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Showing posts from February, 2016

Day 59: Target Run

Moms especially savor being able run errands alone. Yesterday I got to complete the beloved Solo Target Run! I wasn't rushed for time so I grabbed a Starbucks coffee - it was a Sunday/feast day after all - and wandered the aisles at a leisurely pace. 
I picked up the 4 items I needed and at least $25 of stuff I didn't know I needed! I didn't even mind being sucked into the Target Vortex because, based on my Target card bill, it's been several months since I've fallen victim to it. 
I'm pleased with my purchases and the fact that I have since only thought I'd one more thing I should have gotten. I really enjoyed my hour of Target solace!

Day 58: High 50s

Yesterday's weather was great by March or April standards in ND, so temperatures in the high 50s in February made everyone jump for joy! 
We threw open the windows, which made a pre-company speed clean much more enjoyable. The kids got out baseball stuff and played in the driveway. We grilled! 
I shopped with a friend without dragging our winter coats along, and we capped off the day enjoying supper with friends. 
A great Saturday all around!

Day 57: Seven Quick Takes

I'm cranky right now. Number 1 had a rough afternoon. Well, I had a rough afternoon because  he doesn't think he needs to be nice to his brothers or listen to me at all. But I did have several moments of gratitude earlier, before our day went south.

I couldn't think of anything that, on its own, was postworthy. So I think I'll do a 7 Quick Takes-type post. I'm not linking up, because I'm not a real blogger. 

Things I am Grateful for Today: 
Voices of Reason. I'm catching up on the podcasts of the Jennifer Fulwiler show, and the one I heard today was another really good one. Check it out here. Jen tells her interesting story of a health issue that means she should not have any more kids. She talks with one of my favorite Catholic apologists/speakers/authors/radio show hosts, Patrick Madrid, about the recent blow up over some comments the Pope did or did not make on an airplane. Patrick's interview starts at about 32 minutes in and it is definitely worth li…

Day 56: The Crowes

Nothing notable took place today. The baby woke me up super early and I was tired all day. We cleaned up the disaster of a basement and #1 asked who was coming over. It was a very average day.

I've mentioned before what a gift iPod's shuffle feature is to me. We listened to music for a long time today, and had a good run of songs I really love that made me happy.
The first one that caught my attention this morning was "Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution" by the Black Crowes.  Check it out here:
Until I met my husband and his college roommate, the Crowes were not on my radar. I suppose I knew "Jealous Again" and "She Talks To Angels" from the radio, but I was not at all familiar with the Robinson brothers or their band. Now, they are for sure in my top 5. 
Chris Robinson's voice is just comforting and beautiful to me. My favorite full record is probably By Your Side or Chris and Rich's Brothers of …

Day 55: My Group

I said it in one of the early posts, but I love Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, we drop off #1 at preschool and go to 8 a.m. Mass, followed by "Mach" which stands for Mothers And Children. My middle son loves it so much, as did the big one when he went last year. The baby just tolerates it, but that's good enough for me.

We meet Wednesday mornings throughout the school year in the basement of our church. There are usually about 8-12 moms there. Many of us go weekly, and some show up monthly or just whenever they can. There are some moms with older kids, but in the core group who is there every week, the oldest kids are about seven or eight. There are several pregnant moms right now, and many newcomers who have just babies, too.

Mach is such a supportive and encouraging group of people. Online you read about "mommy wars" all the time and I absolutely have never experienced any of that in this group (or at all, really). We don't all do things the same, and we do d…

Day 54: The Joy of 3

I had planned to write about my van today. Lame, I know, but if you are a mother, you know that vans. are. awesome. They are. Cool? No. Valuable to parenthood? Most definitely. I am able to take an extra kid or two, and fit grandma and grandpa in when they visit. It's more than enough space for all the crap we need to take when we go on vacation. I'm so glad I wasn't one of those people who swore I'd never drive a van, though I did swear them off until I was at least expecting a second child. I love my 2010 Honda Odyssey sooooo much.

So I meant to expand on the many benefits of my mini, but then tonight we took the boys across the street to the sports arena to burn off some of their energy running around the track. There happened to be hockey practice, and these little boys love hockey. The three-but-almost-four-year-old middle child's face lit up when he realized hockey was being played. It was just a high school practice, but his smile spread from ear to ear and …

Day 53: Staying at Home

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of me being a stay-at-home mom. As the old cliche says, the days were long but the year was short!

February 16, 2015: my last day of gainful employment. The day was bittersweet, as I knew staying home with the boys was the right thing for our family at the time, but I also really enjoyed my job and especially my coworkers. The company I worked for treated me well in the 3.5 years I spent there. My team became close friends and enjoyed each others' company, mostly.

I know there are many people out there who long to stay at home, or even just to work less, but can't. So I do not take this gift lightly. The decision for me to quit working was a no-brainer for us, as day care for three kids was more than I was making at 3/4 time. Easy decision or not, transitioning from one to the other is challenging. I felt nervous that I would hate it, or suck at it, or raise serial killers. So far, none of those things have happened.

This life is defin…

Day 52: Naps

I still haven't written my gratitude item for yesterday. After the morning Mass/gym/donut routine we a took an epic family nap. Mine was the shortest at 2 hours; the baby knocked out for almost 4. 
So I didn't feel like enough things really went on to warrant typing my gratitude. Then I realized that was it: naps. I don't take them as often as I want to (which is at least once daily), but when I get them, I revel in the glory. Nothing says "day of rest" like parking on the couch for a couple of hours. Not having any "have to" items is such a gift.

Day 51

Yesterday was a tough day. By the time I got home and we got the kids to bed, I was so emotionally drained all I could do was stare into the abyss. I could not put together coherent sentences. Today we took the day of rest seriously, and napped most of the day, so I am finally getting around to yesterday's post.

After our couple's group meeting in the morning, I had to watch some friends bury their baby, whom they lost at 17 weeks gestation. We had a funeral Mass and I read this at the burial. To say it's a hard thing is an understatement. I fervently hope I never have to go through that myself or walk through it with friends or family again, but it is likely I may have to.

Despite the many challenges throughout the day, I am grateful that I was able to see God's graces even in the suffering. He has been pouring out graces upon me since my baptism, but I am new to asking for them and recognizing them in my life. I believe He sustained the family of this baby throughou…

Day 50: Random Acts of Kidness

It struck me today when I ran downstairs to change out the laundry. I saw this:
I have mentioned before that I complain way more than I should about stuff that all kids do. Bickering. Whining. Ignoring. Making messes. Not listening. Ever. 
And just when I think I can't take it anymore, I see stuff like this and have to giggle a little bit. Kids are so great at doing completely random stuff and just taking all sorts of joy in it. 
I have one kid, the current owner of the boots inside my boots, who is really particular about stuff -- where it is kept, how it is kept and to whom it belongs. If the baby wasn't napping in their bedroom if take a photo of a drawer I thought was empty that he's made into his secret little safe. Its pretty adorable, really. 
I wandered very quickly and quietly around the house, because people are napping all over the place, and took these shots of some of the Random Acts of Kidness (see what I did there?): 
Jake and Paul Molitor four-wheeling!

Day 49: Our House

I loved our big yellow box of a house when we bought it. It has lots of redeeming qualities: a large open living area, big bedrooms with great closets, and the location is fantastic. We have all the square feet we need, including a huge playroom, which gets tons of use.

However, as time has gone by (9.5 years here!), I sort of started to hate it. I'm not willing to give up my guest room, because we have lots of guests. We have 3 kids and 3 bedrooms, which means all the little people and all their stuff sre shoved in one room. We had extra space for a lot of years, which means we accumulated lots of crap. 
We spent 2015 trying to get rid of said crap, and updating some things in case we decided to sell the house. As it turns out, it wasn't actually the house I hated; it was the stuff. I mean, I really did hate the stained up country blue countertops, but overall we have a great house. 
We have updated the counters, appliances, bathrooms, and made minor improvements all over. An…

Day 48: The Sweet Spot

I'm not feeling particularly grateful at the moment. I'm actually feeling more tired, cranky and overwhelmed. But lucky for you, I thought of my gratefulness item for the day earlier!

I normally spend a fair amount of time texting a friend, my sister or my mom all about the outrageous antics of the boys, often overusing the eye roll emoji. They do a lot of crazy stuff. We talk about farts SO much. 
But when I actually went downstairs today and played with them I realized that we've hit a sweet spot here. They are 5, almost 4 and 1.5. 
So mostly we sleep at night, usually being bothered once. We only change diapers a handful of times each day. People eat real food (and sometimes other stuff). Their problems are mostly lost blankies and not being first at all the things. I can take a shower and feel reasonably confident that everyone will be alive when I get out. 
Having lots of little kids is hard. It's hard for a lot of reasons, and often parents of little ones can get…

Day 47: Grace

Dear loyal reader,
I was grateful yesterday. But also busy. My apologies for the delay!
As I was lying in bed last night thinking about the day, I realized what I was grateful for was grace. (My beautiful niece Grace was here, too, and I'm sure grateful for her for a number of reasons.) 
What I'm taking about is God's presence in those small (or big) moments of the day when you do not think you can do what you need to do. And most of the time we can't do what we need to do, alone. 
I was recently reminded by a friend to ask  for those graces from God when we need them. It seems so obvious but I so rarely do it! 
I had to do something mildly difficult for me yesterday, and I'm so thankful I had my friend's reminder to pause on my way and ask for the Lord to be with me in those moments and to work through me, since I knew left to my own devices, I would likely ruin everything. 
I'm slightly embarrassed to say it took me several hours to remember to thank God …

Day 46: Drive Through Groceries & Sting

Pardon the second super lame post in a row.

Today's item due my thanksgiving is Cash Wise online grocery ordering! I did not feel like dragging three kids to the grocery store for the second time in less than a week, so this morning I ordered online and two hours later, stopped and picked them up. 
This glorious feature had to have been invented by a mother, or at least a parent. While I do like to pick out my own produce and bag things (ahem) the right way, I will take bruised fruit for not having to deal with two toddlers and an angry 5-year-old at the grocery store. Thank you, Cash Wise! 
And a quick second item: I'm listening to James Taylor's new album, Before This World as I type this. James will be the focus of at least one upcoming post, because his music is my happy place. But the title track on this song just has mesmerized these last few days. 
Sting does the harmony for it. I'm not a huge Sting fan, but he has a cool voice. His voice and James's togethe…

Day 45: Baseboards

It's amazing how hard it can be to accomplish anything with little ones around. We've had a few things on the to do list for a while and life just keeps getting in the way.

This weekend, I gave the bathrooms a good deep clean and the man of the house was able to reinstall the baseboards that have been off since we redid the floors in early January. Clean, finished bathrooms are glorious! (Cue angels singing.) 
He also went around the house and fixed up any loose baseboards. It's amazing how getting this little nagging task done can really feel like a load off!

Day 44: A Long Healthy Streak

I could feel it coming Thursday night. Sniffles. Scratchy throat. Exhaustion. 
By bedtime yesterday it was a full-on head cold, and now I can feel it making the natural progressions through my throat, chest, and sinuses. 
I'm so glad it's the weekend and my spouse is here to do 99% of the parenting. I've been wandering around, resting, and drinking lots of apple cider vinegar/lemon/honey water. I've taken a few trips on the self-pity/offer it up roller coaster as well.

Offering up my suffering is a concept pretty new to me, but my beautiful new mug helps! I'm not good at suffering well, so I need lots of reminders.
I can't remember my last bad cold; it must have been November or early December. I remember winters where I had a cold at least every month, so the fact that I can't pinpoint last time I was sick is a big win. Not having kids in day care likely helps. 
I think I'll sit here a while longer with my friends Kleenex, remote and mug. We're enjoying…

Day 43: Matt Maher Music

"Christian" music has not really ever been my cup of tea. Not because it's not good, but just because most of it is not a musical style that suits my tastes. In one episode of the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast, the priests were talking about how for so much Christian music, you could just replace "Jesus" with "baby" or something like that and it would be a ho-hum pop love song, and I tend to agree.

All of that being said, I'm really getting into Matt Maher's music lately.

I think it all started with Cor Jesu, a monthly event at my parish that includes praise and worship music. One of the musicians who regularly shares his gifts for that event is our friend J. He plays/sings some of Matt Maher's music, and some of the songs just drew me in, and I downloaded a couple of his albums (this one and this one) on my iPod. The lyrics speak to me, as do his powerful performances.

This week, I changed my 6 a.m. alarm from an annoying buzz to…

Day 42: My Village

A friend came over to watch the two little guys today so I could sneak out to get my hair cut and run a couple of errands. It's amazing what I can accomplish without having to buckle and unbuckle and carry and search for mittens.

On my drive home, I was thinking about the old cliché "it takes a village to raise a child." It really is true, but it also takes a village to raise an adult. I do not know what I would do without my circle. My people. My village. 
Of course, there are many people who fall into this category, and for a number of varying reasons. Some are people we talk to daily, some we see once or twice a year, but all are so important to our life. 
I was thinking mostly about that immediate circle, the ones we lean on from day to day. As a stay-at-home mom, I rely heavily on my fellow at-home friends for support, encouragement, and even just for coffee and conversation. There are several of us who will take each other's kids on short notice, send dinner le…

Day 41: Lent, Lent, Time to Repent*

I love Lent! As someone who struggles with self-denial and self-control, I like this time that the church sets aside for us to detach from ourselves and reattach to the Lord. I find myself feeling contented by the simplicity of it, but also challenged by the depth of it.

In recent years as I've learned more about my faith, the liturgical year, and myself, I have understood why my Lenten "sacrifices" in the past have not always been fruitful. I think it was because I was just denying myself something (or trying to) and usually doing it for prideful reasons, rather than looking it as a sacrifice that I could give to Jesus in an effort to grow into closer relationship with Him.

As I learn and understand more, I look forward the prayer, fasting and almsgiving that we are called to during Lent. In an effort to hold myself accountable, I have started to write down my plans for Lent. I have found this to be helpful for me as the season becomes long and I start to lose my focus …

Day 40: Fat Tuesday!

And boy was it fat. We consider ourselves good Catholics, so tonight we binged on taco hotdish, birthday cake, ice cream, soda, and I had a beer (don't tell the CDC because I am of childbearing age and not currently - or ever- using contraception). We partied at some dear friends' and basically I'm too tired to post anything more. I'm happy that the kids are in bed and I'm headed that way as well.

I'll leave you with something our awesome priest just shared on Facebook, in case you need to read one more thing on the Interwebs about Lent:

Day 39: One more day!

Today I'm grateful that I have one more day to prepare for Lent. I've been thinking about it a while, but I'm not quite ready yet. I'm mostly ready for myself, having printed my Waiting in the Word scripture study journal just seconds ago. I have the book we'll be reading on my nightstand. What I do not have ready yet is how we will "do" Lent with the small people. I have a few ideas, but I still need to talk them over with the other household adult before we decide for sure.

In the mean time, I have lots and lots of Lenten blog posts to peruse. Here are a few, most of which I've read, but all of which I would be well served to revisit:

Carrots for Michaelmas: 8 Picture Books for Lent and Easter
Catholic All Year: 66 Things to Give Up or Take Up for Lent
Carrots for Michaelmas: 40 Resources for Lent and February Liturgical Traditions
The Mission Life: Recognizing God's Providence in the Midst of the Desert
Pierced Hands: 10 Reasons We Fast
There are on…

Day 38: My plans got messed up

Every mother has read the poem/meme/article about how you never know when it will be the last time you...(insert mothering item here).

Mothers of lots of small children mostly roll their eyes at it, even if we know we will eventually feel that way. It's just that we are constantly needed all. the. time.
Today dad and the big boys left and the baby was looking tired, so I had planned to put him down, shower, and get some work done on the computer. Then, in a not-so-shocking turn of events, he flipped out and cried for 20 minutes. 
Then, this boy who typically goes to nap and bed pretty well, flipped out again when I put him in bed. Let's just say I got 0 of my items done, and ended up rocking the baby and watching cooking shows on PBS. We rocked for at least a half hour, and for once instead of steaming about my plans being ruined, I enjoyed it. 
It had been a couple of months since I'd rocked him. I am grateful that I took the time to touch his chubby little bare feet, and…

Day 37: My Coloring Book

I jumped on the adult coloring book bandwagon and I'm not ashamed! To say we color a lot would be a gross understatement. Despite the fact that all of the boys love the outdoors and sports, we still have time for plenty of art making. 
I finally got fed up with coloring Curious George and trucks and tractors. I think I've done around a bajillion of all of those. So I spent 10 minutes on Amazon and had a handful picked out. I ordered this one (not an affiliate link, btw). 
I finally put my old neglected Creative Memories scrapbooking pens to work, and I must say, I am loving it. The boys are happy because I'm coloring with them, I'm happy because it's not a teddy bear. Everybody wins! This was less than $9 and will take me quite a while to work though, as it was four or five coloring sessions to finish this one page. 
I love this coloring book of psalms; it is definitely making me happy today!

Day 36: Nap Time

Every parent knows that God made small children need naps midday because we need a break!

Since my kids were formerly daycare kids, we are pretty routine about naps. They are not at the same time each day but they are always right after lunch. The three- and five-year-old still nap, but they/we can survive if they miss one here or there. 
The 16-month-old (formerly misidentified as a 17-month-old) is still transitioning from two naps to one, so he's a bit of a wild card. Today he threw his entire lunch on the floor and flipped out at 11:30 so into bed he went. 
And then he came out. At 3:30. That is four solid hours, people. Epic. He usually sleeps between an hour and a half and two hours. 
The big kids messed around for a bit, because they have decided that napping on the couch is a good idea despite the fact that I'm working a few feet away in the kitchen. They did eventually fall asleep.
After I dealt with the kitchen disaster, I headed to my room to pray and rest, since I&…

Day 35: I am not a preschool teacher

With the big boys only being a year and a half apart, we sometimes treat them like twins as far as exposing them to things. Our new "thing" is games, specifically Memory and Go Fish. I have loads of fun watching them figure out new things and joyfully winning a legit game. I like spelling with them and helping them with letters and sounds. We color for a million hours a day.

But I am not a preschool teacher. The Lord knew to clearly call me away from ever being in charge of 15 4-and-5-year olds. That does not mean, however, that I can't moonlight now and again! 
Two other moms and I volunteered in #1's preschool classroom today so his teachers could go to a luncheon. We retrieved them from lunch, did story time, made Valentine bags, and got them dressed for recess. In an hour. They were well behaved, adorable, and I had such fun seeing #1 in his own environment. 
But, whoa. I cannot imagine being in charge of that all day every day. It makes my job as a stay-at-home …

Day 34: These Chubby Hands & Washable Markers

I can not keep this kid from the markers. When you have three kids under five, sometimes you have to let go. I never would have let the first two just go to town with markers all over everything. But I'm out of fight in that regard so, whatevs. Our Formica tabletop is forgiving, and therefore, so am I. 
It seriously hurts me to look at that formerly divided gold coffee can of pencils, markers, and crayons. Aside: I love the twist up erasable crayons. Total genuis there.
I made a little cardboard divider that the big boys were actually pretty good at honoring, but it all went to hell when #3 got ahold of it. 
I like things sorted, so it pains me. But those hands! Look at how chubby and adorable they are! I know they won't be that way for long, so I'll give up the marker fight and just keep buying the Crayola washables when they get destroyed by this crazy bowl-legged toddler.

Day 33: The Rhythm of Life

Life with small children is constantly changing. About the time you figure them out, they change their eating, sleeping, diapering, tantrum-throwing schedule and throw you for a loop. Lately, I've realized that despite those constant changes, our days and weeks have a real rhythm right now, and I like it.

We have a little something to look forward to every day, so at-home life doesn't become a scene from the movie Groundhog Day. Sundays are for church, donuts, playing in the gym. Mondays we go to swimming lessons and get ready for the week. School starts for #1 on Tuesdays. Wednesdays are usually my favorite, as it's when my beloved mothers group meets up, and #2 always looks forward to hanging out with his friends in the childcare room there. The baby just tolerates it because he has no choice. Thursdays we go to 5:45 p.m. Mass, which usually means visiting with friends afterward (or, if you're five or under, running around the gathering place like a maniac). We end t…