Friday, May 24, 2019

38 (and a half) Weeks PLUS 5 Pregnancy Favorites (and a bonus!)

There is so much I don't like about this picture.  So many ways I could criticize myself in it.  But I'm not going to do that.  I've been told several times that I needed to get a picture of me at this point in my pregnancy because someday I'll appreciate it.  So I'm trusting those folks.

But why, Candice, would you put it in a public place if you really don't like it.  Because this blog used to be where I recorded things like this.  Instagram seems to have taken it's place, which is sort of tragic, because as much as I love Instagram, it's really more of a temporary thing, isn't it?  This old blog has been around almost from the beginning of my "Catholic Wife and Mother" journey and is a kind of memoir.  So, I'm rededicating myself to blogging, and what better time then now, when a new baby is about to arrive?

Rather than complain about the various aches and pains this stage of pregnancy brings (who needs to hear more complaining?) I'm going to share my five favorite things at this point in the "baby is not here yet, but will be soon" stage.

~5 Favorites, Late Pregnancy Edition~




Image result for body pillow

There are some fancy ones out there.  Mine is 13 years old(!!) and still going strong.  Get two good cases for it so you can change them out when needed.  Honestly I couldn't sleep without mine.

A Chiropractor

This may seem like an unneeded expense, especially if they don't take insurance (mine doesn't), but seriously it is so worth it.  Almost as soon as I began to show with this pregnancy (and let's face it, this is my sixth full term pregnancy, I was showing immediately) I had horrible pain...in the pelvic region.  Walking, even slowly, was unbearable.  Enter my wonderful chiropractor.  I see her every two weeks and she fixes me up and gets me all put back together.  Also, she helps with baby's positioning too, which later helps with labor.  I'm convinced she is why Teddy's labor and birth was so quick and uneventful.  And I am hoping for the same this time around.  Find one who specializes in pregnancy and is versed in the Webster technique.  You will thank yourself.


That's it. Organic Dark Chocolate Date Truffles Fruit Bites 100% Real All-Natural No Artificial Ingredients Healthy Snack Gluten Free Non-GMO Paleo Kosher No Preservatives (2 Pack)

I'm not going to post a picture of actual dates, because I think they look like cockroaches and sort of gross me out.  But!  Dates mixed with cocoa powder, and nuts?  Yum!  Dates make a great little snack, and they apparently have the added benefit of shortening and easing labor. (I'll let you do the google search).  We'll see.  This is my first try with them, so...here's hoping they make a difference.



Floradix Liquid Iron + Herbs Supplement 17 oz LARGE - All Natural, Vegetarian, Vitamin C, Non Constipating - Supports energy & red blood cell production for Women & Men


During pregnancy (and really even outside of pregnancy) women have a tendency to become anemic.  Sometimes I can feel it, because I get so tired I just can't function.  And oftentimes I feel it by getting "kicky legs" or restless legs.  Enter Floradix Iron Supplement.  I currently take it once a day, in the evening, and as long as I stay on top of it, those nasty symptoms go away.  And it tastes like orange juice.




Image result for made for this catholic birth

Written by Catholic doula Mary Haseltine, this book has been such a source of peace for me this time.  After five labors, all of them different, I know just how hard birthing can be.  And there is a huge part of me that says, "I can't do this.  I'm not cut out for this.  I'm not going through that again!"  But then I look at the sweet face of my baby (from our 36 week ultrasound picture) and I know that to meet this little one that I love so much already, I have to.  Enter Made for This.  This book has really brought home to me, in a way that nothing else has, the Catholic idea of redemptive suffering.  I grew up thinking pain was something that was to be avoided at all costs and fearing it immensely.  But as Catholics, we view things differently.  We understand that through death comes life, through pain comes redemption.  If you were raised Catholic, you were probably told by someone in your life to "offer it up".  And I've said that to my own children, but without really understanding what that means, and not ever really doing it myself.  But I think now I have a better (if not a thorough) understanding of "offering it up".  This book has so much more to offer beyond that little nugget, though. Highly recommend.



I would do anything for this little one.



Bonus Favorite: The OfficeImage result for the office



I can't help it.  I love this show and I'm on my third time watching it from the beginning.  It's been a help at this stage in pregnancy to get my serious minded self off of...myself and just laugh.  Plus, Jim is just cute.  :)

Do you have any favorite pregnancy things you want to share?  Put them in the comments!











Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring

There is no better month to be in Arizona than March.  Spring has sprung and how glorious it smells!












Tuesday, March 19, 2019

On The Feast of St. Patrick

Feasting

Lucky Charms for breakfast...


Dinner was corned beef and cabbage, as well as Irish Soda Bread...




And for dessert (what's better than dessert during Lent?!) Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.



Reading



Listening To...

Watching...

Quiet Man (one of my all-time favorite movies!)

We had an absolutely amazing weekend that started with having our priest over for dinner Saturday evening. I was more than a little nervous, but dinner turned out great and Father was a very good guest. Sunday itself was highly satisfying, with great food, books, family movies, beautiful weather, and ice cream! These Lenten feast days are some of my favorites.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

On This First Sunday of Advent (some of our traditions)


Our family has really been needing the discipline and prayer that Advent brings.  After a period of sickness plus some other things that have come our way recently we ended up in a rut here at home.  Too little prayer, too many screens, too many outside obligations...it all adds up to burn out and disconnectedness.  The beautiful thing for our family (obviously not just our family, all you have to do is look at any number of blogs to know that we are far from doing as much as many others do) is we have slowly added traditions throughout the years and now our children really look forward to these things as well.  Here are a few of the things we will be doing to focus our attention on the birth of Christ.

~Books~

We have slowly added to our collection of Advent and Christmas books throughout the years.  Our children always get books for the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6th) and I tend to collect them through the year as I find them used or on sale.  We read one picture book a night, and this year I've upped our game with wrapping the ones we'll read during Advent and using Jessica's labels.  We are also reading Jotham's Journey during Morning Time.








~Prayer~

We considered hanging our Advent wreath this year from the ceiling as is traditional, but decided we like it on the table better.  We light one candle for each of the four weeks of Advent during dinner time.  We use an opening prayer and sing the first verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel until the O Antiphons start on December 17th.  We then sing the appropriate verse.  After dinner we pray the St. Andrews Christmas Novena.



~Nativities~

We have several Nativities throughout the house (actually I missed taking pictures of two others).  Our main Nativity is on our hutch by the dining table.  This is not one the children touch, other than the older ones helping to place figures when appropriate.


We also have the Playmobil Nativity set that has already been gotten into set up.


And then there is the peg doll set that I painted a few years ago.  All the pieces are out for both of these as little hands like to play out the sacred story.


~Jesse Tree~

Several years ago we participated in a Jesse Tree swap.  And then I found a little tree that a homeschool boy had made and was selling at a local craft sale.  So I used the calendar that I had made (before we had the one my husbands family's handed down to us) for little slips of paper with the appropriate ornament and bible readings.  We also did an O Antiphon swap so I've included those as well.




~Other Traditions~

I have a Christmas House tree stand that was from my mom's family that I am hoping I can find time to refinish this year.  We'll see if I'm able to find the time.  We always work on handicrafts this time of year and try to handmake many of our gifts.  I'm currently crocheting two projects (a small one and a big one) and have several more in mind.  Each of the kids are working on projects for each other, and are making other plans.

Using the link from Leila, we are listening to and learning more traditional Advent hymns this year, but for practice for showcasing talents at Christmastime, they are also working on Christmas hymns on their instruments.  Practice makes perfect!  One child in particular has really been working hard to show off her piano work, even if it's just to mom and dad.

Normally we take this time off from school, since we already have so many other things going on (all of which include learning!) but because we took time off while I was sick we must keep plugging away at our work as well.  Again, discipline.

Advent is a penitential season (which is why the vestments are violet!) and so we have decided to give up complaining this season in favor of gratitude.  And the children are not the only ones who need this penance!

On this note, we set up a small manger under the tree (I'm currently in the process of getting a big boy to make me a new one, thus no pictures yet) and as the children (or even mom and dad) make sacrifices they put in a piece of yarn straw to make the bed as soft as possible for the baby Jesus.

There are other, smaller things we do during Advent (baking, volunteering, etc.) that I haven't talked about, but here on this First Sunday of Advent we've got a good start.  What are some of your family traditions during the Advent Season?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Counting My Blessings (and an announcement!)

Much has changed since I last posted.  As it typically does.  Change happens and we must either fight it (and still it comes) or go with it and try to thrive.

We are expecting a new baby sometime next June.  Very exciting!  It has been awhile since we've had a newborn in the house.  The soft, fuzzy heads of newborns are among my favorite things.  And the kids are of course absolutely thrilled.  We all are.

And yet, even wonderful news like a new baby coming means change. Currently that looks like morning (all day, especially evening) sickness and major fatigue for me, and more work for the rest of the family.  After a big chat with my dear husband yesterday, we have decided to move our school year around a little, as well as some other things, in order to make things a bit more manageable.  Instead of a great, long Christmas break, we are having a great, long fall break.  We'll catch up with whatever school we missed when we planned our original break (we always take all of December off, and we have a shorter summer break, this year we'll just not have a Christmas break).  In place of school work, the older four children have taken on more chores to help keep our ship upright.  A change is as good as a break, right?  That's what they say.

Meals are...whatever I can get on the table.  Some nights that looks like PB&J, tonight is frozen lasagna (assuming I can peal myself off the couch to get it in the oven).  The older two are in charge of breakfast and lunch for the younger kids.  This is a new experience, having big kids during a first trimester.  It's challenging and wonderful all at the same time.  I keep saying (mostly to remind myself not to feel guilty for all the extra work everyone has taken on) that we all sacrifice for a new baby.  And soon enough we'll get the reward of holding that sweet baby.

I honestly don't know how I would manage without my family.  Everyone has really stepped up and done more than their fair share.  And even with that it still feels like we are drowning a bit (we are if you look at the amount of laundry that needs washed and folded and put away!)

And can I brag about my dear husband for just a minute?  Saturday was his 40th birthday.  A big deal, and I had big plans.  I wanted to throw him a great big surprise party!  I wanted to make his favorite things to eat!  I wanted to really celebrate this special day, because my husband?  He's amazing.  Alas, being sick prevented all of that from happening.  Instead, he took Fritter and Froggy on a campout with friends (he didn't want the boys to miss out).  His birthday dinner was sandwiches and his "cake" was a berry milkshake (he insisted on both counts, and made the milkshake himself).  Why?  To make things easier on me.  Because he knows how crummy I feel.  I don't deserve such a man as my husband, and yet God has blessed me with him and all these wonderful little people.

I'm counting my blessings today, to be sure.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Making Schedule Adjustments

We have survived our first week of school!   And only three apples have been swiped and abandoned (guess what they got with their lunch today?).
Teddy's says "Play All Day School"

The plunder
Today we completed the week with a Weekly Meeting.  I used this form courtesy of Jen MacKintosh, and I also intend to use the Weekly Prep form tomorrow to prepare for the coming week.  The biggest thing that stood out while chatting with my older three scholars is that the little boys are a big distraction.  They really are.  They need constant supervision or they will hurt each other, themselves, or the house (or all three at once!)

We've tried different things this week, including having the two big kids alternate spending time with Froggy and Teddy, but it's not helped.  Maybe in a different season when they are not such puppy dogs!  And at some point the big kids really do need to focus on their own studies.  So I spent some time this evening brainstorming and going over the plan again and moved some things around.  (Use the link at the bottom of this post to see my previous plan.)

{Click to enlarge}


A few big changes were made. I made our Morning Time (Circle Time on the chart, I use both terms interchangeably) more for the reading and our afternoon Tea Time is where we will do our Memory Work Binders.  Also, instead of directing the big kids on what work they will do when, I gave them a big block of time for Independent Work.  It was not working trying to stay on top of the time slots (little boys, remember?).    I was also more realistic with myself.  I am NOT going to get up and go for a walk before I've had my coffee!  But, I don't mind getting up and doing my MuTu core.  So Mass and going for a good walk will alternate days.  I have that big block of Exercise Time that includes shower time, but I'm also going to be realistic here....probably not going to happen as much as I'd like.  Let's face it.  I'm wiped by 7.  But walking and my core are the most important pieces of this for me, so if I get that intensive workout in great.  If not, I'm not going to sweat it. :)

The whole reason this plan has changed is to figure out WTDWTLB (What To Do With The Little Boys).  So in the first block of time, the younger three will stay with me in the school room while the older two take their work to their rooms and close the door.  I will work with Froggy and Sunflower and then set the boys free for play time (preferably outside when it's not 500 degrees).  I'm going to have to suck it up and give up some of my afternoon quiet time so I can teach Ladybug and Fritter while the little boys are resting.  This is a bit dicey, because we are forcing out Froggy's naps due to night time sleep issues, so he is still up and a potential distraction, but it's the best I've got.

The biggest point of all of this is that you can't be afraid to tweak the schedule.  Take the time to build one.  Print it off.  Follow it as you can, see how it flows and then tweak it.  And relax.  If you are anything like me, you are probably not going to follow completely anyway.  But the schedule brings peace to those moments when you are not quite sure what you are supposed to be doing in a certain time, or how to best adjust when something is not working.

Have you had to tweak your schedule recently?  Any other tips for homeschooling with toddlers/preschoolers/boys?!  Oh my!

You can see the other posts in my recent planning series linked here.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Average Day Plans PLUS Chore Charts *Updated

Update Notes:  As is usually the case, I have already updated the plans, plus included mom's routines.

Last time I showed you our Morning Time binders and plans.  Now I'm going to show you how we organize our day, and that includes chores.  These are years worth of work and tweaking and planning and learning and tweaking and tearing up and reworking.  What works in this season is NOT going to work in the next season, and what works for me will NOT work for you.  Trust me.  I learned that the hard way.  Also note: most days will not look like this.  A few will, many will be close, and plenty will not even be recognizable to this.

So why build a schedule or a routine?  Because as Eisenhower once said, "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."  And let's face it.  We juggle a lot of hats.  Our days are a battle.  We battle to stay afloat from the chaos that threatens to drag us down.  So we make a plan, we work to stick to it, and we have (a bit) of peace at least knowing what comes next.

This average day chart I built from most of what I've done in the past, but this year added in what I learned from Brandy Vencel's planning posts.  Some of it may remind you of Flylady.  Some is similar to what I've learned from taking Mystie Winkler's Sweep & Smile course.  Some is learning from A Mother's Rule of Life (if you haven't read it, stop reading this post and read that book!)  Some is gleaned from the various websites, books, courses I have taken.  And much is just me doing my best to lay out a good plan for the school year.

So this first one is our Average Day Chart for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. (click to enlarge).  We are each color coded and I tried to account for how long their school takes (assuming they are not dawdling) so they have plenty of time.  If they do dawdle that have all that wonderful free time in the afternoon in which they can make up any work. ;) I work individually with the youngest first and move up.  Teddy is really the fly in the ointment here.  I still haven't fully worked out his plan, but I think it involves trading off with big kids and engaging toys.  And a playpen and baby gate.  Let's be real.


 And this is our average day chart for some Thursdays (I say some, because twice a month we have AHG in the afternoons, which isn't accounted for here).  Note that I do not have one for Fridays or weekends.  First because our Fridays are much simpler, so I don't need the big picture plan as much. Second, I've tried to schedule my husband, but it just comes across as me being bossy and doesn't really account for the fact that he is an adult.  So I just don't do it.



 The biggest thing that the average day charts do not show are the routines that happen within those times.  And this is the real key to my (hopeful) sanity.  Because even if our day gets off to a late start, we can pick up with these routines and (again, hopefully) sail.  Each school-aged child has their own "Chore Chart". They have been put into page protectors and put up on the walls of their rooms.  This is a little different from what I've done before.  Previously I've used Flylady's weekly zones and assigned chores that way.  Life is just too complicated now for me to keep up with that level of detail, so I have assigned each zone to a day and we'll tackle part of it.  Other chores can be used towards earning extra cash.  Cash is only given for things done above and beyond the norm.  I'm not going to pay my kids to do what they should be doing anyway.  But if they want to earn a few extra bucks, there is a path for that. (pardon the glare.  Click to enlarge.)




Next up is Mom's Routines and loops, which of course is different from the kids'.



We will test the new system Monday and adjust if we need to, but we have a good start here.  When craziness threatens to take over, we'll just turn back to our plan!