28 day cycle for the first time in 10 years.  Really, I'm 22 days like clockwork and can show my charted cycles from the past 2 years to prove it.   I can't help but wonder if that's a subtle sign from God or just a lesson in giving Him the reigns... 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Celebrating Big Sister's Big Number Nine: Reflections



Nine years ago at this time I was monitoring the tightening of my abdomen, timing the length and distance each was from the next, wondering if this would be it.  I was three weeks out from my due date with my firstborn, but somehow the possible complications never crossed my mind.  Youthful ignorance was a blessing back then as there were so many other things for me to worry about.  I was off to the hospital at 10:30 and admitted by midnight.  At 12:33 the next afternoon, I would have endured the worst delivery I've heard stories about even to this day.  I hardly noticed the aftermath, the nurses shocked to find out that I hadn't had an epidural, rather my legs wouldn't support me due to the local anesthetics used after the birth.  I was busy being mesmerized by the tiny toes, the clenched fists, the button nose that had been entrusted to me.  It was her and I, no matter what.  I knew that even then.  





My friends had done their best to include me in their normal lives, and I'm sure that they enjoyed the idea of tiny tie-dye onesies, made in my absence at a get-together, as much as I did.  I can't really imagine being on the other side of my friendships after I was pregnant and married.  There must have been a lot of thoughts unspoken, worries kept secret.  I'm not sure I would have listened to them, and oh, how I needed the comfort of knowing that they were still here, loving me and pulling for me!





I left the hospital with my mom, and before we even went home, I wanted to bring my baby to meet her namesake, my paternal grandmother.  The first granddaughter had been given a variation of my grandma's name, and as this was the first great-granddaughter, I thought it fitting to use another variation for my daughter.  My grandma was already aging, and she passed away when my baby girl was 18 months old.  I so wish they would've gotten to know each other, but I try to share stories of her in the hopes that she will be remembered through me.  





She was so tiny when she was born- I literally dressed her in doll clothes.  I didn't realize just how small she was until I tried to fit Little Miss into her big sister's newborn clothes!





She was such a joy as a baby, a perfect match for me.  I truly believe that God created her with my unique situation and abilities in mind.  When she would wake up in the wee hours of morning, she would crawl into my bed and use her chubby fingers to pry my eyelids apart in the hopes of starting her day before the sun.  At the time, I thought I might die of exhaustion, but I looking back, her spunky personality is what kept me busy enough not to dwell on other parts of my life that were crumbling around me.  





My absolute favorite picture of her.  We'd gone to the fishing park near home one afternoon, in typical fashion, to play and sneak pictures.





And THEN... she started to grow up on me.  This was her first day of preschool.  I didn't get teary as so many mommies do.  I knew without a doubt that she was not only ready but honestly needed the experience.  And she's been yacking her teachers' ears off ever since!





We've dabbled in lots of activities over the years: ballet and tap lessons, soccer, voice lessons, gymnastics, and horseback riding lessons.  None of them have pleased me as much as this first year of dance lessons.  She attended the studio where I had been a student for thirteen years, and it was a joy to watch her swallowed by love from the curly redhead owner who had watched me grow up.  That was the last year the studio was open.





This was Big Sister last year on her birthday.  Every birthday, I take some time to look through the pictures of her from the last year, soaking in my amazement of the changes that have taken place.  Every year, she looses a little more of her childish cuteness and replaces it with the hint of mature beauty.  I can see the future teenager in her already, and THAT does make me want to cry, to freeze time.  It's always been her and I against the world, and I hope, pray, that our connection withstands the years of hormones and arguments over boys and curfews.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beating the Summer Slump


On
Dr. Laura's website tonight, I stumbled on a great article:


The larger part of summer vacation has passed, the BACK TO SCHOOL ISLE has snuck into Wal-Mart, and most of our great close-to-home plans for the summer may well have been exhausted leaving the chins of our angels resting lazily in their hands.  As Mommy, I've even begun to get burnt out on the great summer activities that we love, today in particular.  The article lists tons of ideas that kids can do alone, with each other, or with an adult.  Some are silly, some are fun, and some are really useful!  The list is is so expansive that I challenge you all to think of an idea that's not listed in some way!  

Here are a few of my favorites:

*  Use a magnifying glass
*  Make frisbees out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers
*  Surprise a neighbor with a good deed
*  Whittle bars of soap (this one makes me laugh!)
*  Decorate bikes or wagons and have a parade
*  Take a nap outside on your lawn

And here are a few of our ideas:

*  Experiment with mixing paints to learn about the color wheel
*  Visit PBSkids.org
*  Organize the bookshelf and choose some to donate to a local preschool or church nursery
*  Practice casting a fishing pole (with a weight instead of a hook!)


Here's to making the most of what's left of the summer!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: July 13th



For Today... July 13, 2009


Outside my window... I'm guessing it's a fairly overcast morning.  The blinds are still down, but no light streams through the horizontal cracks.  Only slits of grey peek through.

I am thinking... Of the wonderful weekend I got to spend with my daughter in the midst of her summer visit with her dad.  We went shopping for school clothes, attended a wedding shower, celebrated her birthday at the Cheesecake Factory, and spent yesterday just hanging out together at home.  Overall, a wonderful breath of fresh air!

From the kitchen... Still quick dinners as we work e

ach evening on the new house.  Lots of salads, macaroni and cheese with tuna, spaghetti, and probably a pizza thrown in one night.  I cannot wait until the kitchen floor is laid so that my stove/oven can be installed.  

I am wearing... a yellow t-shirt from this past years' Vocation Day that I chaperoned with my parish's 6th graders, blue yoga pants with a white stripe down each leg, pink flip flops.  I have full intentions of changing into my painting jeans momentarily! 

I'm not quite finished reading... The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I did find time to pick it up again last night.  The bedtime routine at our house has been less than smooth with my dear son, so the time that is left after I finally scare him into staying in his bed is minimal.

I am creating... Plans and a To-Do list for all the sewing and decorating projects I will be completing upon moving.  Recovering my dining room chairs and sewing curtains for the rooms in my house that aren't able to reuse what we have.

I am praying... For a week full of progress.  Oh, I need to see some progress on this house!  God willing, our kitchen and bathroom floors will be installed tomorrow.  I ask to be reminded that He gives all gifts in His perfect timing.

Around the house... I'm treading water, it seems.  7 loads of laundry completed over the weekend, but I'm almost sure that 8 loads have replaced my progress... or maybe that's just my imagination! 

One of my favorite things... Fruit Salad. A freshly sliced, chilled summer fruit salad.  Mmmm... I might have to add that to my dinner list one night this week!

A few plans for the rest of the week... Puting the finishing touches on a session edit, and renovation, renovation, renovation... I'm sure that someday we'll find something new to consume our life with!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

My younger daughter's room progress.  The right wall is the lavender base coat.  The wall on the left will be the finished product.  


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Friday, July 10, 2009

A Sticky Situation

A friend of mine called me a couple days ago and invited me to make the 2 hour trip to the city. We took her daughter, my 3 year old son, and my 19 month old daughter (who went home with Daddy after he got off work downtown).

At Kohl's, we selected a double shopping stroller, and the kids climbed inside. It wasn't the triple disappearing act that my son performed that make me share this story, nor was it his successful attempt to sneak his hand out and knock an entire shelf of folded T-shirts to the floor.

Just as we were about to make our purchases, the dear girl mummbled something about gum, and I noticed a thick string of neon green in my son's white-blonde hair. He reached up and felt it at the same moment, and I watched a lower lip protrude, eyes widen, then,

"OOOOOOO!!!!! She put gum in my hair!!!"

Into the bathroom we went to attempt to dislodge the gluey mess McGiver style. I was somewhat successful. My hairdresser mom couldn't even tell where I had cut the gum out (she said it must've been the long spot she'd been meaning to trim), and I learned two lessons.


Be thankful for friends who are there to share even the stickiest situations, and
never leave home without a jar of peanut butter!"


On the Floor Kicking and Screaming

"Let's just live on plywood." I was joking when I suggested this to my husband an hour ago, but I'm secretly wondering if we'll EVER get our flooring ordered and installed. I've been to six different businesses in the last three weeks, met three installers at the house to measure for themselves the house (even though I had handed them blueprints that were measured down to the sixteenth inch), picked out carpet after carpet, vinyl after vinyl, and laminate after laminate until I could hardly remember what the samples from each store looked like. I kept thinking that each new place I visited would be a breath of fresh air, that I'd feel good about ordering from them. The whole process has been miserable, infuriating, disheartening. Last Friday, I called Hubby on the verge of tears and told him I couldn't handle any more!

Now, my husband is amazing, personable, caring, and brilliant in his career. When it comes to helping me out with my responsibilities, he tends to pretty much leave me to figure things out and get my jobs done. Friday, however, he became my knight in shining armor, telling me that we'd figure this out and that he'd take over the phone calls and deciphering of flooring quotes for a while. He must have done a great job of consoling me, because I was convinced that we'd have flooring ordered by Monday morning. It's now a week later, and we're no closer to sorting the mess out than we were. I'm getting closer and closer to forgetting that numbers aren't adding up correctly, ignoring that I'm being told one thing and getting something different, and just ordering the flooring from whichever place I pull from a hat. BUT... the last time I settled in order to done with the headache, my punishment was loosing my daughter for 6 straight weeks every summer. I don't want to pay for another exasperated decision for years to come.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dreaming

I think that, should I ever find myself financially comfortable, I would like to hire a cleaning service- not to pick up or do dishes or laundry- to scrub my house down once a month or so.  I'm not trying to shirk my SAHM responsibilities, rather I would love to hire out for the deep cleaning and instead spend my time on other house chores- like gardening, cooking real meals regularly, and learning to do minor repairs and fix-its.  

With three kids, the thought of being that super mom who has a garden (veggie and flower), washes her curtains frequently, taxis her kids to seventeen events each week, packs the best lunches and provides the favorite hang out for her kids' friend (and hers!) seems a tad improbable.  I consider myself successful if there are clean clothes in the closets and drawers, the bathroom, kitchen and floors are clean, the bills are paid, and the kids are fed some fruits and vegetables each day- even if it's from a can.  

BUT- how nice will it be someday when my kids are all old enough to entertain themselves without painting with my nail polish on the walls?  I'm pretty certain that, should the day come when I can think about spending a little on a cleaning service, my kids will be old enough that I won't long so much for one, but oh, if I had a million dollars today...

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook: July 6th



For Today... July 6, 2009


Outside my window... The promise of a hot, sunny day, a sharp contrast to yesterday's mid-60's cloudy temperment, but that is Missouri weather for you!   

I am thinking...  That I have a fantastic husband! One that might possibly be the dorkiest guy I know but who is playful and makes me giggle, one that is hard working, understanding, and willing to put his wife and kids above all else but God.

From the kitchen... Hubby made hamburger steak last night!  A real treat because typically if I don't cook we eat something from a box.  The yummy mix of spices, green peppers, onions and cheeses made quite the satisfactory dinner!  Now I do believe I owe him my best effort one night this week!

I am wearing... a black stretchy camisole, black stretchy shorts, a lap blanket.

I'm not quite finished reading... The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I know!  Don't judge.  What has this been?  6 weeks?  What can I say, I've been a busy girl! 

I am creating... Space in our house.  Every six months or so I go through the house and purge ourselves of whatever hasn't been used in the last year or has been annoyingly in my way for that long.  In our house, we have 2 closets that don't come close to fitting the clothes from the 5 of us and just enough cabinets to cram our cookware and dishes in... but only if you say a few prayers before packing them inside.  That leaves no storage space for things like magazines, extra toiletries, and an overabundance of toys. I had hoped to save this overhaul for the move, but as house construction goes, the need for sanity in our current home came sooner than the flooring in the new house!

I am praying... For a successful annual review for my husband!  He has worked so very hard this year, allowing his career to come just after God and family maybe too often.  I do appreciate that man!  I am so blessed to have the ability to stay home and raise our kids and that I have a husband that doesn't allow this grudgingly but appreciates and prefers our life this way.  My job, aside from house and mommy, is to be his cheerleader, to do whatever I can to make his career easier for him.

Around the house... The kids' room is begging for attention.  The book shelf has been emptied into the floor, I'll pretend in search of a book rather than for the sole sake of messing.  And the closet and drawers are begging to be sorted and reorganized.

One of my favorite things... A good, wholeso

me chick flick, the kind that demands no real thought. I use these movies a background noise on the nights when hubby is out of town, usually with a skein of yarn and crochet hook in hand.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Finish painting the renovation, swim with the kids, catch up with hubby in the evenings.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... 

 My poor son!  I asked him to put his arm around Little Sister for a quick picture.  I guess I should have clarified where to put his arm around her.  He could not understand why she was upset with him!


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