Friday, September 18, 2009

Retreat Weekend...

So we're doing something this weekend that we've been wanting to do for a long time...we're going on an informal family retreat! Now, to be clear, we're not actually "going" anywhere. We're going to stay here in Urbana. We are simply going to take extra time this weekend for prayer, for receiving the sacraments (namely Confession and the Eucharist), and for nourishing our Catholic family life. And, as with any good retreat, we've got some tasty meals and snacks planned too :). So please pray for us if you think of it! Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"They are piles of love..."

Lately I've found myself feeling pretty defeated when it comes to housework - it seems that no matter how hard I try, there are just piles of stuff everywhere. Today I felt that literally everywhere I looked, I found something that could/should be cleaned, organized, or picked up. Everywhere!

I'm finding that one aspect of motherhood that I wasn't quite prepared for was the sheer difficulty of keeping things in order...I thought, heck! I'll be able to stay on top of everything when Thomas naps! Bahahaha. Famous last words.

I'm also realizing that my duties as a wife and mother entail doing tasks that aren't noticed if they are done but are more noticeable if they are NOT completed. When I've emptied the dishwasher and put all the dishes away, things are as they "should" be in the kitchen. But when I haven't had time to do that, and dishes are piled up all over, then that chore is noticed because there's a big mess and nothing to eat on. If I haven't had time to stuff Thomas' diapers, that job is noticed because we have to search around for a disposable diaper.

And so tonight I gave Drake an ear-full about my struggles as of late...and he reminded me of something really important: "You know, it's good that there are piles around here...if our place was perfectly put together but Thomas was constantly upset and unpredictable, then I'd be concerned. But the fact is that Thomas is so joyful and loved. So who cares about the piles? They are piles of love..."

Thank you, Drake - I love you!

Monday, September 7, 2009

39 Things Every Mom Should Know...

I came across this in Parent Magazine (my new favorite), and I found some of this advice to be not only funny but pretty practical as well. Thanks to author Kacy Faulconer!

1. You never have to go to the obnoxious kid-themed restaurants. Ever. I wish someone had told me that.

2. Don’t make birthday parties a huge deal.

3. Do your chores while the kids are awake. Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing.

4. Put Band-Aids on everything your kids want you to. Why not?

5. If the kids are awake, bit the bullet and be awake yourself. You’ll waste so many hours trying futilely to extend early morning snoozes that it’s not worth it. If you are sick, pregnant, or it’s the middle of the night, ignore this advice.

6. Just throw away the poopy underwear.

7. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to use a bribe.

8. Teach your kids not to pee outside unless you’re camping – you’ll be glad you did. But if other people’s kids do it, don’t judge the parents too harshly-it’s all about karma. (If you’re in the midst of potty training, all bets are off. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.)

9. Buy cheap shoes when kids are little. Feet grow faster than you think.

10. Don’t forget about board games. You’ll suffer through way too much Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, but Connect Four and Battleship aren’t half bad. And Clue rocks.

11. Embrace their quirks.

12. Know this: That stain won’t come out. And it’s okay. (The sooner you accept this, the better.)

13. At some point it will be February. Things will seem bleak. You will think about vitamins, glasses, more exercise, more sleep, more chores, less TV, more rules, fewer rules, and organic food. Just wait. Things will get better when the snow melts. Know that it will happen again at the end of summer, right before school starts. It’s the circle of life, baby.
14. Always get boys’ haircuts at barber shops instead of hair salons.

15. Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?

16. Never stifle a generous inclination.

17. Try to like what they like. It kind of sucks when it’s Bob the Builder, but the payoff will come when they discover Lemony Snicket.

18. Teach them to pump on the swings ASAP.

19. If your child falls asleep occasionally without brushing her teeth, don’t wake her; baby teeth do eventually fall out.

20. I know you are supposed to use natural consequences to punish bad behavior, but sometimes it’s hard to think of natural consequences. In these cases try threatening your kids with clipping their toenails or some other activity they dread. I’ve had great success with this one, but you must find your own.

21. Get used to the word zerrissenheit. It means a state of disjointedness, and it’s the new normal for most of us. At least you can feel fancy because it’s German.

22. Buy kids deodorant before they need it.

23. Teach your children to make their own breakfast – and allow enough time so they can do it without pressure.

24. I can’t stress this enough: use duvet covers on your comforters and forget about a top sheet. Not only will you thank me for this advice, but your kids will thank me as well when they are learning to make their bed.

25. Remember clogging lessons are not in the best interest of the child.

26. Don’t administer a punishment that hurts you more than it hurts them.

27. Always pack wipes. If your kids go somewhere without you, send along wipes. It’s like having a mom with them.

28. Do not allow the word wienies in your home.

29. Dress your little girls, well, like little girls.

30. Make sure your kids know how they like their eggs and burgers cooked. You don’t want them to feel stress when ordering dinner.

31. It’s fine to brag about yourself to your kids.

32. Buy quaint wooden toys and hand-knit stuffed animals, but don’t expect your kids to play with them.

33. Just say “no” to a toy or doll that comes with packets that have to be mixed with water.

34. Teach them to like cool music. Why suffer through The Wiggles when you could be enjoying Wilco or counting along with Feist?

35. Don’t buy the most expensive school-picture package. It’s a waste of money.

36. Give out awards for actual achievements.

37. You’re never too old to dress up and decorate your house for Halloween. And it’s more fun for everyone if you are into it. It also entitles you to more candy.

38. If the school year, new babysitter, or karate class gets off to a rocky start, don’t totally stress out about it. Instead, think of the improvement that can be made by the end of the year.

39. Independence is a wonderful thing. For everyone. So is together time. Make sure you have a healthy dose of both.