Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Daily Dose of Discipline

I've realized that's most what I need: discipline. Here are some things I've been working on recently...

1. Bedtime. For awhile I'd been staying up finishing housework and relaxing in front of the computer until 1 or 2 am. It's now been one week since I had Spiritual Direction where I was encouraged to go to bed at the same time as Steven, so then I can wake up with him in the morning, not living life at a different time than him. One week and I don't think I've gone to bed after 11pm! I haven't been up with him every morning though...still must work on that.

2. Laundry. My plan for doing a wash load each morning is still going well. My problem is that I still fail to fold it by the end of the day (partially b/c I'm going to bed earlier), so I end up folding a ton twice a week. I should try to fold after lunchtime each day.

3. Tidying. This does not come natural for me. You know, some people have that need to pick up or tidy anything that is out of place. Now I do like a clean house, but again, it goes days without tidying and then the playroom (or living room) are a complete disaster that take much longer to clean up! I need to teach these habits to my girls because they are starting to take after me! Another thing I'm trying to do in this area is clean up right after meals...wipe down the table and do the dishes. Also wiping down the bathrooms every day or every other day. My latest tidying idea which I've heard somewhere is to keep a basket in every room (those extra laundry baskets that aren't used b/c the laundry is done!), so all the stray toys and other items can be put there and returned to their appropriate place in the house.

4. Scheduling. This is still a work in progress. I'm using my Catholic Planner a lot more and trying to keep to-do lists and meal plans up-to-date. With an earlier wake up time it will be easier to schedule things in the morning. I'm trying to make morning mass once a week (didn't happen last week), and trying to say "no" to too many outside activities and events. Meal plans are going better, but still a long way to go.

5. One-on-one time. One of my big goals is to try to spend some one on one time with each child each day. This is still something I'm not doing intentionally, so I need to find a good time for it. If I can encourage a "rest time" each day, that might help in giving me some down-time in the afternoon so I can play better with them afterwards.

6. Home appearance. I've been having fun doing projects around here with items I already have. Last week I finished painting the coffee table and painted several frames and a porcelain swan white. Now I need to find places for the frames! I still have paint for my bathroom, and then we'll be on to the living room painting project!

7. Spiritual life. Most important. It's much easier to have morning prayer time when I get up early with Steven. Then I can also work towards the Angelus at lunchtime, a daily rosary decade, and Evening prayers before bed. I have some spiritual books that I'm reading, and the next few weeks I'll be working on a talk on Mary that I'll be giving at a Reflection in mid-May (pray for me!). And I need to update my "Program of Life", a written plan of goals to work on this year.

Right now I need to work on making breakfast and have missed morning prayer...yikes! Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! I'll also post some tidbits from my homemaking book soon!

Adding some other things I need to get done in the next week or two:
~sorting baby boy clothes (started this last night), put 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes in the attic
~clean out the girls' closet that is a total mess b/c of the hanging rod falling down.
~prepare for a large meeting here on Thursday (an open Regnum Christi Encounter for anyone interested in learning more) and First Friday class
~replace light bulb in guest bath before Thursday
~reserve cabin for fall camping trip
~finish the kitchen baseboards!!!
~grocery shopping
~some extra work for my parents' business, Candy Spirit
~sew ribbons on MC's ballet shoes for her exam this weekend
~order new homeschool materials

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekly adventures!

Hopefully I'll be ready for a reflective post soon, but for now pictures will have to do!

Stevie dressed in fire hat thanks to big sisters! Notice his cute outfit from Aunt Pam..."#1 Draft Pick!"


While on the phone for a few minutes the other day, here's what Ellie and Mary Clare kept busy doing...body watercolors!


Here's one of our favorite parts of homeschooling, our weekly clubs. Yesterday was Nature Club at the park and they did a lesson on bluebonnets and read "The Legend of the Bluebonnet"


Painting their own wildflowers


Yesterday was their first day to swim! Here they are at NeNe's house. MC ended up with a sore throat this morning though :(


Steven Joseph's first swim!!!



And Mary Clare's find this morning...snails in the front yard!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ballerina girl

Ellie's best birthday gift of all was joining Mary Clare's dance class today! She has watched all year through the window, practicing it all at home. She was the best newly-3-year-old I've ever seen! She knew all the moves and went right along with everything, with a HUGE smile on her face the whole time! She told everyone that she got to dance yesterday...so excited! Mary Clare's only comment, "I was scared she was going to wet her pants!" Everyone was so proud of Ellie!

Ballerina walks, she's last in line
video

Skipping--she just learned this in the past few days, it's a hard skill for a 3 year-old!
video

And side-gallops. Mary Clare is galloping across the front of the room and Ellie the back :)
video

Looks like we've got a future prima ballerina on our hands :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After ballet we went to a nice nearby restaurant on the waterway with my parents. Then out to ice cream! It was a fun day!

Feeding crackers to the turtles and fish


Birthday girl with NeNe

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ellie!

In the hospital


1 year


2 years


3 years old!


3 years ago this night we were anxiously awaiting that moment when Ellie-in-the-belly would be no longer. You finally arrived at 4:04 am, perfectly healthy and looking so much like your big sister! You have brought such joy and life to our family. I love your sweet little grin and your exploding excitement about everything. You are truly happy about every little activity or event, particularly this week finally being your "burt-date"! Oh how I love the cute way you say certain words; I'll have to write them all down before I forget! You are so kind and generous to others, and so helpful to Mommy. You are totally thrilled that you'll get to join in on Mary Clare's dance class tomorrow now that you're three. Oh what a day it will be! You already know all the moves and seem to run everywhere like a little ballerina.

Ellie, I thank God for the gift of my sweet second daughter and pray that he will guide you all your days. And may Mary be your model, teaching you to love her Son Jesus more and more each day! We love you, Elizabeth Ann Marie!

Some videos from the last few days

Celebrating your birthday on the camping trip
video

Playing Mass today
video

and Riding your new bike!
video

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Come join us...

...on our camping adventure at Huntsville State Park!
(Warning: lots of photos; maybe next time I'll try a slide show, but probably not!)

First, set up your tents! Or watch the kids while hubby sets up the tent :)


Sit around with your friends while dinner is cooked on the fire


As evening begins, get out those marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers,


because it's time for s'mores!


Watch the cute daddies with headlamps rock babies to sleep in the moonlight


Then wake up the next morning to see the steam rising from the lake


And cuddle up by the morning fire to keep warm


Time for a lesson on alligators!


Listen up!



It's a fun lesson


And now you get to wait in line to pet a baby alligator!


A bonus for this weekend...a birthday girl!


Let's sing Happy Birthday to Ellie, the big 3 year-old! (she got a new bike, video to come!)


Now have a quick rest in the afternoon sun


Then take a look at the nature scavenger hunt list, because it's time for a hike!


Off we go!


Be sure you're geared up for babies who need naps!


And turn your head the other way if you don't want to watch a load of small children walk across a bridge with no railing!


Take a quick break, cook up some dinner, then it's time for fishing!


A big catch for a little girl!


Take a look at the beautiful evening water (After this shot, Mommy took a trip to the ladies' room and there was an almost-ER visit when MC got a fishing hook stuck in her eyebrow with live worms dangling in front of her eye! She gave everyone a huge scare but all was well and it didn't even bleed. Thanks be to God it didn't catch her eye!)


It's been a tiring day, so kiddos can easily fall asleep in Mommy or Daddy's lap


Last night around the fire


But that tent is calling your name...time to slip into that sleeping bag!


Your new day surely starts off right when you're looking at this adorable face!


And you look up to see this gorgeous sky!


And catch a glimpse of an alligator before it's time to go home.


Hope you had fun! We sure did! Only complaints were a few almost-accidents and a bit chilly in the night. But otherwise it was perfect weather and no bugs! We enjoyed our time with our friends and are already planning the next trip! Let us know if you'd like to come!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Off we go...

...into the wild green yonder!

Please send up a little prayer as we head out on our first tent camping trip with the kids and a few other families including 18 children 10 and under! Should be an adventure to say the least!

May God bless your weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Papa Is Here!

Our Holy Father on American soil. How I wish we could be there! After a busy day, now at almost midnight I'm watching it on EWTN online. God bless America! God bless our Dear Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. May it truly be a visit leading us all to "Christ Our Hope!"


Park outing today

Not much to say this busy week! Getting ready for our big camping trip! Today we picnicked at a fun park nearby. A picture post will have to do...







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