Thursday, December 31, 2009

Small Successes-Christmastide

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

I feel like a lot has gone on here in the past two weeks. As I listen to the snowy mix fall outside, I'm pondering what might stand out as a success.

1. I suppose the fact that I baked a lot in the week leading up to Christmas would count as a success. I think on some level I've even come to like baking chocolate chip cookies from scratch, but I'm not ready to let my husband and kids in on that little secret just yet. There's something satisfying about seeing how happy homemade cookies make your family.

2. I've managed to keep the house surprisingly clean. Sure there are some presents that don't have a place yet, and my garage looks like a bomb hit it, but the rest of the house is presentable enough to have people over to visit. I even went out and brought storage containers to organize some of Ellie's new toys.

3. I have been able to pull myself away from my obsessive cleaning and straightening up to play with my kids over the past week. The girls got several board games for Christmas and I have been playing some of those games with them.

Bonus: To prepare for next Christmas (I'm such a nut!), I went bargain hunting at Target and got my wrapping paper for the girls' presents for next year (I like to color coordinate my wrap with the family room's green walls.) and a nice set of Christmas cookie cutters that will be used to make salt dough ornaments.

Bonus 2: I'm counting the fact that I'm out of bed and functioning before 8am as a success. I haven't been able to get up and stay up for nearly a week. I've just been feeling exhausted (probably from all the craziness leading up to Christmas).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

I just finished reading Susan Tassone's Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I spent more time pondering whether I wanted to read this book for The Catholic Company's Book Reviewer program than I actually spent reading it. It's funny how sometimes making a decision takes longer than the actual task at hand. The premise of the book intrigued me, but I wasn't sure if it intrigued me enough to want to read a book on it. Reading the blog Ask Sister Mary Martha, and a well timed homily at Mass a few weeks ago on the practice of "Offering it up" sealed the deal and I decided that I should choose this book as my latest selection. (You're all glad you know the reasoning behind me reading this book now, aren't you? I thought so.)

I found the book to be well written and very informative. As someone who was not all that familiar with the practice of praying for the souls in purgatory, I found the book to be a wealth of information. Susan Tassone explains in her introduction how exactly she got involved in her mission of freeing the souls in purgatory and from there the book gains momentum. The book is comprised of three sections.

The first section covers what is known about the holy souls in purgatory. It is essentially a catechism on purgatory, and how praying for the souls in purgatory works. It's a short section of the book, but it's packed with information. I think that's the section of the book that is either going to pull you in all the way or make you want to jump ship. I was in the camp that decided to forge ahead into the next section.

The second section is the real meat of the book. It covers what the saints have revealed about purgatory. It is in this section that you get a good explanation of the plethora of ways you can help the poor souls in purgatory and how doing so will help you avoid or lessen your time in purgatory. Who wouldn't be interested in this sweet sounding deal?

The third portion of this book covers how you can be an apostle of purgatory through a variety of seasonal practices and devotions. This section is a little sparse, but it offers references to other sources for a variety of devotions.

So who might want to read this book? Good question. I would say that anyone who has deceased relatives and friends (Who doesn't?) and wants to help those souls to heaven. If you think you may die some day, then I would think that you might also want to read this book. I like the quid pro quo behind the concept of praying for the poor souls in purgatory. Free them from purgatory and you have souls in heaven interceding for you. Of course, if you're a do it yourself kind of person who doesn't want any help reaching heaven then you can probably pass on this book. I can tell you that I'm pretty happy I decided to give this book a go.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer Program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

As a reviewer for The Catholic Company's Book Reviewer Program, I was supplied with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I think my kid grew!

On Christmas Eve I thought it was a little odd that Madeline's Christmas dress looked so short on her. When I brought it in early November it looked a little big on her. So I chalked it up to me forgetting what it looked like on her. No biggie.

She wore a new sweater she got for Christmas on Saturday so that fit her just fine and looked a smidge big on her. Then Sunday rolled around I thought her clothes looked a little small. Of course, at this point I'm thinking the shirt must have shrunk in the dryer. After running through the same scenario yesterday and today, I'm beginning to think that the clothes haven't gotten smaller, but rather, Madeline must have grown. She's never really hit a growth spurt before, unless I count the ones she hit as an infant. She's always been slow to grow so this sudden growth has come as a bit of a shock.

The funny thing in all of this is that I took her clothes shopping yesterday and picked up a few Spring outfits. I thought the clothes seemed a little on the small side, but I thought I was imagining it. I find it really hard to believe that I might have to buy some size 10 shirts for my child who was swimming in size 7/8 shirts back in September. The arms on the current shirts are fine, but her torso seems to have shot up. Even our neighbor who had the girls over for a play date this afternoon commented that Madeline looked taller. In fact, she appears to only be a few inches shorter than her very tall friend now.

Something tells me I'm going to have to buy some new clothes for Madeline before school resumes next week.

I love my neighbors!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my neighbors? Last week during the snowstorm I ran out of vanilla, and my next door neighbor kindly lent me enough to make a few batches of cookies. Then, while Bryan had my car a few days later, my other neighbor was kind enough to take me to Target so I could get essentials that we needed while her husband watched my kids.

Today wasn't shaping up to be my best day and then the phone rang. Another one of my neighbors called to see if the girls wanted to come over and play with with their girls. Score! I feel better now that I have had about 2 1/2 hours to myself. I got the house straightened up and most of the laundry folded and put away.

It's amazing how simple acts of kindness from the neighbors can really turn my day around.

Holiday Glutton

Ugh! Someone needs to come to my house and eat all of the homemade cookies that are sitting on top of my fridge. The chocolate chip cookies are a thing of the past, but the peanut butter cookies and my beloved tree cookies are still here. There's half a pumpkin pie and one third of my mom's homemade apple crumb top pie sitting in my fridge. And to top it all off, my brother brought me a 1lb box of the dark chocolate cordial cherries that I love from The Fudge Kitchen.

Since Christmas afternoon when I got the box of cordial cherries, I have consumed roughly half of the box. (And no, I haven't shared a single one and I don't intend to either.) That box of candy was the biggest surprise of the day for me. What an amazing brother I have!

In addition to my unfettered candy consumption (I got Jolly Ranchers and Nerds in my favorite flavors and Ghiradelli Peppermint Squares, too. The dentist is going to LOVE me!), I have been gorging myself on all of the homemade goodies. I feel obligated to eat the cookies my dad made especially for me, even though I'm not in the mood to eat them. And then there's the pumpkin pie that I love. I can't let that go to waste, can I? I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I'm also indulging in fast food this week. Yesterday we did Happy Meals from McDonald's (because there's no CCD on Thursday night) and today I took the girls to Chick-Fil-A (because I got a gift card for Christmas that I just HAD to use). I topped all of this healthy eating off with a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino because, you guessed it, I got a gift card to there for Christmas.

I'm trying my hardest to get the girls to eat some of the cookies, but they're more interested in the candy canes that they're finally allowed to eat. Bryan is only interested in the now extinct chocolate chip cookies.

When I start to whine in a few days that my pants that are usually falling down won't button you can all feel free to tell me that it's my own fault. Too bad Lent is so far away. If it were closer I'd be contemplating giving up some of my beloved gluttonous foods. Of course the caveat to me doing that is the fact that I have a tendency to not go back to things I have given up for Lent. Here's hoping I can exhibit some will power and not eat junk all day tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book Review: The Gospel According to LOST

I recently had the opportunity to read Seay's The Gospel According to LOST as a reviewer for the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program (I was supplied with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review). I'm one of those avid fans of ABC's LOST series and I figured with the amount of analyzing I have done over this show over the past several years that this book would really appeal to me. The scriptural references and parallels that can be made with the LOST series was nothing new to me, and has been discussed in depth on LOST message boards and on a Philadelphia morning radio show (Preston and Steve, anyone?) in the past. LOST is the only show that has sent me running for my Bible to try and get clues for future episodes or a greater insight for the story line. So with that in mind, I was hoping that Seay's book would expand on what I had already discovered through various discussions with other LOST fans. Sadly, I feel he fell short. Seay's premise is good, but it's superficial at best. He attempts to explain the main characters of the LOST story line, but I feel he glosses over some key characters who may actually be larger than their small parts lead you to believe. As far as scriptural references are concerned, I think this book is a little lighter on them than I would have expected. Perhaps I feel this way because I read a lot of Catholic books that are heavy on scriptural references. I would also add that this book is not written from a Catholic standpoint, either. There are a few areas in this book that have statements that are clearly from a protestant standpoint, which makes sense given that it is written by a protestant. The writing style of this book is mildly engaging. I suspect that people, like myself, who have really analyzed LOST down to the last detail will find this book lacking and possibly even boring. In reading the epilogue of this book the author succinctly sums up the reason for this book. He writes "I sometimes wonder if I wrote this book so that I could have a legitimate reason to rewatch LOST episodes while my wife put the kids to bed.". I'd have to say that this is, indeed, probably the driving force behind this book. If the author's analysis had been deeper and more meaningful, I'd say he had a better motive in writing this book, but honestly, I think he did write this as an excuse to shirk his responsibilities as a dad and say "Sorry dear, I can't help you put the kids to bed tonight. I've got to do more research for that book I'm writing on LOST." (Grabs chips and heads for the couch.).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas filled with good times, laughter and love!

How did Christmas Eve get here?

It's true that I have been finished with my shopping since before Thanksgiving. It's also true that all of the gifts have been wrapped and tagged since the first week in Advent. So it would stand to reason that I'd be totally ready for Christmas at this point, right? Surprisingly, I'm not. Cookie preparations and Christmas crafts have been my stumbling block. Add in some snow and the resulting messy kitchen floor (I lump my entry way into the floor since it's all connected) and you wind up with a frantic Karen.

This morning I woke up at 6AM and simply could not go back to sleep. So I did what any neurotic mom would do on the day before Christmas. I got up, spent about 15 minutes in silence meditating (which was interrupted by husband who also couldn't sleep) and then got to work cleaning and baking. I now have a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (third batch in under two weeks--this is unheard of for me), a pie in the oven (a frozen one), and a freshly mopped floor. The tasks that remain include cleaning cookie sheets, wiping down the stove top, vacuuming and laundry. I also need to formulate my covert operation of present arranging this evening and I will need to place bows on certain packages.

As of right now I feel a little overwhelmed. I need to iron our clothes for Mass tonight and prepare a baked ziti for dinner. If I didn't think the kids would balk at having pizza again (They're such odd kids, I could live on pizza every day, but they for some reason can not live like that.) I would take the easy way out and order a pizza after Mass.

Here's hoping this day is long enough for me to get everything finished and still have time to relax.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Festivus!

Festivus, hmmm? Yes, it's that lovely holiday where you gather your family and tell them all the ways they've disappointed you over the past year. Sounds like fun, right? I can only speculate that while cathartic, Festivus is probably not really a happy celebration. In this lovely holiday, family members air their grievances and the "fun" is not over until the head of household is wrestled to the ground and pinned down. Jen over at Cake Wrecks has a lovely post featuring Festivus cakes today. (It's a Festivus miracle!)

Last year as I agonized over the perfect design and saying for our Christmas card, I toyed with the idea of sending out a Festivus card to some of our more secular friends and family. I wanted to take a picture of the girls with a pole and wish them all the courage to air their grievances and the energy to perform great feats of strength. I thought the idea was pretty funny, but Bryan reminded me that not everyone would get the humorous tone of the card. I knew he was right, so I decided against it. I also refrained from sending out a Happy Christmakwanzakkah card. I would have received a lot of phone calls on that one!

We've never actually celebrated Festivus, but part of me sure would like to do so. I have my mother-in-law and her husband coming over tonight. Wouldn't it be fun if we could all air our grievances? (There are plenty!) I could blast my husband about the little things he forgets or chooses not to do around the house that drive me insane, or I could fully express how devastated I feel about his refusal to practice his faith and be an example to his children. But alas, I know there will be no Festivus celebration. (We don't have an aluminum pole! And everyone knows the pole is a big part of Festivus!) And even if we did celebrate Festivus, I doubt it would be happy. Instead, I think I will have a mental Festivus (to avoid ruining Christmas) and will follow it up by continuing to pray for those things which I simply cannot change on my own.

If you choose to celebrate Festivus today, I wish you courage to air your grievances, strength to defeat your head of household and many Festivus miracles!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sitting like a lady

Maybe I'm too prudish (I doubt it.), maybe I'm old fashioned or maybe I'm just aware that there are a lot of perverted people in the world. Anyway, the bottom line is I teach my daughters to sit like a lady. That is, legs together or crossed at the knees or ankles. We're not in the business of giving what they call in the dance school world a "crotch shot" to anyone who may be looking in our direction.

Do I have a point here? Why, yes, I do, thanks for asking. I seldom get to watch the nightly news since the girls monopolize the family room TV. (Smart girls that they are, they prefer the big screen TV to the small basement TV.) Tonight while they ate dinner I got to watch 30 minutes of the news. During one segment they showed Mrs. Obama at the Washington [D.C., I presume] Children's Hospital. She was reading a story to some children assembled there. I was stunned when I saw how she was sitting. I'm sorry, but if you are First Lady of the United States you need to sit like a lady. And, you should be instructing your young daughters to sit like ladies, too. I guess it's a good thing none of them were wearing skirts or dresses.

I'm beginning to wonder when modesty went out of style.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unfulfilled plans

Over the past month I have spent a large amount of time planning classroom holiday parties. I'm room mom for Madeline's class, and as such, I am responsible for organizing class parties. It's a lot of work, but I happily do the job because I know it makes Madeline really happy. The first three years she was in school I didn't help out like I do now because I was busy with an infant who grew into a hard to wrangle toddler. I had my hands full and sending in napkins or cookies for a class party was about all I could manage at the time. On some level I really enjoy planning these parties. I'm very organized and in most cases, I can put these parties together in under 5 days. Sometimes things get a little hairy, but seeing the smiling kids at the party makes the hassles worthwhile. Planning a party for my CCD class is a little less stressful, but still it took me some time to figure out what I wanted to ask the parents to provide for the party, and of course planning a craft takes a little time. The time it takes to plan these parties really adds up. When all of it gets cancelled due to one snow storm, it's a huge understatement to say that I'm disappointed.

I got a phone call from Madeline's school about 30 minutes ago. School has been cancelled for the rest of the week. In one week, our school has used up all three built in snow days. Easter break will now only be a few days long. (Madeline is going to LOVE that she will be at church just about every day of her Easter break.) I'm angry with the township for doing the crappiest plowing job I've ever seen. (Note to plow truck drivers: If you put the plow DOWN, you can move the snow better!) If they had been proactive and plowed throughout the snowstorm instead of waiting until there was 24 inches of snow on the road we might not have such awful road conditions and the kids probably would have been able to go to school this week.

Madeline is very upset that her holiday brunch and Polar Express day will not be happening at school. I feel bad for all the parents who are now stuck with brunch items for a class of 25. If I had known this afternoon that school was going to be cancelled for the week I wouldn't have had to endure a trip to a mad house supermarket with a poorly cleared parking lot to buy french toast sticks for the brunch. Ugh!

On the bright side, today was not a total waste of a day. I took the girls to visit my parents. I dropped off our gifts to my parents and gave them all the gifts I had for my brothers and other family members that they would be seeing. I got Madeline off to confession, and to make her feel better about going, I went, too. (Twice in two weeks. That's astonishing for me.)

My brother, Mark, who got in the car accident the night before Thanksgiving is still pretty shaken from it. (Did I mention that before? The car was totaled but he wasn't seriously injured.) I called him today and he told me that this year he won't be driving up to my house for Christmas Eve. I'm disappointed, but I'd rather him not have to stress out about the drive. Since Madeline was born, Mark has come to our house late every Christmas Eve to say good night to the girls and help Bryan and I put all the Christmas gifts under the tree. He usually hangs out with us for a few hours and watches movies or hits me while we play the Wii. (He said it was an accident, but I think he was being a sore loser that year.) It will seem odd not having him here this Christmas Eve, but given his track record when traveling around holidays, I'd rather him stay safe at home. I suspect my parents will probably drive him to our house on Christmas.

I'm amazed at how much one snowstorm has managed to thwart a vast majority of my plans. (Let's not forget that all of my weekend plans were ruined, too.) For a control freak like me, this is a very humbling experience. Clearly, I am not the one in control here. I'm doing my best not to get too upset about all the upheaval.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snowed in

I think it's official. We're snowed in. We must have 18 inches of the white stuff at this point. I have spent the entire day in sweatpants (this happens very rarely).

All of our weekend plans have been cancelled. My father-in-law made the wise decision to stay safely at home. Driving from Staten Island to here wouldn't have been a good idea. And when you consider that the city hasn't come to plough our street, I don't think he would have been able to get to our house if he had decided to come here.

Going to Mass tonight didn't happen for obvious reasons. I seriously doubt I'll be able to get there tomorrow, unless our street gets cleared. My religious ed class is cancelled. I feel so bad that the kids won't get to have their party. I had fun things planned for tomorrow's class and now we won't get to do them.

Madeline's soccer game hasn't been cancelled yet, but she won't be going to it. We don't have a car with four wheel drive so we won't be trying to travel roads that are out in the middle of farmland.

We did have our turkey dinner tonight, but even that didn't go as planned. The turkey was a bit too pink, and the stuffing wasn't exactly sticking together. Poor Bryan worked so hard all day to make our dinner and it didn't turn out the way he had hoped. Oscar didn't mind that it wasn't perfect. He was pretty happy to eat some of our turkey scraps.

On a positive note, we have had a very relaxing day. We've watched lots of Christmas movies and have lounged around the house in comfy clothes. (It's a rare occasion when I decide to don a tee shirt and sweatpants.) Ellie was perfectly content to spend her entire day in pajamas.

I suspect that we will be baking my favorite Christmas cookies tomorrow. I could go for a forest of green press cookie trees with sprinkles. My mom gave me a little bag of them a week ago and they didn't last 24 hours.

Will this be the weekend of disappointment?

For a few days, everyone has been talking about the impending snow storm that they have been predicting on the news. Since I have two kids who take over the family room TV, I never get to see the news. If I don't read about something online, hear about it on the radio, or from my husband, friend or family room, then assume that I just live under a rock. (To be honest, I kind of like living under my rock. It's cozy here.)

Given that I'm not up to date on the news most of the time, I tend to be VERY skeptical when people start talking about snow. Snow, as you all know is a four letter word. It is perhaps the worst one I know. (Well, I know others that I won't use on this blog that are worse, but they don't offend me like snow does.) I did what any skeptic would do over the past few days. I denied that snow could happen, let alone stick.

I can no longer deny the weather forecast for snow. It came, it stuck, and I am now forced to acknowledge that it's here. In my opinion, this wintery precipitation could not have picked a worse weekend to come here. My father-in-law and his girlfriend are supposed to come here today to celebrate Christmas a few days early. The kids were excited. (Grandparents and presents tend to have that effect on them.) I spent all day yesterday getting the house ready for guests and thawing a 15lb turkey. Now, I don't know if they'll be able to make it as the white stuff continues to fall from the sky and is predicted to do so until tomorrow morning. This weekend is also the Christmas party for the CCD kids. Santa is supposed to visit them and we were going to be singing Christmas carols and having a good time. Now I'm not sure if that class is going to happen. The deacon cancelled classes last year when snow was in the forecast. (The snow didn't fall until 12 hours after the class time.) I suspect he'll be canceling the classes tomorrow. It's less important, but I was also supposed to be picking up my envelopes at church this weekend. (You should all know by now that I worry about stupid things.) If I'm snowed in, how am I supposed to get to church? Ugh. I suspect that Madeline's soccer game for tomorrow may also be cancelled. I'm also supposed to drive to my mom's and get the turkey for Christmas and the gifts.

I know I'm whining, but I really wish this snow wasn't here to wreck all of my weekend plans. I have things to do, places to go and people to see. I think worst of all is the thought that my little family of four will have to eat the turkey alone (I suppose we could invite neighbors over), and the potential of having to keep all the Christmas treat bags for my kindergarten class for two more weeks. (I want those bags out of my house like you wouldn't believe.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heater is fixed!

I'm still waiting for the heating company that fixed my heater back in October to return my call about the non-functioning heater. Nice, huh? Bryan came home early from work and called another heating guy who came out within the hour. A few hours later I had heat again. Then we had a new problem. The heat wouldn't go off. I had Bryan call the heating guy and it turns out something was left in the heating unit that would override the thermostat.

We have gone from very cold to very warm in the span of a day. I'm very happy that everything is on it's way back to normal. Here's hoping I won't need to see a heating repairman for a long time. Twice in two months is too much!

I simply can't win.

My heater isn't working again. The house is 62 degrees and it's in the 30s here. I discovered this lovely little fact as I was getting ready to go to the store with Ellie. I could cry.

I called the heating place that I had out here about two months ago and all I got was the answering machine. I'm hoping they will call me back soon. I'm really worried that I'm going to go nearly a week with no heat like we did last time. The fact that they're calling for snow and temperatures in the 30s this weekend does not make me feel any better.

On the bright side, I have my lovely headache inducing fireplace to warm up the house [a little]. Oh and this time, the pilot light on the heater is actually working. (The ignition switch for the pilot is what was busted back in October.)

Clearly, I am not meant to have a peaceful Advent this year. Sigh.

It's a Hanukkah miracle!

Did my title catch your attention? Some of you are probably scratching you heads trying to figure out why this crazy Catholic woman is talking about a Hanukkah miracle, right? Well, I kind of like to celebrate lots of holidays.

As a teen, I used to like watching reruns of old Saturday Night Live episodes. Besides the Land Shark and the Choppin' Broccoli song, Hanukkah Harry really stuck with me. So while I don't actually celebrate Hanukkah, I do jokingly tell my kids that if they're good Hanukkah Harry will leave them socks or underwear or some other very practical item. My brother, Mark, and I usually give each other a present from Hanukkah Harry on Christmas. We even use Hanukkah wrap. And, I have to admit that I love the dreidel song. It's just so catchy.

So what's the Hanukkah miracle? Bryan sent me a text telling me to order the speed light for my camera. I've been wanting to buy one for nearly two years, but have found the $250 price tag for a camera accessory to be too rich for my blood. After Madeline's first communion I was really disappointed in how my indoor shots came out and Bryan offered to buy me the speed light for my birthday and Mother's Day (the Sunday and Monday directly following Madeline's first communion). Of course, we suddenly needed to get Bryan's car repaired and let's just say the speed light never got ordered. (Such is life!) So the simple fact that Bryan got an unexpected bonus that will bring me my much wanted speed light and him his much coveted office TV is something that I'm going to refer to as the Hanukkah miracle of 2009. Kind of makes you wonder what Festivus will bring!

Think they'll get the message?

For three days now I have sent my children to the basement to play and have told them that the giant mess needs to be cleaned up. I'm a neat freak. I like everything to be in it's designated place. Messes and disorder really bother me. Last night I reminded the girls at least three times that they needed to make sure the basement was clean before bed. So imagine my irritation when I see that the Legos finally got picked up, but in exchange Barbie pieces, play food and sidewalk chalk had been strewn about. It is taking everything in me to not straighten up the basement myself and ban the kids from playing with their toys. (That's my unhealthy obsession with perfection trying to creep in and take over.) So with a full week left before Christmas, I decided to see if a little not so subtle reminder will be the kick in the pants my girls seem to need. Think it will work?

Small Successes-Third Week of Advent

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

Ok, I think this week some of my "small successes" aren't exactly small, but since I tend to sweat the small stuff I'm going to assume that maybe they really are small simply because of the amount of stressing out I have done over the past week.

1. I finally got around to making gingerbread houses (from a kit, of course) with the girls. My house looks pathetic, but the girls' houses came out great. I little success within a success is that I did not freak out about the mess made from this activity. I managed to keep the neat freak in me calm throughout the entire process.

2. I baked. (I'll wait a moment for all of you to pick yourselves off the floor after reading that earth shattering statement.) It's true. I made chocolate chip cookies from scratch and peanut butter cookies from one of those pouch mixes. Bryan and the kids are happy with the cookies. The chocolate chips are almost gone. So much for my hope that they'd last until Christmas. Clearly, the cookies never had a chance.

3. I managed to write what I hope is a decent lesson plan for the 7th grade religious ed class that I am now teaching. Last Thursday I substituted for this class and made the decision to teach it. The original teacher backed out after two weeks and the kids had 5 classes in a row of substitutes. I felt bad for them and decided to step up and teach them. I'm pretty overwhelmed right now at the prospect of teaching this class given that I just jumped right into it, but I'm sure I'll get my bearings soon enough. I had a good time with the kids last week, and I'm hoping each week will get better and better. It's certainly a switch from the kindergarten class that I teach. I'm hoping that I can learn the names of the 16 kids in the class. I remember the names and faces of two kids. That's a start, right?

4. The Holiday Brunch for Madeline's class is all planned and ready to go. I managed to get everything planned in under a week. I'm one busy mom!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Procrastinating again

Now that the gravity of my overzealous volunteering has hit me, I'm in the middle of a serious case of procrastination. Back in the Spring, I really felt like I should have taken the 7th grade CCD class when it was offered. But I was pretty reluctant. Then the deacon and his wife asked me a few times to consider teaching a kindergarten or 1st grade class on Sunday morning instead. I agreed to the kindergarten class because it would give me an excuse not to have to go to the 9:15 Sunday Mass and have my ears assaulted by the Folk Song group (Yes, it's that bad, and no I don't care if it sounds really uncharitable. It's the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.)

Since the beginning of the school year I have had several moments where the thought that I really should have taught the older kids has crept into my head. (Don't get me wrong, I love my kindergarten class. They're great.) Week after week I see the plea for a religious ed teacher in the church bulletin and I did my best to ignore it even though I suspected it was a Thursday night class for an older grade. (It was.) Then, I have been asked to sub for the 7th grade and I found an excuse not to do it, only to get called the following week for the same class. I figured something was up and like a character on LOST (love that show) I realized that I couldn't keep avoiding it. Obviously, SOMEONE wants me to teach this class. So I stopped digging in my heels and decided to step up. I can't explain it, but I really felt like something was calling me to do this even though my instincts tell me to run in the other direction. So for now, I am procrastinating. The line from the Producers that "We're in too deep!" keeps going through my head, but I'm sure I'll be alright. I just feel a little overwhelmed with the task at hand. Sometime today, or tomorrow before 5PM I need to sit down and go back over the lesson plan I drew up last week. I need a game plan. I need motivation. I need a healthy dose of confidence or faith that I can, indeed, do this.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

There's more to living than life!

On Sunday, Bryan and I were discussing the recent competitive behavior of Madeline's soccer coach. We were concerned that he has gotten to the point where he's pushing so hard and is so worried about winning that he's going to push the girls away from the sport. It's sad, because he says there they're to learn the game and have fun, but it really seems like his focus is winning. I wasn't at Sunday's game, but I heard plenty about it from Bryan and Madeline who were in the box with him. So as we were discussing the coach, Madeline started going on about how it's not about winning, but having fun. She doesn't understand why coach is getting all bent out of shape. That's when she spouted out the lovely saying you see at the top of this blog. She interjected into the conversation that Bryan and I were having that "Someone should tell Coach R that there's more to living than life!". Umm....ok, if you say so. Personally, I don't see how you can separate life from living, but sure, we'll roll with it.

This lovely little quote came to mind this morning as I did Madeline's hair. I looked down at her and thought "Gosh, her eyelid looks awfully fleshy!". So I did a closer inspection and discovered that my daughter plucked just about every single eyelash off of her right eye. She has maybe 8 on the bottom and about 14 on the top. God help me! The other eye has a few bald spots but it's nothing like the right eye. Of course Madeline blamed us for the situation after she lied to us several times about how it happened. I feel like I'm in the Austin Powers movie sometimes when I'm trying to get the truth out of her. I have to ask the same question three or four times before I get the truth. She plucked her eyelid bare because it was hurting her and we [Bryan and I] weren't doing anything about it. (Ever hear of rubbing your eye, kid?) Mind you, this child has never told me here eyelashes hurt. I would have told her to gently rub them.

Bryan did a Google search and found that it will take 6 weeks for the eyelashes to grow back, but in 4 weeks she should start to look normal. Christmas morning pictures should look interesting. I guess I should have taken the girls for Christmas portraits this year, but I certainly won't be going now. I will just have to be happy with the beach pictures I took back in October.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eeek! Chistmas is in less than two weeks!

I've been chugging along all Advent happy in knowing that my Christmas shopping is totally done. The gifts are all wrapped and tagged and I'm not worrying about gift giving. That, in itself, is a great feeling.

So with the house decorated and the Christmas shopping done, one might assume that I'm having a rather relaxing month of December, right? Of course not. Life has once again become a whirlwind of activity. On Tuesday, I got an email from Madeline's teacher asking me to organize the Holiday Brunch for her class. I had already committed to organizing all the parties for Madeline's class for this year in September. I'm the room mom. I don't mind doing this, but I do mind that I was given 15 days notice. In an ideal world, the teacher would have notified me that there was going to be a party the weekend after Thanksgiving. Most people are busy getting ready for the holidays and getting asked to take off from work to volunteer at a party or send in hot food for a brunch is probably pretty low on their list of things to do. The party planning started off well enough, but we've now hit a lull and several key food items are still on the list and no one seems interested in sending volunteering to bring them to the school. So right now I'm just a little stressed about the holiday brunch.

On Thursday morning I got called to substitute for a 7th grade religious ed class. I agreed to sub and I discovered that the class was without a catechist. The teacher for that class showed up for the first two weeks of class and after that the class has had a string of substitutes. I felt bad for them. Clearly, no one was responding to the call for help in the parish bulletin for religious ed teachers. I talked to the DRE on Thursday and explained that I was going into this class with some trepidation as a sub and that based on how they behaved during that class, I would consider teaching the class. I was pleasantly surprised by the class.

They're typical 7th graders, but I didn't have any kids with bad attitudes. Sure, we had some moments where talking got out of hand, but for the most part, they were a pretty good group. I had one girl roll her eyes at me and that stopped when I informed her that I can roll my eyes, too, and have been doing it since before she was born. It always gets these kids when I call them on something they don't think I saw.

Since cell phones were a problem when I subbed for a 4th grade class last month I made sure the first thing I told this class was that cell phones weren't allowed to be on during my class, unless of course, they wanted me to get a cup of water and "accidentally" drop their phone in it. That comment alone was enough to make them all reach for the phones and silence them. They warned their friends as they came into the class to put their phones away or I was going to make them drop it in water. I can be a fun and fair teacher, but I'm not going to even try to compete with cell phones and texting.

I also made it clear to them that how they acted would determine whether or not I'd consider being their permanent teacher. They clearly were getting weary of having subs, and were surprised when they were told the old teacher had decided she didn't want to teach the class. (In fact, some of the kids were really hurt saying they did their best to be good.)

At the end of the class, I asked them to raise their hand if they wanted me to stay on as their teacher. It was pretty much unanimous (I had a couple hold outs who wanted to know if I was going to give them homework--a question I wasn't willing to answer.). So I informed the DRE that I would take the class. Ellie and I will now be spending our Thursday evenings in the company of 7th graders.

Since Thursday night, I have been busy writing lesson plans and trying to determine what I need to focus on in the class. In some regards, I'm at a disadvantage. As a convert to the Catholic faith, I never went to CCD or even a Catholic school. In fact, I stopped going to Sunday school in third grade because I HATED going there. (I used to ditch Sunday school and sit in the stairwell when I was a kid as young as 5.) All I have to go on is what I remember my friends telling me about CCD and what my husband remembers of his years in CCD. I used to quiz my friends on the stuff they had to memorize for confirmation, so I essentially learned all the basics by helping them study. So I'm not totally clueless, but I'm now entering a territory that is light years ahead of a kindergarten CCD class and is more in depth than the RCIA class that I went to for less than 6 months. I guess what I have going in my favor is I am well read on Catholicism, I'm familiar with the Bible, and I like to read the Catechism when I have nothing else to read, so I'm not oblivious and walking into the class totally blind. It's a big jump going from kindergarten to 7th grade, but already teaching this class is having an impact on my lesson plans for the younger grade. I can't explain it, but a certain clarity came to me in how I'm writing up my lesson plans for the younger grade when I formulated my plans for the 7th grade. It's funny how things click sometimes.

I'm feeling a little stressed with all the the new responsibilities, but I'm hopeful that everything will work out just fine. Now if I can just get the motivation to bake some Christmas cookies, my stress level would surely plummet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is the volunteer bug biting again?

I may have mentioned that Bryan is now one of the assistant coaches for Madeline's indoor soccer team. I have to say I'm kind of surprised he stepped up to coach again. And, I think there's the possibility that he may even step up and coach her team for the next session. We have an awesome coach and three assistant coaches (Bryan included), but the next indoor session will likely have two teams from our soccer club and it's already been mentioned that the team will need coaches. After this first indoor game, I think Bryan is really considering coaching the team himself. He has played indoor soccer in the past and he wasn't exactly happy with the way line changes were done last week.

Twice in 14 hours I have received a call from the Thursday night CCD coordinator. First she wanted me to sub for the session Madeline doesn't attend. (Bryan fielded that call while I was out last night and told her I wouldn't be interested.) I'm dedicated, but not THAT dedicated. Then this morning the phone rings and she asked me for the second week in a row to sub for the 7th grade class. Last week I wasn't feeling well so that and the fact that I wasn't sure I wanted to teach a 7th grade class led me to say no. This week I decided to see how insane I really am and I said yes. There has to be a reason I got called for 7th grade two weeks in a row, right? So I asked the coordinator my standard questions, what chapter are they on, is there a lesson plan and in general how is the behavior of this class. I come to find out that this class does not have a catechist. So they have been in class since mid-September and they still don't have a teacher and this is a sacrament prep year. If I were a parent of one of those kids I'd be really upset about this. How much can they be learning with no steady teacher? So I'm awaiting a phone call from the coordinator to find out what chapter the class did last week. I ran over to the parish office and got a copy of the text used for the class so I can start in on writing up a lesson plan. I let our religious ed director know that depending on how this class is tonight, I may decide to step up and teach the class. I'm pretty sure Bryan thinks I'm insane. I mentioned to him a couple of weeks ago that I was considering picking up a Thursday night class next year [meaning the 2010-11 school year], but I think that may be coming sooner than I think. Part of me is very hopeful that this class will have some really well behaved kids in it so that I'll want to be their catechist. I've been complaining for a few months that the kindergarten CCD is just too basic. I could use a class that has a little more substance.

Small Successes-Second week of Advent

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I managed not to freak out when I got an email two nights ago from Madeline's teacher asking me to organize the Holiday Brunch for her class with 15 days notice. Eeek! Umm...I'm a control freak and I REALLY would have liked to have known about this last week. If I'm going to be fair, I guess I should have emailed the teacher last Friday when Madeline came home with the "Daily News Flash" for her class and I saw the brunch listed. But then I figured that maybe she was letting another mom organize the party so it didn't look like I was the classroom party tyrant. The party planning started off pretty well, but it seems to have petered out with many things left on the list. I'm trying not to judge the people who reply with just an "I'll bring the ketchup!" when I have more pressing items on the list like beverages and actual food. Worst case scenario I'm adding water to the ketchup and making tomato juice. (I'm kidding about that. Man that would be gross!)

2. Indoor soccer started this Sunday for Madeline. I accepted the fact that I'm simply not going to get any good pictures because of how the venue is set up. Flash, no flash, there's just no getting around the fact that a chain link fence pulls the focus of the camera. The lighting situation is also pretty bad in there. Madeline's team lost, but my daughter didn't cry about the loss (some of the girls did). I'm happy that at this point in time it's just a game to her and she's not concerned about winning or losing. Oh, and I kept myself from screaming like a maniac in the bleachers. I determined that screaming on the sidelines at a normal soccer game is not the same as screaming from the bleachers at an indoor game. The realization that every Sunday from now until mid-May will have a soccer game (with the exception of Easter and Mother's Day) set in earlier this week. With me teaching CCD on Sunday mornings and occasionally going to the 7:45AM Mass before that class, I can see that Sundays are going to be long days for a good many months. (We normally go to Mass on Saturday night incase you're wondering why I said we occasionally go to Mass on Sunday.)

3. I went out and ran several errands last night without any kids. That was nice. And I also managed to squeeze in going to confession. I got a lot done in under 1 1/2 hours considering I went to four different stores in three different areas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When a four year old THINKS she's funny...

Ellie thinks she a riot. Sometimes she is, but a lot of the times she's not. Take her practice of calling people a peanut. For one, the way my lovely child says peanut while laughing at herself, doesn't always sound like peanut. Her delivery of "You're a peanut! [insert Ellie's cackle here] catches just about everyone off guard except her four year old friends. I daresay this is probably worse than potty humor. It's really awkward to explain to parents of her classmates or strangers that my child called him (it's usually a man or boy) a peanut. I suppose if her delivery was articulated a bit better I wouldn't have shocked looking people all around me every time she does this. It's been several months now that I've been telling Ellie that it's not funny and it's not nice to call people peanuts. It's not a constant thing, but when it happens I really want to crawl under a rock or say that I'm just babysitting her.

Last night was one of those nights that left me wanting to run and hide. I took the girls to the vigil Mass (today's a Holy Day of obligation). On our way out, a couple that looked very familiar to me stopped me outside the church to ask me if I had a flat tire 6 months ago over by Rowan University. Of course, when he said that to me I immediately thought about my incident of flipping out on someone who tried to commandeer the air hose at Wawa 6 weeks ago when our tire was totally flat. So while I'm thinking to myself "Dear God, please never let me run into those people from the tire incident again in my life.", (And yes, I conducted myself that badly that stressful night when I was very hungry, cranky and tired.) Ellie decides to shout at the bald man "You're a peanut!". Oh I could have died. The couple looking confused and perplexed asked me what she just said. So I told them she called him a peanut and that she herself it a bit nutty and to pay no mind to her. So the wife, I guess trying to help me out agrees with Ellie and says I guess he does look like Mr. Peanut, to which the husband assumed the Mr. Peanut pose. Yep, so now I'm the mother of the peanut insulting child and I'm now hoping I don't run into them at Mass again. It wasn't until I was in the car and battling Mass and CCD traffic to get out of the parking lot that I realized why I looked familiar to them and they looked very familiar to me. I'm pretty sure they're the couple that are tag team teaching a 7th or 8th grade CCD class this year. I sat near them at a catechist meeting.

On the ride home I had another discussion with Ellie about not calling people peanuts. If it didn't always sound like she was saying penis, I probably wouldn't make such a big deal about it. I hope this phase passes soon. If I never hear her say "You're a peanut!" or "You look like a peanut!" again I'll be one happy mom.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Book Review: St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer

I just finished reading St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer for The Catholic Company’s Book Reviewer Program. I selected this book because I appear to be a glutton for punishment I find St. Augustine to be rather fascinating. Of course, when delving into anything relating to St. Augustine I often feel like I’m drowning in a total overload of information. I suspect that he easily could have talked the ears off of a good many people much like my dad. To be honest, when I picked this book I was sort of expecting a summary of St. Augustine’s take on the 101 questions posed in this book, rather than a litany of quotes from the copious writings of St. Augustine. That simple fact left me a tad disappointed since I still don’t think I’ve recovered from my foray into St. Augustine’s Confessions.*
Now I will admit that I probably should have heeded what was obviously a warning (that’s usually the case when “a word of caution” is offered) to not read too much of this book at once from the author, but I was fueled by Starbucks last night and got a little carried away. Fr. Cliff Ermatinger, in his introduction cites that “The depth of many of St. Augustine’s responses is such that to read too many of them in one sitting can cause a degree of spiritual indigestion.”. Consider me your blogger with a serious case of “spiritual indigestion”. So if you choose to read this book, do yourself a favor and take the author’s advice to not power through it, even if it does seem like a relatively speedy read in some areas. I assure you that the information in the book will hit you later if it doesn’t while you’re reading it. And I strongly recommend not drinking a delicious Starbucks frappuccino prior to reading this book, lest you wind up like me.
Enough about my apparent stupidity, let’s talk about the book. The book’s question and answer format is very easy to follow. It is, like it says on the back of the book, a “catechism on prayer”. There is a line of progression in the book that takes you from the very basic question of “What is prayer?” to questions that are far more in depth [and likely to cause “spiritual indigestion” if too many questions are consumed too quickly (and yes, I’m going to beat that term to death)]. For the most part, this book is comprised of quotes from St. Augustine’s works, and scriptural references. The author interjects a few thoughts or words to offer clarity here and there, throughout. In essence, the author has sifted through the copious amounts of St. Augustine’s work to compile a more easily digestible account on St. Augustine’s thoughts/teachings on prayer.
I think this book would be a worthwhile read for anyone who is looking to deepen their prayer life. However, if you are unable to heed words of wisdom to proceed slowly, then you’ll get what you deserve…a nice case of “spiritual indigestion”. I don’t suppose they have Mylanta or Maalox for that, do they? Despite my apparent inability to take things slow (I'm blaming the coffee), I did enjoy this book, but as always when reading St. Augustine’s works, I walk away overwhelmed and feeling very aware of my inadequacies, but that’s ok since it keeps me from being complacent and moving backwards.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions. As a part of The Catholic Company Book Reviewer Program, I was supplied with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
*One might say I sustained a hefty case of “spiritual indigestion” from that book, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I've got a mini-reviewer on my hands!

I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice that I write book reviews for The Catholic Company and Tiber River. I also review products for Amazon in addition to some word of mouth campaigns that I participate in with a few other companies. I love to review products [even the ones that aren't given to me for free].

The week of Thanksgiving, Amazon was rather generous and allowed it's Vine members to select four items for review instead of the usual two. (How cool is that?) Since the week before I had picked a book that was going to consume a lot of my free time, I decided to select books that Madeline could read since there weren't any picture books available for her to read to Ellie. Madeline was pretty thrilled when she found out I selected two books and another kid oriented cookbook. (Too bad they don't come with samples of the finished product!) Anyway my standard procedure with regards to reviewing toy and books for kids has been to ask the girls if they like it, why they like it and so on when writing a review. Generally, I like to give my impression and the girls' impression of the same product in my review. Madeline read one book that I didn't care for at all and she gave me a lot of good feedback. Then she decided to read the second book and write her own review of it and present it to me while I was doing laundry a couple days ago. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with her review. Given that it was written by an 8 year old I have to say it's really good. I haven't had the chance to read the book so I can review it for Amazon, but when I do, I'll be including Madeline's review. I'm really proud of the budding writer she's becoming. I usually don't blog about my Amazon reviews, but I'll probably at least link to the one Madeline helped to write when I complete it.

As an aside to my little product reviewer story, I have to tell you what she did when she helped her sister write a letter to Santa. She wrote out all of her little sister's wishes in a very nicely worded letter. And best of all, my child decided to use my preferred letter closing of Warmest Regards. My heart swelled with pride when I saw that at the bottom of the letter. How many 8 year olds close letters like that? I know I didn't write like that at age 8. She has asked me on a few occasions if she could write a blog post here. Perhaps I'll let her be a guest blogger here someday. I know she'd love that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Small Successes-First week of Advent

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

Since there wasn't a Small Successes post last week for Thanksgiving, I feel like I have a plethora of things that have been accomplished in the past two weeks that seem like they've gone on for forever. My husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last Wednesday, but that's not a small success is it? I don't think it is, but I'm sure it's worth mentioning. Some successes that we've seen in the past two weeks aren't mine, but they make me very proud. Madeline's grades for the first marking period placed her on the Honor Roll at school. The kid has been on cloud nine ever since.
Fall soccer ended (Yay!) and I had one entire soccer free weekend this past weekend. Starting this Sunday, indoor Winter soccer begins. Bryan has volunteered to be an assistant coach. Looks like someone else has been bit by the volunteering bug, too.

1. Leading up to Thanksgiving, I managed to get the entire house (with the exception of the basement playroom) cleaned from top to bottom. Surprisingly, I've managed to keep the house clean for the most part. My kitchen floors need to be mopped and I have to wipe down the counter tops [again] but other than that the house is looking pretty good. It's kind of a shock since I had Bryan and the girls home for 4 days straight.

2. Christmas trees are decorated. (We have two.) The outside of the house is decorated and I brought a timer so I don't forget to light up the house every night [a problem I have had in past years]. From 5pm to 10pm my lawn is aglow.

3. I finally, after many hours of preparation, have everything in order for my Advent wreath craft for my kindergarten CCD class. Ellie is shown below holding the one we're using at home and on my class room prayer table. I think it's pretty cute. I hope the kids and their parents will like it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


There are some odd things that spark proud mommy moments in me. Today Ellie pulled out the infamous poopy tea party set* and started to offer Madeline and I "hot chocolate". Madeline was standing in the kitchen when Ellie started peddling her hot chocolate. Since we have two identical tea sets Madeline asked the obvious question. Which tea set is that? I informed her that it was Ellie's set, which fell victim to the horrific Naptime Poo Incident of December 9th 2007. That sparked the delightful sarcasm from Madeline. Just like yours truly, Madeline assumed a tone that surprised me as she asked her sister where the hot chocolate came from and asked if she she was sure it was chocolate and not something else. This kid is going to be like teflon by the time she hits middle school.

Poor Ellie is oblivious to the fact that no one, short of Oscar, is interested in partaking of any tea, coffee or hot chocolate served in her adorable tea set. I'll pretend to drink from her cup, but I'll never let it touch my mouth.

*I'm assuming that some of you are at least mildly curious about the poopy tea party set so I'll tell you the story. One December Sunday afternoon two years ago Bryan and I were replacing a lighting fixture in the kitchen while our two year old Ellie napped in her bedroom [or so we thought]. She was quiet for a couple of hours which had us convinced that she gave in and napped. When I went to get Ellie from her nap I instantly was hit by the overpowering smell of poo, so I did what any mom who is married to a smelling impaired husband would do, I called Bryan up to change his daughter's diaper. It wasn't until I hit the light switch that I discovered the nightmare that Ellie's room had become. She didn't nap that day. Instead, my child discovered all the fun things a two year old could do with a diaper full of poo. Drag your tush across the new cream colored carpet like a dog? Check! Paint a poo mural? Of Course! Poo artwork on the window? You got it! Enhance the all white arm chair with brown accents? Absolutely! Examine every article of clothing in your dresser? Why not? Peruse all of your favorite board books? You have to pass the time somehow. How about a tea party with cups and spoons filled with poo? A tea party any other way would be silly! Honestly, I don't know how that room ever got back to a clean state. It took Bryan and I several hours to clean the room and the child. Bryan wanted to dispose of the tea party set, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. So I hand washed the set, sprayed it with Lysol and then ran it through the dishwasher. I'm sure it's clean, but no one who has heard the story or seen the pictures Bryan took of the tea set will ever want to have their lips touch it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Burnout

Hmm....I'm sitting in my family room looking at my undecorated tree and I can't help but wonder if I'm all Christmas-ed out just three days into Advent. Let's review my Christmas craziness, shall we?

In mid-September I stared my serious Christmas shopping. By last week I was done and every gift that has entered my house has been wrapped with the exception of a few gift cards. Shopping burn out--check! If I can shop only at Acme, Target and 1 solitary trip to A.C. Moore between now and Christmas, I'd be perfectly happy.

Christmas music is getting a tad old at this time. If I hear the Rudolph soundtrack one more time I'm going to go out of my mind. I have been enjoying the beautiful music of L'Angelus' O Night Divine album. So I'm tired of some Christmas music and there are certain songs that I can't get enough of, but when you wake up at 2AM and you have Christmas songs stuck in your head it can make you a little crazy (Let's just say Carol of the Bells can go on and on in my head for hours). I'm starting to think that maybe I shouldn't have started playing the Christmas tunes the day after Halloween. Bryan was right (never quote me on that) that I was going to get sick of the Christmas music. Ugh.

Then we move on to decorating. On Friday I broke out our stockings, the girls' Advent Calendars and Bryan set up the skinny tree in the living room. That night I decorated the tree with the ornaments the girls have made over the years, and I put out our Little People Nativity. On Saturday I shampooed our family room rugs with the cool steam cleaner my wonderful husband got me for our anniversary. (And yes, I really did want a steam cleaner from my husband as an anniversary present.) That night Bryan set up our tree while the kids and I went to Mass. On Sunday I wanted to put the outdoor lights up, but I had to trim the hedges first. Somehow I got carried away [with the lights not the hedge trimming--we learned our lesson about trimming too much two years ago] and we put more lights out on our poor shrubs than we ever have in the past. Let's just say I was trying to keep up with the neighbors who were decorating.

And before I forget, I also spent many hours this weekend working on the Advent wreath craft I'm going to do with my CCD class on Sunday. Aside from the many weeks of saving toilet paper rolls for this craft, I spent about an hour painting the tubes purple and pink. (I had to mix the paint, too.) Then I had to cut wreath shapes out of paper plates, hot glue the tubes to the wreaths, cut and glue yellow tissue paper flames to the tubes and then cut a large quantity of green tissue paper squares to be used on the wreath. What on God's green earth was I thinking when I came up with this craft in July? I clearly was out in the sun for too long when I came up with this brilliant idea. In fact, I daresay this craft is a big reason I'm feeling wiped out. Who would have guessed that a single craft would take hours to prepare for a class that is only an hour long? I'll have to post a picture of the finished product that I made as our Advent wreath for home and the prayer space for my CCD class. It's pretty cute.

I think I'm burnt out, but there's a problem. The wreaths haven't been hung yet so the outside isn't finished and the main tree in our family room is bare. Maybe not feeling well is to blame, but as of right now I don't feel like doing any more decorating. I just want to relax. Here's hoping I feel motivated tomorrow. The girls want to know when I'm decorating the tree. I did manage to get my Christmas cards mailed out today. In another couple of days I'll be getting phone calls from friends and family complaining that I sent my cards out too soon. Tis the season!

I hate being a people pleaser

I have a tendency to be a bit of a people pleaser. If I can help you out, I generally will go out of my way for you even if I really don't want to do whatever it is you need help with. Bryan says I don't know how to say no. I don't think that's entirely true. I say no to the kids all the time. I even say no to telemarketers, religious solicitors (don't even get me started on the people who try peddling their religion door to door) and "college students" who are selling magazines and newspapers to "win a prize" (give me a break). So outside of those I just listed, I really do have a problem telling people I can't do something. And, when I do tell them I can't, I generally feel very guilty about it.

So right now I'm feeling guilty. I just got a call from the Thursday night coordinator for the religious ed program. She wanted to know if I was available to substitute for a 7th grade class this Thursday. Let's see, by Thursday my lip will look like Bubba's lip did in the movie Forrest Gump and talking will hurt and be difficult. Each day, I'm feeling a little worse with whatever this cold/sinus thing I've got going on. I know that saying no was the right thing for me, but I feel really bad about doing it now because the voice on the other end of the line sounded very disappointed. I absolutely hate this kind of guilt. Could I have subbed for this class? Yeah, probably, but it would have entailed me possibly feeling really lousy thanks to my lip and cold/sinus issue and then we can lump in the fact that Ellie would have to tag along, too. So while I'd love to help out and sub, this is not the week for it. If I'm going to take on 7th or 8th graders I want to be healthy and have my wits about me.

Ever bite off more than you can chew?

I'll warn you all now. This post is a really bad pun, but I'm trying to have a good sense of humor at the moment. On Thanksgiving I apparently was a little overzealous in my chewing and I mistook the inside of my bottom lip for food. I bite myself frequently while eating and sometimes I gauge myself in the process. Last Thursday was one of those overzealous moments. Fortunately it wasn't one of those hunk of mouth flesh flopping around in my mouth moments (sorry for the visual), but that should give you an idea of what I do to myself. So not only am I a klutz, but I'm also a clumsy chewer. Aren't you glad you know this about me? Anyway, I'm sure if you're reading this you're wondering if I have a point, right? And yes, I do. When I stupidly mistake the inside of my mouth for food I generally wind up suffering for days on end. While most people will develop a little canker sore that goes away in a reasonable amount of time, my body overreacts (not surprised, are you?) and I generally wind up with a canker sore that grows to the size of a quarter (Can we say FUN?). From bite to healed, it generally takes 10-14 days. This lovely mouth issue along with my cold or possible sinus infection are making life a little less than stellar at the moment.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...