A June Daybook

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Outside my window…

Summer is here finally. Our rental house has an amazing honeysuckle bush in the yard. Last summer when we moved into the house; it had already bloomed and died. I didn’t even realize it was out there. It was a pleasant surprise when it bloomed. I’ve greatly enjoyed the scent wafting through the open windows. We have been spending lots of time outside playing. Here is a photo I snapped of Antonio the other day. He spent a good half hour tossing the soccer ball into the goal and retrieving it.
antoniosoccer

The other day the boys had the opportunity to take a short ride on horses when we went out to lunch with friends. Paul and Thomas enjoyed themselves. Antonio didn’t want anything to do with the horse. Apparently, horses as far as he is concerned are the same as dogs. He wants nothing to do with them.
thomas- horsepaul-horse

I am thinking…

We are set to move in August. So, right now I am thinking about everything that needs to be done in order to move. Mark is busy designing and putting together a car computer/entertainment system. I’ll be perfectly honest I can’t tell you everything that it will do. However, we will have the ability to play movies for the kids on the drive to Illinois. I have a to do list of moving task and hoping that helps keep things nice and organized.

I am thankful…

There are so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for our newest baby. He is our little miracle and I can’t wait to meet him. Just 7 more weeks! Guess we really do need to get on the naming business! I let the boys pick out his coming home outfit today while we were at the store. This was their choice. Paul wants to get matching shirts that say, “Rock Star Brother”
coming home outfit

Learning all the time…

Caterpillars and Butterflies have been the topic over the last week or so. We hatched our own butterflies using a kit from Insect Lore. In the last few days all five butterflies emerged from their cocoons. Thursday we’ll be releasing them.
butterfly

From the kitchen…

I recently bought a subscription to Build a Menu. So, far I am very happy with it. It gives me a lot of different meal options to choose from unlike other menu planning services. It builds my grocery list based off the meals I chose. We made a cheesy and chicken rice casserole last week. Mark and I enjoyed. The boys turned their noses up at it though. However, I’ll definitely be making it again for Mark and me. Just in a smaller batch.

I am working on…

We are switching to Primary Arts of Language when the new school year starts in September. So, I am currently working on getting all the phonetic games put together. I have heard wonderful things about this program and think it will be great for my hands on learners. I am trying to get everything prepped (it’s a lot) now vs. doing it as we go because I am afraid if I don’t do it all at once I’ll be tempted to abandon the program due to the idea that I don’t have time to sit down and make a file game.

I am creating…

I’ve started working on Baby Whoosh Whoosh’s stocking. I am also working on finishing the ornaments that are supposed to attach to Antonio’s stocking.

Around the house…
iron man

I am hoping and praying…

My prayers today and tomorrow go up for my dear friend Lauren; who is undergoing her second brain surgery in 6 months. I pray for her doctor’s hands to be steady, for a successful outcome. That she and her family find peace and trust in God as she goes under for this surgery.

I am Reading…

The kids and I are getting ready to start Monsters in the Attic by Dian Curtis Regan.

For my personal reading I’m currently reading: Life Simplified: The Minimalist’s Guide to Cutting Back and Simplifying Your Life by BJ Knight

Living the Faith….

As we struggle through another Sunday Mass with the boys I wonder if we are making an impact. I start to become discouraged that we are wasting our time. But then I see this and I know that we are making an impact.
faith

One of My Favorite Things….

Twice a week we drive to speech therapy for Paul and Antonio. We have been making this trek for 4 years now. Lately, Thomas has been passing the time taking photos with my phone while we wait. It has led to some of these gems.
boots cars


Spring Time Daybook

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Outside my window…
Spring has finally managed to wrestle the wheel from winter. The temperatures are warming up and the pollen is out in force. Everything outside is sporting a nice yellow tint. However, as much as I dislike all the pollen I am immensely glad for warmer temperatures.

I am thinking…
Simplicity. When we were first married and living in Texas our life was very simple. We didn’t have a lot of outside commitments and housekeeping was very simple. We moved to Virginia and added 2 more kids (soon to be 3) to the 1 kid we had in Texas and said goodbye to the simple life we had been living. For me I never thought that living a simple life was really a long term possibility. Before marriage I lived an incredibly busy hectic life. However, over the last year or so I have come to realize I crave a simpler life than what we have here in Virginia. Mark craves it as well. We have both realized we were happier with the simpler life we had in Texas. We have started taking steps to make that a possibility.

I am thankful…
I live with chronic pain and it can really suck. However, I am so thankfully that even though I hurt so much that I do not need to fear that I won’t wake up because of my medical issues. A very dear friend has some very serious medical issues. I pray daily that she can find the help she needs but it does serve as a sobering reminder of how much I have to be thankful for.

Learning all the time…
I am thinking about how I want to revamp our homeschooling. I’ve learn some valuable lessons this year on how Paul learns. I have learned valuable lessons on my own habits. I want to bring in more creativity into our homeschooling. I think the education I want to give my boys will be much easily achieved by living a more simplistic life- a slower more intentional life.

From the kitchen…
Snacks…I am thinking about snacks. It seems every time I turn around the boys have finished off something that was intended for a meal. So, I am trying to figure out better snack options for them.

I am working on…
Re-thinking our homeschool approach and planning for the upcoming year. I am assessing what worked well this year and what things need to be changed. I am using this free downloadable planner for planning purposes: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/412501647092080259/

I am creating…
I have been working on getting my recipes organized. I would like to ditch the cookbooks and keep all my recipes organized in one binder.

I am hoping…
That the newest physical therapist I am working with is right and his method actually brings relief to my pain. That it actually improves my pain like he believes it will. He thinks that he can improve/correct the issue in my shoulder. Not just offer a temporary band-aid fix.

I am Reading…
I just finished reading Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris to the boys tonight. They received it in their Easter basket. We finished the book in a week! Of all the chapter books we have read aloud this year this was their favorite. It was enjoyed so much that I will be ordering the other 3 books of the series very soon.

For my personal reading I have finished both Clutterfree with Kids by Joshua S Becker and Plan to be Flexible by Alicia Kazsuk. Both were thought provoking books and I highly recommended them both. I will be spending the next few days working through the assessment questions from Plan to be Flexible.

Pondering these words…
“Minimalism brings freedom from the all-consuming passion to possess. It steps off the treadmill of consumerism and dares to seek happiness elsewhere. It values relationships, experiences and soul-care. And in doing so, it finds life.” – Clutterfree with Kids


Early February Daybook

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Outside my window…

It is finally warming up some. The last week was snowy and ridiculously cold…at least for this Southerner.  However, the boys are sad that the snow is gone. By the end even Antonio had gotten into having snowball fights…well at least standing and throwing the snowballs (that daddy provided) at daddy.

I am thinking…

Thomas’ birthday is coming up and I am clueless as to what to get him for a gift. Antonio’s gift was easy last month. I also have Paul’s gift already picked out for him in April. However, I am stumped for Thomas. That seems to be how it always is.

I am thankful…

That we have access to modern medicine. The beginning of last week found the entire house battling a cold. I ended up having to take both Antonio and Thomas in for breathing difficulties. Antonio had croup and Thomas was simply having issues because he had been coughing so hard. I am also thankful for a good primary doctor for myself; who was able to put my mind at ease concerning some headaches I have been experiencing. He is also quick to help me do what needs to be done to manage my si-joint and back pain.

Learning all the time…

We’ve spent several weeks study bats after Paul watched a Magic School Bus episode on them. We checked out every kids book the library had on bats. Here were a few of our favorite non-fiction picks:
Hello, Bumblebee Bat, Bats and Bats (Usborne Beginners Nature). Fiction wise our library didn’t have much on bats. However, they did have Stellaluna. Paul liked it so much he requested we purchase our own copy.

From the kitchen…

I am desperately trying to rein in the grocery budget and I am not sure I am having much success in that area. We shall see as the month goes on. I stocked up on Jule’s gluten free flour at the end of last month. I used it to make blueberry muffins and they were a hit. I am hoping more baking will help lower the budget. I am also being more strict about the amount of snacks the kids can eat during the day in the hopes of getting them to eat better at meal time.

I am working on…

De-cluttering. We are hoping to downsize to a smaller house or apartment when our current lease is up. Downsizing to an apartment means needing to purge and reduce the amount of stuff we have. I am not having much success purging kid toys. So, I am considering moving all the toys out of the playroom and having the kids “check-out” the toys when they want to play. Then I will use a spreadsheet to see how often each toy is checked out; hopefully making it easier to figure out what isn’t really getting played with.

I am creating…

I love the idea of little passports but I am not so crazy about the price. So, I am setting out to make my own version using free resources off the internet. I am also working on building up a craft box now that Paul and Thomas are showing an interest in crafting. I’ll blog about our craft box later.

I am hoping…

That spring arrives sooner than later. I am so tired of winter and being cold.

I am reading…

I am currently reading Castle in the Attic aloud to the boys. It’s been very nice to re-visit some of my favorite childhood reads with the boys over the last few months.

I am listening…

To silence occasionally broken by Antonio talking to Daddy.

Around the house…

Trying to get to a point where everything is maintenance cleaning only. So, far I’ve had good success in the dining room, kitchen and playroom. Still need to get the rest of the rooms in the house in order.

One of my favorite things…

Watching the light bulb moment when one of the boys gets a new concept.

This week’s plans…

Speech for Paul and Antonio
Occupational Therapy for Paul
Lots of visiting with our friends before they head out of town for several weeks
Antonio’s 2 year well check-up
Weekend movie night with the family. Movie selection: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.


Very Early or Late Daybook…depending on how you look at it.

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simple-woman-daybook-large

Outside my window…
It’s dark and wet. The ground is boggy. However, I was the fun mom and let the boys play in the rain. I am glad to be able to say it’s just rainy here. While, I would love sunshine over the rain I am grateful that we aren’t experience the awful storms that have been ripping through Oklahoma and other central states.

 

I am thinking…
About what would happen if my children ended up separated from me. What would happen if we were a family in Oklahoma tonight and my boys ended up separated from me or Mark? Thomas would be able to tell people his name but he still has trouble with our last name. He doesn’t know our phone or address. Paul there is not guarantee that someone would be able to understand him. Antonio is so small he doesn’t even know how to say his own name. This is something that Mark and I must figure out and discuss. A plan will need to be formulated and I think it will include the use of these  in case I am lost bracelets.

 

I am thankful…
That I get to kiss and hug my kids tonight and that they are safe. I have found since having children things hurt so much more. They make my mother’s heart just ache. I’ve cried tears over the heart ache the parents in Oklahoma must be feeling because they either don’t know where their babies are or because their babies have gone to join Jesus. It makes me incredibly thankful that my babies are sleeping in the next room.

 

In the kitchen…
I am eating lots of salad. The boys are eating lots of fresh fruit. As the weather and humidity heat up it’s all about meals that don’t heat up the kitchen and the house.

 

I am wearing…
A fun retro tunic with leggings underneath it but as late as it is I should be getting dressed for bed and going to sleep. I read this great article on dressing and women’s clothes. I have a lot of thoughts on it- enough to fill a blog post of its own. Maybe tomorrow.

 

I am creating…
I am currently working on a lovely spring farm baby animal piece. I am excited about it. I am using prismacolor pencils which make things slow going.

 

I am wondering…
It Works. I have been hearing a ton about a new wellness company called ItWorks. I have several friends that are just raving about their wraps. So, I decided to give them a try. I wrapped this afternoon and so far I am pretty impressed. I noticed an immediate difference; so I am definitely wondering if it is a lasting thing. They say you continue to see results over a period of 72 hours; so I’ll be watching to see what changes I see in my belly wrinkles!

 

I am reading…
Lots of Children’s books to the boys. We are currently reading a children’s version of The Three Musketeers as a read aloud at lunch.

 

I am hoping…
That Mark gets good news in a couple more days on the results of his officer packet.

 

I am looking forward to…
Seeing my wonderful mother-in-law. She will be coming to visit in a few days.

 

I am learning
Once you are a mother you feel the pain whenever a child is lost, hurt or dead. You feel the pain almost as if it was your own child. Your stomach feels with dread as the thought briefly passes through your mind what if that was my child. You hug your kids a little tighter and say a prayer of thanksgiving that your child is okay. Then you mourn with the parents of the child in question.

 

Around the house…
The carpet cleaner trick I tried with baking soda didn’t do much for the carpet. We have carpet in the dining room (the dumbest thing ever when it comes to carpet!) and with 3 small children it looks pretty awful and is in need of a good deep cleaning. The baking soda absorbed some of the smell from the strained carpet and some spots that had felt sort of sticky weren’t so sticky anymore. However, it didn’t do much for the actual color of the stains.

 

I am pondering…
Kids playing outside by themselves. I allow Paul and Thomas to play outside by themselves regularly in our backyard. I will even allow Antonio to be outside playing if the other boys are out there. They can’t open the gates and I always have the back door open so I can easily hear them. I check on them regularly. I assumed that most people did this; at least for kids Paul’s age (5). However, a recent conversation with some of my mommy friends proved that wasn’t the case. For me this was incredibly odd since Paul and all my mommy friends who have kids Paul’s age will be going to kindergarten next fall. I am always amazed (in a good way most of the time) about how different people parent from one another.

 

A favorite quote for today…

God is not a cosmic bellboy for whom we can press a button to get things done.  ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

 

One of my favorite things…
The amount of joy I’ve seen this past week in my children while we have been busy with our staycation. I read this and I’ve really been striving to work on being a yes parent more often.

 


A Very Late Daybook

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…
It’s wet. It rained all night and is supposed to rain again today. The weather has been unusually chilly considering that we are into the month of May, However, the weather is supposed to warm up as we go through the week. I am hoping to fit in a trip to the beach with some friends.

I am thinking…
Education and what I desire for my children when it comes to education. I am still mulling this topic over…be on the lookout for a blog post on the topic.

I am thankful…
My wonderful husband bought me a gps system for an upcoming trip I am taking. It arrived this morning. I am so gratefully that he is such a thoughtful man. Even being deployed thousands of miles from the children and I he thinks of what he can do to make my life easier.

In the kitchen…
This week’s menu was based off meat and main ingredients that were already in the house. The dinner menu is:

Peppered Steak
Lemon Chicken w/ roasted potatoes
Pork chops w/ corn on the cob and mash potatoes
Pasta with garlic toast
Hamburgers
Tacos

Also organization is happening. I ordered gf baking mix and gf bread mix in bulk off of Amazon. The price was great but left me with a question of how to store them. I ended up purchasing a set of these at our local target. I like that they are BPA free and made in the USA. I also purchased 2 of these to hold 4lb bags of gf bread flour mix that will be stored in the freezer. They are the perfect size to slip the unopened bags in. For the giant 25lb bag of Pamela’s baking mix I purchased one of these. Now, I just need to figure out where to put it!

I am wearing…
Today I am clothing myself in my favorite blouse. It is a deep blue with a square neckline and crochet around the neck. I found it a while back at the thrift store. It’s beautiful and very flattering. It is one of the few pieces in my closet that I really like.

I am creating…
I am not currently creating anything but I am itching to do an art piece. Everything in me is yelling for the chance to sit down and draw.

I am wondering…
I don’t know who I am outside of the dysfunction that I was raised in. Over the last few weeks I have done an intense bout of soul searching. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t easy but it needed to be done. I think it might have left me with more questions than answers. I don’t know who I am without the dysfunction. I was never given the chance to figure out who I was independently; away from all that.

I am reading…
Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss.

I am hoping…
I miss Mark and the children miss him. I am hoping that as the weather warms up and summer really gets here that time will fly by.

I am looking forward to…
In a few more days we will be heading up to Maine to see a good friend of mine. I am looking forward to going to see moose while we are up there!

I am learning
A lot about the church teachings concerning the subject matter of homosexuality. I’m currently digesting this letter.

Around the house…
We are busy making sure the house is in order for our upcoming trip. I always like to leave a nice and tidy house when I travel. It’s just nice to return home to a clean house. This evening I tried a new carpet cleaning technique. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow when I vacuum. I sprinkled baking soda all over the dining room and then used a brush to scrub it into the floor. According to pinterest it should help absorb grease and other food stains in the carpet.

I am pondering…
“As for what concerns our relations with our fellow men, the anguish in our neighbor’s soul must break all precept. All that we do is a means to an end, but love is an end in itself, because God is love”. -Edith Stein

A favorite quote for today…
Thomas on seeing a photo of his Godparents holding their newest Godson, “No, they can’t have more. They are mine.”

Paul on the subject of babies,
Paul: “I want you to put a baby in your tummy.”
Mommy: “It takes both mommy and daddy to put a baby in mommy’s tummy.”
Paul: “Oh okay. Well then as soon as Daddy’s home put a baby in your tummy. I want a baby sister!”

One of my favorite things…
Antonio’s smile. His smile is just so big and infectious. You can’t help but smile in response.

A few plans for the upcoming week:

Beach Trip
Packing for Trip


Re-Energizing Daybook

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…
Spring seems to have taken a break. It’s been gray, cloudy and chilly. Sunday for Mass I had to dig out the light weight jackets. Today it was long sleeve shirts. I have had to turn the heater back on as well.  It should warm up as the week goes on so that we can enjoy plenty of time outside.

I am thinking…
Rejuvenation is needed by all the kids and I after a busy few weeks.  Since Easter we have been going non-stop and it finally caught up with the boys at Mass yesterday. Mass was not pretty and we ended up having to leave early. This week we have nothing on the schedule minus an orthodontist appointment for me and therapy for Paul and Antonio. We will have a week of free play and unscheduled fun around the house; as well as lots of good eating and good quality sleep.

I am thankful…
For this giggling baby that I am blessed to call mine.

In the kitchen…
I’ve been enjoying a new regular breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage. It’s a big departure from my usual sugary breakfast. I have a sweet tooth and have started my mornings off with a sugar sweet breakfast of some kind for as long as I can remember. I love cereal…all kinds of cereal but not grown up cereal. Nope, I am a total kid at heart when it comes to cereal give me the Lucky Charms, Coco Puffs, etc. Oddly, enough I am finding that I don’t miss the sugary breakfast. The morning runs more smoothly when I eat a good breakfast. I don’t find myself getting cranky and frazzled around lunch time.

 IMAG1844
My new favorite pot holders! Silicone and super easy to clean.

I am wearing…
It’s night time so I am wearing yoga pants and a tee-shirt so that I am ready to go to the gym first thing in the morning. I am also snuggled up in one of Mark’s hoodies for warmth. The house is on the chilly side of things tonight.

I am creating…
I am working on a gift wrapping station. I saw it here thanks to pinterest and decided it was a perfect project to do. I already had all the materials on hand and I am always struggling with what to do with my rolls of wrapping paper.

I am wondering…
Thoughts of my wardrobe have been on my mind a lot lately. Pre-kids I use to dress wonderfully. I had nice clothes and I presented a pretty nice put together picture most of the time. However, when I moved out of my house I didn’t get to take all my clothes with me. My mom decided to keep a lot of my clothes that she liked. Then I had Paul and somewhere down the line I allowed her voice in my head to convince me that I had to wear the “mom” clothes and that I wasn’t allowed to dress pretty; unless I was going out on a rare date with Mark. So, now I am faced with a closet full of nothing but yoga pants, tee-shirts and what few other clothing items I have are ill fitting and/or unflattering. My closet is in need of a serious re-vamp. So, I’ve been doing lots of thinking and wondering around the internet in search of clothing that speaks to me. Clothing that I like.

I am reading…
Currently, I am re-reading Large Family Logistics- The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family by Kim Brenneman. Technically, our family is still small but regardless of size the book if very helpful, in my opinion. I first read it right after I had my back surgery last summer and frankly I was on some very heavy pain killers and can’t clearly remember last summer; much less what I might have found helpful in the book. :-p

The Boys and I have been doing lots of reading too. Antonio is at the stage where he likes to sit and just flip through books. He will listen to stories but more than anything him and I will just sit and look through them while I identify the things in the pictures that he points to.

Paul and Thomas have been enjoying the Disney Small World Library books. They are stories set in different countries featuring Mickey and the gang going on adventures that deal with the local culture of the country. The boys are enjoying learning about other parts of the world.

Their enjoyment is seriously making me wonder if I want to introduce the subject of history this year to Paul as part of our homeschool curriculum. I don’t want to over burden us but also think he would enjoy it. For now I am prayerfully considering what to do.

IMAG1845

I am hoping…
I can begin the healing process of dealing and overcoming the emotional abuse I suffered as a child and young adult. I want to be the best mother and wife I can possibly be and that means I need to let go of the baggage I carry with me.

I am looking forward to…
Since, this week is all about re-energizing and relaxing I am looking forward to doing just that. As the weather warms up I am excited to be able to get outside with the boys; so we can play, pick flowers and just enjoy each other’s company.

I am learning
Water is my friend. I have never been a good water drinker and have always struggled to drink enough water. However, I have really been working on making sure I am drinking plenty of water and have seen amazing results from this. I have learned that when I drink plenty of water my skin looks and feels nicer. I get less headaches. I eat better and don’t snack as much.

Around the house…
Purging and more purging. I am working on purging the laundry room, linen closet and our bedroom. I am also working on getting our homeschool area set up. I am looking forward to having lots of time to work around the house this week.

I am pondering…
This article about the Kermit Gosnell trial and what it says about us as a society here in America.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/to-look-into-the-face-of-kermit-gosnell-is-to-look-in-the-american-mirror

A favorite quote for today…
Thomas has been sleeping in my room the last few days and every night when I come to bed he sits up and looks at me. Then he tells me he loves me, hugs me and goes right back to sleep. I am not even sure if he actually wakes up or not

One of my favorite things…
I’ve been blessed this past week to get to spend time with a couple good friends; who don’t live super close. Both of them are internet friends I meet from two message boards I joined when I was pregnant with Paul. I have made some amazing friends because of these two boards. While, the boards have long since gone in-active we have moved over to facebook groups. In a lot of ways I consider these groups of women more family then friends.

A few plans for the upcoming week:

Nothing


Spring is Here Daybook

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…
Spring has finally arrived. This past week has been sunny and warm. A few days have even felt down right summery. With the arrival of spring the yellow pollen has arrived. Thank goodness for allergy meds. We also took the first beach trip of the year this past week. The sand toys that were in the boys Easter basket were a good purchase.

I am thinking…
Truth isn’t always pretty to tell. Sometimes, the truth is downright ugly but it’s important to tell the truth. This past weekend I spoke the truth to my mother. I let go of secrets about myself as a teenager to her. It’s wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty. She has decided not to believe me and that is alright. I had to speak the truth for myself and I am glad I did.

I am thankful…
That I, the girl who wrote this in 2004, “I am trying so hard to fight the depression, but I am afraid I may not be able to for much longer. Lord, help me. I wish I could crawl into a hole and disappear. I feel empty cold exposed. There are no words to invoke my pain. I would like to die. I pray to die” held on. That despite everything not only did I hold on; I survived. I left that situation behind me and learned how to thrive. I am incredibly thankful that God didn’t grant my prayer but instead allowed me to survive and be blessed with an amazing husband and 3 amazing children.

In the kitchen…
Routine and rhythm are the game in the kitchen right now. Several years ago I ran a pretty efficient kitchen. We had a general schedule of breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. Somewhere in the process of chronic pain, adding more children and multiple moves we dropped that habit. The kids started constantly grazing and the amount of food that was being wasted because of this process was ridiculous. Given how expensive gluten free foods are this cannot continue. So, now we are working on getting back into this habit. It has been very painful and invoked lots of whining from my kids; especially, Paul and Thomas.

I am wearing…
I am suffering from a nasty headache today; so comfort is what is needed. I am wearing yoga pants, tee-shirt and flip flops. I figure I am doing good to have just made it out of bed today and gotten out of my pajamas.   

I am creating…
The lego workstation didn’t work out so well and ended up having to be thrown out. We have been out of town for Easter and this past week was catch up week from that. Therefore, not much creating here but I have started working on making my diaper boxes that I use for storage pretty. I will take a few pictures and share later.

I am wondering…
How I came to be so blessed with my boys; who melt my heart on a daily basis. I am also blessed to have a wonderful husband; who surprised me with a delivery of chocolate covered strawberries this morning. He knew it has been a tough weekend,

I am reading…
Currently, sitting on my desk is the following:

Style, Sex and Substance- this was given as a gift from my mother-in-law way back in September for my birthday. I read part of it and misplaced the book. I found it under the couch the other day and I am excited to finish reading it.

Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse by Gregory L. Jantz- Mark bought this book for me when we first got married. I tried to read it but at the time was not ready to admit that I had been the victim of emotional abuse. The time is right now.

I am hoping…
That potty training Thomas is going to get easier soon and not be a long drawn out painful process.  

I am looking forward to…
A May visit to see a good friend of mine up in Maine. I am also looking forward to long afternoons spent outside with the children enjoying the sunshine and all the fun summer has to offer.  

I am learning
Recording keeping for homeschooling is my current topic of research. With Paul’s kindergarten school year set to start in July I am trying to figure out the best way to organize and keep records of his education.  

Around the house…
We are trying to get back in the groove of things after being gone for a week and half and then coming home to a jam packed week. The boys’ clothes need to be changed from winter to summer. I also need to get the chance to de-clutter our outdoor toys. It’s on the to-do list for the upcoming week.

I am pondering…
The following excerpt from Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse:

“Emotional abuse isn’t normal. Emotional abuse is the consistent pattern of being treated unfairly and unjustly over a period of time, usually by the same person or people.[…] Emotional abuse is an intentional assault by one person on another to so distort the victim’s view of self that the victim allows the abuser to control him or her. […] If you have grown up in an abusive family, your experiences will all have a bizarre sense of normalcy.” 

A favorite quote for today…
Paul- “I love you 20,000”
Thomas- “Me too, me too!”

One of my favorite things…
How happy Antonio is. He is just happy.  When he is unhappy it is normally very easy to make him happy again. His smile is infectious.Also, getting to see dear friends and catch up. I was able to meet my best friend sister 2 weekends ago for a lunch date. It was the first time in over 2 years that we were able to spend time in person together. While, I am gratefully we can easily stay in touch via the phone and internet nothing beats face to face time.

A few plans for the upcoming week:

Tire Shop to get leaking tired fixed- Tuesday
Speech and OT- Monday and Thursday
Play date- Wednesday and Friday
Birthday Party- Saturday
Mass- Sunday


Daybook Marking 1 Month Down

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…
It is gray but nice. It rained this morning and has remained over cast most of the day. However, the temperature is wonderful. Spring is coming. You can feel it in the air and see it the planets trying to start blooming. Soon, we will be moving into April- what I like to call the yellow month which means I need to stock up on allergy meds!

I am thinking…
Homeschooling and how to organize for it when space is limited; that seems to be the problem I keep running into organizing when the space just isn’t really there.

I am thankful…
That we have wonderful friends; who came to join us to celebrate Paul and Thomas’ birthday today. Despite my original reservations about throwing the party everyone had a great time. 9 of the boys’ friends joined us for playing, cake and a piñata. The boys had a great time and were sad to see their friends go.

In the kitchen…
Gluten free seems like it will most likely be a long term thing. We had Thomas’ 3 year well check up at the beginning of March. It had been 2 months since his last weight check and a month and a half of being gluten free. (well 90 to 95% of the time, we do cheat occasional like when we go over to someone’s house for a playdate) and he gained 2 whole pounds! That is an amazing weight gain for him. The previous year (January 2012-January 2013) he gained 3 pounds the whole year.  I made a gluten free cake for the boys’ party using a gluten free betty crocker mix as my base and it was a hit with everyone! I felt pretty proud of myself. Apparently, I can bake a better gluten free cake then I can a regular cake. The cake I made for the party was super moist and yummy; whereas my regular cakes tend to be dry and crumbly.

I am wearing…
I wore jeans and a ruffled blouse with my sequin flats for the boys party. The sequin flats are some of my favorite shoes I have ever owned. They are super comfortable and I can’t help but smile when I see them! Now, I am wearing my new yoga pants I bought recently from old navy and a tee-shirt since I stretched and did my yoga routine after the party. I am thinking I am going to need to get some new sneakers soon for working out. Mine are pretty worn out and several years old.

I am creating…
I have been very busy of late in the creative department. I re-did the dresser that we use as an entertainment center in the loving room. It came out amazing. I painted the coffee table to compliment the dresser as well. However, the top of it already needs to be re-painted since Paul scratched the paint finish (even through the clear protective coat) with a toy. He and I had a long talk about doing things to intentional cause damage to something. My next project is to make a lego work space for the boys. I’ll post about it when I am all done! I have about 3 days to get it finished; since daddy is sending them a surprise gift of a huge bin of legos- 700plus! They are going to be over the moon.

I am wondering…
About what is in store for the Church now that a new Pope has been chosen. From the media coverage and my reading this past week I believe God has great things in store for his Church under the leadership of Pope Francis. I am excited to get to know more about our new Pope and look forward to getting to know him better. I think it is amazing that the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople plans to attend the inaugural Mass of Pope Francis on March 19. This is a first since 1054! Maybe, under Pope Francis there will be reconciliation between Rome and Constantinople.

I am reading…
A young adult fiction called Flappers that I checked out from the library. So, far they are a fun light easy read. I am also reading lots of different teaching manuals for the various curriculums we have decided to use for Paul’s schooling this upcoming year.

I am hoping…
The next five months go by as quickly as this month has. We have successfully made it through the first month of Mark being gone. Despite how much I have missed him we have been busy enough that this past month went fairly quickly. I am hoping that is how the rest of the months go. I am also hoping and praying for the results of the officer board coming out in May that Mark applied to.

I am looking forward to…
Easter and a visit to see my sister-in-law and her family. The boys are eagerly looking forward to it as well. When I told Paul we had 2 more weekends to go he said, “But mommy, all the chickens will have crossed the road by then!” I am not sure what he was talking about but it made me laugh.

I am learning
The getting up before my children doesn’t work. Last time I wrote I was so excited about the idea and how wonderful that quiet time was. It lasted all of a week before my kids were getting up earlier. Every time I try to get up earlier they, most especially Antonio move theirs up too. I have given up on it. However, I am swamping it for starting the day with snuggles in my bed with my 3 favorite little boys in the whole world. It’s not a bad way to start the day.

Around the house…
De-cluttering and decorating. Since, Lent started I’ve removed 5 13gallon bags of clothes out, 4 brown bags of clothes given away to friends,  3 large toys removed, 3 bags of paper trash, 5 brown bags of miscellaneous stuff to the airman’s attic. I have also been busy re-organizing and decorating the house. I am thrilled with my “new” dining room table. The red makes me happy. It’s so cheerful.

I am pondering…
How amazing God is. No matter how many wonderful things I see his amazingness never ceases to cause me to look on in wonder. Thomas and Antonio’s Godparents; are expecting their first; a very long awaited baby. I couldn’t be happier or more excited for them.  This past month through the wonders of the internet I watched a brave little boy and his parents deal with the news that he had a brain tumor and needed immediate surgery. All of this happened while they were thousands of miles away from home on vacation. Praise to the Lord his tumor was benign and he is making a good recovery. I was also privileged to watch a pretty amazing group of women from across this country (and some aboard too!) mobilize to help this family- a group of women that I am proud to consider myself a part of. Many of us have never met each other but in a lot of ways we’re family. We take care of our own when they need us. We lift each other up and no prayer request is too small or too large.

A favorite quote for today…
Thomas in response to his kite being a spider man (it was a birthday gift from friends), “Mommy they know me. They really get me!” My children keep me from being too serious or to fuddy duddy.

One of my favorite things…
Being able to see Paul discover and learn about our Faith. He is at the age where he is just soaking it up and actually starting to understand things. We have wonderful discussions after Mass about what we heard that day. When Pope Francis was elected this past week I was telling him about the Pope. His reply, “Wow, he sounds so awesome! I bet he would like that I can make the cross. I want him to come visit!” When I explained he couldn’t just come visit Paul replied, “Yes, he can on an airplane. I think he should come on Thursday!”

A few plans for the upcoming week:
We have therapy and a few playdates planned. This upcoming weekend is the big Easter event at Mark’s work so we’ll go to that and then we also have the playgroup’s Easter party. I would like to try and figure out something special to do to mark the Feast of St. Joseph and Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass on the 19th.


End of January Day Book

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…
We are back to rainy and gray. Ugh, how I despise gray weather. However, we did have a nice reprieve from it this past weekend. Friday night we enjoyed a light blanket of snow- just enough to leave everything pretty but not so much as to be a nuisance if you needed to get out and go somewhere. Then we had two days of beautiful sunshine; even if it was still bitterly cold.

(Heading out to Play)

(Daddy’s Snowman)

(Mommy’s “melted” snowman)

I am thinking…
Of gardening and the desire to grow our own vegetables. I am hoping to do some container gardening this summer and make it part of our homeschooling; so the children can learn about the life cycle of plants. Maybe I can even get them to try a few new vegetables. I am hoping to grow lettuce, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and radishes. I would love to grow some squash but I don’t believe those would do well in container gardening. I am also hoping to try my hand at blueberries and strawberries.

I am thankful…
That my family and I have a home to be warm and snug in during this cold snap we have been having and that unlike my friends further north it isn’t in the negative temps.   Below freezing is cold enough for me without getting way below freezing.

In the kitchen…
February’s dinner menu is completely planned- 28 gluten free meals planned. I need to finish up the weekly breakfast and lunch menus. I also need to make our kitchen plans for valentine’s day.  I have successfully used up quite a bit of pantry stuff this past month. I still have quite a bit of flour left that we won’t be able to use before the 1st of the month. I am going to make some playdough for the children with it.

I am wearing…
Comfortable gray linen pants with a ¾ sleeve teal green top. I recently used a seam ripper to remove all the beading from the top and just leaving the pretty embroidery The shirt is now so much friendly for the holding and cuddling of little people; with their exploring hands and mouths. .

I am creating…
Well, I went straight from the kids being sick to me being sick; so, not much creativity here again this past week. I have been spending the evenings working on my home management binder.  However, the children are very busy creating lots of lego things. We celebrated Paul and Thomas’ birthdays early; since Mark won’t be here for their actual birthdays. Paul’s birthday gift was a starter set of legos. He has been great at sharing them with Thomas (I am pretty positive I should have bought him a set of legos as his gift and not the playmobil schoolbus he wanted). I am now seriously considering buying Thomas his own thing of legos. While, they are doing okay sharing there is also been more whining and bickering over them then I would like- such as now.

I am wondering…
About better managing my stress. I have never been very good at managing stress or relaxing for that matter. I tend to stress until I start to feel physically unwell. Mark leaving for deployment has been no different. While, I am confident in my ability to take care of the children while he is gone I worry nonetheless. I worry about his safety, about the kids and myself missing him, about the budget and about staying strong in matters with my parents without his physical support next to me. I worry about Antonio not recognizing him in six month time when he returns. Mostly I worry about his safety. All that worry and stress is starting to take a physical toil on me. My stomach has been most unhappy with me of late and I am starting to get headaches from it. So, as of this morning I am resolved to better manage my stress. I plan to make sure I am vocalizing my stress and talking about my worries with Mark. I am writing them down to make them less daunting and I am working on relaxing my mind and body through prayer and exercising. I am making sure to really focus on the children and enjoying the time spent with them.

I am reading…
I came across a book my mother-in-law let me borrow a while ago; that I had forgotten about. It’s  called “That Gift of ADHD Activity book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child’s Problems into Strengths.” I just started it last night but I think it will be a very informative read and will have some great ideas for Paul.

I am hoping…
To make the most of the next 3 weeks with Mark. I don’t want to get so bogged down in the little things like packing that we miss the big things like spending time with one another and enjoying it to its fullest.

I am looking forward to…
The arrival of Annie and Jamie at the end of this week. They are Thomas and Antonio’s Godparents and some of our very best friends. Getting the chance to spend time with them is always a treat. We will be celebrating Antonio’s first birthday with a party while they are here to.

I am learning
The value of quiet me time before the day starts. I normally don’t manage to wake up before the children. However, I am think I definitely want to change that. This morning I was up before the kids and started the morning with quiet prayer time while I did some exercises.  It was a nice slow but beneficial start to the day. I could get use to the rhythm of starting the morning with quiet time for myself before the children wake up and we get busy with the day to day stuff. I can see how having this time for myself in the morning would make me a better mother.

Around the house…
Packing and more packing. We have been busy packing Mark’s stuff for his upcoming trip. I am also working on plans on how to make our house a home. One of my big goals for the 6 months Mark is gone is to make a home for us. Sadly, with the fact that we rent and have moved a lot (this current place is the longest we have lived in one place at 2.5 years. In the first 4 years of our marriage we moved 5 times!) we have fallen into the habit of just treating the house as a temporary place to store our stuff and ourselves. We lack the feeling of our home being a place to stop, relax, enjoy and re-charge. Instead, it seems like we treat it as just a place to make a quick pit-stop before continuing onward. I want to change this by just adding more homey decorating type things to our house. Obviously, they have to be things that we can pack up and take with us to the next house but I think it’s do-able.

I am pondering…
Curriculum and author studies. I am very busy planning out our first year of homeschooling. Paul will be in kindergarten and Thomas will be in preschool. I had no intentions of doing anything formal with Thomas originally. However, he is very much into doing what big brother Paul does; so I need to have plans for him as well or we won’t get anything done.   Some, things will be done by both children such as science and author studies. However, I want to have more age appropriate things on hand for math and phonics for Thomas.

A favorite quote for today…
“When spiritual joy fills hearts, the Serpent throws off his deadly poison in vain. The devils cannot harm the servant of Christ when they see he is filled with holy joy.” St. Francis of Assisi.

This is the think from “Small Steps for Catholic Moms” by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss for today. I think it was a very timely reminder for me today. Focus of filling myself with joy and not stress. If I fill myself with joy- joy in my children and husband than the devil doesn’t have a place to gain a foothold with his negative voice.

One of my favorite things…
Seeing the joy a child exudes when they do something for themselves like make their own bowl of cereal for breakfast or when they dress themselves without momma’s help. While, it can be bittersweet because it means your babies are growing up it should also be a very joyful event to see that they are growing as God meant for them to.

(Antonio Exploring at the Mall)

A few plans for the upcoming week:
Take a scouting trip a few specialty grocery stores to price some gluten free products and figure out where the best value is for us.  Take Antonio for his one year photos- which we had to cancel due to sickness last week. Grocery shopping for the beginning of February and purchase the last few items need for Antonio’s birthday party this weekend. Take the boys to a local science museum for a fun filled day with Daddy and Mommy. Then this weekend we head up to Aunt Teresa and Uncle Eddie’s to meet Annie and Jamie and have a birthday party!


Mark’s Coming Home Daybook

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Outside my window…
The sun is shining. It is so good to see the sun again. I have missed it with all this dreary weather we have been having. I would definitely not do well living in Washington; where it rains so much of the year.  We awoke to snow on the ground- not a ton but enough that Paul and Thomas bundled up to go play and tramp around it in. However, most of the snow has melted now.

I am thinking…
About breaking cycles and making your what you want of your own life. Not letting the boxes society would try to force upon you dictate who you are.

I am thankful…
That as of this evening Mark will be home from his training. It’s been an interesting two weeks with him gone. I am happy and thankful for his coming home; even if he does leave for a longer period of time in just a few short weeks.

In the kitchen…
Two words- gluten free. We are going gluten free to see if it makes a difference for Thomas and his weight gaining issues. We have no test results that lead us to believe it is a gluten issue but well we have no test results that lead us to any conclusions. So, therefore Mark and I feel that we have nothing to lose by trying gluten free. This month is clean out month of gluten foods in the house and February 1st will be go day for being completely gluten free- we have already started to incorporate some gluten free recipes into our diet. I recently made these flourless peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins; after we got over the tantrum about not wanting to eat them and tried them all the children liked them to a degree. Thomas and Antonio really enjoyed them.

I am wearing…
Yoga pants and a long sleeve tee-shirt while I clean the house. I plan to change into a nicer outfit before Mark arrives this evening. I would like to welcome him home dress nicely and not in comfy house cleaning clothes.

I am creating…
There hasn’t been much creative endeavors here this past week because all the children have been sick.

I am going…
We have been at home most of the week because we’ve been sick. However, this past Monday before sickness invaded the house we drove up to a nearby city several hours away to meet a few friends. Since, I was pregnant with Paul I have been part of an online group of ladies. We started out as an online pregnancy support group but 5 years down the road I consider this group of ladies very good friends. I have been privileged to meet several of them in real life and this past Monday was able to meet another one of the ladies and her children. The children and I all had a wonderful time and I look forward to getting together with her and her children again.

I am wondering…
Whatever I did to be so blessed with the many wonderful people in my life; even when my life gets swept up in the craziness that comes from my extended family I have people I can turn to. I have a wonderful group of ladies that I can turn to. I can moan, whine and gripe. I can ask for advice or just commiseration and they are always there.

I am reading…
There hasn’t been a lot of reading for me this week with everyone being sick and myself feeling under the weather. I have watched lots of mindless tv in the evenings though. Since, I was unable to make the drive to see my dearest friend sister because of sickness I have spent the evenings watching Dawson’s Creek because it reminds me of her.

I am hoping…
That the eyes of certain family members will be open and they will be able to see that certain destructive habits they have is keeping them apart from me and mine- that they will come to realize that I love them dearly; I don’t hate them and that my desire to see them give up these habits isn’t because I don’t love them. It’s because I love them so much that I refuse to enable them anymore.

I am looking forward to…
To Mark’s arrival this evening and seeing the unbridled joy of the boys faces when daddy comes in the door. They don’t know he is coming home. They’ve missed daddy. I’ve missed him.

I am learning
How to work on being a more content mom and not give into feelings of being overwhelmed as often. As a busy mom of three it can be easy to give into feelings of being overwhelmed and over-worked.

Around the house…
Getting the house back in order after everyone being sick. Thankfully, its condition isn’t to bad. My dining room and kitchen are functioning so much better now that I have re-arranged it. I also add this wonderful shelve unit into my dining room. It’s not the most beautiful looking thing but it is very functional and that makes me happy.

I am pondering…
Regrets and the role they play in life. I have always believed in living life with no regrets. I have never seen the point of having regrets. Regretting something doesn’t change it. However, of late I realize you can regret something without regretting it. You can regret that something had to happen but still realize that there was nothing you could do different. That you made the choice that needed to be made.

A favorite quote for today…
“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”- Ben Franklin

One of my favorite things…
Watching a brand new walker toddle around. Antonio started walking shortly after Mark left and has been working on improving his walking. I was blessed to catch the event on video so Mark could see it. However, I am still very excited for Mark to see Antonio walking in person. Walking has always been one of my favorite baby milestones. There is just something about a baby- alas I guess I can’t call him a baby anymore because he is 1 now- a toddler working on gaining the confidence to walk. From watching them take those first tentative steps to walking with confidence and then move on to running. It makes my heart leap with joy to be privileged to watch my boys grow up.

A few plans for the upcoming weeks:
We have some fun things planned in the coming weeks before Mark leaves. The first big thing is a visit from our good friends- who happen to be Thomas and Antonio’s Godparents. I am excited for Antonio’s Godfather to finally get the chance to meet him. When they come out we will also be having an actual party to celebrate Antonio’s birthday. It makes me happy to know that we will get the chance to celebrate this important milestone with friends and family.  We also purchased some discounted tickets to take the children up to a nearby local kids science museum to celebrate the older 2 boys birthday’s early; since daddy won’t be home for their actual birthdays.