Monday, March 29, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook: March 29th

For Today... March 29, 2010

Outside my window... Blue, sunny skies! The forecast promises a simply beautiful spring break and Holy Week.

From the kitchen... My poor kitchen has been in a state of disarray. The dishes may be done and the floor clean, but I've become embarrassingly disorganized when it comes to my shopping and meal planning. I really should get it together!

I am wearing... grey yoga pants, black tank, bare feet.

From the Learning Rooms... Uncle L is home this week! That means Little Mister will be learning more about model rocketry and finally launching his new rocket! We'll mix the usual reading and math lessons in along the way, but no formal lessons this week!

I am creating... a clothes line. Hubby and I installed the line using a few trees outside the laundry room. In the midst of clearing leaves and drilling holes into the tree trunks, we discovered my grandma's clothes line laying discarded from years ago around the same trees. Apparently we picked a good spot!

I am praying... my way through Holy Week. For a deeper understanding of the most holy sacrifice, for the strength to make my own tiny sacrifices...

Around the house... We had our house sprayed for wasps last week. It's been too cold and rainy too tell if they're gone. I'm hoping that, as the weather warms this week, we're able to enjoy being outside our house without the company of dozens of stinging critters!

One of my favorite things... dreaming of vacations- even if we decide not to go or know that we'll never. I just love researching all the exotic and magical places in the world.

A few plans for the rest of the week... a soccer game for big sister tonight, an egg hunt later this week, and hopefully a chance to visit with friends that have been swamped with their own lives lately!

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

Easter 2008 (Little Miss' 1st)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

55555: Just Because

Jessica over at 3 Girls & Our Guy posted this questionnaire, and it sounded like fun. Here Goes!

Question 1: Where were you 5 years ago?
* My daughter and I were just moving out of my parents' house into a not-quite finished home of our own. It was just the two of us for a few brief weeks.
* I was 2 months from getting married.
* I was about to wrap up my first year of teaching high school English
* I was in the midst of a custody litigation
* I was celebrating my fiancé's baptism and confirmation at Easter Vigil mass.

Question 2: What is/was on your to do list today?
* Wake up and shower
* Clean up the house
* 3 back-to-back portrait appointments
* A First Birthday party
* Catching up with my big brother who is home for Easter

Question 3: What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
* Yoplait Pineapple Upside-Down Cake yogurt
* Chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven
* McDonald's Diet Dr. Pepper
* Monterey Cheddar cheese and crackers
* Carrots- the real ones- not baby carrots

Question 4: Name 5 places you have lived.
* With my parents
*In a little 2 bedroom rental house
* With my parents again
* In a cabin in the woods
* In the house where my grandparents grew old together

Question 5: What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
* Pay off our student loans, car, and house
* Invest for retirement
* Take a fantastic 6 week tour of Europe
* Start an organization for pre-teen and teenage girls educating them on the value of abstinence and aiding with teenage sexual abuse, pregnancy, and motherhood.
* Spend a ton of time with my husband who would no longer work 2 hours from home!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Modern Day Preschools

Ok, I'm just going to rant a bit... call it frustrations from a SAHM.

I'm in the middle of the search for a preschool for Little Mister. We opted to home school this year, always with the intention of sending him to the Catholic school that Big Sister attended for six years. We truly love it there and couldn't have asked for a better foundation for her education and supplement to our religious upbringing.

Yesterday, preschool enrollment was opened to the public. I got up early, showered, did my make up, and dolled up the kids. We dropped big sister off at school, stopped by the pediatrician for shot records, and headed confidently to enroll Little Mister in the preschool program for three mornings a week. The tuition would be steep- $120/month in fact. But I felt it was worth it as we'd be introducing Little Mister to the school where he'd spend the next several years of his education. Perhaps more important, he'd be learning in an environment that shared our faith.

When I sit down to fill out the registration forms, I find no three morning option available. Huh. Only a 5 morning option for a whopping $180/month. I'm a bit thrown off and opt to write a check for a non refundable $180 to hold his spot. We visit with two of our favorite teachers, Little Mister visits the first grade classroom for a bit, and we were on our way.

Then I started to think... ponder... fester... fume. After I talked to my husband, I called to let the school know that we would not be attending preschool as they no longer offered an option that was in line with our educational needs for our kid.

Then I fumed a little more. Because here's the thing.

It is next to impossible to find a traditional preschool, at least around here. The vast majority cater to families with two employed parents and are day care/preschool combos. Not such a huge deal, right? Nope. It's a HUGE deal in this mom's opinion. You see, the entire concept behind our beloved Catholic school has been that the parents volunteer their time in order to save employment costs and keep tuition reasonable. The thing is, when the majority of the families enrolled have two employed parents, it leaves little time for volunteering. The result is increased salary costs to fill positions that would normally be filled by parent volunteers. And how does the school compensate? They have no choice but to raise tuition. If those families were choosing jobs to gain stability, I certainly wouldn't mind having to contribute more financially, but when the majority are driving luxury vehicles and living in homes that are worth four times as much as ours, I sort of want to scream. Because families like mine are helping to pay for their material goods by volunteering countless hours around the school, paying inflated tuition prices, all the while driving a car with nearly 300,000 miles. (Maybe that's just my family)

None of this bothered me when there was an option for families like mine, but now our option has been removed, and today, in this moment, I feel like we've been pushed out of our school by a huge number of two-income families. And it makes me mad, and sad. But more importantly, it makes me feel very humbled and thankful to have had the ability and priority to raise our own children full time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mamma M's 5 Question Friday: March 19th

My Little Life

1. Have you ever had a celeb sighting?
Nope, although my husband accidentally had lunch with Brittany Murphy when she was in the Middle East with the USO. Even got a kiss on the cheek (so he says) from her. Knowing me, I've bumped into a handful of celebs and been totally oblivious to their identities!

2. What temperature do you keep your house?
65-67 in the winter We used to keep it 72-74, but this big house is torture on the electric bills! I'm sure it'll be 76-78 in the summer, and I've vowed to turn it off completely during May and maybe June. We'll see if we survive that though!

3. Do you notice dust at other peoples homes?
Nope- unless the kids have written messages in it. I notice the toilets- good or bad- because I'm a stickler about having my toilet clean for company. Seriously, if you pop in without warning, expect me to fake a trip to the little girls room so I can clean it... even if I just cleaned it the day before!

4. What's the worst job you ever had?

Hm... that's a tough one. Partly because I haven't had many jobs. I cleaned my parents' rental cabins off and on for years, I substituted, and I taught high school English. I suppose by comparison, the cleaning job was the worst, but it was good stinkin' money. Sometimes I think about "applying" again.

5. What is your most sentimental possession?

It's a toss-up between my wedding album and family videos from my childhood.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top of the Morning to You

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! St. Patrick's Day has always held a place close to my heart, perhaps because there's more Irish blood in me than anything else! I can remember my dad greeting me with a "Top of the morning!" on St. Patrick's Days as a kid, and I always looked forward to wearing my green (even though I forgot that morning and received my pinch on occasion)! As a Mom, I've dressed my kids in St. Pat's attire on each and every March 17th.

But for me, St. Patrick's Day doesn't center around leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold. St. Patrick Day is a day to remember a great man.

Born in 385 A.D., St. Patrick was Scottish-born and was captured and taken as a slave to Ireland at 14 years old. He relied on God to see him through his time in slavery. Six years later, St. Patrick was told in a dream to leave Ireland, and so he escaped and traveled by boat back to his family. Later, he dreamed the people of Ireland were calling to him to join them, and after he was ordained a priest and bishop, St. Patrick was sent to spread the gospel to the Irish. He used the shamrock as a tool to teach the blessed trinity. For forty years, the saint spread the news of the Gospel in Ireland, starting churches and spreading Catholicism throughout the country.

God worked through St. Patrick to bring the gospel to my ancestors. I am truly blessed to be an Irish Girl!

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow,
and may trouble avoid you wherever you go!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook: March 8th

For Today... March 8, 2010

Outside my window... Birds, bulbs, and the first crocuses... the warm sunny weekend proved productive here in the valley!

From the kitchen... I completely slacked off tonight and made pancakes for dinner. What can I say? Hubby was gone, Little Miss was running a fever! Lots of veggies and baked chicken tomorrow to compensate!

I am wearing... Boot cut jeans, a black, long sleeve shirt, and my glasses (that I'm having to wear more often now).

From the Learning Rooms... Finally getting to our rocket this week! We'll use the lesson to work on the letter R and counting backward from ten. Little Mister is very excited to put his rocket kit together, and I think that Uncle L may even be home for Easter. That means we'll get to launch it!

I am creating... a yard. I've made it my mission to transform our construction site into a real, neat landscape this month (and next). Our house will still look under construction until our siding is up and painted, but the yard... THAT is something I have control over!

I am praying... for patience as we revamp our parenting tactics around here! I tried Super Nanny's stern talk and somehow I've turned into a drill sergeant... and unfortunately my soldiers are following my lead. It's back to loving talk and living as examples of how we want them to handle sibling conflict. But my goodness, it doesn't take long for yelling to become habit!

Around the house... the main level is fairly tidy, but the upstairs is a sight! Little Mister and I are going to tackle his room together, and Big Sister is on the verge of loosing my laundry services until she does something about the clothes piled everywhere! Sheesh!

One of my favorite things: the contentment that comes from knowing that God always has my backup plan planned... and that it wasn't His backup plan- it was His plan. It's amazing how something that is stressful, terrifying, or heart-wrenching, can lead you somewhere that you feel sure you were meant to be.

A few plans for the rest of the week... the calendar's wide open! Just the normal kids' activities and teaching PSR.

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

Little Miss enjoying the SEVETY degree day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Girls

My Mamma was telling me today about a new friend of hers who invited her to go shopping. And I thought, "I wonder if I'll ever be invited to do things with new girls in my life..."

And then I remembered that right now, the main girls in my life are 2 and 9.

And I remembered that at my age, my mom was doing what I'm doing now- throwing herself into parenting. And as much as we all need friends, my priceless few are more than enough sustenance for me in these parenting years... But it's nice to see my mom with an active social life. It makes me more content to focus on my family rather than my social life. Because there really will be time for that later.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Non-Pregnant Silliness

I offered to lend my maternity clothes to my cousin tonight. I opened the Rubbermaid to check out the goods before handing them off. Oh, knife to my heart! I know I'm just loaning them and that I'll get them back, but I had a moment of hesitation all the same. I'm thinking of keeping my favorite shirt anyway-- a fitted black and white striped tank top with "baby" written in sliver across the chest. I LOVED to pair that with my black pregnancy yoga pants...

The down side of not being pregnant again: Never wearing my tub full of cute maternity clothes again.

The up side of not being pregnant again: That much closer to having mornings free for the gym... which equals new cute clothes!