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Showing posts from March, 2016

Day 91: Becky

I got my hair cut today! Yay! For a lot of women, getting a haircut can be a real treat. We schedule them far in advance and look forward to them with delight. Haircut day is even better when you have free babysitting. An hour at the salon for any busy woman, but especially the mom of only young kids, equates to a mini-vacation.

I have looked forward to my visits with Becky lo these last 13 years. Yes, 13 years. Becky and I have been "together" since before I started dating Ben! I remember this because I saw her for the first time to fix a sorority-girl-hair-gone-wild situation shortly before my spouse and I started dating. It was the same month as my spring break trip to Seattle and my first niece's birth, so a pretty memorable time.

Between sorority bathroom dye jobs and having a friend at Josef's School of Hair Design experiment on me, my hair was fried! A friend who knew Becky in high school gave me a coupon for the salon where she was working at the time, so I c…

Day 90: Ordinary Moments

The baby woke me up at 5:05 a.m. yesterday and whined, insisting on being held, all the live-long day. So by the time we were finished with supper I was aboooot (that's Canadian for "about") spent. Since their beloved father had a meeting, the pleasure of my company was requested at the evening hockey game in our basement. I couldn't play because of the aforementioned baby toddler holding, so I parked on a cushion with him on my lap and watched the game.

The baby handed me various animal figurines and we ducked flying (soft) pucks for around 35 minutes. Typically during this time of day, they are downstairs playing and I'm frantically cleaning or doing some sort of busywork upstairs. I was so pleased yesterday that I put all of my other things aside (mostly because I was too tired) and just watched them play for a half hour. They giggled and wrestled and they may have made it the full half hour without a fistfight, which I consider a huge blessing! I got caught u…

Day 89: I'm So Fancy

I'm actually not fancy, but I did invest in what I consider fancy soap this January, and grateful I am!

I've been a body wash gal since my teen years, and my skin is always super dry in the winter. One of my favorite bloggers, Simcha Fisher, has occasionally shared about her friend Robin's soap shop on Etsy. Because everything you read on the Internet is true, and because I trust Simcha, I finally broke down and ordered some. As people who typically buy the cheapest soap we can find at Sam's Club, spending $5 a bar seemed preposterous to me. 
However, I thought I'd splurge on a little treat for myself early in January since I was starting a new 6 a.m. wake up routine. I was hoping a little soap delight would help me stumble toward the shower with my eyes still shut. 
I ordered four bars - Home Sweet Home Goat Milk, Blackberry Sage Goat Milk, Lilac Love, and Patchouli Lavender. I only have the lavender left to try and I've loved them all! I will definitely be or…

Day 88: An unexpected meeting

I often appreciate the anonymity of living in a place with 150,000 people, but I also enjoy running into people I know unexpectedly.
Yesterday I had the joy of running into a friend whom I had not seen in quite a while and whom I didn't expect to see. Laura is such a delightful person, the type who always radiates peace and makes you seem like the most important person in her life at that moment. She's so fun to visit with! We ran into each other at the public library's Wiggle Room and got to chat for a few minutes before she and her kids had to leave. Seeing her was a pleasant surprise!

Day 87: Our God is Not Dead! He's Alive!

Happy Easter! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

The joy I have experienced so far this Easter is somehow different than Easters past. It is probably the result a combination of things: I've been trying to put God in his rightful first place in my life. I've had varying degrees of success and daily failure, but that, along with this year's gratitude experiment, are helping me be happier in general. The celebration of any holiday with children also has a default joy that can't be found elsewhere. They showed such excitement and delight at Easter baskets, dressing up for church, and hunting for eggs in the backyard. It's hard not to be happy around all that!

While I was nervous to discuss crucifixion and Resurrection with 3- and 5-year-olds, the kids and I did have some good chats about Lent and Easter, and they also survived 4.5 hours of church services in 4 days. Win. Kids are so open to information and they have an innate understanding of God that I wish I had as…

Day 86: Lenty Linky

Hey, did you know I love reading blogs? I do. I really do. I forgot to share these few blog posts (and a podcast) I really loved the last couple of days. Sqeeeeeeeeezing them in before Easter!

Mama Needs Coffee: You're Dragging me to Calvary
"Nope, this year I just threw in the haircloth towel at the outset and let the sacrifices present themselves to me as they came, not inspiteof my marital and motherly vocation, but right from the very heart of it. And come they did."

Fountains of Home: Holy Week Thoughts on the Everyday Cross
"I'm not talking about giant crosses that are new to my life, I'm talking about small crosses that almost build up without me noticing but have added up to quite a burden I wasn't even aware of. But even these small sufferings, the sufferings we don't choose or even see at times, are meant to be offered along with Christ's sufferings. The problem is if you don't even know they're there and weighing you down, you …

Day 85: What is Gratitude?

I mostly think  of my daily gratitude item about which to write in terms of something that made me happy, something I liked, or something I felt glad to see, hear, do, or have. I think that's legit. It's my blog and I'll write what I want!

Then I listened to the newest episode of my favorite podcast today. If you're short on time, head over and start listening around minute 8. Don't keep reading. My spirit animal Father Nathan made me do a double-take when he said this:

Gratitude is an attitude of grace wherein everything is gift.  Everything that Jesus is going to be doing, saying, being for us is gift.  What we do in these Holy Week liturgies is just allow him to do that.  Allow Him to give us the gift!
Most days I find it easy to be grateful for my spouse and kids, our home, friends, family church, food, clothing, iPhones and all of the things we have and enjoy. However, it's much tougher to view everything as a gift from God -- our sorrows, sufferings and chall…

Day 84: The Washing of Tiny Feet

Yesterday a friend and I got the kids together for a little Holy Thursday chaotic foot washing in my kitchen. The babies were confused. Some people went twice. One kid washed his own feet.

It probably didn't solidify their futures full of service to God and others. Nor did it make the liturgical year stick in their little brains and hearts for eternity. 
But it was pretty adorable. So that's enough for me. 

Day 83: Always the Bridesmaid

Yesterday started out roses. My morning mother's group was perfect, enlightening and inspiring as usual. My homeboys took long naps and I got some administrative work done during nap time. Things took a sharp dive around 3 and by 6:30 I was ready to call it a day. At 7:30 I fished the toenail clipper out of a toilet of pee, and that's about where my mood was as well. As soon as the kids were tucked into their beds around 8:30 I was ready to fall into my own bed and forget the day had happened.

Then I remembered that I was planning on donating some of my old formal wear today, and I thought it would be fun to try them on once more before saying goodbye. I made my spouse take pictures and texted them to the brides of those delightful weddings, and boy did I engage in some funny text conversations and trips down memory lane. That type of silliness and nonsense was just what I needed.

I shocked myself by being able to at least partially zip all of them! #winning. All but one were …

Day 82: Some Things Happened

I couldn't decide which of the few things I was grateful for to write about last night, so I guess I'll try to shorten up a couple of them. I mean, I'm allowed gratitude for more than one thing, right? 
Yesterday evening I had the joy of taking a solo trip to Target. Moms love that! As an added bonus, I remembered that is put Patsy Cline Heartaches in my car after The Great CD Purge of 2016.  I think most people can agree that "Crazy" is a real work of art, but I maintain that "I Fall to Pieces" and "She's Got You" are equally as remarkable. Even though I'm gratefully and happily married, those songs make me feel feelings. Her voice is so soulful in "Heartaches" that I almost can't stand it. If you think "Crazy" is lame but haven't explored her talents beyond that, I recommend checking her out. 
When I got home from shopping it was bedtime for the kids. The half-birthday boy, #3 was all primed up and acting ad…

Day 81: My Scansnap

Today was a long day. I am very tired. But I did experience a moment of gratitude today as I worked on the certified disaster area that is our "home office." I recently put up a 6-foot folding table to sort papers; it is that bad. 
In the last couple of days I've gone through boxes and binders and bags of paper, mostly related to two organizations I am in. I filled more than 2 boxes with recyclable paper and it feels so good. 
Most of what I came across was chuckable, but some did need to be saved. Enter Scansnap S1100i. I love you, Scansnap. 
Our printer has a scanner which works fine if you remember the many steps and have all day to scan one document. I bought this cute little bugger last year after doing a fair amount of research (for me.) I bought it mainly because of its compatibility with Evernote. I can scan and save documents straight to Evernote or save them wherever I please. It's super fast and does a great job. It's not sophisticated and just does singl…

Day 80: Click Fest 2016

Day 80? Whoa. I am pretty pleased with myself for actually making it 80 straight days both expressing gratitude and writing/publishing it!

In the last 24 hours I've become obsessed with reading archives at unclutterer.com. It's a long story, starting with me going through a bunch of stuff I'd ripped out of old Real Simple magazines and ending with a long click-fest. I did find some good articles about moving, so I saved those for a couple of months from now when we will (probably) embark on that adventure. I'm certainly grateful for those tips, as we had virtually no stuff last time we moved and now we have... lots of stuff.

I'm also hoping all the work I'm doing decluttering and weeding down our stuff to what we use, need or love will pay off by easing the blow of packing, unpacking, and setting up a new living space for our little family of five. I have high hopes of being more mindful with our stuff, physical of course, but also electronic and mental stuff. …

Day 79: Six for Saturday

Today I realized it was the small things that can bring cheer and gratitude to me throughout the day. So here are six quick things I was grateful for today:

1. Gift cards. We have a stash of gift cards for various places that we mostly forget to use. Today, we actually remembered to grab some before heading off to run errands. Yay, us. We even bought some treats we probably wouldn't have otherwise.

2. Dark chocolate M&Ms. I don't think these need a paragraph. Dark chocolate is my love language.

3. Getting things done. Our productivity peaked around 11 a.m. today, but that's OK because by then I'd gotten the taxes mostly done and my spouse had fixed a leaky sink. So again, yay, us!

4. Feast of St. Joseph. It's today! I feasted my little heart out on all the coffee creamer (and coffee) I could drink. I'm not 100% certain, but I think that's the traditional way to celebrate Jesus's earthly father. And I did it up big time. Because I gave up coffee creamer …

Day 78: Tickets tickets tickets!

Oh hey! Remember when I was young and cool and had disposable income to spend on concert tickets? Yeah, I do. Concerts were my thang! Now I can't stay awake past 10 and I have little kids to feed. Oh well, I went and got tickets to some great shows anyway! Garth Brooks is coming to town May 7 and less than a month later I'll be enjoying the sweet sweet sounds of James Taylor. Yay, me!

Way way back in 1998 (I think), I went saw Garth Brooks in Bismarck on a school night. Whaaa? I remember being super tired in biology the next day but it was totally worth it. I was with my cousin Haley, and probably someone else since I doubt two small-town teenage girls would have gone on their own devices. We sat in either the last row or the row right in front of those poor suckers in the back. And it. was. awesome.

Garth's latest album didn't wow me much, but I do consider him in my top 10 favorites. Maybe even top 5. 6? I can't commit. His music brings back so many great memorie…

Day 77: Confession and Forgiveness

Lent decorations are a thing! I love these from Happy Nest Home Goods!
I had psyched myself up to visit the sacrament of reconciliation when our priest joined us at mother's group to take questions and hear confessions yesterday. I had examined the conscience and felt as ready as you can be to face your sins and faults and beg forgiveness for them. But then we ran out of time.

Since we always go to mass on Thursday evenings and a friend had volunteered to keep tabs on the little people, I figured I'd just go right before Mass. Then of course I was yelling at the kids and was in a rush to make it on time, so I ran in flustered and not at all ready.

The funny thing is, it doesn't really matter if we are ready. The grace and the forgiveness are there waiting. No one cares if I'm flustered and sweating and nervous. Both of our parish priests are such excellent confessors, which makes going much easier. A certain priest I like to go to is understanding yet firm and challeng…

76: All the childhood memories

Yesterday was...average. More or less. I'm one-thumb blogging because the baby toddler has decided he needs to be carried all the live long day, so forgive me if this isn't of the highest quality!

I guess the high point of yesterday was probably going through a box of random childhood stuff I found in a closet. I am quite certain it's the contents of that drawer my mom threw all the things in- art projects, report cards, newspaper clippings. It had random things from kindergarten all the way up through high school. It was easy to toss some of it, and others I felt I had to keep, at least to show my sister or husband for a laugh. 
In case you were wondering, my sister is OK and my parents are fine. 
There were colored pictures, cabbage patch kid birth certificates, items from my beloved elementary school pin collection, report cards, and random photos. I laughed so hard with each treasure I pulled out. 
I chatted with my mom later about the delicate balance of keeping some i…

Day 74: That time I cried on the way home from swimming lessons. And winning with Pandora.

Long title today!

So, I cried on the way home from swimming lessons this morning. A good cry. One where you smile! It was because of this on the radio.

I'm not a huge Trace Adkins fan, but I enjoy a few of his songs, including "You're Gonna Miss This." I get annoyed when older moms or grandmas tell me to "treasure every moment" when my kids are freaking out at the grocery store or something like that. But I know they are right! I will miss having all the little kids. These are some good times. My boys are so sweet and even though I complain about their antics, I do love them dearly.

It's not uncommon that I long for an occasional carefree day of youthfulness from high school or college (specifically the summers!). Sometimes my husband and I wistfully remember the days of our early marriage and wonder if that was really us. I can confidently say, though, that I while I long for a silly summer day on the lake or sleeping until 11 on a Saturday morning, I …

Day 73: Dwight moved the furniture

In a matter of hours, our house went from the best shape it had been in for a long time to a monumental mess. We decided to move some furniture around so the boys were better situated and the house would also be more presentable for an eventual sale. 
Thankfully, we have a generous friend who came over to help. We'll call him Dwight. That's not his name, but it's a long story that I'll spare you. At any rate, Dwight came for supper and stayed for the furniture moving party. He was a great help, as I am not known for my physical strength, or my ability to follow my husband's instructions during such projects. 
In addition to being super helpful, Dwight is a major source of entertainment for the boys. They love him. And as a young, single guy, he humors them! The baby even walked around saying "Dwight" all evening, which was pretty darn cute. 
We have a ton of work to do, sifting through all the junk that we've stored in these rooms lo these last 9 years. …

Day 72: Spring!

I'm wise enough to know that winter could return to North Dakota at any time, but today was gloriously springy! 
It's a sweet, sweet time when the snow is melted, the grass is just barely turning green and all the things that cause me horrific allergy symptoms for months each year have yet to appear. I'll take it!
We hosted brunch this morning and the house looked great, boosted by open curtains and spring air breezing in through the screens! We putzed around in friends' driveway and ate a picnic supper at the park. The fresh air felt like such a gift today! 
Also, I almost died playing tag. I'm super glad I didn't. Yay for spring!

Day 71: Friday 5

I have much to be thankful for today!
1. The sun is shining! I mope and complain about winter a lot but it sure does make spring that much more wonderful. I love you, sun!
2. The verse for my Lenten scripture study today: So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7
3. I never thought myself fancy enough for cloth napkins. That was until I had kids who used around 899 paper towels a day. So last summer bought some colorful ones we like to use. I'm hosting brunch tomorrow so I thought I could use them but didn't have quite enough. I caved and bought these Pioneer Woman beauties at Wal-Mart this morning. Swoon. 
4. My two older kids are learning letters together, a blessing of being so close in age, and are constantly asking how to spell things. The oldest wrote some real notes yesterday and they are adorable. I smile just thinking about it! 
5. T…

Day 70: Shocks

Today I enjoyed doing laundry! Before you start rolling your eyes, hear me out. Our washer has been banging around like some sort of model T or something the last couple of months. 
I was in denial but I finally asked my trusty pal Google, who told me that the shock absorbers were probably worn out and that I should get it fixed rightthissecond before the whole thing bangs itself to the dumpster. So I called a repairman and he came today. Sure enough, the shock absorbers were wrecked and about to damage the circuit board, which would have been really expensive to replace. He fixed it up and also fixed the door hinge that was bent from a certain one-year-old "helping" with laundry.
For the first time in months I didn't dread doing laundry and I didn't have to brace myself against the awful noise. Why is it so hard to get stuff like this done? I know if you're working, it's a huge pain to take off time because you have a 2-to-4-hour window usually and that's …

Day 69: FB

I'm certain I've mentioned it before or at least linked to a podcast, but one of our priests generously records and posts his weekend homilies on ye olde interwebs for all to hear. Father Bryan is certainly one of the most gifted homilists I've heard. He's young and faithful and orthodox and holy and passionate. He definitely uses the gifts he's been given for the glory of God and for the benefit of others. I am certainly inspired by him to at least evaluate my gifts and how I can put them to better use.

His homily from this weekend was just...wow. Spot on. Please take 16 minutes to listen to it here: http://evangelicaldisciple.com/2016/03/07/its-all-about-food-sermon/. I'll wait.


Even if the content of Father Bryan's homilies wasn't always solid and convicting and terrific and terrifyingly real (which it is), I believe his genuine desire for our salvation and holiness would be evident. You can hear the passion in his voice and that touches me as much a…

Day 68: The reason for my hope

Today was a very average day, with the fact that 3/5 of us are in varying stages of a pretty bad cold tugging the day to maybe slightly below average. I just hate watching the family suffer and not being able to do a whole lot to help them.

As I was doing supper dishes and baking banana bread for breakfast, I thought about what my gratitude item for the day should be. At that time, whatever I was watching stopped with a new break to announce primary election results. 
It's seeming likely we'll have to pick between Trump and either Hilary or Bernie this fall, and that is almost enough to make me give up gratitude for good. I realized that if I was an atheist who believed that this world was all we have, I'd have little to place my hope in and I would easily fall into despair. 
Through Christianity, I know this world isn't "it" and that something better awaits, so I can stand on hope and faith that what Jesus said was true. This isn't it, so the upcoming el…

Day 67: Visit from an old friend

Today an old friend stopped by and we were able to chat for almost an hour. What an unexpected gift!

Callie lives more than 500 miles away and with just a couple of days notice, she made a quick trip to our hometown last weekend. It worked out that she was able to stop and spend some time outside with the boys and me on her way back home today! An additional gift was today's mid-60 temperature, which made being outside on March 7 much more pleasant than it typically is.

One of the things I love about living in Fargo is that it is a destination for people from my hometown and a common place to pass through for people heading to the twin cities and beyond. Because its a 12-hour drive, it doesn't always work for Callie to stop when she's passing through, but it was just what I needed today.

We have been friends since high school, but we've known each other basically our whole lives, as her older brother and I were in the same class since kindergarten and our houses were j…

Day 66: Spirit Animal!

Oh, hey! What a great day!

I'm still coming down from my fangirl high so I won't write anything profound or life changing. Sorry! 

I started listening to the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast a couple of years ago. I know I've shared about it here before; it's a fabulous podcast by some great young priests in Denver. Their banter is hilarious, and they are smart, interesting, and striving for for holiness. The episodes are entertaining and insightful and I look forward to a new one every Thursday. 
Last fall I declared Father Nathan Goebel my spirit animal. Urbandictionary.com defines spirit animal as "a representation of you or what you want to be." I texted Monica (above right) and made some jokes about writing him a letter. She talked me into it, since he said in one of the podcasts that he really appreciates snail mail. 
The only appropriate card I had was an old Christmas card with a weird dog dressed in reindeer horns that said "Ain't I a …

Day 65: Coffee

Coffee.
The end. 




Also, I needed to see this video today. It was a good reminder that the Internet isn't all bad, but I can't let it rule my life either. This goes for our physical stuff, too. This is why I feel sooooooo good getting rid of what we don't love, use, or need.

Day 64: The Song Remembers When

I'm working through 40 Bags in 40 Days via the KonMari method. Marie Kondo might not be too happy with my progress, but I feel pretty great about it. So far, I'm only down to CDs.

I know, I'm totally a child of the '90s, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I love CDs. I've loved them since I received my first two for Christmas in 1993. They were Little Texas' Big Time and Janet Jackson's Janet if you must know. Sadly, I just realized I currently own neither. Pouty lip. I guess I have gotten rid of some over the years!

Before. No, I did not toss those cassettes. So what. 
My husband is also a lover of music and a keeper of CDs. We store our CDs in a mission-style cabinet my parents bought us shortly after we were married. Our big speaker stereo broke a couple of years back and we never replaced it. The only working CD player in our house is the boys' bedroom clock, and only one of our vehicles has a CD player. Needless to say, our albums don't get m…

Day 63: Simcha made a list

I know I have much to be grateful for today. But as it goes, it was a pretty awful day, stay-home-parenting wise. 
We were all asses to each other, except the baby, who just minded his own baby business. He only freaked out when I wiped his gross green snotty nose, which was only every 24 seconds. 
I'm thankful to have a friend to talk me down off the cliffs, remind me what's important, and unite in solidarity because her kids also throw ridiculous shitfits about totally reasonable snack and meal choices, too. Whew!
At least Simcha came up with some things to be happy about! Check them out here:  http://m.ncregister.com/blog/simcha-fisher/some-things-to-be-happy-about-today/#.VtkCCkVOKnM

Day 62: That Time My Brother Didn't Die

Yesterday my sister shared an article on Facebook from the ND Department of Health about that time a couple of years back when my brother nearly died of influenza. It's sad to say, but I don't think about it much anymore, and it was such a crazy time for our family!

Check it out here: https://health.nd.gov/media/1138/flushotarticle.pdf

My brother has always been really healthy. I don't think he has any allergies and he rarely gets sick. 
A couple of years ago he caught the flu, like influenza (not gastroenteritis). He wasn't getting better so his wife sent him to the doctor a couple of times. The last time, they loaded him into an ambulance and sent him to Grand Forks! 
I was shocked to get the call at work from my sister that he was in intensive care with pneumonia! But even that didn't seem too life-threatening, since I'd only known previously sick old people who'd died from pneumonia. 
What followed was several different antibiotics that didn't work, …

Day 61: Parent-Teacher conference

I still can't believe I'm on the parent side of parent-teacher conferences! I mean, #1 is only in preschool three days a week, but still. This is getting real. 
We were pleased that he seems to be doing well, and learning all the things that I probably learned in kindergarten or first grade. My husband commented, accurately I think, that we are pushing young kids so hard these days, but then not pushing high school kids enough, academically at least. The whole idea of having kids in school terrifies me for around a million reasons. I sort of want to stay on our 1-3-5 sweet spot forever. 
But I can't. So it's nice to hear that he is doing well and I'm so grateful for his school, his teacher, and his love of learning. I think the first experience with school can form a kid's opinion of school and learning in such a way that it affects their outlook and opinion of learning well into the future. I'm so glad #1 loves school!

Day 60: Brotherhood

I thought of this last night when we were supposed to be settling down for bedtime, but the baby was entertaining everyone by smelling his own feet and making other people smell his feet. He was also trying to pretend he was sleeping, and the rest of us were rolling in laughter. As he approaches 1.5 years of age, his personality is blooming and he's a hoot.

I would agree that having three kids in five years is a little crazy, but man, I wouldn't have it any other way. Having the third kid has been so good for our family and I think especially for the two big brothers. I can see the big boys, especially the biggest one, stepping outside of themselves to care for their baby brother. The adoration he showers upon them in return is also astounding. I mean, I know he doesn't know any better, but his favorite thing to do is to just be near them, to be "one of the guys." The biggest brother is much more patient with the baby than he is with anyone else, and it has shown…