Sunday, January 31, 2010

Another Catholic blogger book review program!

If you haven't picked up on it yet, I love reviewing books. I was wasting some time over on the Catholic Answers Forum and I happened to notice a post about free books for bloggers. Well, if that doesn't catch my attention, I'm not sure what will. Those of you who enjoy reading and reviewing Catholic books as much as I do might be interested in knowing that Sophia Institute Press now has a blogger program. (You may need to create an account before you can see the blogger info, I did.) You can pick any book you want. That makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop!

Stay tuned for even more book reviews from me, and pray that all this kindling I keep bringing into my house never ignites. Between the books and the paper arts and crafts projects my kids bring home from school, I suspect my house will be engulfed in flames in seconds if a fire were to break out.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review: The Gargoyle Code

During the Summer I picked up a copy of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters and found myself riveted. It was one of those books that I couldn't easily put down. The book was enough to nudge me into delving into the Chronicles of Narnia. Ages ago I picked up one of the books in that series and disliked the writing style so much that I stopped reading it about two chapters into the book and discounted C.S. Lewis' writings as not worth my time. My thirty-one year old self found C.S. Lewis to be far more captivating than my ten or eleven year old self ever could have imagined. Who would have guessed?

Shortly after reading the Screwtape Letters, I started noticing posts on Fr. Longenecker's blog promoting his book entitled The Gargoyle Code. The book is written in the tradition of Lewis' Screwtape Letters. At first, I'll admit that I hesitated to buy the book. I enjoyed Fr. L's blog immensely, but I figured there was no way I was going to enjoy his book as much as I enjoyed Screwtape Letters. And, I'll be honest, I also assumed that this book was just going to be a slightly more modern version of Lewis' timeless classic.

When Fr. L posted excerpts from this book on his blog I'd read them and think to myself that perhaps the book had some potential. But still, I wasn't moved enough to buy the book. It wasn't until he ran his annual "Stick 'em Up" plea this past November that I decided to just buy the book. By that time I knew I wanted to read it, and that plea nudged me into buying the book.

When the book arrived, I picked it up expecting to read it for a few minutes and then resume my day. Instead I found myself unable to easily put the book down. Fr. L's writing is every bit as good as C.S. Lewis' and I daresay I enjoyed this book far more than Screwtape Letters. The book is written for Catholics and would be an excellent book for Lenten reading. The book, which starts with Shrove Tuesday and ends with Easter, has a letter for each day of the Lenten season. One could easily take a few minutes to read a letter a day from this book during Lent. I think the book is invaluable spiritual reading.

I don't know what it is about this book, but it really got into my head. I don't recall how far I had made it through the book before I felt the overwhelming need to get to confession. Of course, procrastinator that I am, I waited a few weeks to act on that [nagging] impulse. I suspect it would be nearly impossible to read this book without walking away with a good dose of Catholic guilt, which in my opinion translates into a well-formed conscience.

I found this book to be a wonderful blend of spirituality, humor and seriousness. I thoroughly enjoy reading Fr. L's blog and I stopped several times while reading The Gargoyle Code to laugh at how much a particular line or character name reminded me of something I had read on his blog, whether it sounded like something one of his alter egos would have said or whether it was just Fr. L's personality shining through.

In short, this book is an incredibly engaging read. It's a solidly Catholic book that is perhaps the most engaging and enjoyable spiritual reading that I've done all year. (And if you read my blog, you know I do a lot of spiritual reading.) It's probably also worth mentioning that it's the only book I've read that has made me want to go to confession. That alone says a lot, if you ask me.

Do yourself a favor this Lent, buy a copy of Fr. L's The Gargoyle Code. You'll be glad you did. I'll be reading this book again for Lent.

Somebody's a control freak

I freely admit it, I'm a giant control freak. I'm still feeling a tad sick, but cranberry juice and crackers are going in and staying in, so I think that's a good sign. Bryan, who read the message boards of people describing the stomach bug that's going around keeps warning me that many people felt like they were better and then got hit with a second round. Pray that I don't get hit with a second round of this. The pain I felt last night was pure agony and I'd like very much to never encounter it again.

It's snowing here, and based on a forecast I looked up on line, we're expected to get 4-6 inches between now and 6PM tonight. Our township is awful at clearing the roads, so I feel somewhat confident that the streets will be snow covered in the morning. Is it wrong that I'm hoping CCD gets cancelled tomorrow? I'm such a control freak that I really don't like the idea of someone else teaching my class. I feel bad having to ask our co-ordinator to find a sub for my class, although, with only 8 students in my class, I'm sure they could send them to the kindergarten class across the hall that has just five kids.

Part of me knows that I should just stay home and rest. I wouldn't want to be responsible for getting anyone else sick with this horrible bug, but at the same time I just want to get to Mass and teach my class this weekend. I guess on some level that is selfish of me.

I guess I have to take a wait and see approach regarding tomorrow. Bryan can drop my lesson plans off if I can't teach tomorrow, but I really hate knowing that the entire lesson will be out of my hands. I have such a hard time relying on others to do things for me.

***Update**** Thanks to the lovely snow we had all afternoon CCD is cancelled. I don't have to relinquish control of my class to a sub. Yay! (I should get an award for being such an insufferable control freak.)

I'm alive!

Well, obviously if I'm blogging I must be alive right? I guess if purgatory has WiFi I could blog from there, but I kind of doubt it. I suspect I'd be otherwise occupied there.

I think I experienced the worst pain I ever had last night. Based on some google searches (on the "Google machine"--Dodge Ball, anyone) and my lovely symptoms, Bryan concluded that I have whatever stomach bug is currently going around in NJ. Let's just say it's horrific and I'm praying that I don't see a repeat of last night either in myself or my family.

I was happily minding my own business typing a response online when suddenly I got this horrible Charlie horse type of cramp that went from the bottom of my rib cage to my hip on my left side. I have bulging discs in my lumbar spine so my first thought was perhaps I suffered from a slipped disc (let's hope that NEVER happens). Bryan had to help me up and no matter what I did the pain got worse. I couldn't take a deep breath without having my side tighten up more and increasing my pain as a result. I was thinking (although not willing to tell Bryan) that I was going to need to go to the hospital. Thinking that didn't make me feel any better.

The long and short of the entire ordeal is that nothing I tried to do to alleviate my pain worked. Laying down felt slightly better than standing or sitting, but it made my stomach hurt. It wasn't until I moved downstairs to try and lay on the couch that I was overcome with being sick. I don't know how long I was violently expelling my dinner, but it came in several bouts that seemed like they would never end. The good news is the carpet is just fine.

I slept very well last night. My stomach feels a little uneasy, but the horrible pain on my left side seems to be gone. I think the flu I had back in August/September was more bearable than my ordeal last night.

Now I'm in limbo for the rest of the day. At this point I have no idea if I'm going to make it to Mass or my CCD class tomorrow. I'm hoping I know soon if I'll be up for teaching my class tomorrow so I know whether I need to call out so they can find a sub for me. If that happens, Bryan will drop off my lesson plans when he takes Ellie to her class, so I won't need to worry about that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Face, Palm: Meet

I just got in from dropping Ellie off at school. She has this quirky tendency to say things that are funny yet, often embarrassing. Usually when Ellie says these things she does so in a manner that can't help but attract attention. She talks louder than normal (a sure sign she wants people to hear her) and in a very odd tone (it's the hey, look at me tone) and usually she has this slightly exasperated look on her face (sometimes accompanied with an eye roll in my direction) that says, "you should know this already, Mom". Most of the time, I try to ignore whatever it is that she's trying to use to embarrass me. Today, however, was a little different. As I'm fiddling with Ellie's book bag trying to adjust it and pull out the lunch box (lunch for a "class picnic" that will happen well before 11:30AM dismissal--that makes sense) she comes out with the zinger. "I hate farting." Are you kidding me? Did she really have to announce that? I'm guessing she must have just let a few rip. Why else would she have felt the need to make that announcement? Never a dull moment here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Small Successes-January 28th

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I am caught up with my lesson plans for both of my religious ed classes. Last Saturday, I erroneously thought that I was planned two weeks in advance for my kindergarten class, only to discover that I didn't have anything planned for last Sunday. Talk about an oops to discover at 10pm. I managed to get this week and next week's lessons planned. Maybe now I can get on top of this stuff.

2. I cleaned the bathrooms (minus the shower and tubs which I hope to clean today). It's my least favorite chore, so I try to avoid it as much as I can. Usually I'll tackle one fixture at a time. Getting all three toilets and the sinks cleaned in one day is kind of big for me.

3. I'm managing to survive Bryan's latest business trip without any major crisis. I did have a little sugar incident this morning (yelled at slow moving kid, and the child who was scattering Zingo!, the game with too many pieces, all over the family room) where I slammed the open sugar container down on the countertop in frustration. Note to self: Make sure lid is on the sugar container before picking it up to slam it on the countertop. I created a bit of a mess in the kitchen that prevents me from listing clean countertops and kitchen floor as a small success this week. Can you guess what I'll be doing this morning?

4. I must be insane. I was cleaning up part of the sugar mess (second attempt at that lovely job) and it occurred to me that I didn't even mention that I registered Ellie for kindergarten. Provided she passes the entrance exam/evaluation, she will be going to the kindergarten at her current school next year. I'm working with Ellie every day to ensure that she knows everything she needs to know so she has no problems being accepted. We were the first ones to register on Tuesday, so I know we have her position secured.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sensory Overload

I had a really hard time understanding sensory overload when each of my girls were infants. I couldn't grasp how a noisy toy, a television and me talking on the phone or to the baby would send the baby into a frenzy of hysterics. Ellie was my child who was particularly prone to sensory overload. I can block out background noises most of the time so sensory overload didn't quite make sense to me. Fast forward a few years and I think I'm starting to get it. (Ok, I'm in year 9 of parenting so it's been more than a few years.)

I've noticed over the past two years that I suffer from sensory overload. I just didn't recognize it years ago. I am all too aware of it now. I suffered from it when Ellie was an infant and I listened to her cacophonous cries mixed with Madeline's unrelenting whines, noisy toys and a television that was always on. The mix of sounds filled our living room which had cathedral ceilings and filled our small house with noise. I felt worn out all of the time and when it was quiet I swore I could still hear the noise in my head. It was enough to convince me that maybe I wasn't meant to have children and certainly I should take care not to have any more. Those early years of being a parent were organized chaos. The house was mostly organized and clean, the children were well kept, well dressed and fed, but I was living in a world where peace seemed a long way off, if not impossible.

It wasn't until we moved to our current home that I began to understand what sensory overload was and that I actually suffer from it. Maybe it's because we moved to a house with no cathedral ceilings and have more than doubled our living space. I can send my children to their rooms and I don't hear them playing as I sit in silence in the family room. If they're too loud while they play on the main level, I can send them to the basement where they can make all the noise they want and I only hear muffled sounds of playful children through a closed basement door. Peace and quiet are realities for me on an almost daily basis. Sometimes there are days when the kids want to sit on top of me, watch TV and play with noisy toys. When that happens I realize that I'm getting agitated and I either make the kids disperse or I retreat to another room for a little time so I can reset.

In the grand scheme of things, dealing with these situations is relatively easy. It's only an issue for me when I can't leave the overwhelming environment. I have found, that my parents send me into sensory overload. My mom is loud, actually, in our family we all are and it's likely due to the fact that my grandfather could scarcely hear thanks being a soldier who drove a tank in WWII. I'm loud, I freely admit it, but I'm not as loud as my mom is when she's excited to see her grandchildren. And those grandchildren are VERY loud when we have grandparents visiting. They're so excited that they shout the entire time we have company. Then add in a hyper dog who sprints around the house like a wild animal and barks and you have enough noise to drive any sane person over the edge. Then, for good measure, toss in a loud TV with either a news show featuring angry people arguing politics or an obnoxious children's show. And, if all that other noise isn't enough, toss in my dad talking in slightly hushed tones the entire time about who knows what. This is what just about every visit from my parents is like. Within twenty minutes I'm feeling overwhelmed and drained of all energy.

Today I was treated to a visit from my parents. I'm happy to see them, and I'm glad they want to come and see their grandchildren as often as they do, but I find that their visits send me over the edge. Bryan left yesterday afternoon for a business trip in Denver, CO, and my parents decided they'd do me a favor and come up for the afternoon so the kids would have a distraction to keep them from missing Bryan. It worked, but it also left me worn out.

I used to get frustrated that Ellie went into sensory overload every time we were at a family function. She couldn't handle being at parties. If we hosted a party, Ellie would either require my dad to sit in her room with her and play. Her first three birthday parties were crazy. She wanted no part of them and I pretty much had to force her to make an appearance for the key parts of the party where her presence were required. Now that I understand what she must have gone through every time we had a party I wish I had known then how awful it was for her.

So I'm thoroughly exhausted after today's events. I'm happy that the girls were entertained for the afternoon and that the dog seems to be mellow (as mellow as a Jack Russell/Pug mixed dog can be, that is). I suspect that I will sleep soundly tonight, provided the noise in my head dies down sometime soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Delight, courtesy of Wal-Mart

I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart. I will only go there if I'm absolutely desperate for something. This translates into me setting foot in a Wal-Mart one or twice in a calendar year. If Wal-Mart disappeared from the face of the earth, I would not be phased one bit.

I can't stand dealing with the people who shop there, and the often creepy employees disturb me, as well. Simply put, Wal-Mart is not the store for me. I was checking my blog reader a few minutes ago and I noticed that Big Doofus Blog had a new post. His blog is usually good for a laugh (even the name of his blog makes me laugh) so I clicked to see what he had come up with for today. It was this priceless gem that you see below:

Perhaps Wal-Mart has some value after all. (Comedic value, that is.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

She Knows Exactly What She Wants!

Madeline has a history of drawing things that can give you pause. Back in July she dabbled in religious art with a pop culture twist.

Leading up to Christmas, she designed a lovely greeting card for her teacher that never got final approval. The message that one might get from looking at the card quickly was not one I felt was appropriate. It did, however, amuse friends, family members, co-workers and her teacher's sister (Madeline's former 2nd grade teacher). This is the card:

For the past few days, Madeline has been telling us how much she wants a telescope. She has decided that this is what she wants to Christmas this year. Perhaps I have a budding astrologer on my hands. To show me just how much she wants this telescope, she decided to draw a picture of herself with the telescope. I was doing Ellie's hair in the girls' bathroom when Madeline showed me her latest drawing. I did my best to keep a straight face. I suggested she go show her daddy how "nice" her drawing was. She bounded down the stairs to show him and within seconds I hear Bryan asking her if she has shown this to Mommy yet. Bryan, knowing my sense of humor, came upstairs to laugh at the drawing with me, but not before he snapped a photo of it with his iPhone so he could post it on Facebook.
Bryan explained to Madeline [after we finished laughing at her drawing] that you use your eye to look through a telescope. We think that she may have been slightly confused about how one uses a telescope.

Never a dull moment here! There's always something going on here to either keep me on my toes or laughing 'till my sides hurt.

Just thought I'd share this

I was on AOL this morning checking my email and the title of a news story caught my eye. It was about a MLB prospect who has abandoned his future to follow a calling from God. I don't follow baseball, but I thought the story was worth sharing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Do I really only have two children?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm playing Mommy to more than just the two children I delivered. Sometimes, I think that my husband is my third child. How this happened is beyond me.

Bryan just came bounding downstairs in an undershirt and pajama pants to find me. Bryan works from home on Fridays and he likes to be comfortable, so that's the reason for the ridiculous attire. Personally, I'd rather him put on sweatpants or something of that nature, but I'm not going to insist on them. As I'm talking to him I couldn't help but stare at his bushy configuration of hair. He usually sports a short buzz cut, but he hasn't gotten around to shaving off his hair in a few weeks. I mentioned to him that he was a bit fluffy and that's when he told me perhaps the stupidest thing I've heard all week. A co-worker "double dog dared" him to grow a mullet. Are you kidding me? Does this not sound like something you expect your third grader to come home and tell you? I had to explain to Mr. Overgrown hair that he needs to cut his hair today.

I didn't say a word when he decided to sport a scruffy beard for a few days, but mullet hair? I don't think so. Someone is going to be cutting his hair or I'm going to do it for him.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What will they think of next?

Bryan frequently comes across off beat news stories. I'm a little off beat, so I like to read these stories. They make me feel like I'm a rather normal person. (I try to give the impression that I'm normal when possible.) The latest story Bryan has come across has certainly crossed the threshold into the territory of being bizarre. Human bed warmers. I think I'll pass. How about you?

Impending doom

Thursdays have become the day of the week where a feeling of impending doom overcomes me. Maybe it's my body's way of preparing to take on 16 adolescents. Last week was especially trying since two of the kids could not exhibit some self control and stop interrupting the class. I'm praying that they will be better tonight. If not, I'll have to be mean and send them to the office tonight. Too bad you can't just put tape on the mouths of kids who can't stay quiet for more than 30 seconds at a time.

Small Successes-January 21st

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

Wow, another week has zipped by in a blink. I'm not sure what's going on with time lately, but it seems like it's moving at a rather rapid pace. I could use a few long days here and there.

1. Madeline's water cycle model for school is completed. I spent most of Friday working on it. Madeline's input was taken into consideration every step of the way, but I think it's pretty safe to say that I did the majority of the project. Bryan just stood there and shook his head when we discussed the project a few days after it was completed. At that point, it dawned on me that I took over yet another school project belonging to Madeline. I need to stop doing that. But, on a positive note, I think I made a model that will earn me, I mean Madeline, another A.

2. The laundry is conquered, the kitchen countertops are clean, and the windows on the ground floor are cleaned. Clearly I've been keeping busy.

3. Ellie has successfully spelled her name (verbally). I never considered when I picked long names for my kids that they'd have difficulty learning to spell them. She's had her nick name mastered for a while, but spelling Elisabeth has been a challenge for her. Imagine my delight when she came up to me last night before dinner and spelled her name for me twice. Success! She also learned her last name, phone number, birthdate and address in the span of a week. I was certain that we'd be muddling through this for months, but she surprised me and soaked up the information rapidly. I'm going to attribute this to the fact that she also picks up prayers pretty quickly.

Bonus: How did I forget this? I packed up a small mountain of Ellie's outgrown size 4 clothing and passed it on to Bryan's co-worker. (I bombard them with the vast majority of our hand-me-downs.) This is a task that is bittersweet for me. On one hand I'm thrilled to finally get the pile of outgrown clothes off my bedroom floor. (Hey, there's carpet under there!) On the other hand, I can't help but feel sad to know that my baby is now too big for these clothes, clothes which Madeline wore when Ellie was just an infant. (Sigh. Where did the time go?) My baby is a 39 pound 4 1/2 year old now. That's really not much of a baby now, is it?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life Lesson for the Day

It is incredibly difficult, to the point of being almost impossible, to place a vinyl glove on a damp hand. You're probably wondering why I'm giving you such pointless information, right? Well, I refuse to touch raw chicken with my bare hands. Maybe it's just me, but raw chicken feels like a giant piece of snot. And I don't know about you, but touching something that feels like a big blob of nasal mucous is not something I enjoy in the least.

My raw chicken aversion leaves me with a few options. 1. All chicken must come into the house fully prepared. (Not always practical, but I do like the fully prepared part of this option.) 2. I deal with the gross feeling and allow raw chicken to come in contact with my skin. (Not going to happen.) or 3. I play Dr. Karen and put on some medical grade vinyl gloves and have a nice barrier between my skin and the raw poultry.

Lately, I've been going with option 3 because it allows me to make chicken breast smothered in Rainforest Cafe barbecue sauce and burritos (not at the same time, but I make enough chicken for more than one meal at a time so I can do burritos and quesadillas). Tonight, I made the fun discovery that it is very difficult to put a vinyl glove on a freshly washed hand. Who would have guessed? So there you have it. You now have the benefit of my lesson learned for your own future reference.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The imperfections of perfectionism

Ah, the joys of being the perfectionist parent to a perfectionist child! (That statement is dripping in sarcasm, just so you know.) We're now in the throes of preparing Ellie for Kindergarten. Her school sent home their monthly class update last week and in it was a reminder to keep working on teaching our address, last name, phone number, birthdate and all that good stuff. You know, the things parents want their children to know so they can be returned if they're lost. Let's just say, Ellie wasn't exactly in the know.

I remember teaching Madeline all of this stuff four years ago. I also remember her reciting my name, our address, our phone number and a litany of other things that were personal information while we stood in line at the bank, and the post office, and Target and while walking through the mall. Yeah, sometimes I think it would be better to just leave the kids in the dark. I am grateful that we're not required to teach our kids our social security number, garage door code, and bank account number. If we did, I can assure you that we would have been the victim of identity theft many times over.

Ellie is my stubborn kid who learns what she wants to learn on her terms. She's a perfectionist. I didn't recognize this obvious trait until a few months ago. You would think that I would have picked up on this about three years ago since I'm a perfectionist, but clearly I'm oblivious at times. I've been saying she's the perfect child for me for years, but I never realized it was because she's very much like me. The problem with having a perfectionist as a child is she isn't necessarily willing to try something more than once if she isn't assured that she will execute the task perfectly the first or second time around. This is something that makes me want to bang my head against a wall. I am the kind of perfectionist that will keep doing something over and over until I perfect it. I'll get frustrated and angry along the way, but I don't lose sight of the end goal. Ellie on the other hand, is the laid back perfectionist. She wants perfection but she certainly doesn't want to waste her time trying to master something if she can just abandon it and move on to something else.

I have to say that I was stunned when Ellie learned our address in the span of a few minutes. Then she picked up our phone number in a snap. Birthday? I don't think I got to take a breath before she had that banked in her little steel trap of a memory. Last name, was a little tricky. Ellie wasn't willing to acknowledge it at first. I suspect she doesn't like it. It wasn't until I assured her that all of us had that as our last name that she finally agreed to own it. And it's not like we have some awful last name that's hard to say, it's a short one syllable last name. So we have it all covered. Phone number, address, name, parent's names, and birthdate. What we're missing is the ability to spell and write Elisabeth. She goes by Ellie. Ellie is what she reads, writes and spells with ease. She can recognize Elisabeth when it's written, but she does not like writing it, and she does her best to resist learning how to spell it. It's frustrating, and it aggravates me that we're almost able to check all of this off the list, but Ellie just won't comply. So her perfectionism and mine are both frustrated as a result. Obviously, one of us is going to have to bend here, and I have a feeling it's not going to be me. I have no intentions of legally changing her name to Ellie for her convenience.

I'm hoping she will comply soon and have her name issues out of the way. In the meantime, I will continue to parade around with my daughter who is now happily telling everyone where we live, what our phone number is and what our names are. I'm proud of her for learning everything so fast, but this is one phase I certainly don't care like very much. Aside from the random divulging of personal information to perfect strangers, this stage also brings with it the sting that in less than nine months my baby will be leaving me five days a week. Kindergarten wasn't a big deal for me when Madeline started because I had a toddler at home. But this September will be lonely. I'll find myself at home alone with Mr. Furkins for 6 hours a day. Sure, I'll probably enjoy the silence and the immaculately kept home, but I know I'll be missing Ellie.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Think I'm being tested?

I think my attendance at Mass each week has hit a point where it's a test. A test of my patience, a test of my ability to endure, a test to see if maybe, just maybe this will be the week that I lose it (either laughing out loud at something that's not funny, or scolding my child loudly). Ellie appears to be my quizmaster in this realm of my life.

I'm pretty sure I've hit a point where I'm not allowed to have any peace while I'm at church. I find this funny in a not so funny way. I go there for peace, but clearly, I'm not intended to have it at present.

I've been home for about 45 minutes now after enduring my weekly test of patience called Mass. Ellie humors me and is good for the first 15-20 minutes that we're there. Once Mass begins she starts to work her magic. Running her fingers along the missal covers to make an annoying sound during the opening prayer? Check! Wiggling all over and shoving her books in my face during the first and second readings? You've got it! Ahh, the Gospel. Now it's time to break out the big guns! Jumping around and swinging her rosary around is the perfect way to distract mom! If you can involve you sister by irritating her, too, that adds a little more fun. The homily is where we really get to have some fun. If Father is talking then it makes perfect sense that Ellie should be find something to complain about. After that, it's time to sit on Mom's lap, kiss her loudly and then start making goofy faces and putting your hands all over Mom's face in a way that will totally irritate her. And keep in mind that Mom is desperately trying to pay attention to the homily amid all the distractions, and it doesn't help when the priest says a phrase that she remembered reading on The Crescat and has to suppress laughter, too [during a homily about abortion--absolutely not a funny topic]. By the time the Liturgy of the Eucharist rolls around we're in good shape to see just how frazzled Mom has become. The consecration is where Ellie wheels out the best she can dish out. At one point, frustrated Mom, desperate to get Ellie to just kneel and be quiet, pushed her forward a little too hard and she hit her head (loudly) on the pew. Ugh, surely everyone who witnessed and heard that probably think I'm the monster mom. There were lots of other annoyances, too. My child decided to loudly fart a few times and laugh about it. I wanted to disappear.

I'm now thoroughly exhausted. I did not get the peace I sought. Instead, I spent time trying to hone patience and praying that God would grant me more patience. If it could arrive before 4:30 Mass next week, I'd be really happy. I am starting to wonder if maybe I should be asking God to grant me a child who can calmly attend Mass, of course, given the sense of humor God seems to have when it comes to me, that would probably not come in the form of a clam and obedient Ellie, but rather, another child. God only knows if I'd have enough patience for three.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Glad I'm not the only one!

I read The Crescat from time to time. Her blog makes me laugh. It's been a little while since I visited her blog so I was delighted when I saw this post. A major pet peeve of mine is the people who go to Mass and feel the need to say the responses faster than everyone else and very loudly. It irritates me like you wouldn't believe and makes me want to turn around and say something very uncharitable. I always find myself thinking, "Do you NOT hear that you are a step ahead of the rest of us?!" in a very Chandler Bing way. Anyway, I'm really happy to see that I'm not alone in this annoyance.

Small Successes-January 14th

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

This has been one of those weeks where I can't help but wonder when things will go back to plain old normal routine. Something must be in the air that's making everything a little off.

1. The interior of the house is back to normal. The Christmas decorations that made the house seem so warm and cozy are all safely packed away waiting for next Advent. Putting everything away felt a little depressing at first, but now I'm happy to have the living space back. Ellie is very happy that the family room tree is out of her favorite corner for playing.

2. I did not totally freak out when our heater refused to work two days ago. Our whole house humidifier leaked (again) onto the furnace and shorted something out. I took a blow dryer to it, but it seemed to do nothing. So we called the heating guys out and they got it up and running (by the time they arrived whatever was refusing to work had started working again). They came out yesterday and ripped out the problematic humidifier and sealed the ductwork up nicely. I'm praying that we won't need to call the heating guys for a long time. Three heating failures in 4 months is a little excessive if you ask me.

3. The kitchen countertops are clean. It's not huge, but it makes me feel really good.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What kind of a mother am I?

I've been pondering this question all day. Am I the type of mom that raises a criminal? Do I foster the kind of kids that seek to harm others to feel better about themselves? Am I raising honest kids? Or, am I raising self-serving liars? So this question about what kind of mother I must be has left me giving my parenting a long hard look.

I have tried my best to raise my children to be polite, compassionate, and honest. In many instances I have succeeded. But for some reason, certain points don't stick with Madeline. Am I just a crappy mom? Or, does my child just make bad choices or perhaps not even give any thought to her actions? I'm not sure what the answer is, but today I just feel like I'm a failure of a mom.

Today I got an email from Madeline's teacher at 9:25AM, a mere 40 minutes after she was dropped off at school. I've learned from past experiences that it's generally not a good thing when you get an email from the teacher this early in the day and the subject is simply your child's name. If you haven't received one of these emails regarding your child take my word for it when I say you don't want one. The email essentially stated that my child told a malicious lie to a classmate who has been distraught over her missing dog. What did she do? Madeline told the little girl that we found their lost dog, fed it, and Ellie let it outside this morning and it's once again missing. So the poor girl told the teacher what Madeline said. When confronted by the teacher, Madeline decided to lie (again) before coming clean. I can't for the life of me understand why she did this.

When she came home from school she concealed this incident from me for an hour. I asked her how school was and she acted suspiciously, but told me she had a good day. She did her math without complaint (very unusual). She asked for snacks. I didn't deny a single one. Lolipop? Sure. Candy cane? Why not? Hot Chocolate? You got it, kiddo! The hot chocolate pushed her over the edge. The guilt was evident on her face and she decided to come clean. I think the slight glimpse of the email from the teacher on my laptop may have prompted the confession. To unnerve her a little more, I very calmly (no yelling) talked to her and hugged her. She initially told me the teacher had it all wrong and that she lied after the teacher wouldn't believe the truth. (Madeline has actually done this many times in the past, but I don't understand why she would implicate herself like that.) I gave her the benefit of the doubt and told her that I would have to write a letter to the teacher. She guiltily sat down and drank her hot chocolate. When I mentioned to her that I would accept her version of the story as the truth she perked up a bit. Then I added that I really had no other option but to believe her because the only ones who really know what was said are her, the other girl and God. I then mentioned that God is also aware of what she's saying now. Her face dropped. At that point it was clear that she had lied to me. (What else is new?)

There was also a paper (called a "Think Sheet") that I had to sign to acknowledge that I saw what Madeline wrote about the incident and why her actions were wrong. Madeline, clearly hoping to conceal this incident from me, decided to sign the paper for me. Yep, she printed "Karen" in pencil. On some level, I found this a little humorous. I explained to her that doing that was deceitful. I also let her know that it's forgery and people go to jail for that. She was very upset when she heard that and wanted to know if she was going to go to jail. She told me she forged my signature so she wouldn't get in trouble. (I print Karen in pencil as my signature in case any of you are interested in stealing my identity.)

I told Madeline that she'd be heading off to the church Saturday morning for confession. At first, she didn't want to go. But after the forgery conversation she asked me if I could take her over to the church now. She was pretty disappointed when I explained to her that she would have to wait. All of the guilt for what she had done today had taken it's rightful place on her conscience.

I had Madeline write an apology to the little girl who she upset with her lie and another one for the teacher. They weren't exactly heartfelt apologies, but I guess a lackluster apology is better than none at all.

When Bryan came home we discussed the days events a little more. He reiterated the forgery lands people in prison point. And he wanted to know the motive for the initial lie. Turns out, she did it because the little girl isn't nice to her. Madeline has a hard time accepting that not everyone in the world will like her. She would be friends with everyone if they were all willing, so it bothers her when someone doesn't want to be her friend. We had to talk to her about how it's fine if someone doesn't like you or if you don't like someone, but it doesn't mean you can be mean to them. I was picked on as a kid and I know what it's like to want people to like you. Really, I do. But the blessing (if you want to call it that) behind being in that type of situation is you realize that it's not important to have everyone like you. I look at interactions with others like this: Either you like me, or you don't. Either way, I'm not going to let it affect how I look at myself. I try to impart this to my children, but clearly, Madeline wants to learn this the hard way. Madeline is a social butterfly, and I'm pretty sure being popular and liked by everyone is a major focus in her life.

So there's my day and the reason for pondering what kind of mom I am. I try to impart the importance of being honest and kind to others to both of my children, but for some reason it just doesn't always stick with Madeline. It confounds me, and it baffles Bryan. God help me when the teen years roll around in less than 5 years. Hopefully by then my child will be better at making good choices and have a properly formed conscience to help keep her out of sticky situations.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Something new to worry about

Bryan and I have been going back and forth about where Ellie should go for kindergarten next year. It's a decision that comes with loads of questions.

She could go to the public school and for one solitary year, I could have both of my girls in the same school. Of course, sending her to the public school opens up a few questions. For one, I'm concerned about whether it will be full day or half. Since we moved here, they have been promising full day kindergarten, but it hasn't happened yet. Will this be the year it happens? Your guess is as good as mine. Because the length of day is a concern, I have to wonder if I'll be able to insist on her being in the AM session if it is a half day Kindergarten. I'm firmly against afternoon kindergarten for a variety of reasons. Bryan is in favor of the public school. He wants to be done paying tuition. I am pretty much firmly against it because I have no idea what we're going to get. I know several people who felt the kindergarten teacher their child had at this school was just too mean to be teaching such young children. Based on what I have heard, it looks like we have a 40% chance of Ellie getting one of the mean teachers. Those aren't good odds in my eyes.

I prefer the known quantity to the unknown. I could send Ellie to the kindergarten at her current school. Madeline went to this kindergarten and we loved it. The teachers were loving and sane (we have been scarred by a horrific 1st grade teacher). She was reading by November and her class covered first grade math starting in January. The class moves at a pretty fast pace, so they cover a lot of ground. When you graduate from their kindergarten, you go to first grade very well (too well) prepared. Madeline didn't learn anything new in 1st grade until the school year was nearly over. Class size at this school also tops out at 14 students to two teachers. I love that ratio. The public school will have anywhere from 20-25 students in a class.

Our third option would be to send her to our parish school. The tuition is roughly the same as the private school we currently use for her. (In fact, their kindergarten was $50 less than Ellie's school this year.) Getting her into the school would be the biggest challenge. They often have a waiting list, and children who have siblings already in the school get priority. The cons to this school would be that I have been told (by a kindergarten teacher from that school) they're not as academically advanced as the public school despite the fact that they are a full day program. Clearly sending Ellie there would not be as beneficial as using the school she currently attends. Class size is 30 students, which in my opinion is a bit crowded. However, I know one of the teachers, and am told that the other kindergarten teacher is very nice.

I feel so conflicted. On one hand, I'd really like to send both of my girls to the Catholic school, but I've been told by enough people that they're academically behind that I should know better than to even consider them. On another hand (I have three for the purpose of this blog posting) I could have both of my girls go to the same school next year and not have to worry about conflicting days off from school or even conflicting drop off and pick up times. Ellie would be late for school every day at the private school, and sending her to the Catholic school would mean that we have to have everyone out the door 30 minutes earlier than when we leave now. Both the Catholic and private school would allow Ellie to be done with school 45 minutes earlier than Madeline. If I send Ellie to the private school she will be late every single day, but since they don't start instruction until 9am, she won't miss any of that. I simply can't have her at school any earlier than 8:50 since I need to drop Madeline off at 8:40. If I send her to the public school, I know she will have a poorer education than what Madeline received for kindergarten. But, if we use the public school, we will save over $3,000 since we won't have to pay tuition. I really can't decide what we should do.

According to Ellie's school calendar, registration was suppose to start today at her school. No paperwork was given to any of us, so there's the possibility that the school may not be around next year. (It seems like they're in a tough spot.) The Catholic school is doing tours in another week, and registration will take place in just under a month. The public school will not be doing registration until late April. I am going to go out of my mind making this decision.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dismal Catechesis

Madeline had CCD tonight. My neighbor teaches the class and it seems like week after the week the class becomes more of a train wreck. We've had very protestant coloring pages sent home, and there have been many weeks where the text book wasn't covered at all. Other times the class has read one paragraph from the book and then played hangman for the rest of the class. The questions and activities in the book are never completed and my child leaves the class not having learned anything.

Tonight was pretty much the same scenario of dismal catechesis. While I was making sure that I was teaching a 7th grade class in line with official Church teaching, my child was reciting the Our Father (a prayer 1st graders are required to have memorized) instead of learning the prayers the diocese says she is to learn this year. Then they rushed through the text on the sacraments so they could play hangman. A student in the class had a question about the Eucharist. He was concerned that since it was the body of Christ that it might eventually run out. Not to worry, the catechist (and I use that term VERY loosely in this instance) informed the class that it's really just a bread wafer that's blessed by the priest. I'm seething right now. I told Bryan that I think the deacon, who is our DRE, should be informed of this, but he thinks I shouldn't make waves since the teacher is our neighbor. I am so angry that my child was given such horrifically false information tonight.

Small Successes-Back to normal

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

At long last, the girls and Bryan are back to their regular schedules of school and work, and for this I am incredibly thankful. I'm not hopeful that life can go back to normal. Never underestimate the amount of calm that 5 hours of alone time a week can bring you.

1. I had to start over and plan another holiday party for Madeline's class after the original one got snowed out. I'm very happy to report that I had everything accounted for by yesterday. I'm still a little shocked that the teacher decided to proceed with the party and only gave me four days to arrange everything.

2. I have managed to spend more time playing with the girls instead of cleaning. They each got several board games for Christmas and they've been happily playing with them every day. I commented to Bryan last night that I was shocked that the girls weren't playing with any of the Wii or DS games they got, nor did they seem all that interested in the American Girl dolls that they had to have. Clearly, my kids would be happy with a few inexpensive toys for Christmas. I suspect we will scale back even more for next Christmas.

3. I'm on top of the laundry. Here's hoping I can keep it up.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Instances in which Mommy is wrong

It probably will come as no surprise to you that I'm a little tough on Madeline when it comes to academics. I expect perfection even though it's clearly not realistic. I was an overachiever as a student and I still feel that competitive urge when I see papers with A's and 100s come home. When it comes to homework for Madeline, everything must be checked by me. Handing in homework with mistakes is a fate worse than death in my mind. (Blame my struggles with perfectionism for that outlook.)

Madeline had a single page of math homework tonight which is unusual. On an ordinary day she has a fact practice sheet and an assignment relating to the unit they're covering in class. When she brought her worksheet to me the first time I found several errors and a math problem that wasn't even attempted. So I sent her back to fix the mistakes and oversight. Then I sent her back two more times to fix this one particular problem. She was getting frustrated with me and kept insisting that she was doing her best but kept getting the same answer of 555. So in my slightly condescending tone I tell her that we're going to do the problem together [certain that she was going to feel a little sheepish when we arrived at the answer of 565]. Yeah, we got the one's column right (It was right all along, so that was expected.). Then, we moved on to the tens column (The only number that was "wrong."). So as I'm talking to her like she's not the brightest person, I come to the startling realization that she had been right all along. Talk about a lesson in humility! I promptly apologized to Madeline and explained that she was right and that I was the one who added wrong in the first place. (Oops!) She was a bit angry with me and cried (She cries easily, so don't think I'm a monster of a mom.) because I wasted her time and made her do the same problem four times when it was right the first time.
So the lesson I learned today is that 1+4+9+1=15, not 16. Oh, and I learned that I should try to have a little more humility. Clearly, I'm not always right.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Spelling by Madeline

I just asked Madeline if she recalled how to spell her spelling words for this week. They don't get spelling homework so I just quiz her randomly throughout the week. She seldom gets less than 102 (they have a bonus word each week) on a spelling test. She was very upset with herself yesterday when she came home with her test from before the winter break and it was a 95. Oh the horror, she got an imperfect A! I told her so long as it was an A she had no reason to complain.
She decided to rattle off the spellings for her current list very quickly and this gem of a spelling was in the middle of the correctly spelled words:
January- G-A-N-U-A-R-Y
Gotta love it! Ladies and gentlemen, I have your future National Spelling Bee winner right here!

And this calls to mind the lovely spelling for banana that I saw on the closed captioning for the news while I was sitting in the waiting room at the medical facility where Bryan had his upper endoscopy performed yesterday. Are you ready for it? Banana-Bough Nana. I was laughing so hard when I saw that up on the screen. Here I am incredibly stressed out for Bryan (I have severe issues with tubes going down loved one's throats after my grandmother's slow death by colon cancer.) and this little gem of a spelling for banana comes across the screen.


I've been having a bad couple of days. I'm pretty sure having a grungy stuffed animal in my home for 19 days along with two children, a dog and a husband (Bryan has gone into the office 4 days in the past 19. Lord, have mercy!) has placed me firmly on edge. I need time alone so I can decompress from being in constant demand. Tomorrow the girls go to school and Bryan goes back to his normal office schedule and I will get 2 1/2 hours all to myself. I'm incredibly excited. I plan to spend that time with no human interaction.

Anyway, I sat down to see if any of the blogs I follow have posted anything new. I noticed that on Orthometer there was a Seinfeld reference that made me laugh and left me thinking of how Jerry would say "Neumann" when he discovered that his foe had done something to foil him. Then I noticed that Sister Mary Martha had a new post. I love her blog because it both amuses me and is informative. I burst out laughing when I saw her reference a song my dad used to sing about my mom, one that I'm sure would have landed my dad in the dog house for at least a week or two if she had heard him singing it. (And, knowing my dad, he probably got caught singing it at least a few times.) I always thought my dad and Uncle Ned had made the song up because their wives were on the plump side. Who would have guessed that "I don't want her, you can have her, she's too fat for me!" was a real song?

Fish and House Guests Smell After Three Days

I think I've probably already mentioned that Ellie was sent home with Alvin, the class chipmunk stuffed animal the Friday before we got hit with the big snow storm. Alvin was supposed to go back to the school on December 21st, the last day before Christmas break, but thanks to the snow his return got delayed, and we wound up having to play host for twenty days. To say that I was not happy about this would be an incredibly gross understatement. Part of the chipmunk project involves the parents having to write a journal for Alvin's adventures. It is something I find rather tedious because one, I didn't want the stuffed animal in the house in the first place, and two, I dislike having to write by hand since I can be a little wordy (those of you who read this blog are probably well aware of that point). So I procrastinated for 19 days in writing up Alvin's adventures with us. In the end, I decided that I needed to type it up and then paste the story into the journal. I probably could have filled the rest of the book if I had decided to write it out by hand. Bryan found the story rather amusing and thought that I should share it online somewhere, so what better place to share it than here on the blog. The following is told from the perspective of Alvin, the unwelcome mascot of Ellie's Cheery Chipmunk's pre-K class:

Ellie with Alvin at my Mom's house.

On Friday December 18th I got to go home with Ellie. I was pretty psyched because the last time I visited Ellie I had a blast. When we got to Ellie’s house the place was decorated for Christmas.Ellie showed me the tree decorated with ornaments made by her and her big sister Madeline, and then we went into the family room to look at the other tree. Both trees looked like a place where I could hang out.

Ellie’s mom made chocolate chip cookies and I got in trouble for trying to filch a few too many.Her mom told me I had to stop eating them as fast as they came out of the oven. I think she was just trying to keep them all to herself.

After the cookie fiasco, Ellie and I went and played with her toys. I had a lot of fun. Once her big sister Madeline came home from school, we got to have ice cream for a snack. Ellie’s mom REALLY likes playing Christmas music so we listened to that all afternoon. I was pretty happy when my songs from my Christmas with the Chipmunks album came on. Ellie kept trying to sing MY parts in the songs. That irritated me a little bit.

On Saturday morning we woke up to a snow covered world. It snowed ALL day. We couldn’t leave the house at all. The kids and I ran all over the house and we drove Ellie’s parents nuts. I was really hoping that we could play in the snow, but Ellie’s mom is really mean and told us we couldn’t go out until the snow stopped, which was NEVER!

On Sunday the snow FINALLY stopped. But Ellie’s mom told me I couldn’t go out in the snow because I didn’t have a coat or snow boots. So I got to look outside while Ellie and Madeline played in the snow. I was really happy when their mom told them they had to come inside. Later that day we made cookies. I was the official taste tester. I ate so many Christmas tree cookies that I wound up with indigestion. I was looking forward to going back to school the next day.Everyone in the house was going a little crazy since we were all trapped in the house since the roads weren’t plowed.

On Monday, the worst possible thing happened. School got cancelled. I was convinced that I was in the middle of a hostage situation. Instead of taking me back to the school, Ellie took me to her grandparent’s house. The visit was going well at first since we had pizza and cookies but then Ellie’s MomMom and her mom took out their cameras. They made us pose for so many pictures that I was pretty sure I was going to go blind from the flash. Those two are crazy!Ellie’s Pop Pop kept trying to make small talk with me, but I just wanted to eat cookies so I tried to ignore what he was saying. The drive home was really quiet. Ellie, Madeline and I got in trouble for acting like crazy people while their mom was driving on the snow-covered roads.

On Tuesday we were trapped in the house again. Ellie’s dad needed to take her mom’s van to work and we had to play in the house all day. We listened to lots of Christmas music. At bedtime, Ellie tucked me into my very own bed and read me a story called Pajama Time. It’s Ellie’s favorite bedtime story.

Wednesday saw us trapped in the house again. We played with a cool Princess and the Frog book that Ellie got in the mail the day before. We had lots of fun recreating the movie. Madeline and Ellie also dressed me up in girly jewelry. I only played along with it because when you’re a hostage, it’s best to just do what they say so you don’t get hurt. Ellie’s Gammie and Poppa Mike visited and gave everyone (except me) presents. I was hoping they’d smuggle me out of the house, but they weren’t interested in helping a hostage. They were probably afraid they’d get stuck here, too.

Christmas Eve was a lot of fun. We got to track Santa on NORAD to see when he was coming to Ellie’s house. I kept Oscar the family dog company while Ellie and her family were at Mass.He must be a dangerous creature because Ellie’s family locks him up in this prison called a crate every time they leave the house. I think they think he’s going to steal something when they’re not around.

Christmas day was great. Everyone got lots of presents. Ellie got a cool new bike and she let me sit on the handlebars. She even got a couple of Webkinz friends that I could hang out with, which is good because I figure with more hostages, I have a better chance of getting out of here. I got a few treats for Christmas, but I didn’t get that hula-hoop I sing about in my Christmas song. Santa must have run out of them. We had a big Christmas dinner and Ellie’s Mom Mom, Pop Pop and Uncle Mark visited.

Saturday, December 26th-I’m scared and ready to go home now. I see why Oscar is kept in that prison. He kidnapped a small stuffed dog and CHEWED his eyes out while Ellie and her family went out for lunch. I began to wish that I hadn’t decided to stay behind and nap. I’m trying to make sure I don’t look at Oscar. I don’t want to go blind.

After the stuffed animal assault, I decided to lay low for a few days. I spent several days playing with the toys in Ellie’s room. Ellie brought me lots of food so I wouldn’t starve to death. I’m now living in constant fear of Oscar the eyeball-chewing dog.

Wednesday December 30th- Ellie’s Nana and Pop visited. I got to eat more yummy food and hang out with her family. Ellie and Madeline got to open more Christmas presents, but I didn’t get anything. They did bring yummy Napoleons from a bakery in Staten Island, so I was happy about that.

On New Year’s Eve I got to go to Chuck E Cheese with Ellie. I hung out in her mom’s purse while Ellie played games. I got to hold the tickets she won. We enjoyed a yummy pizza, too. Later that night we got Chinese food delivered to the house. When the ball dropped at midnight, I was the only one awake. Ellie’s mom and dad fell asleep in the family room just before midnight.Madeline and Ellie fell asleep long before that. I think these people need to drink coffee or something.

On New Year’s Day I got to watch the Flyers play in the Winter Classic. Ellie’s dad and I were really enjoying the game until the Flyers let it get tied up with a few minutes to go. They lost in overtime. Ellie’s mom and dad were pretty disappointed.

I played hide and seek with Ellie on Saturday. I got in a lot of trouble when I hid a little too well behind a couch cushion. Ellie’s family searched the entire house for a while looking for me. I think they’re going to let me go soon. They seemed desperate to find me so they could send me back. The New Year has brought me hope!

On Sunday, I went with Ellie to watch Madeline’s indoor soccer game. I saw Darren from class. I was hoping that I could go home with him (I know he’d bring me back to school instead of holding me captive), but his mom and dad said I couldn’t come home with them. Next time I go to their house I’m going to make a lot of noise!

On Monday Ellie’s MomMom and PopPop came over to watch us in the morning. We played lots of games with them and had fun.

On Tuesday I got to go a few places with Ellie. We went to a little store to buy books Ellie wanted, and then we went to the parish office for Ellie’s church. Ellie got to pick a lollipop while she was there. We got Chick-Fil-A for lunch today. It was yummy. Ellie has school tomorrow.Her mom says they’re going to let me go, too! Maybe I’m not really a hostage, after all. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight so I can be ready to go on a new adventure tomorrow!

Monday, January 4, 2010


I'm not much of a resolutions kind of gal. At least, not the New Year's resolution kind. I've been seeing all sorts of things online about everyone's resolutions or resolve not to have one and it got me thinking. As a perfectionist, one who is increasingly becoming aware that that perfection I chase is never going to happen, I'm always striving to change for the better. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it's a crash and burn of epic proportions.

In the past, I have resolved to eliminate unnecessary items from our house (this was 7 years ago). It is one of the changes I have made in my life that has been rather successful. I refer to myself as a recovering pack rack or crap farmer (my own term for the pack rat that can't part with even the most idiotic items, like TV and baby gear boxes). I actually think that being a pack rat is a genetic disease. I come from a long line of such individuals, and I watch my brother struggle with this disease, too. (He saves styrofoam because he "might need it some day".) So while I still have superfluous items in my home, there is no danger that I'm going to be suffocated by the useless stuff I used to save, and I do go on purging sprees where I toss out/donate lots of unnecessary things.

Last year I started off the year with no resolutions. By February, I felt the need to work on my faith in a big way. Looking back almost 11 months to the day when I felt the big nudge to wake up, I'm pretty happy with my progress. I think my main goal for this year is to deepen my faith even more. Today, for the first time ever, I went to Eucharistic Adoration. It was rather calming and peaceful, except for the 4 1/2 year old who kept scurrying around the pew and asking me questions every minute or so after she could no longer contain herself.

I have realized over the past two weeks that while my patience has certainly grown, it still has a ways to grow. I'm hopeful that I can bid 2010 farewell as a more patient wife and mother.

In the beginning of the school year I decided that I was going to be more organized (a type A personality can never be organized enough) and not forget anything for Ellie that is school related. So far, we're doing good. The flip side, is I've been forgetting stuff for Madeline instead. So now I'm going to try working on not forgetting anything for either of the girls. Can I handle it? We'll find out!

I'm also hoping that I can create a game plan for keeping the house clean all the time and stick to that plan. I used to be incredibly organized when it came to housekeeping when Madeline was an infant. I'm hoping to get back to that level of organization and dedication again.

So I guess while I don't have any resolutions for this year, I do have plenty of hopes. If I take the route of having a handful of goals, rather than resolutions, I'll be more motivated to work towards them. Resolutions are often things that fall by the wayside never to be thought of again.

Happy New Year, everyone! Let's hope it's a good one.
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