Monday, January 31, 2011


I did it.

Wow. Can you believe it? I deactivated my facebook account.

Those of you who are my FB friends might be surprised by that, considering that I communicate A LOT on FB. I am so blessed to have beautiful women in my life who are at the same point in their path of marriage and motherhood as I am, and that comradery is priceless. Unfortunately, many of these women live far away from me, most in states that I've never even visited.

This decision, however, has been weighing on me for months. You see, Facebook does not really bless me. It distracts me from the needs of my children, and it is used primarily to fight boredom. For me, Facebook has become a one-way ego buster (buster, not booster, mind you), and leaves me feeling like I'm not doing enough, or that I'm not enough.

I have friends on Facebook that are writing books, starting non-profit organizations, owning their own businesses, see famous people everyday, are earning doctorate degrees, buying beautiful homes, living close to their families, taking their kids to Disney World, or traveling the world.

These things are wonderful, and I'm so happy that these people in my life (more or less) are using their time, treasure and talent to really do what God calls them to do. I've written on this topic before a few years ago when I considered walking away from my FB community, and my reasonings were the same, that I compartmentalized everything everyone else was doing and stacked it up against what I was doing. And, instead of using my gifts and talents in a productive way, I just felt bad about how little I did in comparison of the whole of everyone's accomplishments.

A friend and I were writing recently when I commented how at the end of the day, regardless of any temporal standards, that my life makes me happy. After a difficult day yesterday, I sat in awe as my two boys played with cars at my feet. The time for bed came and went as they played and played and played. When I finally tucked my big boy into bed with an "I love you," he responded, "I love you too, sweet mommy," with a big hug.

Yes, at the end of the day, this is the life. 

And, if I can keep focused on that, my other goals will fall into place, without the pressure to follow the crowd.

I'll probably activate my account again...but only after I write the book ;-)  .

Friday, January 28, 2011

What am I doing today?

Educated guesses only.

This looks like a mess, or that I've let things go, or that I have a major problem on my hands.

But I don't.

I only wash clothes once a week. On purpose. I used to do a load every day. But, I soon realized that walking up and down the stairs and emptying laundry baskets everyday was just not my cup of tea.

This works much better. One day a week I sort the laundry (today it was in the dining room). The boys help me gather laundry baskets and sort clothes, and as soon as my coffee is done the first load goes in. I usually end up with six loads.

The laundry gets folded on my bed, and then sorted into baskets (a sight to see--I will post once I'm done). Luke empties his own laundry basket (Hallelujah for Fours!), Mark puts his clothes from the bed into their respective places, which means all I'm left with are Paul's and my clothes to put away.

This is a system that I have near perfected in the last year and half, and it frees up the washer during the week for non-clothing items such as towels, blankets, and sheets. I don't buy paper towels, and with two messy dogs and two messy kids, there are a lot of extra wash rags during the week.

There is a blizzard here today (something I'll post later), and laundry is about as exciting as it's going today in the Great White North.

Weekend Plans?

I want to see this, but I'm just so stinkin' scared to!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Have I mentioned that it's cold here? Or that the snow comes above my waist? Or that today the fog was so bad I was advised not to leave the house?

While my little boys watch Sesame Street this morning, I'm finding joy in the minute, simple pleasures that can turn my day attitude around to be content in this house, in this place, with these people, at this moment.

I made a pitcher of water with a whole lemon sliced into it. I'm adding honey to my tea. I'm wearing my hair down (literally) and putting Mozart on the iPod.

I'm going to force the children to listen to When We Were Young instead of reading Spiderman Saves the Day for the fortieth time today.

I might make some muffins, or soup, or both. If it's not warm and cozy, at least I can make it feel like it's warm and cozy.

Off to turn on the curling iron and preheat the oven...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


As long as it's on my brain, another resource that I like for preschool are Kumon books. Each book is designed by specific skill. Depending on what a child needed work on, they are bright, colorful, specific and engaging.

Two that I would gear specifically for preschool would be the Cutting workbook and the Tracing workbook. We own the cutting workbook and Luke LOVES it. Learning to use scissors is quite the skill, and each page gets harder in difficulty from the next, so progress is slow but cutting is still fun. For similar reasons, the tracing workbook is great for learning how to hold a pencil correctly and increasing fine motor skill.

For the price (under $7 a book), I think these workbooks are a great investment, especially since they key-in on a skill that might need extra work.

Good Luck!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Role to Play.

Last week was a special day in our home. Amazon delivered our second set of BoB Books: Advancing Readers, and Explode the Code: Book 2. That means we had successfully gone through the first set of 12 Bob books, and the first Explode the Code workbook--something I was not anticipating to do so quickly.

He did it. We have a new reader in the house! How absolutely exciting!!! We thought he could do it, so we tried, and it worked. That simple. Four years of lap reading, nursery rhymes, and song singing is all it took.

I've shared this before, but I am a very "Pro-Phonics" person, and almost every resource below is phonics based. Being that it's so cold out, regardless of your educational decision, every parent (mother) out there might be interested in some busy work that just might unlock the door to reading. In our home, when it's -30 below outside, I'm lost without these "school" workbooks.

~Leap Frog Letter Factory. This video teaches each letter and each sound the letter makes. This is IMPORTANT. Distinguishing the difference between the "i" sound (like itchy) and the "e" sound (like egg) is very difficult for preschoolers to do. This is a great way to learn the sounds that make up words.
Start time: Luke got this video at age 2. He was uninterested at first, and then by three he knew all the letters and letter sounds.

~Phonics Pathways. Once letters and sounds are mastered, putting them together is the next part. This part is HARD for children, and much of it is developmental. "Blending," as it is called, is taking two sounds and putting them together to make another sound. Phonics Pathways is a dry book, and one that I used in conjunction with marker boards, chalk boards, crayons and paper, etc. Once Luke was able to take the "m" sound and add (blend) the "a" sound to make "ma," (as well as every single other combination of letters and vowels), we moved on.
Start time: Age 3, or after letter sounds are mastered.

~Comprehensive Curriculum. These books are just fun, especially to fight winter boredom. Kids love them. They teach (quickly and NOT in depth) simple concepts for children. They are an introduction only! Colors, shapes, patterns, letters, numbers, are all covered. Concepts like right to left, top to bottom, above and below, ordinal numbers and sequencing are also introduced. They are consumable books, meaning one per child (not reusable). We have gone through the preschool book and are halfway through the kindergarten book.
Start time: In my opinion, these books are not entirely on grade level, and age 3 would probably be fine for most children to start the preschool book.

~Explode the Code. Workbooks in black and white. These are tricky for a new blender, because they are actual three letter words and phrases. Once a child gets the hang of them, they go pretty quickly. Another consumable book, which in this case is great for mom and dad to put gold stars on worksheets well done :-)
Start time: Variable. Children need to be able to hold a pencil and write letters. Alternatively, if a child is able to blend three letter words (c-a-t), a parent could could write while the child dictates.

~Bob Books. Short, small books that early readers can read and master. WONDERFUL! Kids find the stories funny and entertaining.
Start time: Once three letter words are able to be blended. I bought Bob books prematurely, and we tried over and over again to read the first one. Luke couldn't do it even though he could blend single words. I put them away and just tried again about once a month until they clicked. Once he got the first book, within a month or two he had mastered all 12 Bob books, which increase in difficulty. We are now zooming through the second set.

This is where we're at right now, and I'm excited to start the process over again in the next few months with our little guy. Teaching children is a very rewarding experience for both parent and child, regardless of the ultimate choice of how they end up educated. I will stress that I am a "no pressure" parent when it comes to the early years, and after hearing much advice to that extent, I am convinced that development is variable and each child will take a different lead. My role to play is to follow that lead. For example, while Luke knew every dinosaur in the book (he would tell people about "nocturnal herbivores with frills on their vertebrae") but he couldn't identify ANY numbers with the exception of his age. Sure enough, this fall his attention shifted naturally to numbers, and I've happily complied :-) .

An exhaustive post, but one I've wanted to share once I knew what resources worked for us. Most of my readers have little ones at home and and many are stuck inside with the weather. I hope that I've been an encouragement on how capable parents are to teach and prepare their child for their educational paths ahead.

Happy Monday!
*Edit* I switched the link on the Comprehensive Curriculum book to the Amazon store that sells it with free shipping. Enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogger Update.

I want to plug two new blogs that I am following that you might enjoy.

The first, is Sarah's blog. Sarah likes the things that I like, but after reading her blog you'll realize that she not only likes a lot of things, but that she's really good at a lot of things. She's definitely a friend I can learn a lot from! I'm sure you'll enjoy reading her newborn blog as much as I do!

The second is the fascinating story of a family THAT I KNOW! Jennifer became my friend two years ago after we bought our first home. She was an incredibly welcoming women in our new parish and mom's group. Her family recently sold their home, pulled their kids out of school, bought an RV and has decided to roadtrip across the country. Wow! I'm completely caught up in their adventures.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Words.

Luke's first "real" word (other than Ma-ma, da-da, ba-ba), fittingly, was "Pterodactyl."

Paul's, on the other hand, was "Butter."

I may not have a daughter, but I certainly have a son after my own heart...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Three things that are not connected to each other in any way that are really bugging me this week...

1) Our electric bill. The company here charges us an additional fee of $27 a month simply for supplying electricity. The wattage, use or location is irrelevant, we just get the charge. In our last home, which was older and bigger, sometimes our entire bill wasn't even $27. Get me out of here.

2) Yesterday I spent over an hour compiling a grocery list and clipping coupons. My cart was filled last night with off-brand products and $20 worth of coupons in order to feed our family fruit, vegetables and milk everyday. The family in front of me bought ELEVEN steaks (I counted) and a case of coke...with food stamps. I'm not going to touch the politics of this, but let's just say that I couldn't tell you the last time I bought steak...

3) Creepy quote from a Christian Birth and Labor book:
"You are at a most vulnerable time for spoiling your mind, heart and soul. Most often a women has succumbed to one of Satan's lies transmitted by the culture or the doctor. This is a little like Eve eating the forbidden fruit. It starts with just one intervention like going into the hospital for an induction, that is not God's timing. You have already taken your birth out of God's hands and design and put it into man's and Satan's."
Seriously? Give me a break.

Hoping to post something POSITIVE later today, now that I have this off my chest!

Up to.

It's been SO cold here--there's hardly been a day since it's been above 0 degrees! That said, we've been spending A LOT of time inside without much to do nor anywhere to go. Sesame Street has become a staple of our day simply because we can't go anywhere and it distracts the boys from staying inside day-in-day-out.

Our family officially has "Cabin Fever," which in our house means that the boys are making a lot of forts using furniture and sleeping bags, I'm searching for the perfect recipe for bean and barley soup (what?), and Mark, who usually likes relaxing as much as possible on the weekends suggested we go bowling on Monday night.

Bowling we went, and fortunately now that I have two children and am visibly advanced in my third pregnancy, I get to forfeit my turns to the boys who are always up for throwing balls and knocking things over.

Other Boredom Busters:
~I've crocheted a lot

~Luke is learning to identify the numbers 10-45, AND figuring out the difference between "b" and "d"

~Mastering the drawing of Viperfish

~Organizing the puzzle shelf

~While I don't have a picture of it, the "demo" button on my piano has been a source of endless entertainment in the house. The boys song of choice: an instrumental of Rod Stewart's "If you want my body..." which, for reasons I don't understand they refer to as "The Nutcracker."

...Just enjoying another day of wind/weather advisory!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


In each of my three pregnancies, there are certain days were I'm just a little checked out. There are a few in the first trimester, a few less in the second, and then a few more in the third. On these days motivation is lacking, energy is non-existent, and as much as I "will" myself to do things, they just don't get done.

Today is one of those days. Monday and Tuesday were close, and today is the culmination of the former two. Nothing much is wrong; I'm the first to admit that my pregnancies are fairly easy and something I'm quite thankful for. However, now that I'm on my third go-around, I am sensing a pattern.

I'm almost 26 weeks now. I'm getting up there! When I was at this stage with Luke (24-28 weeks) I struggled quite a bit. There was a morning at work when I didn't feel quite right and moments later woke up on the floor covered in vomit. That wasn't a good day. For that whole month I struggled with staying conscious wherever I went. With Paul, while fainting wasn't a problem, during the same string of weeks I was hit with pure exhaustion to the point where I couldn't go to work because I literally couldn't see straight. This time around it's not as bad as the first two, but I've definitely felt "run down" while wondering why on earth I'm feeling like this now.

My theory is that the little boys I grow must be doing something extraordinary this month of development where they insist on sucking everything out of me in the process. Let's see, the testicles descend this month, the eyes un-fuse, and hearing becomes more acute, but it's not like Baby is growing heart valves or a spinal column! Come on!

I vote for a Daddy dinner night.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


The last few weeks have been a bit chaotic. Truthfully, the last few months have been chaotic. Looking back over facebook and my blog, I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm sounding too negative. Again, truthfully, there has been a lot to do, a lot to deal with, and lot of big changes that have been hard to manage at times. This is life. It's good, it's hard, it's tiring, it's blessed, it's day in and day out persevering while trying to maintain a positive attitude without hyperventilating.

What I need is a kick in the butt.

Since it's the New Year and the time for resolutions, I should have one. Mine is sticking out at me in a neon sign flashing uncontrollably: discipline.

I need to go to bed earlier.
I need to get up earlier.
I need to make sure that I'm showered and dressed before I'm on my own with the kids for the day.
I need to get all of my online perusing and blogging done before breakfast.
I need to put the folded clothes back in their drawers and the pajamas off of the bathroom floor.

I need some routine, structure and DISCIPLINE. This is the only way that I'm functional. Some people do better when the fly by the seat of their pants or when they feel under pressure. Not me. Without organization I'm pretty useless, which means that when things are in disarray that it's very difficult to get much accomplished.

This is my New Year's resolution. It intimidates me because it's hard, but I know that our family functions much better when I treat my days at home like a workday and insist upon getting up early and started on my work right away.

Are you with me? Do any readers have the discipline I'm seeking? Any other resolutions?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I haven't left...

But, the kids are sick, I'm sick, everyone is tired and cranky and cries all day!


As soon as we are sufficiently detoxified from the holiday hustle and bustle I can get back to blogging. But right now my house is a huge mess, the bathrooms haven't been cleaned in who knows how long, I am *STILL* out of coffee creamer, I haven't been to bed before midnight in weeks, and my boys have been using me as their official Kleenex for the past week.

So, once I get back a sliver of my former semi-disciplined self, I'll get right back to it.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

She Says.

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone's Christmas was blessed and that now you are rested!

In the midst of our holiday madness, our family has been venturing into uncharted waters and learning more about our new area. I've made a lot of phone calls last week in preparation for our third birth in April, and talking to no less than seven people, I am struck with the pattern that the conversations go.

Here are examples of three different people I've spoken with trying to get information on midwives.

"Yes, I know Jenny. She is very sweet, and I know she's a Christian."
"Humm," I say in response.

"Linda is wonderful! She has a lot of experience and really helped us out a lot. She's not a Christian though."
"Okay," I say in response.

"Amber is super knowledgeable and can handle any situation calmly. I don't know what she told you, but I really don't think she's a Christian."
"I talked to Amber and she said she was a Christian," I reply confused.
"She says she is, but I really don't think so."


I've never encountered this type of conversation before, and I've always lived in a predominately Christian area. Person after person I spoke with made a point to tell me whether or not they were Christian, and then volunteered the information about anyone else I asked about. It is quite weird, and I'm a Christian!

There are many fields where one's faith might come into play or be important, for instance, we've always felt more comfortable with doctor's who share our views, and if we ever won a million dollars and needed a financial advisor, we'd surely want one who shared our moral standards. But, by and large, volunteering or inquiring about someone's faith hasn't really mattered for most of what we need day-to-day. People are people to us, and while our faith is an undeniable aspect of our family life, we are more likely to make an impression of someone based upon their actions as opposed to a claim they've made upon themselves.

What bugs me most about it is that it places people into a box, I say I am one thing and then say someone else is something different. I put myself into this category but exclude my neighbor from it. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound too Christian to me. And I don't mean to say that the nice women I spoke with were trying to be judgmental, but after hearing the same phrase over and over again, I began to wonder what exactly was at play here. I began to wonder that if I started to volunteer that I was a Catholic if they'd begin to volunteer to others that I wasn't a Christian but a Catholic?

This form of fundamentalism is relatively new to me. Watching families I admire such as the Duggars way down in Arkansas seemed a far cry from the Ugs and Bomber hats we're used to in the Great White North. But I've come to find out up here, that bonnet-wearing, no-hair cutting, long-skirted, homesteading families are quite common, and perhaps that is the definition of what it means to be a Christian.

New places, new people and new experiences. Sometimes it's a lot to take in, and even more difficult to understand. I feel out of place and wonder where I fit in this pool of people; reaching out to see if anyone looks out and sees things with a set of eyes similar to my own.

And we keep on.