Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good Reads: Posts I’ve Enjoyed

Organizing Junkie: When Kid's Play Spaces Take Over YOUR Spaces! - We have to deal with this in our living room because it also contains all of John's toys. We have a toy box, but I also like the activity mat idea in this post.

Catholic Icing: Lenten Navigation Page - Good source for living out the Lenten season with kids.

Karen Edmisten: A Meaningful Lent - Long but good post about having a meaningful Lent for the whole family!

Mama Natural: 10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler (video and text)- We're not planning on flying anytime soon, but these are good tips for the future!

Star of the Sea: Fr. Lappe's Homily on Marriage - I wasn't able to hear this in person, so I'm glad it was put online!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Almost three

John is my sweet, pouty, imaginative, know-it-all, sensitive, strong-willed, friendly, clingy, compassionate, moody, honest, loving almost-three-year-old. This morning he got up at about 7:20am and immediately wanted me to fix his little airplane that hangs from the ceiling in his bedroom. Whenever I hear John's door open I always quickly (slowly and carefully) get out of bed because I am afraid that John will come up in our bed and wake up Peter. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to snuggle up with John, but let's just say he is very squirmy when he snuggles.

I whispered to John that we will fix the airplane after Daddy and Peter wake up. He instantly dropped to the floor as though my words pierced his heart. I went to the bathroom and he sneakily climbed in our bed. Picking him up ever-so-gently, we went into the living room where he announced to me that me that he no longer loved me and my hair smelled bad (pretty sure he was smelling my morning breath...). How do you respond to a blow like that? I simply told him that he hurt my feelings and made me very sad. About two minutes later he hugged me and said "I DO love you!"

That is life when you live with a pre-schooler... all these emotional ups and downs all day long. Sometimes he says the sweetest things and then he'll turn around and defiantly say "NO" when I ask him to do something. It pulls on my heart strings, and I wouldn't trade him or this time with him for anything in the world.

 Currently one of John's favorite toys. This thing has chugged miles around our house!

He stole my scissors for this cutting session, but he is getting pretty good with his small safety scissors! He is also very interested in puzzles. I'm amazed at his spatial skills.

I found this idea to do with John during Lent. It's a bean jar. Every time he does something good, he gets to put a bean in the jar. On Easter the beans turn into jelly beans. However, at his age, we are going to turn the beans to jelly beans on Sundays. Also for Lent, I'm hoping to get him to make the sign of the cross. He says the words but doesn't do the gestures.

This is a very formative time for him and for me as a parent. Right now Andrew and I are laying a foundation, whether we acknowledge it or not, that will support John as he grows in maturity. I have bad parenting days for sure and I try to read books that will inspire me to be better. And when I have even a moment to reflect on the whole situation, I realize that John will be a man someday. Obvious, I know, but I think it's easy to forget when you're in the trenches of parenting. Right now, I have two boys in my house who will be grown men in a relatively short time, who have specific vocations, who will impact the world, who may have children of their own someday, and who have eternal souls that have been entrusted to my care. I forget all that when faced with a blowout or a yelling child.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

John Quotes ~ Vol. 4

The morning after we set up the Christmas tree - talking about a van ornament:
John: "Look at that car we have!"
Me: "It's a van."
John: "My hold it?"
Me: "It's breakable, Johnny..."
John: "My be really careful with that ban!"
I was tickling John and he wanted me to stop. He said, "Stop tickling, Mama. That's not a toy, that's your finger!"
Me: Are you pooping?
John: No
Me: I think you are.
John: I think I not are.
After spinning around:
"I'm spin-zy"
Me: I'm so glad your my son!
John: I'm glad your my son too!
Me: John, am I your mom?
John: I am your mom!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lenten Beginnings

Yesterday was the beginning of the season of Lent. Andrew asked me if I was excited... "yes?" I replied. It didn't sound convincing. I guess Lent is always hard because it forces me to examine my life in light of who I am meant to be. What is off in my life? How can I be a better mother, wife, and daughter of God? These are challenging questions. It's easy to lose track during the rest of the year and develop bad habits. This is why Lent is so necessary!

In college, I was in a group of people who were pretty hardcore in their sacrifices. Some slept on wooden boards, ate only liquid foods, gave up sarcasm, makeup, or looking in mirrors. One year I tried giving up electricity. My parameters were I never turned lights on, I took cold showers, washed my clothes in cold water, washed dishes by hand. It was kind of fun... for about a week! Then it became pretty challenging - especially taking cold showers! Finally someone knocked some sense into me: Why are you doing this? How will this sacrifice bring you closer to Christ? These questions made me realize that I might be doing it for the wrong reasons. Namely, to get a taste of the romanticized olden-days that I've so often longed for in my youth.

Now I am more careful about choosing my sacrifices and examining my motives. This year I have on my heart to focus on being a better wife and mother through prayer and spending quality time with my family. I've been reading the 10 Habits of Happy Mothers and it's giving me a lot to think about and at least one good idea for Lent. Which is calling at least one friend once a week, or better yet, going to visit with a friend. This will help me to reach out socially and connect with people I care about.

This sounds silly, but one struggle I have is getting dressed in the morning. This really impacts my day in a bad way. I feel like I am so busy taking care of everyone else, that I don't take care of myself. It doesn't feel good to stay in pajamas all day! I'm sure all the stay-at-home-moms out there with little kids can relate! During Lent, I am going to work on this by getting dressed before 9am.

As a family, we are going to give up TV. This should free up some time in the evening for more blogging! =) Andrew pointed out to me that I took a month off between January and my post yesterday. Ooops.

Another sacrifice I am going to do is to clean one part of the house each day that will likely go unnoticed. Shhhh - don't tell Andrew! I think this will help me to pay more attention to the little things around the house and clean without seeking praise. At Mothers' Group someone mentioned saying "Hail Marys" while scrubbing the toilet! HA! Maybe I can incorporate that into my cleaning too!

Happy Lent to you all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen...

...we have a tooth! Yesterday Peter Julian cut his first tooth (bottom right)! Last week was a long week for me with this little guy and his big brother. There were two nights in particular where I was feeling pretty down about my parenting skills. But it was encouraging when we realized that Peter was teething. Maybe that's why I was having a rough week. However, that doesn't explain John's misbehaviors... Who knows what's up with that almost-three-year-old! He's a different story! I'm pretty sure Peter is working on cutting another tooth, so I'm expecting another crabby week for him.

{Update: Today, on 2/23, his second tooth broke through!}

It's hard to capture a picture of the tooth itself, so I got this video of him where you can kind of see the tooth (FYI - you won't see the tooth until the very end of the video):

Today Peter is officially four months old! A few weeks ago, we decided to try him out in the crib. Here is our new routine: He falls asleep in our arms in the living room. We coax him into a deep sleep in the glider. When we think he is in a deep sleep, we transfer him to his crib and wait it out. By golly, the first night we did this, he slept in his crib from 10:30pm to 3:30am! The second night from 10:30am-6am!!!!! Since John slept in our bed until he was a year old, I was kind of sad with the prospect of Peter sleeping on his own at such a young age. The first couple of nights were lonely for me, but if he is ready, then I don't want to hold him back. Plus, when he wakes up I bring him to our bed and we sleep/snuggle for the rest of the early-morning. He usually sleeps in our bed until about 8:30.

Here is a cute video of Peter that I took today. He is quite the jumper!

John and Peter are interacting a lot more. John always wants me to put Peter in the Jump-a-roo so that he is at his level. Peter is very content watching John play and I can see in his eyes that he wants to jump right in and join him! That will happen soon enough! John also loves to make Peter laugh. Here is a great video of the giggling duo: