Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Silence is Golden

My house is quiet. It's an amazing sound. We've had days and weeks of snow, and sickness, and a revolving door of house guests that have led to not having a full, normal week back to the routines since before Christmas. I'm hoping this is our week to all be well and in school without weather interruptions. I mean it is mid-February, shouldn't we have at least one week of normal this winter?!

The snow days were quite fun though, and since everything shut down and the roads were covered with 7 inches of fluffy beautiful snow, J got to be home with us too. We had snowball fights, went sledding, made lots of comfort food (and ate way too much of it), read, attempted snowmen, watched movies, played board games, made rainbow looms galore, ate snow cream, and more. We really made the most of the time together and it was quite nice actually. I hear people on Facebook complain about too much togetherness, and sometimes I am right there with them; the kids are fighting, my patience is thin, but none of that happened this time and it was so nice. I'm calling it our Snowcation. Sure we lost a few scheduled school breaks including 2 Spring Break days, but we had an unplanned vacation at home to all be together and enjoy. Spring Break for us is a non-event this year anyway because it's Holy Week and we can't go anywhere since that's kind of the busiest week of the year for a clergy family. We tend to move our Spring vacation to another week and just pull the kids out of school for a few days. This year we're moving it to May and headed to Disney! I'm a little nervous about pulling A out at this time of year with testing and all but it'll be fine. I hope.

Ok, I'm off to enjoy the silence. Although I'm feeling a bit paralyzed by all the choices: do I take a walk, clean house, read, watch a show, go shopping, do yoga, or just sit and stare and listen to the silence?

Here's a look back at the fun we had last week:
My snow walk before kids came home for 3.5 snow days:


Then the snow really started falling and the fun began:








Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"Me Pray!"

Life is busy and good. Happy 2014 btw...
I want to write more but I have a few precious minutes in between kid-bed and me-bed, so this will be short, but I did want to share M's prayer at dinner tonight. Yes, you read that right, our 2 year old extemporaneously prays at dinner...is she a PK or what? 

First of all, she volunteered herself to pray:
Daddy: who wants to pray tonight?
M: me!
Daddy: ok, go ahead
M: Ank yoo God for food...famawee...A, H, mommy, daddy...(long pause where A volunteers help), yes! Gwacie! yes, (thinking...), Elmo, Daniel Tiger, yes! (We're trying to mouth amen)...Gram, papa, Amen. 

She knew exactly what she wanted to say and us rushing her along when she paused to say amen wasn't at all necessary. She was going to say amen when she was finished and how cute is that she's thanking God for her favorite tv shows?! Of course! Thank you God for Girls, Mad Men, Scandal, Friday Night Lights! For toe-tapping music, thought-provoking movies, and escape-to-another world books; and for all the other morsels of cultural contributions that bring us a bit of entertainment and relaxation. 

Amazing these little people.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Glimpse

How's this for a glimpse into my life: I'm home with 2 kinda sick kiddos today. M stayed home yesterday b/c of fever and cough and now her brother is home. He's not totally sick but sick enough that I didn't feel good sending him in but now that he's home, I'm seeing this as more if a mental health day. 

I'm currently trying to get them both to take a nap before school pick-up of A in an hour and a half. M willingly went to her crib after she saw H lay down, and I'm currently hiding in the bathroom while she puts herself to sleep for maybe the first time in a year. We typically hold her until she falls asleep and then transfer her to her bed, but she was fighting me so much that I just put her in the bed and patted her back a few times before saying I'd be right back. She's been quiet for 10 minutes so I'm hoping the coast is clear. 
Anywho, exciting stuff over here. Not sure how you are containing yourselves...

Full weekend ahead yet again but all fun and goodness at this time of year. Tonight our Advent calendar activity was to have a camp-out in the living room and watch a Christmas movie. Tomorrow we go watch a friend's daughter perform in a shortened version of the Nutcracker and then come home to bake cookies. J and I have one of several church Christmas parties in the evening and then Sunday is J's birthday! 
Lots of activities make me love the nights at home when we have nothing planned. Sitting in a cozy house with only the tree lights on is the best.
And this Cindy Lou Who impersonator is awesome too. She's practicing her ballet moves by the way. Oh and she DID put herself to sleep! Yay!!!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Festivities

The holiday season is picking up with events galore. This past weekend was pretty full, but I didn't really feel the Christmas spirit until A's dance recital on Sunday. It was a cold yucky day with rain that you wished would just turn to snow already, and we traveled uptown to see the recital. The city was lit up and it's always fun to walk around the fancy buildings with their decorated trees. A and other dancers did their routines to holiday songs and we watched the famous Singing Bears afterwards (which M loved this year!). Then we bundled up and came home for Ginger Peanut soup and a little tree decorating.
Our girl after her hip-hop recital

Yesterday we finished the tree and it is always so fun to see the kids pull out and remember their old homemade ornaments. M was good about the ornaments, she loved looking and so far hasn't acted interested in taking things off the tree. Also, so far, none broken this year! That may be a record for this family! 
We finished the night with Christmas donuts from Krispy Kreme (our Advent calendar activity of the day). 

Tonight J and I are headed to a fancy party of Sewanee alum, looking forward to attending a party hosted by one of the most well-known Charlotte families who also happen to own a chain of department stores...I may have to sneak some pictures :) 

Ok, off to do some shopping. We're almost finished which is a big deal for us to be so close to done this early! It's been fun and stress-free this year too thanks to a parishioner who watched the kids for us Saturday so we could have a day to shop (and we were able to go see Catching Fire too!). 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Slow Down, shhhhh.

My favorite time of year is here. Advent. I'm hoping to blog more in the quiet times I have, or will make myself have, as we enter this season of intentional quiet and slowness. It's hard though, the culture tells us to rush, and be loud, and look in all directions. Even my driving time, which is usually a time to reflect (or get my to-do list in order), has become distracting with all the fun decorations. I love it of course, and we even purposely went driving around last night to look at the lights; but all these distractions of the cultural season just mean we have to be so much more intentional about making time for quiet and waiting.

It IS so hard though. This is the first quiet I've taken since Advent started on Sunday, and it's Thursday. But it's necessary. I know it's all just a little too much when I start criticizing everything in my head, and then I start messing things up: I burn the bacon, I get mad at the toddler for taking her hairbow out 8 times (um, just stop putting it back in dummy!), I pull-out in front of people. My mind is distracted and I have this longing to stay in and not talk to or see anyone. And then I realize I need to create, write, listen to music, go for a walk, knit, etc. As an introvert, these things are refilling my energy stores that have been depleated by daily life. By the exhausting task of talking to the grocery store check-out person, by Wednesday night church dinners, and by living with and loving on 3 young kids. All things I enjoy but things that wear me down. 

Trying to be better about the quiet and downtime with the kids too. Although they are quite a loud bunch. :)
These things are helping:
1.) No cable. We only use the Roku for tv watching now which means no commercials. Can I tell you how nice it is not to have commercials during this time of year? VERY.
2.) Limiting activities. We purposely didn't sign the kids up for too many activities for the Winter. H is done with golf and A is almost done with dance for the season. It allows us more time at home and together.
3.) Our advent calendar. I opted out of the "stuff" Advent Calendar this year. And went back to the envelopes with fun activities that we did a few years ago. This time though, A and H added their own ideas and they are really into it so far. Tonight's activity is to go shopping for the child we chose off the Angel Tree at church. 
4.) Following the Want, Need, Wear, Read guidelines for Chirstmas Gift ideas. It cuts down on the more, more mentality at this time of year. 
5.) Also, this new to us album and this old favorite. Good stuff. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

This post brought to you by the letter S (for Sesame Street, which is why I have a minute to post)

I love Friday mornings, not sure why, it just has a more relaxed feel to it. I used to treat myself to a coffee or breakfast out on Fridays after I dropped the kids, but now I have pumpkin spice coffee from Trader Joe's, so my coffee seems special enough. :)

Also, we are doing the Dave Ramsey program, Financial Peace University and while we budget "pocket money", it doesn't seem like something I want to spend it on right now.

Also, we're doing a low-carb thing and I really like it. It's more Primal than Paleo (we eat dairy), and I cheat a bit, but I figure I'm more aware and seeing results of this new way of eating, so again, it doesn't seem worth it to waste it on chick-fil-a.

I'm content drinking my pumpkin spice coffee with heavy cream and maple syrup and listening to Sesame Street in the background. That's the other thing about Fridays, we watch a bit more television, and when it's not on as much during the week, it makes it seem like a luxurious treat.

This week has been very positive after a few weeks of crazy. Last week was crazy, kids were out of sorts, I had strange migraines, weather was hot. It was just yucky all around. This week has been gloriously Fall-like, only 1 tiny migraine last night, and kids have been awesome. Hopefully we've gotten into a routine of sorts with morning and evening routines and homework. Those are usually where we struggle the most so I've posted their routines and put it in their hands to get it done. I find when we're having a rough week, I nag more and they respond by not listening, and so then I nag more. It's an ugly cycle. So I posted a list and made an effort not to talk/ask/nag.

We've also started a commission chore chart. They get money for completing extra tasks around the house. There are things they are required to do as part of the family, their morning and evening routines, putting their laundry away, etc. but these are extra things that they can choose to do if they want to earn some money. One thing I added on there was that they can earn money for doing the right thing in regards to school. I explained that this is their job right now; to go to school, learn, listen, and be responsible (bring all assignments home, stay on green on the behavior chart, etc.). So if this happens each day, they will automatically earn money for this task. Last week they were struggling with school things, H was on yellow one day and A kept "forgetting" her math homework. This week they've been perfect. Hopefully this will continue to make a difference.

Alright we've watched enough tv for the morning (although I really enjoy hearing Grover talking in the background), and A asked if I could please do laundry today because she has no pants, so I suppose I should honor that request. :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Random Things

We're getting in our school/Fall groove and things are going well: 

Both kids like their teachers and are positive about school. Little Bit starts a 2 day a week toddler program and my cast is coming off tomorrow! 

Here are some other things we've been enjoying lately:

*Our new Roku. We cancelled our cable and are finally able to catch up on some of our favorite shows. Currently we're into Orange is the New Black and Friday Night Lights. 

*My new iPhone, finally upgraded from the 3. Loving it. 

*Watching the oldest read to the youngest. Tonight she read 4 of our classic favorite picture books to her. The other night, this was the scene:
Makes my heart soar.

*Roasted broccoli, with lemon and Parmesan. 

*Walking to and from school. I seriously feel bad for the people sitting in the carpool line. If we weren't walking, how would *A* have noticed this guy?

*Less carbs. I'm not going whole hog on this Paleo thing but I am carefully considering when I eat carbs/wheat. My new routine is a smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, and normal dinner. But at some point in the day, I break this open for a little sweet fix. 
 Time for one of those now I think while I pack lunches. 3 kid's lunches is kind of a lot, I may need a glass of wine too. ;)