7 Quick Takes About Being a Nerd and “Burning Love”

1. I am a nerd. I love things like online vocabulary and grammar tests. I took a vocab quiz on the Miriam Webster site the other day. 10 words. Timed responses. Score 3500. It was so fun! I know. Nerd. Give it a try here if you’re a nerd too.

2. Yesterday we had our preschool co-op at our house. Each week the kids stick around to play with the girls for a bit afterwards. One little boy was having a hard time leaving one of our stuffed snakes behind when it was time to go home. Miss asked me if she could let him borrow hers so he wouldn’t feel so upset. I was just about bursting with pride when she said that.

Then she said this, “He can have that snake because I don’t really care about it. I don’t have a burning love for it. I just have a smoking heart for it. The only thing I have a burning love for is my new blankie.”

Whaaa?

3. The new blankie she has a “burning love” for is this:

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My husband’s Aunt C makes these amazing blankets for everyone in his family. My girls’ small “blankies” that they sleep with as babies (and preschoolers) are smaller versions of this (you can see one a little in the lower right hand corner of the photo^^). Aunt C took pity on us after seeing all the posts this winter of my children lying around sick on my blankets that she made for me (like this one and this one and this one). I have two of her blankets because we thought the movers lost one several years ago, but then found it after she kindly made me another. Love her.

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^^ Big girls with my two blankets and Sis with her little Aunt C blankie.

Anyway, on Wednesday we got a huge box addressed to the girls and opened it to find a new blanket for each of them! They were so excited (as you can tell by the “burning love” comment). Lass immediately asked me to take her quilt off and put hers on her bed.

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The girls and I had a conversation about how they can now use their own blankets instead of mine. I relayed this to Aunt C via text message, and she replied, “Not sure they want yours after this winter!” True.

4. Kindergarten Round Up!

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I mentioned in this post that Miss will be attending our local Catholic school next fall for about 1.5 days per week for religion and extracurricular classes. She is so excited to go to kindergarten and she had so much fun at the Round Up.

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I, on the other hand, found the experience to be a bit jarring. I had thought we would be checking out kindergarten together. “We” as in she and I. I knew that there would be other people there, I just didn’t realize that I was not part of the equation for her afternoon.

Instead, after all the kids were there, the kindergarten teacher began leading them up the stairs to the classroom. I started to lean forward to follow but then realized that none of the other parents were going. Miss was at the end of the line of kids. She turned around and gave me a cute, shy little smile, waved, and hustled up the stairs after the other kids. I’m so not ready for this, and I was not prepared!

5. I just finished reading the book The “R” Father: 14 Ways to Respond to the Lord’s Prayerby Mark Hart. One of the things he encourages readers to do is to make a list of all the daily/frequent tasks that you have to do but that you absolutely can’t stand doing. Then he says to do these things. Just do them. And offer them up to God while doing them.

Now, I have heard the phrase “Offer it up to God” many times in the past year, and I must admit I’m still not entirely sure what it means, but what I got out of Hart’s comments on this topic was the idea to just do the things that need to be done, cheerfully, as a sort of spiritual practice. So now I make my bed every day. I complete the laundry right away on my laundry day (including folding all of it and putting it away!) instead of letting the task drag out for almost the whole week. I sweep under the table more often (these three things are the biggies that I loathe). I try to keep a cheerful attitude while doing all the repetitive, mundane things that I do multiple times per day. Sometimes I pray while I’m doing them. I’m finding this to be quite an invigorating practice. Highly recommend it. And the book.

6. My older girls have been really into playing with letters recently. They get letters and make families with them and enact all sorts of dramatic play. “A” is usually the mom letter, I think. It’s quite complicated. We have many, many sets of letters that they can use while playing these games. These are their favorites:

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Guess which letters are Miss’s favorites? She carries them around. She asks for them by name.

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Every time, she asks for the same ones.

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7. My husband is gone this weekend. That means I might put on a movie or two. I never watch TV or movies when he’s home, unless we see an action movie together. I always wait until he’s gone to watch movies I don’t think he’d be interested in. Any recommendations?

Check out more Quick Takes here.

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My Writing Space

You all know how much I love reading with my kids. I even made a list of my Top 101 Fictional Picture Books back in December (and we’ve added a few new ones to that list since then). So I was excited to find a fun new blog to read today called beauty of the picture book. Right up my alley, yes?

I need a new blog to read about like I need a hole in my head, but whatever. I love picture books. I love blogs. It was meant to be.

Anyway. Today Divina (the author of the picture book blog) is having a fun link up. Today I am having some serious difficulty coming up with something to write about. Again, it was meant to be.

The link up is for folks to write about and share photos of their writing spaces.

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Fun idea! I love my writing space. It’s a total mess, but I do love it so. It’s also my reading space. My coffee space. My hang-out-and-chat-with-my-husband space. I head there immediately after getting my coffee at 5:30 am every morning. I head there immediately after working out (and getting another coffee) in the afternoon while the girls are sleeping. I head there immediately after putting the girls to bed as long as there aren’t chores to be done. Wanna see it?

DSC_0118Isn’t it perfect? It makes me smile. I sit there snuggled up in my blanket that my husband’s aunt made for me. Yes, it’s one of the two that I rotate to catch puke when my kids are sick. It’s the best blanket ever (and has been washed!!). I prop up my feet, put my computer on my lap, and sip my coffee while I read, chat with my husband, or write. First thing when my girls wake up in the morning, they come snuggle up in my lap there. It’s my happy place.

My ottoman contains most of my current reading materials: my Bible, my Lent journal, and my newest book (and my computer of course).

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My “table” (actually my grandpa’s old Army footlocker) is the perfect spot for my coffee, some more books, my rosary, the video monitor, and my husband’s iPad, among (many, many) other things.

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I usually try to keep it a bit more tidy than this, but I just got a new book for my husband (Rome Sweet Home), passed along to him the book I just finished (The “R” Father), got the parent handbooks for the girls’  YMCA wee camp this summer, and grabbed some new audio materials (Cat Chat and a new Scott Hahn CD) and a new movie (Bella) from my favorite Catholic store yesterday. It all got piled on there, and I resisted the urge to clean it up before taking this photo.

It’s messy, but it’s mine. The only thing I don’t love about it is that this room is right inside our front door and there is no way to close it off from the entryway of our home. So anyone who comes over to our house sees this first. Or our homeschool room to the other side of the entryway. It’s a toss up on any given day which space is messier:)

Check out the other writing spaces at the link up here.

Posted in Miscellany | 4 Comments

Beginning at the Beginning – My Conversion Story Part 1

A little over a year ago, I wrote my first post dealing with religion and faith. At that time, and maybe a few times since then, I made a vague reference to some things that happened in my life that led me to begin to pray and search for something more than atheism had to offer. I wasn’t really sure if I would ever share what happened as the impetus to my conversion. It might seem odd, considering all that I write about here, but I’m pretty private about certain things.

But I’ve started to think that maybe I’d like to write about my conversion story. The whole thing. So naturally, in doing so I’d need to begin at the beginning. The beginning of this story starts with a positive pregnancy test.

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With each pregnancy, I have told almost no one about it besides my husband and my doctor until we get through the first trimester. Lots of people do this, I know. It allows one to avoid having to go back and tell a bunch of people about a loss if one occurs. I was fortunate, of course, in my pregnancies with my girls. I got pregnant easily and had no serious problems or complications during my pregnancies or deliveries. I am truly so blessed.

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But last year, January 19th to be precise, I prayed desperately for the first time in about a decade, because I was pregnant for the fourth time, and I suspected I was starting to have a miscarriage. It was very early in my pregnancy. I think technically it would be called a chemical pregnancy, as I was only 5-6 weeks along. But I had had a whole week since learning of the pregnancy and had felt the thrill of the positive test, the anticipation of another wonderful nine months, and the excitement and joy of thinking about bringing another baby into our home. I’d had a week of dreaming of our much desired Baby #4.

And then it was gone. A couple of blood tests confirmed that I had in fact lost that little baby. I was devastated.

In RCIA, when asked what brought me to the class, I’ve alluded to this “event” that sparked my conversion obliquely (as I had here until now). One woman asked me if, when I first prayed again after so many years, I had an amazing spiritual experience. I answered her truthfully and said, “No. It was awful.”

And it was. After years of not praying and not believing, in that desperate moment of simply praying “Please. Please. Please.” over and over, I didn’t have any sort of mystical experience. I didn’t notice any experience of God, because my prayer was almost a reflexive response in that moment, and I was certainly not looking for Him right then.

It wasn’t until a while later that I was able to look past my sadness about our loss and actually reflect on the surprising fact that I had prayed. It wasn’t an elaborate or even intentional prayer. But I had to acknowledge that when the going got really tough, when things were at their worst, I prayed. Though I supposedly didn’t believe in God, I prayed. Though I didn’t pray again and certainly didn’t start truly believing right away, I. had. prayed.

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I don’t think I really thought too much more about it until over a month after the fact. Then my world was shaken up again.

My husband lost his voice and was having some difficulty breathing. This happened in late February. At first it just seemed like regular old laryngitis, at least to me, because the girls and I had colds. So I figured he did too. But it didn’t go away. He could barely speak, and I got scared. I can look back now and say that God was probably intervening in my family to wake us up and bring us near to Him. But at the time, it pretty much just sucked.

This is when I started to pray again. Not frequently, but a few times. My husband scheduled some appointments to find out what was happening. I was afraid that he had some sort of cancer, and I prayed as hard as I knew how to. We got good news and bad news from the results of his various tests and scans. Good news: he did not have any evidence of cancer. Bad news: his right vocal cord was paralyzed. And we didn’t really know why, or when or even if it would recover.

He couldn’t yell or speak loudly. He could barely speak at all and not without discomfort. He had a hard time exercising because he got out of breath easily. It was very difficult for him to read books to the girls and he definitely could not make many of the funny voices he and the girls enjoyed when playing. He couldn’t sing.

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He said he wanted to start going to church. He was not pushing me to go, and would have gone by himself if I had not wanted to. But I said okay. I felt very unsure about it. I wrote this post. I remember saying to my husband that I figured there probably was a God, but that I thought the Jesus-as-the-Son-of-God story was totally unbelievable. I started thinking about where we would go. I was not really interested in going to a Catholic church, but my husband was raised Catholic, so that seemed to make the most sense. Knowing that Super Friend is also Catholic, I asked her where her family goes and why. We decided to go to the same place. On St. Patrick’s Day last year, we went to church for the first time.

On the way home, my husband went through the drive-through of Starbucks and ordered me a coffee. We kept going to church each week and he kept getting me coffee, even though it was very difficult for him to project his voice well enough to be understood over the drive-through speaker. I think it was his way of setting up a positive contingency for me. Like a reward system for going to church! I would have gone either way of course, but it makes me chuckle in retrospect, that he was trying to do something to maintain my motivation.

Turned out I liked going to church, though I still wasn’t sure that I really believed in much of the teachings of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. But I was reading and learning as much as I could on the subject. I was researching the Catholic Church’s position on various issues one night when I read something that made me feel sick to my stomach. I’ll skip the details here, but it caused me to think that I was absolutely not going to go to the Catholic church anymore. Period.

And here’s where things got really interesting (for me anyway). I was really upset to think that I would have to find another church. Though I really hadn’t wanted to go to a Catholic church, I had come to like ours, and to enjoy the Catholic service. I was truly surprised to find that I actually liked the Catholic Church.

At that time I didn’t agree with many of the teachings of the Church, and I still didn’t hold many specific Christian beliefs, but I didn’t want to stop going to the Catholic services, and that was something. I spoke to my husband about my concerns, and my problem with the Church was resolved, for a while. So we did continue to go to Mass.

Around that time I began praying more regularly, mostly for my husband’s voice to come back. I felt kind of weird doing it, but I did it anyway. I still didn’t have any desire to become Catholic myself. But that’s the next part of the story. To be continued…

Find part two HERE.

Posted in Religion | 9 Comments

7 Quick Takes in Which I Reverse Myself, Laugh at Myself, and Meet the Bishop

Linking with Jen!

1. When I was growing up, my Mom had a term she used to refer to a certain style of house cleaning: The “Blitz.” Roughly translated that means “Clean all the things. Do it quickly. Do it now. Go!” We used this technique whenever she learned that unexpected company was coming over, or whenever she felt like it I suppose.

Yesterday I felt the need to Blitz my house. Just because. As I was cleaning, I was reminded of something I read recently about how, in this day and age, the “art” of homemaking has been lost. I couldn’t help but laugh to (at?) myself a little bit. Because:DSC_0590

^^ That’s all clean, for the record. Guess how many days it took me to get it folded and put away?

There is nothing artful about my homemaking. Maybe sometimes I whip out a little bit of flair in my cooking. But art? I laugh. Though maybe I should cry. Because, well:

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2. I have to reverse myself, sort of, on something I wrote in my last 7 Quick Takes post. I said I had found a new awesome thing.

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The Knot Genie was supposed to be my savior from the soul-crushing experience that is brushing my three-year-old’s hair. It works okay for Miss. But it cannot handle this:

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I have really thick hair myself, so when Lass was still screaming and cringing with the use of this thing, I tried it on myself. It worked okay, but the bristles on it are so pokey, I didn’t like it. And it wasn’t any better than using a regular brush. Waste of money.

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The best solution I’ve found to the hair-brushing dilemma is this:

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Don’t judge. That comb is over 20 years old. I realize that it is missing far more teeth than it retains, but it still works. Perhaps I should have used the money I spent on that gimmicky brush and bought a new comb? Anyway. Knot Genie is not so awesome. Wide-tooth comb is the best solution I have found. I am resigned to dealing with screaming every time I brush her hair until she is old enough to do it herself.

3. I think the extreme cold of this winter has left people a little crazy around here. Last weekend we had a wonderful warm spell (over 50 degrees one day!). On Tuesday it got cold again. Wednesday it was about 20 degrees. Not too bad, but not balmy by any stretch. I took the girls to gymnastics and saw a dad walking in without a coat on, and his little girl also did not have on a coat. She was shivering and huddled over and jumping around and looked like she was freezing. Because it was 20 degrees.

Then I overheard a mom after her child’s class was over say, “I don’t think you’ll need this coat. It’s really nice out.” 20 degrees!! Everyone must have been experiencing some sort of shared delusional state brought on by too many sub-zero days. They seemed incapable of comprehending that it had, in fact, gotten frigid again and that wearing a coat was probably a good idea.

4. Oddly, I actually don’t really want the snow to melt quite yet. It’s over 40 degrees again today, and it rained a bit, so the snow is melting rapidly. But we have one more thing on our Winter Fun List to finish before the snow is gone!

After tonight (we are going to Super Friend’s for a PJ/movie/pizza night) we will have everything completed except “Build a Snow Fort.” I totally forgot about the snow fort when we were outside doing our snowman last week. I think we’ll have enough snow to get it done this weekend. If not I’ll scoop some up and let them make a small one for their dolls or something.

5. Our first observance of Lent is going well. The girls actually enjoy pulling out a card from our basket with a Fasting or Prayer or Alms Giving activity each day. Tuesday I think was their favorite. They pulled out a card that said “Alms-Giving: Do a chore without being asked.” Both of them immediately began begging to wash the floor.

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Works for me!

6. This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of my first venture into church. It’s kind of incredible to think of where I started and then look at where I am now. A year ago, I sat in church and tried to get something out of it, though I didn’t really put forth much effort.  I did listen as well as I could with three small children to corral, but that’s about it. I didn’t kneel when everyone else did. I stood up when called for, but I didn’t say any of the things everyone else said (mostly because I didn’t want to, but also because I couldn’t understand them). When we stood to recite the Creed, I said only the first line and nothing else, because I didn’t believe in the rest of it.

Now? Now I participate as fully as I’m able and I truly enjoy going to church. I know (mostly) what to say and when to say it during the mass. I can’t wait for the Easter Vigil.

3.  Yes, I’d say now things are a little different.

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In case you’re wondering, that’s me^^^ with the Bishop! Last Sunday I participated in the Rite of Election, on the same day that everyone else in the world who is converting to Catholicism went through the same rite. How cool is that?

See more Quick Takes here.

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Cardboard Box Cars for Drive-In Movie Party: A How-To

As promised in this post about Miss’s Brave-themed movie party, I am sharing with you how to make the cardboard box “cars” we used for the “drive-in” element of the movie. There are probably lots of ways to do it. But, though I found lots of sites with cute pictures of kids in their cardboard box cars, I couldn’t find any sources that told how to actually make the cars. So I had to figure it out for myself. I’m sharing here so you don’t have to if you ever decide to use this awesome idea (which you definitely should do).

Making these was actually quite easy, but to save you a bit of brain power, just follow these steps!

1. Plan ahead enough that you can save up the boxes you’ll need. This was probably the hardest part. Fortunately, I decided I wanted to do this for Miss’s birthday before Christmas, so I was able to save plenty of boxes from gifts we ordered (I love you Amazon Prime). But I still didn’t quite have enough. I wasn’t worried about the boxes all being the same size, just big enough for a small person to fit. In fact, for the two littlest (Sis and our little friend who is just a few days younger), I used a diaper box. I did manage to get enough (and may or may not have placed some largish orders from Amazon Prime to make sure I’d get more big boxes – kidding!) though I had Super Friend holding a box or two for me just in case.

2. Anyway once you have enough, cut all of the flaps off each box except one per box on a short side. This will be your “dashboard.”

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3. Get some paper to wrap the boxes. I stressed over what to use for this. I had some pretty purple and pink paper left over from wrapping books during Advent, but I didn’t think our one boy guest would go for that, and I didn’t want to make a different color just for him (wasn’t sure if that would make him feel cool or weirdly different), so I went to Hobby Lobby thinking I would get some of the huge rolls of paper they have for teachers to cover bulletin boards, maybe in red or blue. Except that those rolls of paper are expensive. So. I just went for a roll of inexpensive butcher paper. I think the roll I got was about $6 and it covered all the boxes with plenty left over.

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4. For each box, flip your one flap in, but don’t push it down (keep it parallel to the bottom of the box). Turn the box over and wrap it like a gift.

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5. Then you need to cut the paper to make the opening for a kid to sit in. I did this by poking my scissors through in the center, a few inches from the back wall of the car-box. I cut straight forward toward the “dashboard,” stopping an inch or two short of it. I turned the scissors and cut in a “T” out toward the sides, and then, just before getting to each side, I angled back toward the front and cut up to the corner where the dashboard flap meets the side. Then I went back to where I stuck my scissors in and cut a “Y” shape to the back corners of the box.

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I know that sounds as clear as mud, and maybe I should have taken a few more pictures, but if you’ve ever wrapped a present, you can do this easily even if you don’t cut it exactly as described.

6. After cutting, tape the paper to the inside, folding it under the dashboard flap so it’s smooth. Note: I did not put any extra tape on the box to hold the dashboard in place. The only thing that the kids were setting on it was a box of popcorn and cup of water. Wrapping it this way made it sturdy enough, but if you need it to be stronger, I’d secure it in place with some tape.

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7. Because I didn’t shell out mucho dinero for the huge paper rolls, some of the boxes didn’t get completely covered on both ends. I just taped a piece of printer paper over the spots where the butcher paper didn’t cover.

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8. Add “car parts.” You could do this lots of ways. Cutting yellow circles for headlights and hot-glueing black paper plates for wheels was enough to give the general impression of a car. I had wanted to cut more paper plates and glue them on as steering wheels, put personalized license plates on the back, and use some shiny silver duct tape I bought (not regular duct tape, this stuff is fancy!) to make a grill or something on the front. But, I procrastinated, so I didn’t quite have time to do all the cute details I wanted to do.

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I still loved how they turned out.DSC_0582-2

 

The kids did too.

 

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Posted in Crafting, DIY | 2 Comments

We Finally Made a Snowman

Much earlier in the winter, we went outside to play in the snow and tried to make a snowman. It was too cold, and the snow wouldn’t pack.

After more than three months of temperatures too cold to go outside and play:

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Still looks pretty darn cold, doesn’t it? On Saturday it was. We tried again to make a snowman and ended up making… a lumpy pile of snow. We couldn’t get the snow to pack well because it was too cold. Again.

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So, the girls played in the puddles instead (of course).

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I was determined to have a snow man at first, so I did not proceed to the puddles initially.

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But it wasn’t happening (^^ obviously), and I couldn’t resist abandoning the snowman to play and splash.

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I’m glad I did, because yesterday we ended up having the perfect day for snowman building. We were able to do the roll-and-pack move to make the body parts.

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Miss made the head all by herself and was so proud.

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I’ve mentioned before that my Dad is quite artistic, and once made a snowman in the shape of a bust of Abraham Lincoln. I had a passing thought as I was trying to pile snow up into some sort of “snowmannish” shape on Saturday that maybe I could create something like he did, since the roll-into-three-balls-for-a-body-and-head technique wasn’t working out for us. Yeah. Not so much (the lump on the right is the attempt from Saturday).

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The finished product from Sunday’s efforts:

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It’s no Abraham Lincoln, but I love it, and Miss was very proud.

It was nice and warm (which means above freezing around here at this time of year), so we stayed out and played until dinner called us in.

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It’s over 50 degrees today (!!) so the snowman has already melted and fallen apart. But we made a snowman! We went outside! I can feel a tiny hint of spring in the air (very tiny). We’re so ready.

 

Posted in Outdoors, Winter | 1 Comment

Adoration and the Kindness of a Stranger

Lent has begun! I am feeling quite energized by it, though I’m trying not to be the crazy Baby Catholic who has to Give Up All The Things for Lent and totally go overboard. I’m please with what I have decided to do.

As I mentioned before, we’re giving up ice cream as a family. So we had an ice cream party for mardi gras.

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And I have committed to two other specific things as well:

1. I’m giving up time (spent online) in order to exercise daily.

2. I’m praying at least a decade of the rosary daily (in addition to regular prayers).

There are other things I am trying to work on also. I’m doing more spiritual reading (actually, I’m just continuing the reading I always do, but I’m making an extra point to read things that are spiritually stimulating). I’m reading my Bible more. I’m writing in a Lent journal. I’m making a greater effort to focus on gratitude, patience, and humility.

And another thing I plan to do more frequently (hopefully weekly) during Lent is to go to the adoration chapel. I love going to the chapel and it’s something I don’t make time to do often enough. There is something transformative about the experience of adoration, and since I can’t receive communion, it’s the next best thing.

So, on Tuesday I went to the perpetual adoration chapel as part of my preparation for Lent. I wanted to spend some time in prayer, get rid of all the yucky thoughts and feelings I had after all the illness we’ve had in our house, and focus on being thankful. Of course, I can do this anywhere, but there is something special about being in the chapel. It’s beautiful and peaceful.

I’ve been to the chapel a few times before. This time, as always, I walked in, past several others sitting in the chairs, up to the kneeler in front. As I did I happened to notice an elderly gentleman sitting in the second row back from the front of the chapel as I passed. I didn’t look at him directly or speak to him (that seems to be taboo), but I noticed him.

As I got down on the kneeler, I began to think of everything that has happened over the past year, good things and not so good, and my eyes began to tear up a bit. Then I thought about it some more, and I felt a few tears roll down my cheeks. Then I let loose with all my thoughts and prayers about ev.ry.thing. I prayed for patience. I prayed to be a better mom and wife. I prayed for humility. And before I knew it, I had huge tears dropping from my face onto the velvet top of the kneeler, and my nose was beginning to run. I had a passing thought of “darn, I don’t think I have a tissue” (I had left my purse in the car), but then I returned my focus to my praying and did my best to sniff quietly until I was finished.

When I was done with my prayer, I sat back into a chair in the front row of the chapel. By that point I had quite a lot of snot running from my nose, and I looked around for the box of tissues I remembered seeing the last time I was in the chapel. It wasn’t there.

I was trying really hard to just sit and be peaceful and not sniffle too loudly, but the snot was starting to run into my mouth, and I was getting kind of frantic. I searched in my coat pockets just in case there was a forgotten tissue in there, though I knew there wasn’t. I bowed my head so my hair would act a a curtain to cover my face, and I tried to just be and ignore the snot. But then to my horror a long string of snot began to extend from my nose down toward my hands in my lap. I quickly ran through my options. I could wipe the snot with my hand. I could use my coat. I didn’t want to get up and look around for the box of tissues, because I didn’t want to disturb anyone else or, uh, drip on them. I wasn’t ready to leave, and I didn’t want anyone to see my snotty face if I got up and walked out, so I didn’t want to do that (it wasn’t until much later that it occurred to me that I could have gone out, found a restroom, composed myself and then returned, duh). I glanced at the monstrance and thought, “Help?”

Then. Oh then. A box of tissues dropped onto the seat beside me. That elderly man I had passed on the way in, who happened to be sitting right behind me, noticed my distress (how could he not at that point?) and came to my rescue with the tissues.

And you know what? That simple act of kindness made me start bawling again. I grabbed four tissues from that box, wiped my snot, grabbed a few more, blew my nose, and then held up my hand to him and mouthed “thank you” with my head still bowed/ducked forward. Though he couldn’t see my face, that lovely man whispered “you’re welcome” as I sat there and sobbed.

I managed to compose myself fairly quickly, and he left shortly thereafter.

After my nose emergency was resolved, I was able to sit and just take in the peacefulness of the chapel. I had prayed. I had cried. I had blown my nose. I was then able to just be.

I left the chapel feeling different. Lighter. I felt humbled and so grateful for so much. And I smiled to myself as I walked to my car and thought about the man who had helped me. It was such a small thing for him to do, but it really moved me. Through his gesture of kindness, that man was a reminder to me that God is in everything and everyone, if only we are open to Him.

Posted in Religion, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Everything You Need to Know About Staying (Mostly) Sane When Your Kids Are Puking

Okay. I’m going to just come right out and tell you that I now consider myself to be an expert on dealing with puking children 5 and under. So far this winter, each of my girls has had a puking stomach virus of some kind twice. These episodes of puking haven’t been my first go ’round with the barf bucket and my kids, but they have certainly been the most intense, concentrated, kick in the butt ones.

Sooo, I’m going to use my misfortune for good, and share what I now know about how to manage puking kids. Naturally, we all know, wash hands, sanitize, blah, blah. That’s important, of course, but won’t help you maintain your sanity. The following tips will, at least mostly (and just for fun, see if you can count how many different words for “vomit” are used in this post).

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Here we go:

1. Old gallon ice cream buckets make the best vomit receptacles. They are the perfect size for little ones to carry around. Not too big, but not so small that they are a hard target to hit. Plus, they fit easily in the sink for washing. And usually they even have a convenient handle.

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2. Put a big blanket on the floor. Something that you can throw in the washing machine that is thick enough that the puke that lands on it won’t go through to your rug or carpet Quilts are good. Blankets that are knitted or crocheted are not. Have several of these to rotate. Don’t let sick babes on the furniture.

The last part of #2 might seem harsh, but it is surprisingly easy when you follow rule #3.

3. The TV is your friend. Put in movies. Put on the Disney Channel or Nick Jr. or PBS or whatever you allow your kids to watch. Try to let them see at least a few things that are new-ish to them so they aren’t tempted to wander away or climb on the furniture. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps them occupied when they feel junky and tired and don’t want to do anything else (like Lass did after being up all night). And second, it keeps them from playing with (and vomiting on and germing-up) their toys, and keeps their touching of each other and spreading of germs to a minimum (ideally, I realize this didn’t work so well for us). It helps keep them on the blanket and off the furniture. Containment is the key here.

Buuut, if they absolutely won’t stay off the furniture, then just put a big blanket over the couch, obviously.

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4. Especially if you have little ones who aren’t able to grasp the concept of aiming for the bucket, try to pay attention to when they get sick and how long they are going between retches and what their “I’m about to barf” face looks like. Other than her first two hurls on Saturday (before I got the timing down), I caught all of Sis’s puke. She was on a pretty predictable spew-every-thirty-minutes schedule for a while. Once, I even managed to pull her upright, yank her blankie out of the way, and get the bucket under her mouth all in one motion of preserving vomit-free clothing and floor.

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5. Speaking of clothing, don’t bother with having your kids get dressed (my older girls stayed in pajamas, but during the worst of the barf-fest, Sis just had on a diaper). I think this goes without saying, but if they’re sick they aren’t going anywhere, and thus don’t need to get dressed. You’ll be doing enough laundry. Save yourself from washing another outfit or several (I think my laundry pile this week is actually pretty small, since no one except my husband has left the house since Thursday and the puked-on stuff is already done).

6. Along those lines, if you have one (or more) sick kid, and it’s bedtime, and you aren’t sure if the sickies will continue into the night and/or spread to your other kids, and you’re supposed to give them a bath before bed because it’s bath night? Just don’t bother. Chances are they’ll get one at some point during the night anyway. I learned this one the hard way.

7. Especially with really little ones, if they’re still actively getting sick, don’t bother to put them to bed. When Sis got sick in the middle of the night (the first time she and Lass had the pukes) I just got her up and brought her down to watch a movie until I was pretty sure her stomach was settled down. The second time she got sick just before nap time, and I didn’t put her down for a nap at all that day. I knew she wouldn’t sleep anyway, and I’d quickly run out of sheets for her bed (I did usually let my older girls go to bed if they wanted, since they are better able to wake up and hit a bucket on their own).

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8. If you don’t have someone nearby who can bring you puke-friendly food in the middle of the day, keep some clear pop and saltines stashed away somewhere. I learned this one the hard way too, because I don’t normally have either of these things in my house. Though my girls actually don’t like carbonated drinks, they were better able to keep down Sprite than water. And no matter how hard they beg, don’t give in to their requests for milk. And no matter how much better they’re feeling at dinner time when they haven’t thrown up in several hours, do not let them eat bacon and oranges. Even when they really want to. Trust me.

And there you have it. All of my hard-earned puke knowledge in one convenient post. Pin it for future use. You can thank me later. For your sake, hopefully much later.

How many different vomit words did you count? I got 8 :)

Posted in Miscellany, Motherhood | 4 Comments

Another One Bites the Dust

This has been the worst week I could have committed to posting every day. Just when I had the audacity to write yesterday “Here’s to hopefully moving beyond the stomach virus and on to bigger and much better things,” I ended up awake all night, sick myself. It was my husband’s weekend to work, so after he got the girls breakfast, he had to go.

We had an interesting “Mom’s sick day” around here. I set up camp on the floor and went crazy with Amazon instant video.

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And I hit a new low with the girls’ lunches. Since I pretty much felt like I would pass out if I stood up, I chose to encourage self sufficiency for feeding times. I gave Miss instructions for moving their Learning Tower over to get plates. I told Lass where to grab boxes of prepackaged peanut butter and cheese crackers. She also grabbed the box of Saltines off the counter. They had water bottles my husband got them before he left. Voila! Lunch.

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^^Saltines and cheese crackers. Highly nutritious fare here today.

IMG_2966^^ She was freaked out because Sophia the First was going into a troll cave.

Though the nutritional value of the food left much to be desired, they were thrilled with being given the responsibility to get lunch all by themselves. It occurred to me that I don’t encourage them to do this nearly enough. They help with chores and I let them help me cook. But prepping their own food for lunch and snacks isn’t something I usually have them do. In fact, I tend to put some things out of reach intentionally, to avoid having Sis snacking on Cheddar Bunnies all day.

Maybe I will rearrange some stuff to give them the opportunity to get food and dishes for themselves more easily. I was glad today that there were at least a few things within their reach.

I’m gradually coming back to the land of the living, after a two-hour nap and some soup for dinner. This may very well be the lamest post I’ve ever composed. Sorry. I intend to get back to posting about the usual random stuff after today. I hope you had a more fun and less vomit-filled weekend than I.

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The Best Laid Plans

My plan was to write this, post #6 of 7, during nap time today. Unfortunately, well, this is what I did during “nap time” instead:

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^^ Lest you think I’m heartless, she wasn’t crying from being sick but because her movie was over.

I did not write. I hovered with a bucket. I washed said bucket. I did lots of laundry. I used a not-very-environmentally-friendly number of sanitizing wipes. Both surface and skin varieties. I scooped up a 3′X5′ rug with some vomit soaked toys on top and threw the whole bundle in the garbage without one ounce of remorse. We have too many toys anyway. I watched both the sequel and the prequel to “The Little Mermaid,” but I didn’t write.

Now I’m watching Thor 2 with my husband and praying for little girls who sleep through the night. And I need to stop blogging and pay attention, because this movie is weird. Here’s to hopefully moving beyond the stomach virus and on to bigger and much better things.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment