Thursday, May 19, 2016

First Holy Communion and Confirmation

This past Saturday, Fritter received First Holy Communion and Confirmation, taking the name of St. John Bosco.  Our diocese gives both Sacraments to children in the third grade (after proper preparation, of course).  It was a beautiful  Mass, and of course my mommy heart was nearly bursting with joy.

St. John Bosco, pray for us!

A good friend of ours stood in as proxy for Fritter's sponsor (his godfather) who was unable to make it.

The cake.  I only just remembered to take a picture before serving it.
We had several families over to help us celebrate.  Many of them had children who had also just received Sacraments.  We borrowed a popcorn machine and sno-cone machine, which were fun.  The next day, to use up some of the ice, we had a snowball fight, in our Arizona May sunshine.

"If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion."
~St. Maximilian Kolbe

Faster Than The Speed of Light

That's how life is moving right now.  So fast.  That explains my three (3!) month absence here.  Lots and lots of living.  Rather than do a day by day recap, how's about we just pretend I've been blogging regularly, shall we?  And I'll just talk about our most recent history.

In the flower garden, (I have a garden!  Me!) we planted sunflowers along with cosmos and scarlet flax.  The flax is beginning to bloom (so pretty!), and the cosmos are going crazy.  Three of the sunflowers turned out to be of the giant variety, and the rest are all smallish guys (as far as sunflowers go).  Alas, the three giants have already succumb to the heat and are dead, while the small ones are doing great and actually seem to be reseeding themselves. 

Yesterday, my littles dug the giant heads out of the compost (I threw them in there because they didn't seem to have any seeds, though I didn't really look), and lo! Sunflower seeds!  They busied themselves with pulling the seeds out.  Some went into Sunflower's bird feeder, some they replanted, and some are...well, still scattered where they left them.  BUT!  I am going to gather them all up and save some for next year's planting.  Look at me!  My thumb is getting greener!



Art Appreciation.

In homeschool news, we've been desperately trying to finish up our school year.  What with a new baby, a traveling husband, various sicknesses, and just life, it's been hard to keep up.  This week is our last week and I made a plan to get in what I felt was important to finish before a long break.  Good old Murphy decided to throw us a curve ball...stomach flu!  But while Fritter is stuck in bed recovering, I handed him one of the books I wanted him to read for school (shhh...he doesn't know it's for school!) and he's almost done.  Maybe I can squeak one more in before he's better.  :)

He concentrates with his tongue hanging out.

Help!  Mom!

My big girl volunteered to make lunch.  I took a picture of her, because I didn't know what else to do with my new-found freedom. :)
In the life category, my little Teddy Bear is...not so little.  This big guy is a whopping 20 pounds!  At almost 6 months!  We started him on solids a little earlier than the rest, because I could just not keep up with his demanding self.  And now he's rolling all over the place and refuses to stay where I put him.  He wants to crawl, but can't quite figure out he needs to go forwards, not backwards.  So I'm routinely finding him stuck under the trunk there.

For Mother's Day, we took a jaunt south to the Sonoran Desert Museum.  A person could easily spend many days exploring this place, all 100 acres of it, in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.  We happened upon the last cool day before summer really hits, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
On a little date with my Sunflower.

The kids decided to have a lemonade (tang, actually) stand one weekend.  They made $11, and were very pleased with themselves.
Here's to living!

Monday, February 29, 2016

The World's Worst Tooth Fairy

Do you do the tooth fairy with your kids?  We do.  I have fond memories of the tooth fairy as a kid.  Eventually, of course, I realized it was my mom who left the loose change under my pillow, but that was right around the time I stopped loosing teeth every other week. 

I did not inherit the good tooth fairy gene.  As a matter of fact, I'm a horrible tooth fairy.  Take this most recent lost tooth as an example.  Fritter lost his tooth during Blue Knights last Friday.  We diligently tied the tooth up in a sandwich bag and put it on the hutch in our dining room to await bed time.  But then we forgot to put it under his pillow until Sunday night.  This morning Fritter came into the kitchen and informed me that the tooth fairy did not come.  He didn't look all that surprised either.  I told him we simply needed to blow some bubbles so the bubble fairies could go tell the tooth fairy about his tooth (because, you know, fairies live in bubbles and fly away when they pop).  He seemed to like this idea (or was he simply indulging his distracted mother?) and off he went to blow bubbles.  I went off to set the alarm on my phone for 10:30 to remind myself to put money under his pillow.

This is not the first time this has happened.

Another time, the tooth fairy left a note after not showing up the first night, saying she was caught in a freak snow storm over the Sierra Madres and was very behind schedule.  She was very sorry though, and happy for the tooth.  Once she even took a wrong turn in Albuquerque.

See what I mean? 

I look around and see four children (soon five) with mouthfuls of teeth and my heart skips a beat.  Perhaps this tooth fairy should be fired.  But no.  We all know it's pretend, and we enjoy it, even if mom drops the ball most of the time.  They forgive me and seem to enjoy the notes.

But what does she do with all those teeth? We've asked ourselves this very question. We came up with a theory.  We think she is building a giant castle made of teeth.  Perhaps the teeth are a good insulator.  Or maybe they sparkle just so in the sun.  And to clean it, all she needs is a tooth brush.

World's Worst Tooth Fairy.  That's me.  But it sure is a great story.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

{phfr} - Desk Edition with Bonus Planner Talk

My desk.  Sigh.  There is really not much prettiness going on here.  It's all just very real at this point in our lives.  We actually have big plans for this area of our house, but none of it will be realized for quite sometime.  We have to get through the whole husband gone for long periods of time first.  I present this to you in all humility.  This is the least organized area of my home.

So here's my desk in all it's reality:

The desk itself is actually pretty cute.  It was made by someone and we purchased it off craigslist years ago.  The shelves above the desk are functional for now.  My husband built our computer a few years ago after our old one crashed.  The printer was another craigslist find, and it works for now but I dream of the day it dies and we can get a different one (perhaps wireless!  Imagine!).  It's just a little...wonky. But it does have a scanner and copier which is a must for our homeschool.  Next to the printer are our disc folders.  They are mostly picture backups with the hope that someday I'll get them printed and organized.

This shelf is the computer...what's it called, and all the wires, wires, wires.  A little container of holy water, just because that's where it landed the last time I went through the house with it.  Discs for our homeschool that we routinely use and a container of change from our last yard sale also bless the shelf.  Note to self: put things away!  I do have two cross stitches that Ladybug completed, as well as the first cross stitch I completed soon after I was married to make it a little pretty up here.  A holy card of Sts. Joachim and Anne along with a Blessed Mother card finish the randomness here.

To the left of my keyboard is usually action items.  A few weeks ago I had a nice little basket here to organize this stuff and it really worked.  But then I moved the basket to another place that had need of it, and so this stuff all just sits here until I get to it.  Broken toys, random books, a rice pad...oy!  My pens are housed in my Class of 2000 beer stein.  Because I don't drink beer and have no other use for this particular thing.  :)

To the right of the keyboard is my basket of bills that need addressed.  Although currently there are also books that just came in from being ordered that need put away, some homeschool planning things, and other randomness.  This basket is gone through every week (usually Wednesday is my desk day, although I didn't get to it yesterday which is why it's so cluttered today).  More about how I tackle the job of bills and planning in a minute...

The top three drawers of my desk are the only ones I really use.  The others house random computer goodies and cords, ect.  I don't ever open them. 

The top right drawer are receipts and paid bills for the past few months.  Once a bill is paid, the rest of the bill gets put here.  Every few months I go through it and file what needs filed and throw away what needs thrown away.  If I have a dispute with a company, I know where to look for that piece of paper.  It's not pretty, but it works for us. 

The top left drawer is my mail drawer.  Stamps, address labels, and my address book go here.  And tape.  Lots and lots of tape.

The middle drawer is office supplies and stickers to reward kids with.  Both Fritter and Ladybug have homemade sticker books for when they do something worthy of a sticker in school.  Anytime I see fun little sticker pads at the store for a decent price, I usually pick them up.  I also have a set of colorful gel pens for planners and other writing.  A pretty pen helps motivate to get the job done!

So on to how I plan and do the bill paying.  This calendar is just one that we get in the mail every year.  Nothing special.  Every six months, usually December and June, I write out our bills for the next six months on the dates they are due.  If it's something that needs mailed, I write it a week before it's due.  I also write in each payday.  On my desk day, I sit down and first tackle this.  Anything that needs paid in the next week gets taken care of.  Then I move on to the basket and then the random action items on my desk.  Everything at least gets touched, if not completely dealt with.  I've managed this side of our lives this way for years now, and while it may not be the most efficient method, it works for us.

This is my planner (along with some baby nail clippers.  I cleaned nothing for this post.  It's all reality here, folks!).  I use the Catholic Daily Planner from Michele Quigley, and I have for years.  I order the one that starts in August, since around here life revolves around the school year.  I like it, because it has a month at a glance, and then each week is spread out over two pages with plenty of space to write.  I has the Church calendar on each day, along with that days Mass readings.  My liturgical year things (books I want to read aloud or have read, activities, ect.) are written in the blank space beside the day.  The to-do list is of course written in along with any reason we have a need to leave the house (appointments, ect.).  I used to be in a good habit of listing three things I was grateful for each morning, but haven't done that in a while.  Hmmm...maybe it's time to get back in that habit....

Most of my planning happens here on the couch, not at my desk.  This spot has all of my prayer books as well as all the other books I'm flipping through at the moment.  I really need a basket to put all this stuff in...maybe an updated post would be good once I get things in order...someday.

One of the things I've started doing in the last few months is keeping a commonplace.  I just use a composition book, and jot down any quote that sticks out to me from my reading material.  I love this habit!  Plus, pretty pens and writing is so soothing.

 A look at the most recent page...quotes from St. Josemarie Escriva, St. Francis de Sales, and Fr. Jacques Philippe. (I cannot recommend his book enough!)

There  you go!  Anyone who entertained thoughts of me being nice and organized can now rest assured that I am not, and really the randomness around here is out of control!

Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more contentment!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

{phfr} - Post Christmas Days

My hubby is on work travel for the next three weeks overseas.  Then he comes home for a week, and is gone for another three weeks.  I'm looking for contentment wherever I can find it...


I've been spending lots of time on Pinterest lately.  I've got quite a bit of dissatisfaction about my house.  Things that have remained plain or not given love for too long are being changed up.  I've restarted my own version of zone cleaning, and with that comes a Friday beautify day.  Essentially, I look at the space and see what areas need help.  Sometimes it's just a question of a little decluttering.  But this is where I am allowing myself time to make my home and not just survive in it.

This week I've been deep cleaning bathrooms.  We have two and both are unbelievably small.  The children along with any visitors must share a bathroom, and that poses quite a challenge.  The focus here for so long has been on clean and functional, not beautiful.  But there was a big blank wall above the shower that was just asking for attention.  I like the idea of gallery walls, but just haven't found the perfect thing to put up there.  And then I remembered that I have prints my cousin took from our long ago trip to Hawaii that just might work...

Yay!  A pretty wall in the bathroom.  Still working on the other bathroom's wall.
 This actually inspired a few other changes, including a new shower curtain and some storage baskets to clean up the visual clutter.  No pictures, because I didn't take any before, and what would be the use of showing you after with no before?


My little Teddy bear is a very happy, cuddly baby.  He is learning to coo and has smiling down pat.  He's given us a few chuckles too.  This is my comfort while daddy is gone.


I'm just now getting the last of my Christmas cards out.  Right before Lent starts.  I am on top of things!


This is life right now...

...hard work, focus, diligence.  All habits we are trying to increase.

Go visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more contentment!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Unproductive Delight

As I'm sure you can imagine, life right now is a bit...crazy unpredictable full.  Besides the fact that I have five small children nine and under, one of those small ones happens to be six weeks old (yesterday!  How can that be?!).  I have purposely slowed things down to almost a standstill around here, providing only clean clothes (that may or may not be gotten out of the laundry basket) and what I'm counting as meals, and maybe a little cleaning now and then. But at some point, we do have to get back to whatever counts as our new normal, my older two children do need to be educated as well, and we should probably be eating a little better. 

I sat down last week determined to hammer out a new routine that would help us get everything in order.  I reread A Mother's Rule of Life.  I wrote out chore lists for the children and myself.  I produced a school routine that covers the basics and a few extras as well.  I went into all of this understanding that I have a newborn and I must be flexible (not a gift God gave me). 

I have visions of calm productivity, each of us doing as we can.  Our Classical education looking a little more Charlotte Masonish every day.  And then the baby needs to be nursed.  And after?  I can't bring myself to put him down.

Unless it's for some tummy time action.  Then I can put him down while I coo and make faces at him, and he does the same to me.  And then I take pictures.

"I am mommy's productivity killer.  She can't help but stop what she's doing and kiss my cheeks."
 I know just how quickly these moments go by.  This little guy won't be so little for so long.  Already he's growing and changing.  Soon enough he will take his first steps towards venturing away from mommy's arms.  Scooting, crawling, walking, running, climbing.  All good things that must happen in their time.  But this time?  This time is for cherishing.

A smile!  I captured one on camera!

And that is one of the reasons that I have chosen "delight" as my word for the year.  Beyond the schedule and routine (which must happen!) I am going to try to delight in these people entrusted to me.  My husband, my children.  Because they are delight-ful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Birth Story

Our little Theodore (from here on out called Teddy on the blog) had decided to hang out in mama's belly for a bit longer than expected.  I had never had an overdue baby, so the anticipation wore me out.  I know a "due date" is really just an estimation, but all my other babies came a week early, so I had started expecting this baby weeks before he actually came.  Can you say emotional exhaustion? 

I had been having off again on again contractions a week prior to his birth, which is pretty typical for me.  At my doctor's appointment closest to his due date I was told I was dilated to 4cm and was 75% effaced but that baby was a bit posterior.  Sigh.  All of my babies have been posterior, including Sunflower whose birth I would never wish on anyone.  I had started chiropractic care early in this pregnancy in the hopes that it would help baby to be in a good position, so I was pretty upset when my doctor told me the news.  I went home and did everything I could to get baby turned.

Baby did seem to shift in the middle of the night one night, and the contractions continued with varying intensity (but nothing that I couldn't easily relax through).

On Monday the 23rd I had another appointment, and I dreaded it.  I couldn't believe I was still pregnant and I was terrified of being induced.  I asked my doula to come with me for moral support.  My doctor checked me and told me I was now at 5cm and 80% and I asked her to strip my membranes, though I had already had this done the week before with no results except a backache.  She then asked what I wanted to do.  I honestly didn't want to be pregnant anymore, but I also did not want to go through the pains of labor either.  It's a catch 22, isn't it?  I wanted to hold my baby, but to get there I knew I had to go through a bit of hell as well.  Honestly I just wanted to wake up one night to find that I had birthed baby in my sleep.  :)

She called the hospital and tentatively booked me for 9pm that night to have my waters broken.  The decision was left to me and my husband and we could go or not.  I called my husband after my appointment and he heard the tremble in my voice and quickly came home from work.  He knew I needed him.  I went for a walk by myself when he got home and did the best I could to calm my fears and decide if I wanted to wait or if I wanted to get things started.  I was terrified of my waters being broken before active labor had started.  I knew the contractions could be harder to deal with and I knew that this could also set me up for unwanted interventions later.  After prayer and after a good talk with my husband we decided to keep the appointment and go in. 

So after dinner, we carted our children off to our good friends house.  At 9pm Monday night we checked ourselves into the hospital.  One of my prayers earlier in the week had been to somehow get out of going through triage.  Am I the only one who despises triage?  Because we were scheduled for an "induction" we didn't have to go through it.  Praise God for small blessings!

Once checked in, my nurse hooked me up to the monitors to check up on baby, but I was allowed to be out of bed and could at least stand and sit on a birth ball if I wanted to.  It was odd sitting there, having random mild contractions and engaging in conversation with my husband and doula.  My doctor looked at our monitors and decided she didn't quite like the flatness of baby's heart rate, so she had me given an IV of fluids.  It seems baby was probably sleeping, because not too much later everything picked up and looked perfect.

Around 11:30pm my doctor came in and felt we were good to break the waters and take me off the monitors.  I had never been so scared of anything before in my life.  Once the waters were broken I had one contraction that felt the same as the others I had been having, and not five minutes later the intensity of the contractions went through the roof.  They came hard and quick.  Without any lead up to this level of intensity I had no chance to get into "lala land".

I was fully aware and so scared this was going to last for hours and hours like all my other labors.  I told my husband I couldn't do this anymore and even while I said it, I knew that was something felt when we were almost done.  But how could we be almost done?  It had only been an hour!  My dear husband did what he could to keep me calm, but eventually I went around him and my doula and pushed the button for the nurse myself to ask for an epidural.  My nurse very calmly told me I couldn't have one because baby would be coming soon and we didn't want a groggy baby.  How was this possible when the doctor wasn't even in the room yet? 

She checked me and I had just a lip of a cervix left, which she managed to pull over baby's head.  Right away the pressure was intense.  After figuring out how to push (how is it I managed to forget?), my little Teddy bear was born after two or three good pushes.  The first thing I heard after "It's a boy!" was "That's a big baby!"  He was born at 1:22am on Tuesday November 24 after a two hour labor and delivery!

My "little" Teddy weighed in at 9lb 12oz.  A pound and a half larger than my next largest baby!

Proud big brother.

We are all so much in love!
We are all doing well and after two weeks I'm starting to feel more normal.  Our homeschool group has been bringing us meals and we are mostly enjoying life as a family of seven!