Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Week Plans

Yesterday was all about shopping and cleaning. And today is all about cooking and cleaning. I know it would be traditional to have a Seder supper on Holy Thursday, however Mass that day is at 7pm, which would make us have our supper either around 5 or after Mass. Neither of those options really works for us, and since I have a (very minor) surgery on Wednesday, today is really our only option.

We've been doing a variation on the Seder supper since dh and I were first married. Our first year, we were still in college and, living on a college budget, we couldn't really justify the expense of lamb, so I substituted pork chops. ;-) This year will be the first year we try lamb, so I'm a little nervous.

Anyway, so today is all about cooking and of course cleaning to prepare for Easter. Holy Thursday, we plan on maybe doing a washing of the feet here at home (and more cleaning). And we'll go to Mass that evening.

Our church doesn't have the Good Friday service until around 7, but I think another church near us has one at 3, so we'll go to that one. Then we're going to pray Stations of the Cross that evening. (And clean some more). After the kids go to bed, we'll watch The Passion.

Saturday we'll dye eggs, finish up our cleaning, stuff the kids' baskets, and I think we're going to finish putting our bathroom together. (Finally!) And confession, of course.

Easter Sunday, we're going to the Children's Mass. We plan on having an Easter egg hunt for Fritter and Ladybug. We'll have cinnamon rolls and eggs and sausage and orange juice for breakfast, and we're having a wonderful roast for dinner. The house will be clean, so will our souls, and we'll welcome Christ's Resurrection.

What are your Holy Week plans?

*Note: The links take you to Catholic Culture's website to the various days in the Triduum. You can get ideas on things to do with your family.*

Monday, March 22, 2010

Take Five - Meditations With Pope Benedict XVI

I really wanted to like this book. What I've read of the writings of Pope Benedict, I have enjoyed. And so I assumed these short meditations would be something good to add in the middle of my day. And they are good, but are not really meant for me. They are mostly centered around the workplace, and while some of the points can be utilized in the home, they would be of more value for someone working outside of the home. I could really see someone with a busy day at the office really getting a lot out of this book.

The meditations are broken up into little bite sized pieces and include a short scripture passage or verse to remember throughout the day. And the introduction is really pretty good. There is a short biography of Pope Benedict, and I did enjoy that. This book could be of great value to someone wanting to add more prayer during working hours.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Take Five - Meditations with Pope Benedict XVI. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Small Success

Because I can't just leave that depressing post at the top of my blog...


I realized for the past couple of days that my family has been the victims of a particularly terrible bout of PMS. I'm not excusing myself, just explaining. This realization prompted me to throw my expectations out the window, allowing the kids to be a bit more unruly (while realizing that those small acts of disobedience did NOT mean they were already prison bound), as that was much, much better than me screaming at them. It's been a success already. I haven't yelled once today. I think....

After another rough morning yesterday, I put on a vigorous exercise video, strapped the kids down in their high chairs for lunch and while they ate and watched (and laughed), I worked and sweated. I felt so much better afterwards, I decided to go for a hard walk this morning. Pushing the double stroller counts as resistance training, right?

On a slightly different note, I have finalized our breakfast, lunch, and snack plans (with your help), and put in place the breakfast plan. Now I just need to actually do the lunch and snack plans and we will be eating (and hopefully feeling) much better.

What are your successes this week? Share them at Faith & Family Live!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today Has Been A Day

And it's only half over. Fritter woke up this morning around 6:30 all jumpy and ready to play. I sent him back to his room, because I have this rule. The no-coming-out-of-your-room-until-7 rule. It used to be the no-coming-out-of-your-room-until-7:30 rule, but that wasn't really working. So I started waking up a little earlier for my morning prayers, and pushed the Rule back to 7. That's called flexibility. Yep. But now, NOW, he wants to be up at 6:30. I'm not really willing to get up any earlier (I'm so not a morning person), but I really, really need that time with just me and the Lord. Otherwise I get a day like today.

So, this morning I sent him back to his room, with the firm instructions to read books until I came and got him. That's fair. He likes to read books. Except for today. So every two minutes or so he would pop right back out of his room, to see if it was time to get up yet. And it wasn't, and I was fuming, and it was like all that prayer had never happened. So, I decided that Mass would be good for us. I needed to be filled up, and the kids needed to sit still. Oh, Mass. It's Lent. I suppose I should just offer it up. Which I would have remembered and could have done had not a zillion things gone wrong today. Why is it that I don't remember to do the right thing until after I've done everything wrong? *sigh*

I did catch part of the priest's homily today. Something about it's good to have laws and rules, and important to follow them. But those laws and rules have to be backed by reason and truth. The heart is what is important. I wonder if I had not been so harsh in enforcing the Rule this morning if our day would have been different? But that rule is there for a reason, and giving in may have only made things worse. Motherhood is such a quandary.

After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me." Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat." He answered them, "The man who made me well told me, 'Take up your mat and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who told you, 'Take it up and walk'?" The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, "Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you." The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath. -John 5:1-16

So I took the kids to the adoration chapel, showed them Jesus and told them to be quiet. I prayed. That was nice. I remember someone somewhere saying that she would take her kids to the adoration chapel and tell God that they were His kids first and He needed to do something with them. My prayer was something like that.

Once back home, things were peaceful for all of 5 minutes right after I put Ladybug down for her nap. And then glutton for punishment that I am, I decided now was a good time to go through the kid's toys and get rid of some. I've been meaning to do it for sometime. Today sounded good. But, again, I didn't think, and had Fritter right there as I dumped broken car after not played with car after not played with toy in the giveaway box. All of a sudden even the broken car with two missing wheels was his most favorite car ever. I told you. I'm not that smart sometimes. I did manage to get rid of a good chunk, and do feel better for it, but it was a fight.

Then, we had storytime at the library which I had planned on all week. Even though neither Fritter nor I deserved it, we had to get out and have some fun. And it was fun. I love watching the kids dance and chase bubbles. So cute.

I had packed us a lunch and we went to the park next door to eat it and play. Bad timing. There was some sort of a party going on and lots of kids in a small park equals a stressful park outing. Fritter enjoyed himself until a bigger, meaner kid decided to push Fritter down in the rocks and throw and kick dirt at him. My poor bugger is not used to being around mean kids and was shocked more than hurt. But he was hurt a little, and his feelings were hurt worse.

I think it would be different if he was older and could defend himself, but right now he's still little and relies on me to protect him. My mama bear claws came out, but I managed a semblance of control. I told the kid that we don't play like that. I managed a forceful NO at him. I then told Fritter to play at a different part of the playground, and the boy avoided both me and him for the rest of our time there. The other mom was nowhere to be seen. Of course.

Soon I had had enough, headed home and dumped the kids in bed. I think I'll hide my head for the rest of the day. Maybe that way we'll all stay out of trouble.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photo Ops

"Say cheese!"

"How do I make this thing move?"

"That's better!"

My big boy.

"I'm gonna get you!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When Skies Are Grey

On our way home from a playdate this afternoon, Fritter was fussy. It was 1:30, and a little past naptime, and he was mad. First, he had a rock in his shoe and asked me to take his shoes off for him. I don't know about you, but I can't manage that on the freeway. So I told him to take his own shoes off. "But I caaaannnn'ttttt!" he wailed. Then he wanted his socks off, again, I told him to do it himself. "But I CAAANNNNN'TTTT!" Still 20 minutes from home and unwilling to listen to fussing the whole way, I tried a different approach. Singing.

"Lullaby, and good night, with roses bedight...."

Soon I was interrupted with, "Can you do another one? How 'bout....when skies are grey?"

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey..."

"Can you do it again?"

"You are my sunshine..."

"How 'bout...Baby Mine?"

"Baby mine, don't you cry. Baby mine, dry your eyes..."

And by the time I got through that one twice we had pulled into the driveway. At which point Fritter happily said, "The End!"

The end indeed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quotable Fritter

Fritter: I'm a boy, and Ladybug is a baby, and Mama is a girl, and Daddy is a Dan!

Me: Daddy is a man, that's a grown up boy.

Fritter (looking at his dad): You're a strange little man.*

*Don't recognize it? Here's the reference.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Breakfast Help?


At a recent doctor's appointment I was told by an RN that I had mild hypothyroidism. Without looking any further, she wrote me a prescription for synthetic hormones that I would need to be on forever, and shooed me out the door. I have a distrust of the medical realm anyway, and this was no help. Um...forever? Synthetic hormones? I think not. I'm sure for some this would be a fine solution, but not for me.

So I did research. I lost sleep. (Sleep I desperately needed, since one of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism is exhaustion. I already had my fair share of that.) Most of all I prayed. And after a conversation with a dear friend, I felt I had direction. I made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. This is another realm that I'm not entirely comfortable with, mostly because of the heavy leaning on New Age sensibilities. But, I trusted it more than an RN with an itchy prescription pad.

My appointment was yesterday, and I'm so glad I decided to go. She talked with me about nutrition, about supplements, and about exercise. And I wasn't overwhelmed. I don't really know much about nutrition, but I try to feed my family what I thought was balanced meals. I thought wrong. She said that we are not getting enough protein in our diet, and what we needed was an almost complete overhaul of our menu. But she made it simple for me. She told me to change one meal a week, and by the time I go see her again in four weeks, I'll have mastered all three meals and snacks. And I should be feeling better.

So, my first change is breakfast. We normally eat 1/4 c. oatmeal mixed with 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. applesauce. I thought I was doing good, but after I really looked at the grammage (is that a word?) we were being overloaded with carbs and not enough protein. So the simple change would be to have 2 scrambled eggs, 1 whole wheat slice of toast with butter, and 1 c. milk. This brings us to around 30% protein, 45% carbs, and 25% fat. I thought of adding in fruit, but a banana has almost no protein and doubles the carbohydrate intake.

Having this same breakfast day after day might get old, so I'm asking your help to come up with a couple of other standbys. What does your family eat for breakfast?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Running Program for Me?

I've always thought somehow I would just fall into an exercise routine, it would be easy, I would be fit and that would be that. But, um, I hate to tell you this. It's not happening. And now that I'm facing some health things (nothing horrible) I realize I don't have much of a choice to get going. My excuse has always been, "But when? When do I have time to exercise?" And, "When? When do I have time to exercise AND shower afterwards?" Because, let's face it. I'm tired. All. The. Time.

But. I first heard about the Couch to 5K runners program from Cheryl. It seemed like it was successful for her. But running? For me? I'm not a runner. I'm more of a...what would you call it? Sitter? Yes. I'm more of a sitter. I like to sit, and think, and read, and talk. So maybe I'm more of a thinker. Either way, sitting and thinking is not doing my body any favors.

So, I'm going to start week one tonight. My plan is that when my dh gets home from work, I'll go work out. I can take a shower after the kids go to bed. It's not ideal, but it'll do. After today, I plan on going Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Yikes! Me? A runner? I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Which I Waste Time, Or Not

I know, I know. It's Lent and I shouldn't be wasting time. I should be napping. Or praying. Or both. You know, I heard that if you start your Rosary, and say a prayer to your Guardian Angel, asking him to finish it for you if you fall asleep, he will. I wonder if that's true? How cool would it be to be actually praying while sleeping?

In a homily I heard once, the priest said that before he goes to sleep, he is in the practice of offering up each heartbeat and each breath he takes while sleeping. I love it! It takes the idea of offering up every action to God to a whole new level.

So how is my Lent going? Actually, good. I haven't lost focus yet. Saturday I went to a Lenten Women's Retreat and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Mass without having to whisk a child out of church? I'll take it. Not only was I able to listen to the readings, and homily, I was able to really pray and prepare myself to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

There are times when I feel I've gotten absolutely nothing out of Mass. Now, I know that the grace is there whether I feel it or not. Because God is not reliant on me. Thankfully. He takes my efforts and makes me whole.

I did read somewhere (I can't remember where, if you know, please tell me in the comments) that sometimes going to Mass with children is not about me. Maybe, just maybe, it is about my children too. How much more grace are these innocent souls able to receive, just by being in the presence of Jesus himself? This is a thought that has helped me get through daily Mass without loosing it. And sometimes I even am able to leave with a smile on my face.

I wonder if Jesus takes more notice when the kids are acting up more? Like, maybe they are trying to get his attention (and succeeding in getting everyone's attention). Because I've noticed (this past weekend as an exception) that the three year old's behavior has been much, much better since making it to daily Mass one extra day. Like that one extra half hour in Christ's presence is truly, truly making a difference.

And not just in them, me too. I've been more patient and more consistent. I'm learning how to bite my tongue. I feel like I'm making some small progress. Which is news, because it seems like, before, no matter how hard I tried, I never changed. But "I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me."

That's the beauty of a blog. I can turn very random thoughts into a post about a few of the many beauties of Mass. So I guess I didn't waste much time after all.