Thursday, April 10, 2014

Catching Up And Getting Help

Every time I think I'm going to start blogging more frequently...I don't.  I suppose that is just the stage of life I am in now and eventually will be blogging more...or not. :)

So what have we been up to here in the land of dust and diapers and please-please-don't-let-spring-be-over-I-don't-want-summer-to-come?  Well, we had visitors, which I mentioned, and then we got sick, and then we got sick some more (this time with the stomach flu), and then my husband traveled...So. Busy.

And....I hired a Mother's Helper to come twice a week for three hours.  Whew!  That wasn't so hard to admit!  :)

Seriously, I realized, like others have as well, that I am not meant to 1) do this job alone and 2) be with my children  I love being a mother.  I love homeschooling.  I love staying home to make a home and take care of my family.  I don't love not having any family around to rely on (I have VERY good friends who could (and do!) help in a pinch, which I am very grateful for).  I don't love having to take four young children to the grocery store every week, because my husband (who usually does/did the shopping is also very busy and it's hard to ask him to do one.more.thing. when he is so tired at the end of the day).  I don't love not having regular breaks (or really just once in a while) to just breath and feel human again.

So one day, after talking it over with my husband, we decided to go for it.  I had someone in mind already who has babysat for us before.  She is 14 and homeschooled, so her schedule is flexible, and her parents drive her both ways.

The only catch is that she is moving the end of May and I'll have to start the search all over again.  But I'm ok with that.  We plan on (God willing) taking a vacation this summer and then when we get back I'll find someone else.  The good thing about this situation is that it is sort of a trial period to see what it is I actually need help with, what works and what doesn't.  So.  Awesome.

Monday was her first day and by the end of the day I felt like I was floating.  It was that great.  When she first comes in I have her doing some catch up work for me, sweeping, folding clothes, ect and a few extra chores that I just wouldn't get to (like washing the sliding glass door or in today's case some zone cleaning a-la Flylady style) while I focus on school with Fritter and then when she is done she plays with the girls.  And when I am done with school?  I get to leave for an hour or so.  Monday I bought a few shirts that my wardrobe desperately needed, and today I did grocery shopping.

Seriously.  This has given me the lift that I needed.  My sister-in-law warned me though that in six months I will have climbed out of the hole that I am in and be tempted to say that I don't need this anymore.  She suggested that as long as it remains a possibility and is in the budget that I should keep with it.  And you know?  I think she is right.

So now I am off to pick up Fritter and Ladybug from Atrium and head out to our new founded Rosary Group and then home for a great leftover dinner.  Because we have leftovers!  Because I've been cooking, (and by that I mean really cooking, not just sloppy joes, which I admit, have their place)!  Which is always a sign that things are looking up.

(And I suppose that this could constitute my April New Months Resolution, right?)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - Growing Things and Visitors

round button chicken
March is probably the best month to live (or visit!) Arizona.  Because the orange blossoms and jasmine are all in bloom it smells heavenly outside and signs of life are everywhere.

Our mulberry tree.  Green against the sapphire blue of the sky.  So pretty.
We've done quite a bit of planting this year and my hope is that we can manage to keep some of it alive.  I've enlisted my dear husband's help this time and so maybe there is a chance.

Our baby acacia tree.  This guy started out as a seed and we've had him in a pot for the past year.  So far he has survived the transition into the ground...

It's amazing to think that by summer this bird of paradise will be taller than me, with the loveliest orange flowers.

It's funny, but the kids' flowers always do the best out of any I plant.  I think it's because they truly love them.

We also planted a few vines on our back porch.  This one is a Lady Banks Rose and is supposed to be very hardy. 

Another vine...  Trumpet flowers.
Another benefit to living in Arizona is all the free citrus.  Our neighbors have oranges and grapefruits which grow over into our yard, so we gladly help ourselves.  A few weekends ago my husband decided to squeeze the grapefruits for their juice and eventually the whole family became involved.
And the juice was delicious!

Happy is also a little boy pulling up weeds for me.  How satisfying it is to get them up by their roots.
 In other news, we've had quite a few visitors in recent memory.  A few weekends ago we got a visit from some dear friends from our college days in Wyoming.  They were in town for a friends' wedding and stopped in to see us.  It was so much fun to see them, and to read about the rest of their trip!  Kate brought me these beautiful flowers...
 ...and chocolate for old times' sake.  We dined on pizza and pumpkin bread and then the chocolate wonderfulness had to be put away because Lent was starting.

I should never lack for things in the funny department with these children of mine around.  My little Miss Ladybug has got her very own fashion sense and usually always has some bling of some sort on.  On the tippy top of her head is a little paper princess crown her brother made her, which I managed to attach to her with bobby pins.  This girl is sweet as pie and really just a very funny little lady.
This past weekend we had yet another visit.  This time from some family from Wyoming, including my mom, two of my aunts, and my grandmother.  It was a real honor having my grandma in my home and to have my children get to know her a little.  Sunflower especially took to her and would often climb into her lap, or sneak peeks at her as she was napping.
However, it was apparent while she was here that the trip was hard on her, and by the time she got home she became really pretty sick and is now in the hospital and not doing so well.  If you all could say a little prayer for her to get better and for wisdom for her doctors, I would really appreciate it.
Head on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter to see all the contentment!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kid Quotes

I know I just posted, but I had to get these down before I forget:

While snuggling with Fritter this morning, I mentioned to him that he smelled good because he had just taken a bath last night.  To which he replied, "And you are like a snuggly pile of soft sugar cookies."  My kind of compliment.

Yesterday while sitting in the bathroom with Sunflower on the potty she asked, "Where's the train?"  "What train?" I asked back.  "The potty train?"  She replied.  I keep wondering if she has been imagining a giant toilet on tracks.

On Sunday I was found ironing a couple of my husbands shirts for his trip the next day (I know, servile work, but I didn't have much choice).  Ladybug came skipping up and said, "Mom, someday I'm going to be a princess.  And when I am, I am going to get to use the iron.  Princesses use irons, right Mom?"  They sure do.  It's how they are trained to be queens of their homes.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Potty Training and Second Guessing Myself

Day 1 of potty training Sunflower is complete.  Over all it has gone well.  We had one accident first thing, which I expected.  We have (so far) had no other accidents, which I did not expect (we'll see how tonight goes, but still, pretty awesome).  It seems my little Sunflower is a finicky little thing and takes the idea of keeping clean and dry pants to the next level.

Before her nap, I set her on the potty and asked her if she could do her thing.  She didn't do her thing, but every time I tried to get her away from the potty to chance it, she refused to leave.  So there she sat, and there she fell asleep.  I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture, because it was really an adorable sight.  I did wake her up and put her in bed and she did actually nap without an accident.  Hurray!  We'll see how tonight goes.

My dear husband is out of town for the week for a super important business meeting, so if you think about it say a little prayer for him.  And for us.  I, of course in typical CMerie fashion, decided to use this time that he is away to potty train.  In theory it sounded like a good idea (most of my ideas ARE good, in theory).  In practice I've been second guessing my decision all day, and especially all evening.  Why would I do that when it seems that potty training has gone well so far?

Because by the time 8:00pm rolled around, and my husband called to chat, I was sitting in the hallway waiting for Sunflower to go potty so I could put her in bed.  I still hadn't showered today, (I have now thankyouverymuch.  That comes before blogging in my book.) the kitchen was a nightmare (I also decided to do a little baking project with the kids after dinner, and we still had breakfast dishes in the sink.  Why do I do this to myself?!), the master bathroom has (I say has because it is still there) a full load of laundry (dirty) on the floor and I'm not sure where it all came from, and the rest of the house looks as if a toddler tornado came rolling through it.  In my head, if the house isn't clean, I have failed for the day.

But is that really true?  I mean, I potty trained my almost three year old today, I managed to get homeschooling done in a reasonable time, and I filed our taxes.  Sometimes success looks a little different in real life.

Yeah.  It's been a good day.

Monday, February 3, 2014

February New Month's Resolution

For February we have decided to get back in the habit of family prayer.  We used to say a decade of the Rosary each evening after dinner, but we had a new baby, life got crazy, and we basically stopped doing the things we were supposed to do and started just surviving.  However.  Saying a family Rosary was a rock that anchored our family life.  And we desperately need anchored. 
I keep my St. Lucy Rosary hanging over a lamp in our sitting room.  I always know where it is and it doesn't get tangled up.

I'm not sure why family prayer was one of the first things to go when life happened.  On a practical level it takes all of five minutes (20 to say an entire Rosary) and serves to calm the family before we start our evening bedtime routine.  That is a very good thing. 

More than that though, this family (as all family's do) needs grace.  We need to be close to our Lord and the Blessed Mother.  We need the prayers of those closest to our Lord.  There is a definite difference in our family life when we pray.  We have more patience with each other, we are able to forgive more readily, we are able to apologize when we have wronged.  It is so easy to forget that it is only by grace that we are able to do these things on a routine basis.  I know too well how quickly I fall when I am left to my own devices.  And you can be sure my family knows that as well.  So, in the interest of becoming a healthier family, we are recommitting to our family Rosary.

Have you made any resolutions this month?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken
My dear hubby was gone over the Christmas break and so to keep myself from focusing on my loneliness I did quite a bit of crafting.  I saw an idea for something like this hair clip holder at a friends house (except hers was more thought out and better executed) and then got a few ideas off Pinterest.  In the end though, it was mostly me and my sewing machine, some fabric and bits of ribbon that figured out how to pull off what my brain was conceiving.  This is the final result:
 It's not perfect, but it works.  And it brings some much needed color to an otherwise drab bathroom.

A friends mother came up with a wonderful idea.  She invited a few younger moms over to have what she calls "Mommy's and Mentors" (M&Ms).  Dinner, dessert, crafts, games, chatting, and offered advice on motherhood.  And it's all free!  Last night was the first night, and it was so much fun.  I won two of the bingo games, and of course the prize was chocolate.  For the craft we used her Cricut to make Valentine's cards for our husbands (and now I am ahead of the game!).  Dinner was awesome, but the best part was being able to just chat with friends and have a lovely evening sans kids.  This is planned to happen once a month.  Let me tell you, the knowledge that I got to go do this last night was what helped me get through an otherwise crummy day.

My little Froggy is a funny guy.  I am often surprised by how a little baby can have such a large sense of humor.  He is (mostly) always smiling, and it does not take much to get him laughing.  Which of course makes me laugh, and that's saying something!

Baby cookie and banana chunks.  What more could a baby ask for?
This is my planner from this morning.  (If you can't read it, click on the picture to make it bigger).  Besides the obvious slacking in the to do department (the post it list was written two weeks ago and is still not finished), notice the numbers 1, 2, and 3.  This is where I write down the three things I am thankful for everyday. 

Some mornings it's really hard to be thankful, when you would just rather be in bed.  :)

Go see other contentment and get inspired at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Growing Pains

Guess who's growing up? 

My little Miss Sunflower gave up her pacifier yesterday.  Granted it was with a lot of coaxing from yours truly, but in the end it was her that did it.  We loaded up an envelope with all of her paci's (There were 12.  She was very much attached to them.) put a To: Baby Francis (her newest cousin) on it and loaded it in the mailbox.

I'm not going to lie and say it was easy.  She cried a little at naptime, but bedtime last night was really no different from any other night.  (That means the girls giggled and chatted and played until I disciplined them by closing their door.)  And she is very proud that now she is a big girl and doesn't need to sleep with a pacifier. 

This morning she looked out the window and saw the flag was down on the mailbox.  "Hey!  They took my paci!" No.  It was me.  But I'll let the mail lady take the heat on this one.  :)

Next step.  Potty training.  Ah-hem.