There’s a Banana on my Bathroom Floor

You know when you walk under a ladder or a black cat crosses your path and it’s considered to be bad luck?  Well if you ignore the banana that’s on your bathroom floor, you’ll experience similar consequences of bad luck.  Not only is the banana soft and squishy between your toes, it’s really sticky and gross to clean off.  While cleaning your foot, you notice your 22 month old daughter is meticulously cleaning the toilet with her toothbrush.  Goodbye toothbrush, hello tears of bitter toddler disappointment.

After hurrying to get ready for a play date and getting there relatively on time, my son proceeds to projectile vomit out of his mouth and nose all over the play mat.  Not once, but twice.  I now smell of ‘eau de barf.  My daughter had so much fun at this play date that she tried to drink coffee and steal the picnic basket of toys.  This is after she reached her hand into her pants to scratch her butt.  So classy.

I thought I’d have a peaceful afternoon while both babies napped, but this was not to be.  Chloe decided to practice her pitch instead of napping and then clanging her sippy cup against the crib rails like a prisoner.  Ben woke up and nursed, then I gathered the screaming, baseball-rookie banchee from her cell and began to vacuum.  When the vacuuming was done, I gave Chloe a snack of Goldfish.  In the back of my mind I wondered if I should have given her something less crumbly, but dismissed that thought quickly.

Thinking that I could put away SOME of the mountain loads of laundry, I ran upstairs and commenced.  I heard my kids playing happily downstairs when a nagging suspicion urged me to check on them.  Goldfish were spread around on the carpet and it looks like Chloe decided to either crush her least favorite ones into a pile of dust.  (The crushing may have been with her hands or stomped on with her feet.  That will remain a mystery.)  Then I realize that the surviving Goldfish crackers are spread nicely around her brother, who is only 6 months old.  His mouth is closed and he is working on something in there!  Like any mother would do, I thrust my finger inside and pulled out a sloppy Goldfish cracker.  Once my heart rate slowed down, I thanked Chloe for her thoughtfulness, but told her not to share her food any more.

So far everything is peaceful again, with no disturbances, but there are 4 hours left until their bedtime.

If you stumble across a banana in your bathroom, RUN!

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De-Cluttering My Life

Lent is teaching me to de-clutter my life.  To get rid of the things that are holding me back from fully committing to my primary roles in my vocation: mother and wife. 

I’m participating in a 40 Days to a Less Cluttered Home (mentioned in a previous post).  It’s challenging because I’m learning to not be attached to material things.  I’ve also committed to not using coupons (unless for essential grocery products) during this time!  THAT is challenging because a) I like shopping and b) I like the rush from ‘saving’ money.  We’re committed to using up the food we have in our home before buying more and using what we have to make do.  My biggest challenge so far is quitting my job.   After 5 ½ years (with a 1 year maternity leave in there), Friday was my last day of work. 

ALIES & The Back Porch is an amazing pro-life ministry and already I miss being an active part of it.  I decided to quit (temporarily, because I will be back when the time is right) because it’s time to become a full-time mama.  My babies deserve 100% of me and by working I felt I was too caught up in deadlines and stressing out about having time to “do it all”.  I loved my work, but I love my babies more.

There are things I want to commit to right now that are important to me as a mother and now I have the freedom and flexibility to do that!  It’s so freeing and I have such peace about this decision.  I’m actually also really excited!  I’ll have more time for play dates, tea parties, adventures, long walks and playing at the park.  We’ll spend time exploring nature, creation, colouring, riding bikes, swimming and just PLAYING!  My evenings can be dedicated to my husband, friends and family without the stress and worry about work related projects.  I can go through my Pinterest account and actually do the things I pinned!  I can focus on my fitness goals, playing the piano (I haven’t played in so long and loved starting up again), baking and developing my spiritual life (and learning how to form my children).  Already I have noticed how much I can get done when I’m not spending time “working” (that’s in quotes because I NEVER stop working).  

While I may have temporarily left pro-life work behind as a career, I will never stop being involved. This morning I read the CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) about the 2011 abortion stats and was disgusted.  I’m posting the link to that blog here, because people need to know this information so that they too can be disgusted and appalled enough to reach out to try and make a change.

That is my post for today.  Now it’s time to go enjoy my family 🙂

Patience is a Virtue

…that I do not possess.  Yet.  The little things become so hard when you lack any sort of ability to be patient through trials.

This morning Chloe was testy and whiney and had to be two inches away from me most of the time.  When she wasn’t velcroed to my body, she was hanging off the fridge door handle whining about being hungry – that kid could eat a horse and still be hungry.  Ben was a difficult napper today, and it took many tries before he’d fall asleep.  I also decided to do three loads of laundry and change the sheets on my bed.  By doing that I guess I was begging for a test in patience (am I the only one who flaps around a duvet in the duvet cover swearing as I try to get all corners aligned?!).

Not only have I been tested in patience with my children and duvet cover, I had a test in patience with my body!  Most days I have to wait to pee, eat, get dressed.  Today was especially brutal because I could barely walk from doing over 300 lunges on Friday (that, btw was a bad mistake).

Tests in patience become much harder when the dearest littles deprive their mother constantly of much needed sleep.  This picture pretty much somes it up:

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I know that I am a bad example of patience because Chloe gets easily frustrated at simple things (like me).  She couldn’t get a book out of her bag this morning and freaked right out.

“Good grief, child!  Have some patien…” This was literally how I began and ended that sentence.  Instead I prayed: “Lord, give me patience for I have none.  Give me patience so I can teach my daughter that virtue.”

Thankfully, I have my good buddy, Angela, who offered up her struggles in patience for me today.  The Good Lord knows I need it.

St. Valentine’s Day

Today I attempted to practice a few of my Lenten resolutions.

1. To do the simple things with great love.

2. To do these simple things frugally (We’re trying not to spend money this Lent except for essentials). That means no going out or buying gifts for Valentine’s Day (not that we do that anyways :P)

3. De-clutter ten items from my kitchen cupboards (dishes, tupperware, etc).

This morning started off rocky. Ben woke up at 6am and I had to try to keep him quiet until Chloe woke up, which was at 7:50am (YAY! She actually slept in). He was a grump all morning which made getting anything done difficult. I actually had to tell myself that patience at this moment is a “simple” thing that I could do with great love.

I have never been the most crafty person, and quite frankly I hate crafts, but I wanted to give an attempt this morning with some fun St. Valentine’s Day craft. We started with paper flowers; both attempts turned out miserably and I gave up. One flower ended up in the garbage, but I decided to keep the other one since my husband might find humour in it.
I am slightly better at baking and actually enjoy this activity, but for some reason today, my candied gummy hearts didn’t solidify and my daughter and I ended up scooping up the red mush and putting it in a bowl in the back of the fridge. At least it tasted good!

The clock was ticking and in my last desperate attempt to do SOMETHING special for my husband and children today, I through Ben in his swing, Chloe was watching Beauty and the Beast and I quickly made “Sweetie Pies” and thank goodness they turned out beautifully (we have yet to sample them). Never mind. I just looked over into the kitchen and found my husband and daughter eating them. *Sigh*.

I got in a quick workout then hurried to get my hair and make-up done just the way Ryan likes it. I did it with minutes to spare before he got home. Unfortunately, Ben was sleeping upstairs in our room and I could change so I looked very attractive in my workout clothes ;). The first thing my husband notices, is that I am wearing HIS SOCKS! SOCKS! On Valentine’s Day! I think I should just laugh about this, because I am also trying to not let small, irrelevant things bug me.

Our dining room table is decorated with a red tablecloth, a card with the outline of Chloe’s hand and Ben’s foot, “Sweetie Pies” in a little box, wine glasses with cut out hearts inside(I can manage that at least), my failed paper flower and candles. Tonight we are dressing up to celebrate the love of our family. Tonight as I reflect on the little things and St. Valentine’s life (check out Angela’s cartoon post), I hope I can always strive to persevere in these little things even if I do not always get it right the first time.

St. Valentine, pray for us.

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“The Little Things” and a Big Poop

Ash Wednesday started so beautifully, so peacefully. My kids slept in until 7:30, we all ate breakfast and were dressed in record time. I loaded them into the car and we made it to church 15 minutes early! I was so proud of myself for doing this all by myself. And then the shit hit the fan…literally.
As soon as my mother left the pew to take my 3 year old brother to the washroom, Ben started fussing in his car seat. My hopes that he would nap during Mass were destroyed. Upon lifting him from his seat, I smelled a distinct odor. Then I felt an unmistakable dampness on the back of his pants. Looking inside, I discovered a lovely yellow stain. I tried to calmly hold him away from me so I didn’t end up with his poop on me and quietly rummage through my purse. I found a diaper, but NO WIPES!
“Oh s*it!” was unfortunately the first thing that came to mind. Not only did I have no wipes, but I also had no change of clothing for him. When my mom came back I asked if she had wipes on her and she said no. I went to the washroom as fast as I could and thank God my mother followed me. My daughter and brother played their version of “Tag” as my mom helped peel off the poop soaked clothing and wet paper towel. At this time, Ben thought it appropriate to toss his soother on the floor. Perfect. I went back into church with a baby in a diaper and poopy clothes in my purse. The wailing began and there was no cork to stop it. I tried to keep him wrapped in his blanket, but a 5 ½ month old is squirmy. My 21 month old wanted my attention too. Oh dear, is it already time to get the ashes? Is everyone staring at my naked baby who is now testing the acoustics with his Tarzan cries?
My mom and I received Communion in shifts. By the time everything was over and Chloe loudly announced “ALL DONE!” I was “all done” as well. Thankfully I could see the humour in all of this and that this being Ash Wednesday this was the extra little mortification I could offer up. Next time though, we’ll sit in the cry room.

Ash Wednesday Reflection

Today is Ash Wednesday, and as I prepared for today and wondering what my Lenten sacrifices would be, I got to thinking, “Lord, I am already sleep deprived, my body is scarred from bearing children, my husband and I are practicing Natural Family Planning, and I hardly get a moment to myself right now. What more do you want? What more can I give?”
I got to thinking deeply about this and came up with “the little things”. St. Therese of Lisieux, a doctor of the Catholic Faith, saw the value in the little sacrifices throughout the day and I think that is another challenge I need to undertake this Lent: “little things with great love.”
I can make my bed daily knowing that the man I love will sleep comfortably in it later. I can put away laundry immediately instead of leaving it in the basket until I need that basket for more clean laundry. Little things like this can teach me great love, and great discipline. This is one challenge I hope to successfully accomplish during Lent and continue on after.

Lenten Journey…Begins with Decluttering

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and I’m trying to put together a list of things I was to do/accomplish this season.  Most times I start out really good, but then half-ass it about halfway through.  One of my good friends, Angela, and I will be blog-sharing during Lent to help each other stay on track and focused on going deeper into our faith and relationship with Jesus.  Our thoughts, reflections and journey posts will all be found on her blog, The Nomadic Wife (http://thenomadicwife.wordpress.com/).

We’re both taking part in “40 Days to a Less Cluttered Home” (original idea from: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/8-weeks-to-declutter.pdf) event that our moms group is hosting.  Each day we have to de-clutter a certain part of our home, removing 10 items a week.  I can’t help but think about my soul and family life as I think about de-cluttering.  I am a do-er and have a lot of good ideas and things I want to DO.  But today I realized that one thing that I need to de-clutter from my life is my very part-time job.

I love working for The Back Porch Ministry (www.thebackporch.info), but after much thought, prayer and reflection I have found that the costs outweigh the benefits.  I don’t make enough to contribute anything significant to our finances, the added stress of deadlines, finding babysitters and working evenings/weekends is costing me family life and adding to too much time on my computer or phone.  I am not even making a big enough contribution to the organization anymore and need to let go of my “need” to have a “fulfilling” job so that I can open the position up to someone who can make a difference now, while I put more time and energy into fulfilling my vocation.

And I have peace about this.