Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Workout

I had been doing P90X for awhile, but it was just too time-consuming and I felt that it was focused more on muscle building than fat loss.  I heard about this workout DVD and thought I would try it.  Confession...I am kind of a workout snob.  I thought this would be too easy and not a "real" workout.  Truth be told, it is a great workout, cheap (I only paid $9 at Target), and only 30 minutes!  I have added this to my Lenten penances (daily exercise) and it has been hard to make myself do it everyday.  I am hoping after 5 weeks I will see some good results because staying in shape and trying to lose weight is NOT FUN!  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Confession to make....

I have been such a chicken about writing this post and have been avoiding it for about three months.  You know how it is one thing to think about something and a whole other thing to actually do it?  That being said, this is a blog about our family and this is a huge step for us and it is important, I don't want to be ashamed.  I know that I have family and friends (you know who you are :-)  who just don't understand and that is okay, all I want is for them to not treat us like freaks but to realize that we know what is best for our boys and our family.  
So here goes.... YES we are homeschooling and have been since the beginning of January.  We have a unique opportunity where we live because we have a Catholic co-op for homeschoolers. Essentially this is a two day/week "school" that the boys attend.  The difference is that the moms' teach, run the nursery and preschool.  Fortunately, we have three college professor moms and one with a degree in elementary education!  
We came to this decision after A LOT of discernment (you may remember my first post on this blog.)  Joseph was completely unhappy at school.  I don't know exactly why he didn't like it, but he complained daily, was stressed out and pretty much made our lives miserable for four months.  We knew we had to make a change but we didn't know what to do.  This led us to looking into all options in our area and homeschooling is a very popular one here.   There are many secular, Christian and Catholic homeschool groups.  There are also many extracurricular activities specifically for homeschoolers.  I certainly do not think that I could do this without our co-op.  The boys are in a school setting for two days a week, uniforms and all, and we are sent home with assignments for the other three days. 
The results have been incredible!  Our home is much more relaxed and the boys are excelling in their studies.  Joseph is in 1st grade at the co-op because he isn't bound by the state laws to be in kindergarten, even though he missed the cut-off by one month.  Henry, who is 4 1/2 is in kindergarten, and is reading exceptionally well and just finished his math book and it is only February (please excuse my bragging about my boys ;-)
I do not question our decision one bit, except for being a scaredy-cat about telling people!
I do not know if we will do this forever, I anticipate that we won't, but for now it is working.  I have peace about this decision because of the fruit that it is bearing in our lives: peace and a better home-life.  
WHEW....I feel so much better now that I got that off of my chest!
Check out this link for a laugh! 

Boring Winter Afternoon

This is what my "sitting" room looks like every single day in the winter.  Needless to say, I don't do a lot of sitting in there!  I don't usually mind because the big boys can be entertained for hours.  The hardest part is to keep Oliver out, because now it is his mission in life to get in there and put all of those Legos in his mouth!  The only words I dread hearing are "Momma, I need your help to find a piece!"
The strange looking creature on the floor is a penguin that Henry made by himself :-)

Serious Addiction

I am seriously addicted to changing my blog background, have you noticed?  The options are too many and just too darn cute!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Examining Food

We came across the movie Food Inc. by accident, the movie is a documentary that details the food industry and proves to be an enlightening, albeit mostly disturbing, look into our nation's food chain.  I found the details of the American food business fascinating.  I was convinced to buy local and organic whenever possible.  Thanks to my husbands curiosity we then got the book In Defense of Food from the library.

I just finished reading it and it solidified the fact that I needed to find out more about the food that I buy and cook for my family.  I have come to the realization that I may be more "crunchy" than I thought!  (Which then led my husband to borrow Crunchy Con from the library, which is about "crunchy" conservatives...but that is a whole other story!)  
One suggestion in the book is to not eat anything that lists more than 5 ingredients or anything that you cannot pronounce.  This doesn't sound that hard; until you start looking at all of the crackers, animal cookies, chips and kid-friendly snacks.  Not to mention trying to avoid corn syrup, that is nearly impossible!  Thanks to recently making my own granola bars, my kids seem up for this new way of eating but we will see how how it works over time.  
We are fortunate because in our area we have access to many CSA's  (community supported agriculture) and local farms.  We can easily get organic, grass-fed meat and local produce.  
If you have time, read this book and if you are really motivated watch the movie and read the book.   The new knowledge you gain will definitely make you think twice before you buy that hamburger meat at the grocery store.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

40 Bag Challenge

I found out about The 40 Bag Challenge from the Faith and Family Live! blog.  
The rules:
1. Pick what size of trash bag you want to use.
2. Each week day for eight weeks fill one bag (or equivalent).  

You can fill it with toys, clothes, books, movies, papers etc.  Anything that you can get rid of to eliminate clutter can be counted.

Those who know me know that my house is already fairly "decluttered" but there is always room for improvement; specifically to get rid of some of those clothes that have been in my closet since college!
Are you up to the challenge?

And it begins....

It's that time of the year again....wasn't it just Christmas?  Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with Lent.  It is one of those things in life that is uncomfortable, but you know it is good for you.  Growing up this basically meant no candy or meat on Fridays; but as an adult it has taken on a much deeper meaning for me.  Lent is a great time for me to really focus on my spiritual life by requiring certain things of myself that I tend to get away from throughout the year: daily prayer, scripture reading, praying the rosary etc.  When I am not pregnant, I usually diet, exercise and give up sweets.  Although this can be really, really hard there is the added benefit of losing those last stubborn baby pounds.  Having this season of penance and sacrifice makes the joy of Easter even greater. 
So I asked the boys what they were going to give up/do for Lent:
Henry: I am going to give up Star Wars.
Me:  that is a good thing to give up Henry, because I know that you really like to watch Star Wars.
Joseph: I am going to give up reading, because I really don't like reading.
I don't think he understands the point yet......

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy St. Valentine's Day

Here we are celebrating another religious holiday that has been kidnapped by our secular culture.  Okay, I'll admit it, I don't have a problem celebrating love and I actually like having a day that forces us to be romantic....BUT I like to remember that this day is actually the feast day of St. Valentine.  For those who don't know, he is not a cherub who flies around shooting arrows at people in his underwear (AKA Cupid) but was a priest who was martyred for his faith in the year 269.  I know, not as romantic as the image that we like to have of him.  There is still  a little bit of a "love connection" though; he was caught marrying a couple and this is what brought about his persecution and ultimately his death.  He is the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages and love.  St. Valentine pray for us!  
Here we are before marriage, kids, bills......but not as in love as we are today! 

 I love you Thomas!  Happy St. Valentine's Day!! XOXOXO

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Please come soon

Okay, seriously the snow can leave now.  I noticed about 3 weeks ago that our tulips were beginning to peak through the mulch in the flower beds.  I was tentatively hopeful that we were done with winter, even though I knew better, because it was only January.  I am really hoping that February is the end of it.  I cannot wait until spring; warmer temperatures, tulips, daffodils and of course the mud.... well maybe I can wait for the mud :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl Champs!

We won, we won!  We are enjoying the victory by the Saints tonight.  Here is a peek into our little party.
The boys were excited, but expected people to actually come over.
I made the cake and Thomas decorated it, symmetry is not my strong point.  Didn't he do a great job?!
We spent the day decorating while we waited for the game.
Surprisingly, I found a lot of coloring pages online and the boys decorated the fireplace.
I am so happy for Thomas, he has waited his whole life for this win!  

Birth Story

Wow, this is one of the best birth stories I have ever read.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Family Movie Night!

In recent months we started having family movie nights.  The boys absolutely love this, they think it is cool when they can stay up later than usual and eat treats.  Fortunately, they aren't really staying up late, we just start watching the movie early....shhh.  I have found that this is a great way to spend time with them, even if it is in front of the TV.  Snuggling on the couch with all of my boys, popcorn and a blanket is a perfect way to spend a Friday night.  If you haven't tried it, you should!  I hope it is something that we  continue as they get older.  Personally, I can't wait until we can watch The Fellowship of the Ring, instead of another cartoon, but I will take what I can get for now.