The doorbell rings.... Joseph (as he opens the door with the anticipation that it is a Christmas present for him): It's a box! Me: Oh, it's just a pair of shoes. Joseph (with EXTREME excitement): What?! It's a parachute?! Henry: No, Joseph if it was a parachute it would be in a bag, not a box.
Why do I always think that baking cookies with the boys will be like a commercial? It ends up being more stressful than I bargained for; sprinkles EVERYWHERE (I am sweeping for days), fighting over who gets to decorate which shape, telling me that I am not "doing it right" etc. In the end I am glad we did it but relieved that it's over!
Outside my window... the rain has finally stopped but now the wind has arrived. I am secretly wishing for snow, I would love if that storm would pass over here. I am thinking...about all of the details I need to get worked out before January 4th. I am thankful for...a renewed friendship, that my Christmas shopping is finished (except for one gift) and that my Christmas cards are in the mail. I am listening to...the boys playing nicely, which hasn't been the norm lately. Diana Krall Christmas Songs, I was able to download this for $2.99, can't beat that! I am reading...Bringing up Geeks, I can't wait to get through this book, I think it will be very helpful. I am hoping... to get to confession this week and to get my school plans organized by the 4th. I am pondering...the need to really prepare my heart for this Christmas, to fully immerse myself in the Advent season. From the kitchen...more cookies and Christmas treats to make. I am going to do this despite my husband telling me he is gaining weight! This will not stop me though, we can only do this once a year! Around the house...we have gotten away from our chore chart, but I definitely need to make sure the boys do them on Saturday. One of my favorite things...Oliver when he is happy, and boys playing peacefully. Picture thoughts.... Christmas card outtakes.
The Elf on the Shelfmade his appearance this morning. The boys were VERY excited. I think this is going to work out well! The difficult part came when we had to name him. You can tell I have a house full of boys when some suggestions were "Blaster" and "Ironhide" (from Transformers.) I was trying to guide them toward naming him after one of their favorite saints, or Caspar, the name of one of the three wisemen. After many silly and unacceptable names, we agreed on Luke. They, of course, used the name from Star Wars while I could accept it because it is still the name of a saint. We shall see how long Luke's presence leads to good behavior, hopefully it will last until Christmas!
Today marks the first day of Advent. I love this season. We decorated our house yesterday. I have been sick and felt awful but tried to get in the Christmas spirit, I think I failed most of the time! The boys are very excited about Christmas this year. I am finding it difficult to find a balance between celebrating the secular holiday (Santa, elves, stockings, Rudolph etc.) and the real reason for the season; the birth of Jesus. Does anyone else have to continue to remind their kids about "the Jesus part" of Christmas? I want them to enjoy Santa and all of the things that go along with that, but ultimately I want them to know that Jesus' birth should be our main focus. This is one reason why I love Advent. I am going to be doing some Advent activities with the boys, we have a wreath and calender and we may be doing a Jesse Tree this year. I am subscribing to the Advent Adventures, which should help give me some ideas to have the boys grow in their faith in addition to enjoying the fun of Santa. How do you help keep your kids in the "right" spirit during the holidays?
FYI Moms! These websites Baby Stealsand Kid Steals are a great place to check daily for money-saving deals. You can sign up for daily emails to let you know what the deal is. They do sell out fast so you usually need to check them early :-)
Oliver has needed his 1st haircut for awhile, but I kept putting it off. It is really hard to cut a 7 month old's hair! By the way, what is with my baby's orange nose?! Henry had this too. I try to cut back on the sweet potatoes and carrots but it doesn't help. It must be because they have such fair skin?
This received rave reviews from some of my mom friends and is a really cute way to get your kids to behave during the Christmas season. I told my boys Santa was sending one of his elves on the first Sunday of Advent. The elf comes to stay at your house during the weeks preceding Christmas. Your kids name him and are allowed to talk to him, but not touch him. Every night, he reports back to Santa about the kids' behavior. When he comes back he moves somewhere different in your house. The kids can talk to him, but he is under strict orders NOT to talk to them. We've had some attitude problems in our house lately and I am hoping that this will help with an adjustment! Maybe a simple "THE ELF IS WATCHING YOU" will make life more peaceful? This is the website if you are interested in having an elf come stay with you!
'Tis the season for thanksgiving. Joseph, my oldest son, has been bringing home many different activities that require him to list what he is thankful for. The most recent were leaves on which he needed to write things for which he was thankful. His first, immediate, response was "I'm thankful for my baby brother." I was so touched by his answer! If you don't know Joseph, he tends to be a little selfish at times and is REALLY into his toys. I completely expected his first answer to be Legos! Isn't it great when you have those tiny "I must be doing something right" moments?! When he said that he was thankful for Oliver, I remembered that quote that I hear so often "the greatest gift you can give your children is a sibling." I have found this to be true in my family. My boys, though they do fight, are learning patience, charity, selflessness and many other virtues by dealing with their brothers. I often need to remind myself about this when things get a little crazy in my house. I have been reflecting on this a lot lately, as I see my neighbors and relatives' children growing up. I know that in the moment, I can get stressed out and overwhelmed, but I also know that this time is fleeting. Sometimes, people think we are crazy for wanting more kids, but I know that I am blessed that God has given me these three little boys to help form into good men. I am so happy that my kids seem to realize that they are blessed too.
I have been bugging my husband to buy me a pair of diamond solitaire earrings for awhile. Whenever he asks me what I want for a gift, and usually when he isn't asking, I mention this. Well I think my boys have been listening! Yesterday, Henry's friend gave him two pennies. While we were in the van, waiting for Joseph to come out of school, Henry said "Here Momma, you can have my two pennies because I know you really want a diamond. You can buy a diamond with my money for your birthday." He was so sweet and he really meant it! I think I need to stop talking about my diamond earrings in front of my boys, and my husband probably wishes I would stop talking about it in front of him too!
So, in case you didn't know, I have a food blog too. My husband and I really love to cook and to eat! I happen to really enjoy baking too. I recently mentioned how much I like King Arthur Flour on my blog and they sent me a bag of flour. SWEET! Thanks King Arthur! Like I have said before, I am VERY frugal, I will take anything if it is free! They also sent me a catalog. HELLO?! Where have I been? They have the best variety of baking tools, food, and mixes, I have ever seen. I was so impressed with it, I don't even know where to begin to figure out what I want to order first. So, if you are a baker, check out this website King Arthur Flour, or even better, order the catalog.
Carving pumpkins actually went a lot better than I expected it to. I learned my lesson and limited the pumpkin designs to the easy ones in the book this year.
Here they are
Dragonsaurus, Lion and Optimus Prime
This makes all the work that I put into this costume 6 years ago worth it! I am so glad I got two Halloweens out of it!
The amount of candy we accumulate in our neighborhood is insane! This was from about 30 minutes of trick-or-treating. I only let them eat whatever they want on Halloween night and the rest is rationed, 2 pieces a day. Sigh.....it's going to take A LOT of willpower for me to just say no to the candy bag!
I recently purchased my first set of flannel sheets. I don't know why my mother deprived me of them my whole childhood, considering I grew up in the frozen tundra. I really could have used these, but we never had them. I have been wanting a set ever since we moved to a much colder climate. Previously, I could never justify spending that much money on sheets. That was until this year when Land's End sent me a wonderful email informing me that all of their flannel sheets were 20% off! I could not resist and I went ahead and bought these. It was definitely the best decision I have made in a long time. I LOVE these sheets! I don't freeze when I get into a bed with cold sheets at night, and in the morning I just don't want to get up. The only small downfall is that they do shed, but I can live with that. So, if you live where it gets cold, I HIGHLY recommend these. By the way, they are still on sale!!
Excuse me while I pat myself on the back. I just survived an entire Saturday as a single parent while I was sick. Oh and did I forget to mention that I came up with the grand idea of making Halloween cupcakes with the boys today. WHAT was I thinking?! Needless to say, it did not go as planned. Here are some pictures of the boys creations and mine. Sigh.....Martha I am not, but I keep trying!
The boys' creations
My attempt (I know they're pretty bad, but Oliver was screaming the entire time, I can't decorate under stress :-)
I am so sick of this. Seriously, do women have to be subjected to this unrealistic portrayal of the postpartum mom? I can honestly say that after all three of my kids I didn't look much different than I did the day before. Oh yeah, except for the deflated balloon that once resembled my belly! It seems like every year the celebrity moms get "fit" and look like they never had a baby, sooner than the year before. I guess if I had a chef, nanny, personal trainer and millions of dollars waiting for me in movie deals, I would probably have more incentive to lose the weight. I do know that I have been working my butt off (literally) for 5 months and have been STRUGGLING. Could it be my age? I am 30, almost 31 now. But no, it CAN'T be! Halle Berry, Ellen Pompeo, Naomi Watts, and Nicole Kidman were all 40 when they had their babies and didn't seem to have any trouble getting back in shape. Unfortunately, when you don't have a nanny, chef, personal trainer or millions of dollars; breastfeeding, waking up the middle of the night, taking care of a four and five year old, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, doing the endless loads of laundry, ETC, leaves you a little bit exhausted. I am sure some of you moms out there can relate, I just wish I didn't have to see those celeb moms in the magazines, but for some reason I can't stop looking!
Me (as the boys sit on their feet on the chair, and then complain about them being "tingly"): Why do you think God gave you a bottom?
Henry (gives the textbook answer that he always gives when we talk about God): because He loves us!
I guess he is right but that isn't quite the answer I was looking for!
Man, can I relate to this picture! Oliver's first tooth just peeked through this morning and he doesn't like it. I had devised the perfect plan to take away his pacifier following Mass on Sunday. This way we would have an entire week for him to get used to life without it. I also picked a week in which I didn't have my bible study or mom's group meetings, where he would be in the nursery. Unbeknownst to me, Oliver was about to get his first tooth. By the time I realized that his fussiness was not only related to pacifier withdrawal, it was too late. There was no way I was going to give it back after we had been through the first day and night! So, we (mostly Henry and I) have been listening to him whining and crying for two days and I wonder when it will stop. It is amazing how I can't remember this time with Joseph and Henry but right now it feels like it is never going to end! WAH!
I find it interesting that the day after I blogged about the difficulties of being a stay-at-home mom, my copy of Stay Home, Stay Happy arrived in the mail. This is such a great book. I am not even finished yet, but couldn't wait to share it. The author is Rachel Campos-Duffy. She was a cast member on season 3 of the Real World way back in 1994. Wow, that makes me feel old! I watched the Real World all of the time in high school and remember her as being the Catholic Republican. Even then I liked her! Rachel is now a stay-at-home mom of 5 kids and lives in rural Wisconsin. She was a finalist twice for a co-hosting spot on The View and continues to work as a columnist while staying home with her kids. This book is exactly what I needed to read right now. It reaffirms my decision to stay home and has given me some great advice to make it an even better job for me!
Wow, I am really feeling sorry for myself today. Since this is my blog I am going to vent! Does anyone else get lonely being a stay-at-home mom? It is tough sometimes. I have days where it REALLY bothers me and today is one. I have been to countless, and I mean many events to meet moms since we have moved here. Time after time I have come home disappointed. I have planned play-dates, lunches, gone to meetings, church groups and have walked away empty. Seriously, does no one else want or need friends? It seems like people aren't interested in cultivating friendships like they used to. Sometimes I wish I lived in the 50's when my state in life was the norm, not the exception. Granted, it is much harder to make time to get to know someone when you have a family to take care of. I am just tired of trying. I feel like I have a great big L on my forehead that everyone but me can see! I used to have a lot of friends before I was a mommy, what changed? Don't get me wrong, I feel like this is a worthy sacrifice to make to stay home with my kids. I don't regret my decision at all. I also do have a couple of friends here, two to be exact! So, how can I remedy this? I guess the only solution is to keep dragging myself to events, and hope for the best, but sometimes it just isn't fun.
I have a confession to make, I really like Martha Stewart. I know she can be extremely annoying, meticulous, ostentatious, not to mention I completely disagree with her on politics. I mean who is really going to take the time to sew a sweater for their dog or have chestnuts flown in from Washington state? I admit, sometimes, she does go a bit far and is out-of-touch with the everyday mom and wife. BUT, there is something that I really admire about her. She can really make me want to try to make that beautiful holiday wreath that will cost about 5 times the amount it is worth. Of course, this is because Martha is a brilliant business woman, and I have to go to Michael's to buy her tools in order to start. I have even tried many of her recipes and they were less than great. Yet, I still try to tune in to her show and pick up her magazines. I promise myself, as I cut out ideas for crafts or that party I will never have, that someday I will have time to do some of these projects. I have been inspired to break out my sewing machine that has been used more by my mom when she is visiting than me. I am also planning on taking a knitting class in a few weeks. So, maybe I would not completely disappoint Martha, BUT I don't think you will ever catch me spending a week sewing a shirt for Fido!
Phew.... as I sit here, yes sit here, I cannot believe that I actually have a few minutes to write a post. Life has been crazy. The few blogging minutes I have had have been spent here, The Food Hub. This is my other blog that Thomas and I contribute to.
Ultimately, I have not adjusted to having a child in school. The afternoon run to pick him up is so not fun. It occurs at just the time of the day when the baby is taking a nap, the kid is vegged out on the couch watching a movie and I am enjoying a well-earned cup of coffee (and maybe writing a blog post!) Unfortunately, afternoons like these are now few and far between. Now I have to wake up a sleeping baby (brutal!) and drag the kid into the car. The coffee has to wait until we are home, finished with homework (in KINDERGARTEN?!!), have a snack, change clothes etc. Then before I know it, it's time to make dinner.
I am going to try to post more regularly, but life beckons. I hear it calling me now....the phone just rang, hubby's on his way home and I have to go make dinner!
I had a baby almost 6 months ago. During my pregnancy, I lived it up. This is my third baby, I should know that the more I eat when I'm pregnant the more I will suffer when it is over. BUT, I never seem to learn, I am sure this will happen all over again during my next pregnancy. I only gained 38 pounds this time. However, I was up a few too many to start with. Thus began my completely unenjoyable journey of losing the weight....again. UGH!
My wonderful husband and I started a program called P90X in June. It is a 13 week extreme fitness program. I lost a little over 20 pounds in the first phase, but am only halfway there. We decided to take 2 weeks off because it is extremely taxing on your body to not take a break before starting again. I love the results, but hate the work.
So today, we begin again. A carefully planned 13 weeks that will end one week before Christmas, so that I can promptly gain back 5-7 pounds! I am really trying to get motivated for these next three months. I don't mind the exercise, but I hate dieting. I just love food too much. It is mind over matter and it is tough. I absolutely am NOT going to quit before I reach my goal. I will keep you posted on my progress!
These are my two youngest boys, Henry and Oliver. This picture is such a relief to me, considering that the first months of Oliver's life he was terrified of Henry! Henry is, how do you say it.... very BOISTEROUS? He is sweet, but he is very rough, physical and sometimes the sounds that he can produce make my entire body cringe. Obviously, to a newborn this is frightening. Everytime Henry came near Oliver or touched him he would start crying. This would lead Henry to yell in his face "WHAT'S THE MATTER OLIVER?" and "OLIVER STOP CRYING!" He meant well, but only made it worse. As you can see in the picture, Oliver has gotten used to the decibel level in Henry's voice, as well as his rowdiness and is pretty happy being with his big brother!
It dawned on me while I was browsing the kids selection of Netflix, that my boys would probably love the old 1984 version of The Transformers. Well, it turns out that I was right, really, really right. They absolutely LOVE it. Unfortunately, they have been watching it so much that everyone in the family is walking around humming "Transformers, more than meets the eye." The first time I popped that DVD in I was immediately taken back to my childhood. Then, of course, Thomas and I started discussing how "they just don't make cartoons like that anymore." Well, I have decided that I will continue to rent more of the old cartoons from our childhood. They are much more innocent than many of the cartoons that are on Saturday mornings now. They are also fun for the boys and for Thomas and I!