Liebster Award Nomination

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I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award! This is a little recognition/link up that is passed on to bloggers getting started who don’t already have a large following.

Thank you to Melissa at Fresh Faith Bites for nominating me!

My interview with Melissa:

Why and how long ago did you start blogging? I started blogging before I even knew blogging was a thing. Way back when, in about 1998 or so I had a geocities site where I wrote and just added new pages to, or new information at the top of pages. Just me and my HTML, using Netscape Composer to put it all together. I think I discovered that I could use a standard set up and put up my first WordPress blog in 2003 or 2004. I started out to keep family up to date on things going on in my family, but soon found that I really liked writing.

What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? Companionship. I have struggled for so many years thinking that I was alone – that I was the only one who felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. Once I built up a little bravery, or really – got sick of feeling alone in this – I started to speak out about how I felt and found that many other women felt the same way. Being able to read a post that lets you know you are not alone, that someone else is there with you in the trenches, even if you can’t see them, is so heartening. It strengthens us and normalizes what we are doing. I hope that by my honesty in my struggles, someone else may find a little bit of hope. I hear it from time to time. People will contact me, usually privately, and thank me for putting their own feelings into words. That is what keeps me going.

Is there something you learned late in your blog journey that you wished you knew before? I am starting to learn a little more about promotion and using social media to get my blog to a wider audience. I wish I had been taking advantage of these things already.

What is your favorite past time other than blogging? Reading. I love to read, I love to collect books. My living room is a constant mess because my kids are following in my footsteps and dragging out books all the time. I love non-fiction, biographies, and fantasy fiction.

How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog? This varies widely. Some weeks I might spend 10 hours on it, then not touch it for the next week. I’d say on a normal week I spend about 3-4 hours on it.

What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most? Oh, I have no idea! Categorizing is something I usually do in hindsight after writing the post.

Where does your blog inspiration come from? Life, but then really who’s doesn’t? I love finding the grace and sanctity in the nonsense and repetition of normal life. My blog is named for the Israelites who were told to march around Jericho over and over. It seemed like something that could not win a battle with a large city like Jericho.  But they followed God’s plan. They marched, they were ridiculed, and by this simple repetition they won the victory. God gives each one of us little cities to walk around. Sometimes what He asks doesn’t make sense from our current vantage point.

What post have you written are you most proud of? Antiphons and Music in Mass. This one came somewhat from my own feelings, but very much because of things people confided in me regarding changes in the mass and the music in our diocese. I postponed this one for a long time, but finally dug in and really did some soul searching and research. This post changed in tone as I wrote it. The end product was as much a surprise to me as to those who read it.

Is there any post that you have been planning to do, but kept postponing for a while now? I have had a post brewing in my head about using Philippians 4:8 as a family media policy. But I can’t get my head all the way around it. In the mean time it is making for some interesting discussions with my kids.

What is your favorite aspect of blogging? The blog comments and the people who contact me to talk to me about what I wrote or to thank me for a piece. They keep me going!

Which recipe, project or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself? Your Homemade Berry Sorbet looks yummy!

I would hereby like to nominate the following bloggers for their excellent work:

1. Annette @ Nettie’s World

2. Alisha @

3. Laura @ Roses for Mommy

4 Cristina @ Unshopping and Unraveling

 

The Liebster Rules

I know, it feels a little like a chain letter, but it is a fun little, easy blog post. Link up, add to your blog roll, and just have fun with it.

Ok, in order to accept your award, there are a few things you need to do and guidelines to follow:

Link back to the person/blog that nominated you and give a little thank you shout out.
Answer 10 questions given to you by the person that nominated you.

My Questions:

1. How long have you been blogging?

2. What made you start blogging?

3. What advice would you give someone just starting their own blog?

4. Salty or Sweet?

5. What are you reading now?

6. What is your favorite quote from your current read?

7. Tell a little about your family.

8. Do you have a favorite TV or Netflix series? What and why?

9. Are you an evening or morning person?

10. What is for dinner tonight?

After completing these questions you must nominate a few bloggers with under 200 followers, and give them 10 questions of your choice.

Let your nominees know that they have been nominated and provide a link to your post for them so that they can learn about the nomination.

A November Monday: A Daybook Post

My Daybook

FOR TODAY

Outside my window… The leaves are rustling in the trees. So may birds are singing. The sun is out and the breeze is cool.

I am thinking… about the holidays. Christmas lists and the Christmas budget are very much on my mind.

I am thankful… for the health and the vehicles to keep up with this crazy life!

In the kitchen… there are dirty dishes, a range of foods that aren’t quite enough for a meal, and lots of Halloween candy. But there is also some yummy, healthy soup stock brewing!

fall kitchen

I am wearing… workout clothes – ready to go for some personal training.

I am creating… lots of beautiful rosaries in preparation for Christmas time.

I am going… to the gym, to pick up kids, to church later to help with RCIA.

I am wondering… how this year got so out of hand!

I am reading…  Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen, very slowly, a tiny piece at a time, and A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five. The Game of Thrones books seem never ending, but I know I am going to be super sad when I am all done.

I am hoping… the by the time I slog through this one the 6th book will be out. And I am really, really hoping our house will sell this week.

I am looking forward to… quiet time to write and pull my thoughts together.

I am learning… about viruses and how they work as I listen to The Great Influenza by John Barry on Audible.

Around the house… there are still too many boxes to be unpacked. I’m annoyed with myself, both for owning this much stuff and for not bothering to put it where it goes.

I am pondering… how the simplicity of what needs to be done never seems to translate into being able to just go and do it. When it boils down to it, that is what must happen, but I am always looking for a better how. Then again, I know I use that as an excuse for not acting – I always have to do a bit of research on it first. Procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand in my muddled brain.

A favorite quote for today… With All Souls day being yesterday, I was reminded of the quote from C.S. Lewis:

Our souls demand purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, “It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things nor  draw away from you. Enter into the Joy.”? Should we not reply, “With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleansed first.” “It may hurt, you know.” – “Even so, sir.”

One of my favorite things… peeking into my children’s room after they are asleep.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Far too much! Personal training, three times to ballet, gymnastics, boys choir, the dentist, the doctor, two field trips – little kids, so I am accompanying, then lots of extra masses for my husband this weekend as he subs for another parish. It will definitely be a week to grab down time when I can.

A peek into my day… Lunches, always lunches to pack.

lunches

Thank you to SimpleWoman for hosting this link up!

What I Wore Sunday: 11-02-2014

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My very first What I Wore Sunday post! I wanted to do this because it looked fun and because I can never remember what I wore last week.

Why is it that on Sunday mornings I wake up and my body is a whole different size? Holy bloating, Batman! But I always feel this way. Sunday means wearing clothes that are not as easy to move in as the rest of the week (and by move I mean lay on the couch.)

I started with a bright outfit, but then realized that this is the very first morning that it really feels and looks like fall around here. The sky is overcast, there is a bit of a chill in the air. So I decided to dress the part of fall, going head to toe neutral.

Ta-Da!

wiws2014-11-02Beige, black, brown. I know. I’m not usually a fan of browns, but it felt right today. Pearls because… do I have to justify pearls? Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend, pearls are. The skirt is a tough one, super comfortable, but my three year old nearly have the people behind me in mass a show a few times.

The shoes… what can I say about these shoes? Clarks flats that I have had for about 7 years. I keep trying to buy a different pair of black flats and just can’t break up with these.

Being a cool morning, today also brought to my attention that my little girls have a whole closet full of sleeveless dresses and one – ONE – dress with short sleeves. The changing season really got ahead of me this year!

See more Sunday outfits over at Fine Linen and Purple.

November Link Up Month!

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I love blogging! I’ve been doing it now since before I knew that was what I was doing. Anyone remember Geocities? I was there, HTML-ing my way through a “personal website” back in ’98 or ’99. (Gosh I wish I could go back and see one of my old blogs!)

I am so thankful that blogging is a thing and that I get to do it! In celebration of the fun of blogging, I’m going to make November all about the Link-Up.

What is a Link-Up? A link-up is a regular topic set up by a blogger. Others write on the same topic and add the link to their post at the bottom of the host’s article. Simple as that. If you read here, you will have noticed that I do a pretty regular link up with the 7 Quick Takes posts. I will be standing on the shoulders of giants this month, letting their ideas spur me on to write about some things that I might not write about otherwise. This is also about meeting community, and finding other bloggers who post their links as well.

I encourage you to click link ups at the bottom of each post and get to know not only me, but some other great bloggers as well.

7 Quick Takes 2014 vol 28: A Joke and an Upgrade

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

1. Gus loves knock knock jokes. He spent about 6 months telling totally nonsensical jokes just using the knock knock joke pattern. But he finally understands how it works, or at least knows enough actual jokes to make it look like he does. Here is my favorite:

Translation:
Gus: Knock Knock
Me: Who’s there?
Gus: Megan
Me: Megan who?
Gus: Megan end to these knock knock jokes or I’ll knock knock you!

2. So it’s Halloween and I guess I ought to say something about costumes. We have this giant box of costumes that we have accumulated over the years. The kids are allowed full access to it through the month of October. For that entire month, it looks like a laundromat exploded in my house. The kids have a ball, sure, but I am so happy we will be going back to only normal mess. Then I have a whole month before they start dragging Christmas decorations all over the house. I might have some cute pictures to post if I remember to take my camera. (Or bother with my phone…)

3. I started making this one about our high school’s homecoming, but other than being annoyed that it is on Halloween, I’m too tired to remember why I was going to write about this. Too tired. I’ve been too tired and too stressed too much lately and I’m starting to fall apart. But this week I stumbled across a miracle cure. I couldn’t even believe that it had never occurred to me to try this. It’s so cool, you are going to want to try it too. It’s…

getting more sleep.

I know, I know, right? This should have been obvious. But when momentum just keeps carrying you right past bedtime, it actually takes more energy to go to bed than to just ride the momentum through the evening.

Two times over the last week I got more than 7 hours of sleep in a night and noticed that I was a completely normal person the following day. Well, not completely normal, who wants that? But I had a functional brain and didn’t feel like I was constantly facing imminent doom. I didn’t even cry when I dropped a jar of salsa while making dinner. (Not that I love salsa that much, but it is just that one more thing.)

So I stand (sitting, really) here before God and the internet to state that my entire fitness goal for November is to get more than 7 hours of sleep as many days as I possibly can. Bonus points for 7.5.

4. House update. The house is finally back on the market, just in time for the market to completely die out for the holidays. I have lots of swear words about this one. But, um, it’s making me pray more, so there’s that. And before I figured out that I could get more sleep it was making me cry more. But now I’m normal enough to put on eye makeup, relatively confident that it won’t drip down my face. Trust me when I say that with the drainage system my husband put in place, flooding shouldn’t ever be a problem in that house again. (Unless it is another one of those storms that floods half the city. Then all bets are off.)

5. A couple weeks ago we joined the 21st century and got a real TV. Okay, my dad gave us his old TV and a stand for it. So now the kids don’t have to watch their obnoxious shows while crowded around a kindle or sitting on dining room chairs around the computer. It even has an antenna so my husband can watch the occasional sportsy thing in his own home. We still don’t have cable, and don’t really have regular shows we watch, so it hasn’t yet become a time eater, and I hope it stays that way. My kids are too lazy to figure out how to log into the roku or xbox and stream video without someone doing it for them, so we still have some control. I have to confess, I really like it.

6. We have a dryer! I’m kind of excited.

I went for three full months, with nine people in the house, with no dryer. Yes, first world problems, I know some people don’t even have clothes to wash. But please! Let me just be super happy that one thing in my life just got a lot easier.

7. That’s all folks! Have a great weekend, Enjoy your Halloween, go to mass twice, and do something nice like take a nap.

Oh, and check out more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Little Fingers Pray the Rosary

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To use polite words about it, praying the rosary with the kids has always been something of an interesting occasion. Who am I kidding, everything is an “interesting occasion” with a passel of little kids around. Still, we keep trying. We give up and shelve it from time to time but we always go back to trying to teach them to pray the rosary.

Why do we do this?

I think my primary reason I want to put this prayer method deeply into their hearts and minds is that it contains the primary parts of the Gospel. If, for some reason, my children find themselves isolated from the faith in some way, (desert island, lost in space, difficult peer group, war torn country with renewed persecution of Christians, or many other possibilities) I want them to have a basis of faith to fall back on.

Of course they have the grace of God with them always. But the Mysteries of the Rosary contain the most important points of the Gospel. If this is all they have someday, they will be well equipped.

I’ll save a full explanation of the Rosary for another day, but this is my reasoning for imparting this to my children.

In a renewed effort to bring the rosary to their hearts, I started saying one decade with them sometimes at bedtimes. We don’t do it every night. I make a note of which mystery we are on with Google Calendar, since that is where the details of everything else go too.

Rather than round up rosaries, pass them out, endure the swinging around, fighting over who got which one, dropping them, and the constant asking of which bead we are on, I did something different. It was a spur of the moment idea, but it is working really well. I told them the mystery like a story, including as much detail and wonder as I could. We prayed the Our Father. Then I held up my hands so they could see them, fingers extended, and put down one finger for each Hail Mary. To my surprise, they did the same and followed along easily.

I’m sure this isn’t a revolutionary idea, but it is changing how we can pray together.

One story. Ten fingers. Engaged children. Family prayer.

Thank you, Jesus!

This Post is Brought to you in participation with Sunday Snippets – a question is asked every week and this week’s question was: Do you have any suggestions regarding the Rosary? Books? Audios? Ways to pray it?

Find others’ answers at This That and the Other Thing.

7 Quick Takes 2014 vol 27: Why I Can’t Get Anything Done

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I get so frustrated with myself – I want so badly to have it all together (even though I have never bothered to define what that means) and I know I have it in me to accomplish great things, like putting the laundry away or blogging on some sort of schedule. Yet time after time it just slips through my fingers. Then there is a week like this one where I begin to remember why…

This may be a whine, or even a rant. Just so you know what you are getting into here.

1. Monday was my birthday! Yay for me, I’m 43! I haven’t done anything to celebrate it, and don’t really see a time when my husband and I could go out to dinner. Over all, I’m pretty happy. I am working, slowly but surely (with the exception of completely falling off the wagon on Thursday) to be healthier. I feel more secure in who I am. I’m even secure enough to know that at some point Jay and I will go out to dinner and that will count as my birthday dinner and it will all be fine. Monday I was totally fine with the day being wall to wall normal life. But now it’s Friday and I’m kind of tired of it.

2. I usually shy away from these kind of posts. My husband and I used to play this game; we called it “My Life Sucks Worse Than Yours”. The only problem is that no one wins at that game. Being the most pitied person in the duo never made us feel any better. But I just look at this week and think Damn! That’s a lot. So this isn’t meant to be a “My life sucks worse” attempt, because I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for yours no matter what. And it’s not a “Who’s Busier” contest either, because many people could have me beat. This is more of a “Why I can’t seem to get anything done” explanation. So please take it in the spirit intended.

3. Here we go: Monday and Tuesday held the usual craziness of taking kids back and forth – three trips to the preschool, ballet, church, gymnastics, boys choir. This week I added in personal training (a gift from my daughter for my birthday! How cool is that?) It was also the week we came back from Fall Break so I was subtracting about an hour and a half of sleep per night. Ouch.

4. Tuesday I also made one of those epic trips to Costco. Just me, Gus, and overflowing cart, a much smaller wallet, and the heat of the pavement heading out just past lunchtime to pack up the car. What’s this? The back of the van is already full of stuff?

And here we run into Principle #1 of Family Life: Everything will take twice as long and three times as much energy as you think it should.

I rearranged all the stuff in the back of the van, put down seats, buckled some groceries in empty carseats, etc. And finally got everything in the car and – barely – got the doors closed. Then we went home.

By that time my blood sugar is somewhere in the negative numbers, Gus is melting down because he is not only hungry, but it is an hour past his nap time. Time pressure is on. Get the frozen stuff in the freezer, get the food in the kid, put him down for a nap. Empty all the rest of the junk from the back of the van so this doesn’t happen again next week, which it totally could because it would be just like me to forget (again) that all that stuff is back there.

Finally, all that is done. Whew. I look at the clock. I have exactly ten minutes to shove some food in my own face, before waking my sleeping toddler and heading out the door to pick up his sister.

AAAAARRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!

To this point in the day I have had two cups of coffee and a yogurt. I MUST HAVE FOOD. But I have to pack snacks for the hungry monkeys. Because I have to go to one school, then the other – wait there for 40 minutes – then take 5 kids to gymnastics. Then take one to boys choir. And my husband was out of town, so there was bedtime…

There was no laundry done that day. I don’t think there were any dishes done that day. On to Wednesday.

5. Wednesday morning I was all on top of things. I got the lunches all made, I got the backpacks all packed. The big kids headed out the door and I went to hide with my coffee for just a few moments of quiet. (Stop laughing at me, it could happen – I’ve read about it in books – sometimes women sit still and drink some coffee.) My schedule that day was kind of freaking me out, so I decided not to go to bible study. When I emerged from my coffee stupor and realized that we should have left for school 5 minutes ago, I discovered that Gus had lost his shoes, socks, and pants, and both he and Molly had emptied their carefully packed backpacks and filled them with toys.

It was Gus’s day to bring snack.

Somewhere in my house there are now two perfectly good packages of microwave popcorn. Only God knows where.

We rounded up the rest of the stuff and made it to school. Then I went home, where I had ten whole minutes to eat something before running off to my personal training appointment, where my trainer lectured me about feeding my kids and eating Burger King the night before and I wasn’t even going to tell him what that day was like. Nope. It’s not even worth the effort. I just nod and say, “Yes, you are totally right, I should have given them a home cooked paleo meal.” Yep.

Then there was preschool pick up, and nap for Gus, and jump in the shower because I was gross, and then go pick up more kids, and then feed them, and then off to ballet. and then and then and then…

6. Thursday was a day of unusual chaos, but at least I had a good night sleep. So far this week I had been averaging about 6 hours of sleep which is not enough. Wednesday night I got a full 8 hours. So luxurious! Of course, that meant that I didn’t have the time to really look at what the day was holding. I had a pretty good idea, but I still ended up missing something.

Ben and Tessa left for school on time, then the youngest four kids and I headed off to the dentist. This was 21 miles away from our house. There I herded children for an hour as they each had their teeth cleaned. Then back in the car to take Max and Lily to school (29 miles the other direction) and pick up Tessa.

Of course dropping kids off and picking them up is no small job in itself. It means taking the little guys with us into the school, making everyone go to the bathroom again, situating the little kids in their classes and finding the older one at lunch. Finally, however, we were on our way. We stopped at home with just enough time for Gus to take half a nap and have a bit of lunch. Then I took Tessa, Molly, and Gus to the doctor (only 1.5 miles this time) for shots and asthma meds.

Gus was so upset his nose started bleeding. He has told us about 100 times so far that “Those shots really hurt!” He still won’t let me take the bandaids off.

Finally we were home, to stay, for hours at a time. The kids helped to clean up the house a bit (after I yelled a little, I’m ashamed to say.) I got some laundry hung to dry.

Can I just say I am SO OVER not having a dryer?

I fed them dinner, got them to bed, and talked to my husband on the phone – he was out of town for work. And he asked me, “So did Max make it to Boys Choir tonight?”

I was so close! I almost pulled off this crazy day.

7. Friday I have to figure out how to bilocate. I’m not sure what I am going to do yet. Worst case scenario is that I have to pick Gus up from preschool early. That is annoying but not deadly. But you will notice that through all this crazy week I didn’t once mention things like mopping, vacuuming, blogging (although I am sacrificing sleep to do it now) or other things that go along with running a household. I didn’t detail all of the things I did, of course, but you can see that there clearly wasn’t a whole lot else that was done. I know I have done six loads of laundry, which is not nearly enough, paid bills, and my kids haven’t gone hungry. In a frantic attempt to deal with paperwork, my dining room looks like a file cabinet threw up on it. The rest will have to wait for another day. Because…

Now, go see Jen @ ConversionDiary.com for more quick takes. Hurry, or I’ll make you wash some dishes!

7 Quick Takes 2014 vol 26: Autumn on the Surface of the Sun Edition

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So the season now is officially “Autumn” here are some snippets from Phoenix, a.k.a: The Surface of the Sun.

1. The weather has cooled down considerably. We haven’t been over 100 in well over a week. In fact, I think we have had a few days when it didn’t even hit 90. Everywhere you go you see people starting to wear clothes they have been missing for months – longer shorts, socks, things that aren’t swimsuits. I’ve even dared to wear jeans a few times, even though I immediately regretted is when I had to get into a blisteringly hot car.

Still, when I go for a walk in the morning, it is distinctly not hot out, which is lovely. I even was able to go for a hike at 9am without fear of immediate heat stroke.

2. No more swimming. The pool has cooled off enough that I won’t go in it again until next June, or if I fall in, whichever comes first. The kids would still be happy to swim, and I am sure that people from otehr parts of the country would be fine too. My personal rule is: never swim if the water is under 85 degrees. I might go as low as 80, but no lower!

3. The kids had Fall Break. a whole week off of school. Of course the three schools weren’t off at the same time, but it was still a much needed break for me. Especially when the ones who have to leave earlier had the week off. B-L-I-S-S. I could get used to sleeping in until 6:30. I think that whole week I only had one cup of coffee per day!

Of course this “break” of theirs made me feel like I had a break too, and so I posted, in fit of stress, Listless: Breaking Up With My To-Do List. The results have not been pretty. I’ll post a better update on Monday. There is no real break for mamas, and trying to check out like that is just Not Allowed. I’m leaving the post up there as a lesson to myself to make sure a life change will stick before posting about it. Gah.

I have so much catching up to do.

4. The outside beckons. Suddenly the kids are outside all the time. Nightly showers are needed to scrub off their grime. I feel like going for a walk, or a run, or just being outside. I joke that my favorite outdoor activity is going back inside, but that is only partly true. Sure inside is cleaner (or is supposed to be) and has more comfortable floors and couches and somewhat fewer bugs. (Excepting, of course, our current ant invasion.) But outside… trees, rocks, breezes… I think I need to buy a hammock.

5. I told you so. Every year, people in Arizona increase their bitching about the weather as September ticks by. People wonder aloud, shouldn’t it be getting cooler yet? Isn’t it cooler by this time other years? To which I answer, No. It is never cooler in September. There may be a few scattered cooler days, but it is not, in general, much cooler. Sometime during or after the second week in October it begins to cool off. Every. Single. Year.

And suddenly we all start to remember why we bother to live here.

6. Baking time! Or at least it feels like it. I’m not baking because I am trying to avoid gluten again because my stomach is a mess and I hate trying to make something only to have it fail to turn out edible. Maybe I will buy a pumpkin candle.

7. I’d love to wax more nostalgic about beautiful seasons, but I need to turn the A/C down, I’m hot sitting here in my jeans and cardigan, and I have to-do lists to write.

Happy Fall to everyone! Stomp in some leaves for us if you can!

Go see Jen @ Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

7 Quick Takes 2014 vol 25: Clutter Blind

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1. You see that incredible photo above? That is a sunrise. No filters, cross my heart! Sunsets are often beautiful, but I have seldom seen a sunrise this pretty. (Not that I see all that many sunrises, I’m awake at that time, but usually trying to pretend I’m not.) But really, I have made it out the door 4 out of 6 mornings this week to walk and/or run. And while I feel like I am dragging myself out the door by my own pony tail, I did it, and it felt great when it was done.

I’m reminding myself every morning that this is just as much for my mental health as for my physical health. I’m taking this one day at a time. Today was one more day down. I will think about tomorrow when I set out my clothes before bed. Because if my workout clothes aren’t fully ready (and where I will trip over them on my way to the bathroom) getting out the door just isn’t going to happen.

2. Oh, Honey! Last night, right as I sat down to dinner, one of my children spilled about 4 ounces of honey. I was literally just about to put the first bite in my mouth, and we had to leave for a choir rehearsal in about 10 minutes and… Honey. All over a cabinet shelf, down the door, and all over the floor. I would just like to point out that I did NOT kill or otherwise maim the culprit. I think I deserve a little credit for that. (I also didn’t take a picture of it, so I get an extra point for that too.)

And on that topic, I just don’t understand this whole spilling thing. I don’t even know HOW my children can spill as often as they do. It’s seriously like twice a dinnertime and every other meal. I once heard of a family who would just go ahead and dump out a glass of water on the table as soon as they sat down in a restaurant, just as a sacrifice to the Spill Deity. This, and not dental health or obesity, is why we don’t drink juice at meals.

3. Speaking of drinks, I’m afraid Molly is going to be one of those High Maintenance kind of girls. As just one example of how particular she is, here is a photo of her at breakfast the other day:

IMG_3014.JPGShe insisted on having one glass of room temperature water and one of ice water. (Double spill potential – she’s an overachiever too.)

Thankfully we now have a refrigerator that has ice and water on the door, which is turning a few of my kids into ice fanatics. It also means that I was every single cup every single day.

Oh, and at least one cup had to be green, which is her new favorite color, and has the extra benefit of making her younger brother mad because he wanted the green cup. Oy.

4. I think I’m having eyesight problems. I’ve become clutter-blind. We moved in almost three months ago and…

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IMG_3023.JPG… I’m not even seeing it anymore. At least not until I have to let a guest of some sort into the house. Then it all becomes crystal clear. I need to “finish unpacking”. I used quotes there because I’m not even sure that is a real thing.

5. I was so looking forward to cake this weekend. I have been looking for an excuse to buy a Costco cake for a while now. Mmmm… soft cake, creamy mousse, mountains of buttercream!  But I have been getting sicker and sicker lately and living with a constant feeling of someone punching me in the stomach. So I went off gluten again, and within two days, the pain was noticeably diminishing. While I am relieved to be feeling a little better, I have to say I am a little angry at my body for having this thing as a problem. I’m taking it one day at a time, just like my morning walk. Darnit.

6. Sunday my baby turns 3! In my entire parenting career, I have only had my youngest child be 3 or over one other time. (Which had to do with the Vasectomy/Reversal.) It feels like some kind of a milestone. I don’t have a diaper bag, I rarely use the stroller. Going places is so much easier!

Gus is a character who loves swords best of all things and singing second. When we go to a grocery store, he sings at the top of his lungs most of the time we shop. Better that than a tantrum, but it can still get a little embarrassing, especially when he hits his 50th repetition of a song her really don’t know the words to.

When he wakes up in the morning, he walks out to where the kids are getting ready for school and declares, “Look who’s awake!”

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7. Fun Books I’ve listened to in the last couple weeks:

You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself – Had an anti-religion slant to it, but otherwise the book was sciency and a fun listen. There was a lot of good information about seeing why we do the things we do.

Eat That Frog! – A good book about time management, but most of it didn’t apply to a crazy job like motherhood. For example, one woman made a list of all her duties at work and listed 17 things. Seventeen. I think there are 17 things I have to do before my kids leave for school. Otherwise, though there were some good tips on prioritizing and discerning what to spend your time on. Because it is short and kind of bullet-pointy, I think this would be better as a read than a listen.

The Ghost Map – Fascinating story about the cholera outbreaks in London and how they were traced to the water supply.

 

Have a great weekend and go see Jen @ ConversionDiary.com for more quick takes!

 

7 Quick Takes 2014, vol 24: Word In, Work Out, Work Plan

Word in

1. Word in. Work out. Work plan. There are many great life lessons to be found in Ann Voskamp’s post 25 Point Manifesto for Sanity for 2013, I have been reading that post for a year and half and practically have some of it memorized. In facing the chaos of this year, I decided to start being disciplined about putting it into practice. I have chanted “Word in, work out, work plan.” to myself to try to get on track many days, but I haven’t’ been so good at following up with it. I am making that my focus right now, to focus my days, to calm my spirit, to feel less frazzled and disorganized. Onward!

2. Word in. This part is no longer hard for me. I used to struggle to fit in bible study and prayer in random parts of my day, but you know how that goes… I began to toy with getting up earlier to do it then. That didn’t work great until I added coffee to the mix. Just having that little treat for myself helped me to get up and sit at the table. Still, it took me the better part of six months of on again, off again to really get it to stick. That was two and a half years ago. I have come to cherish this time in the early morning, and seldom skip it, even on the weekends and vacations. I crave this time now.

I am currently working on two different Bible studies, and no it really doesn’t get confusing. I focus on the readings for the upcoming Sunday for a few days a week and I am doing a study with a Facebook group on the Gospel of Matthew. It might sound super-scholarly, but that is not my goal. I am not up to intellectual study at 5am. I usually work through a guided question or two and journal a tiny bit.

3. Work out. Ugh. I am adding this one in. I haven’t been a regular exerciser for nearly a year now, and I can tell. I hadn’t realized how weak I had become until I tried to change the sheets on the top bunk a couple weeks ago. I couldn’t pull myself up! Between that and noticing that the stress pounds are starting to add up again. I am diving in.

Why did I quit before? Two reasons primarily: exhaustion, and over-tracking. I seem to have some sort of fatigue thing that pops up every couple months that just wipes me out. (Yes, I’ve gone to the doctor, only to be told that I have 9 kids, so that must be why I’m tired. I know. It’s ridiculous.) That was especially bad last November and I never got started again after that. The over tracking part is another story. I thought that if I was going to work out, I needed to quantify every little thing. For running, that meant following a progressive distance and speed plan. For strength training, it meant adding a rep as often as possible.

Right now, I am going to head out the door most days and walk for 30 minutes. The number of steps I take or distance I go doesn’t matter. I will be dressed so I can run if I feel like it. (I did run the first day, and I did better than I expected!) And that’s it. Begin. That is my whole fitness plan.

4. Work plan. I am so good at planning. I can plan circles around the most organized people I know. I set goals like a boss. Following through, though, is not my strong suit. Part of the problem is that I overplan, and part is just because – oh look! a new book! (Or other such distractions.) I have followed different planning systems over the years, always tweaking them to fit m situation. Currently I am using a variation on GTD for Homemakers (it looks like this was renamed to Declutter Your Head), and relying on keeping things digital instead of writing it out and having a paper to check in with multiple times a day.

I have a love/hate relationship with paper. I love to write things down, but I hate to keep track of it.  I’m working off of a daily plan in Evernote, my google calendar, and a running to do list (which I need to stop ignoring) using Remember the Milk app and website. This way everything is on my phone, computer, and kindle.

But setting up the system and planning my day is the fun part. Where the rubber meets the road is where I slack off. Work the plan! I have to keep redirecting myself to work the plan.

5. I have curly hair. I will be in denial no longer. Growing up, I had mostly straight hair. It had a slight curve to it, but it was easy to blow dry and looked nice straight. Not anymore. With each child my hair has curled more and more, to the point where it is really difficult to get truly straight. The trouble is that it is not uniformly curly. Underneath in the back there are beautiful fat curls:

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Then on top of that the hair is just wavy, not quite curly enough to be truly curly, and frizzed out because of the under layer pushing it out. I was going to post a picture but I decided against it, because this is just turning into me whining about my hair.

I finally accepted defeat and stopped trying to have a straight hair kind of haircut, so that has helped a little. Still, I just can’t make friends with my hair.  I’ve read Curly Girl, I’ve tried the tricks. They helped a little. What can be done with unevenly curly hair? Besides a pony tail or clip.) You know what the problem is? Curly hair is out of control. It’s messy. It has it’s own idea of the direction that it needs to go each day. That is what makes me crazy. Maybe I need to take a lesson from my hair and find the beauty as it happens. This seems to be a little contrary to the “Work the plan” part above, but it is really not, because I have to make reality part of the plan or the plan will fail. And that includes my hair.

6. Stupid house update. STILL not on the market. My poor husband has been working so hard to get the drainage situation fixed.

Drilling the drain along the whole length of the patio.

Drilling the drain along the whole length of the patio.

Whoever buys this house will never have drainage issues to deal with. In the mean time, I think both Home Depot and Lowes have given my husband his own honored parking space.

7. The mornings and evenings are finally cooling off! The days are still in the the 90s, but it is gloriously cool when the sun is down. I’m really enjoying the weather and the prospect of someday wearing jeans without regretting it all day.

That’s all for today, folks. Go see Jen @ Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!
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