Friday, February 20, 2009

Lenten Sacrifices

I had originally planned on giving up all sweet treats for Lent. I'm a sucker for sweets, especially chocolate, and so I thought it would be a good sacrifice. I always try to add something in too, so this year I told myself that I would add in a consistent evening examination of conscience, which is something I should be doing anyway. But I'm not that good at changing myself for the better, and so Lent is always a good opportunity to do just that.

However, I just finished reading this article over at Ask Sister Mary Martha. To quote she says:

If you want to lose weight or quit smoking, do it on your own time. Lent isn't
about looking better in your jeans or avoiding emphysema, although we wish you
the best on both those counts.

Lent is about giving up something that
will be a daily reminder of the fact that it's Lent. Then while you're thinking
about the fact that it's Lent, maybe you'll remember what Lent is all about.
Here's a good rule of thumb: If the thing you want to give up has an
"and besides" behind it, perhaps it's not the thing to give up, as in "I'm going
to give up butter for Lent because I slather everything with butter....besides,
it will help my cholesterol levels."

Although, if you slather butter
on everything and not having it will kind of ruin the taste of your food as far
as you're concerned and you could care less about your cholesterol level, than I
say, give up the butter. But if the whole time you've given up the butter and
your food is ruined and you keep thinking about how the doctor is going to clap
you on the back and say, "Good job!", forget it. You have taken the wrong path
to penitence.

And don't try to sidestep your plan. If you've decided to
eat your oatmeal plain, with no brown sugar or milk or raisins or anything, and
then you eat eggs half the time for breakfast, shame on you, you slacker. No one
let up on Jesus.

Yeah, that's why I love reading her. Really, I should be giving up sweet treats during Lent anyway. Lent is about sacrifice, not feasting. So the sweets should wait until after Easter, no matter my plans.

So I had to think for, oh, about a minute, before I thought of what would be a big sacrifice for me. Something I would really miss. That would be not only blogging, but reading blogs. There's a great big community out there, and I love being a part of it. However, perhaps during Lent, my time would be better spent doing spiritual readings instead, or praying a Rosary, or meditating on the Gospels.

So that's my plan. Fast from reading blogs and blogging myself. Add in spiritual reading (which I still need to decide on) and an examination of conscience in the evenings.

What are your plans for Lent?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Small Successes


This came just in the nick of time. Right when I was feeling buried under all the things I'm supposed to do, I have a chance to think about all the things I've gotten done. Done is such a nice word isn't it? Without further adieu, here are my small successes this week:

I managed to get all 60+ pages scanned and emailed to our realtor and loan officer. Two more documents need scanned and emailed tonight, but after that, I think I'm DONE! (Any more, and our scanner might be done too.)
I got two quotes for pool fences, and decided on the company we are going with. The prices are actually the same, but the first guy I spoke with sounded a little bit like a...BSer, so we're going with the second person, who seemed to have it together. Not that I do, but whoever is putting in a pool fence to protect my kids should probably know what they are doing.
Read an essay from Flylady on moving and now I don't feel completely overwhelmed. As she would say, now I have a plan, and I can do anything for 15 minutes. I think I can, I think I can. Hey, any advice for moving with a toddler and a newborn?
Go see all the other wonderful entries over at Faith & Family!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New House

We found it. I know I said that before, and we had planned on making an offer on that house last Friday. As a last ditch effort, however, we decided to look at five more houses. The last house we looked at, we fell in love with and moved on it. Because this house is NOT a short sale, (it's one of the few on the market that is owner owned), we can close quickly. The offer has been accepted (actually, they gave a small counter-offer, which we readily agreed to) and the house is getting inspected tomorrow. I've been so busy with all of this, while still trying to maintain my home and take care of my family, so I haven't had much of a chance to update you all. I'm sure you understand. ;-)

So about the house. It's four bedrooms, two baths, and has a pool. I know, I know, I said I didn't want one, but the idea grew on me. We have gotten an estimate for this kind of a pool fence, and it is going up before we even think about moving in. The best part about this house is that other than the fence, we don't have to do anything to it to move in. It's been done for us. Eventually we will paint, but for right now, we need to let the dust settle on the pocket book before doing anything extra, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, the house is older, it was built in 1977, but is in a great neighborhood. The houses age lends to its character, unlike most new houses in the area. The kitchen is, again, a little small, but it's bigger than my current kitchen, with more cabinet and counter space, so I don't think I'll mind too much. Oh! And did I mention that we get all the furniture that's in the house?! That includes a dining room table and six chairs, a sofa and a loveseat, a nifty breakfast bench table, and a coffee table and end table. All the appliances come with it too. Oh! I'm so excited. I'll share pictures after we move in, but for now, please pray that everything goes smoothly for us, and that Fritter has an easy adjustment. (Poor guy, he's had so many changes lately).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Speaking Of... eyed tornadoes, ours got a haircut yesterday. It's his first time not getting it shaved.


*Do you like his after dinner snack? A carrot and graham cracker, it's the new fondue!*


A tornado just blew through my home. It was a small one, but very powerful, and managed to generate quite a mess. I thought I noticed some mischievous blue eyes in there, but it was going so fast, I'm not sure.

Racing Time!

Fritter loves racing his cars across the table. I love hearing him do it.

Fritter: Mommy, Set, Go!

car goes speeding off the coffee table

Fritter: 1, 2, 6!

car goes crashing off the end table

Fritter: 12345!

car goes careening off the desktop

Cold Feet?

We are planning on putting in an offer on the house we found today. I'm so nervous. I woke up several times last night and couldn't get back to sleep because I was thinking about it. I have become completely distracted with this house. While praying, I'm praying about the house. While cleaning, I'm thinking about cleaning the house. While playing with Fritter, I'm thinking about the house. It's driving me crazy!

What if this is not the house that we're supposed to be in? Are we just jumping at this chance because the price is right? What if the neighborhood isn't as good as it seemed when my dh looked at it? The old man across the cul-de-sac, is he trustworthy? Will the house be forever ugly, no matter what we do with it? Will paint and flooring be enough to make it livable for now? Will it become too much work and we never do anything with it? The kitchen really is awful and small. What if we don't get to it for quite awhile? Can I live with it as it is?

And the single biggest worry I have...What if there are scorpions in the house? The thought of finding a scorpion in OR around my home gives me the heebies. I need to protect my babies, and scorpions can climb on walls. What if one gets in my baby's crib, or in Fritter's bed? What if I step on one while having to get up in the middle of the night to comfort my toddler or nurse my baby? What if Fritter gets stung by one while playing outside in the yard? What if Ladybug gets stung by one while learning to crawl?

Can you tell I've thought about this a lot? Sure we've lived in Arizona for almost 2 years now, but we've been in a third floor apartment that whole time. Not many bugs get up here. I spoke with a friend the other day about it, and she said that she's found two scorpions in her house in the three years they've lived here, and both were dead. I don't think I'd be able to ever sleep if I found one in my house, dead or alive. And I'm thinking that sleep is pretty important.

I'm praying that if this really is the house for us, this whole process will go smoothly. If it's not, then I pray we run into a lot of kinks. We are going to look at other houses this weekend, but again, the offer on this house is probably going in today. Your prayers are appreciated.

And if you're feeling very generous in your prayers, pray I never see a scorpion, no matter where we live. ;-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

First Giggles

Small Successes Volume 4


This is my first time participating in Faith & Family's Small Successes. To see all the participants small successes visit Faith & Family.

I taught Fritter how to sort fuzzy little balls by color. Mommy Teach Me! suggests using colored buttons, but we didn't have any and I did have fuzzy little balls. ;-) I've been trying to work with him on many little tasks, and up until this point we haven't had much success. He's 2 and distractable and I have limited patience. I'm sure you can see where that led us. But Monday I tried this activity and started with 4 different colors. No luck. So I tried only 2 colors and really sat down with him and kept him focused and SUCCESS!

I have successfully kept my grocery bill under $80/week for over a month now. Actually, last week I spent $62. I've made a 5 week rotating menu. Sunday's we have a large meat meal, like meatloaf or chicken or roast. I then portion the leftover meat, freezing some, and use it throughout the rest of the month for other meals. We've also been having one soup a week, and one bean meal a week, with 2 leftover nights. So far it seems to be working.

I got two whole boxes packed for our move that could happen anytime between soon and not-so-soon. (The house we're looking at buying is a short-sale). That only leaves the rest of the house to pack, but it's a start.

What are your small successes this week?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Look in the Past, Holding Onto the Present

At night, after the battle for bed is over, and my day is dwindling to a close, and I have had a chance to sigh and gather my thoughts and plan for tomorrow, I thank God for all the gifts He has given me. It's hard for me to believe sometimes that I am a mother of two, a toddler and a newborn. And though the toddler takes up quite a bit of my time and patience, and I don't get to enjoy the baby as much as I'd like, and getting enough privacy to even go to the restroom is a luxury, I realize how blessed I really am.
I look at my beautiful boy when he's asleep, and tuck the blankets around his little body, and marvel at how much he's grown. He's a real boy now. Oh, he may still have a little baby left in him, but not much. There are times when he's really pushing boundaries that I wonder if we'll ever get through these days. But other times, when he wakes from his nap and comes running to my arms, that I know I'll miss them when they're gone. I'm learning to live in, and relish, these moments. I need to be more like Our Lady and take these things and ponder them in my heart.
Fritter - Nov. 8, 2006

Mom and Fritter - college graduation, Dec. 2006

Dad and Fritter - college graduation, May 2007

My boy

Good clean fun

Halloween 2008

Ladybug - Nov. 26, 2008


Sweet girl

Getting big!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Terrible/Terrific Twos

I've linked to this post in my side-bar, but it's really worth mentioning up here to. Before reading it, I was thinking to myself, "How will I ever survive toddlerhood? How will Fritter ever survive toddlerhood?" It's times like these I need to remember the "terrific" part of the twos.

Please God, help me remember. ;-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I Think We've Found Our Home

We looked at 8 houses today, and the last one may be it. It's the ugly house in the neighborhood, which is actually a good thing. I had seen this one in our listings since the beginning, but kept skipping over it because the pictures make it look really bad. However, it's not as bad as in person.

The outside of the house needs paint, badly. Also, whoever decorated the inside had really poor taste. The walls are bright blue throughout the house, except the upstairs bedrooms, one of which is bright pink with big Hello Kitty stickers all over the walls. The carpeting is blue as well, and very dirty. My dh thinks the a/c may be broken, so we would have to work that into the cost. I will not live in a house without a/c in the hot Arizona summers (do you blame me?). Also, the kitchen is small, and the linoleum and countertops need replaced.

There are good things about the house though, as long as we can see through the ugliness. It's a true four bedroom, split floor plan home. Two of the bedrooms, including the master, are downstairs, with the other two upstairs. There is a large living area downstairs and a good size family room upstairs. The garage is big enough for my hubby to play work in. It's also in a cul-de-sac on the corner, with plenty of kids in the neighborhood. In fact, when we pulled up, several of the kids were out front playing. The next door neighbor's car has one of those family stickers, and it boasts of 6 kids. There are two possibilities with that. They're either Catholic or Mormon. Either way it's a good thing. The best part, though, is the backyard is a very nice size, without any weird feature to take up the space. Even if I have my garden that I'm planning, it wouldn't mess up any play area for our kids.

There are so many possibilities with this house. We wouldn't move in without paint and new flooring. But after that, we are thinking we could extend the kitchen into the dining area and add more cupboard space. We would push the dining area into the family room, and have the whole area floored with ceramic tile. Downstairs we could add a french door, or something of that nature, to have another access to the yard. I get excited even thinking of how much fun we could have with this house, and how nice it could look when we're done.

Our agent thinks that we can low-ball the price AND work in extra money for painting and flooring. The house is a short sale, but it's been on the market for over a year. He's going to do some research on it for us this weekend, and hopefully we'll be able to start the process on Monday. In the meantime, our lease on our apartment expires the beginning of April, and afterwards we go into a month-to-month lease. We have to pay a higher rate for that, but we will only need to give a 30-day notice, as opposed to 90. I'm hoping it doesn't take that long, though. This will be a good lesson in patience for me, I think. ;-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

For Those Who Are Subscribed Via A Reader

I've been playing with Feedburner, and think I have messed things up a little, so could you all just comment on this post if you are receiving updates on your reader? Thanks!

Good Videos

These two videos were posted over at Faith & Family, but for those of you who may not visit over there, I thought I'd post them here too. They are so good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Who Are You Rooting For?

Is it obvious who we are rooting for? We do live in Arizona, after all.