"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Daybook - March 15, 2010

For Today... Monday, March 15, 2010

Outside my window... the sun is rising a little later than it was last week.

I am hearing... my DH eating breakfast in the kitchen and The Girls starting their schoolwork in the dining room.

I am thinking... about Bismarck, North Dakota ... more on this later.

I am praying... for my DH -- he is being stretched to the max right now -- teaching two courses, including his first graduate level course, preparing for a big interview, working on his dissertation, trying to spend some time with his wife and kiddos.

I am thankful for... sunshine! It was absolutely gorgeous outside yesterday. We even ate lunch in the park. without jackets. and the kids got their bikes out for the first time this year.

From the school room... we're going to have to simplify things this week and mostly focus on catching up. Having two Irish dancers during this time of year makes for a very. busy. week.

From the kitchen... things are going to have to be simplified here, too, because most evenings we will be gone ... lots of crock pot recipes, I think, or bigger meals at noon and pack sandwiches to take with us.

I am creating ... plans for an American Girls birthday party for The Younger Girl. I finished the invitations yesterday.

I am reading... work-stuff. I'm open to suggestions for any good novels you've read lately.

I am hoping... to make it through the week with a minimum of stress and yelling.

Around the house... We were gone yesterday -- The Girls danced at the Irish Music and Dance Association's Day of Irish Dance -- so the house isn't starting out quite as picked up as I like on a Monday morning.

One of my favorite things... steak -- last evening, my DH grilled steaks for the first time this year and we enjoyed them with loaded baked potatoes and roasted asparagus. Yummy!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Dance classes for all three big kids tonight. Tuesday The Girls will perform for a seniors group. Wednesday we'll spend the day at the Landmark Center for The Irish Music and Dance Association's St. Patrick's Day Irish Celebration -- The Older Girl will perform in three shows and The Younger Girl in one. Afterward, we'll head north to my sister's for corn beef! Friday The Girls have a performance at a nursing home. Saturday I'm hosting the second of my four birthday parties. In the evening, the dance studio is hosting a relax-together-after-all-the-craziness-of-St. Patrick's Day-party. Whew!

For more daybooks, visit here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Successes - Volume 6 AND 100th Post

This is my sixth volume of Saturday Successes and I think I have figured out Mr. Linky, so you can join me in celebrating your Saturday successes. The concept arose from my complete frustration at the end of my Saturdays. With homeschooling and working full-time, and hopefully resting on Sundays, my Saturdays have typically been left for EVERYTHING else. My to-do list was so long and overwhelming and hopelessly impossible to complete that I was left frustrated at the end of the day -- only seeing what I did not get done, instead of the myriad of accomplishments. So, I tried a new approach: I start each Saturday with a clean slate, instead of a to-do list. Instead of writing down what needs to get done, I write down what's gotten done, even the seemingly mundane things like changing The Baby's diaper. The point is to find JOY in my successes ... I hope you will join me.

So far today ...

* fed The Baby breakfast and got her dressed
* had breakfast (leftover omelet) and coffee
* spent two hours reading some of the very. lengthy. testimony for a marriage case (in preparation for writing a Defender brief later)
* wrote this 100th blog post and figured out Mr. Linky

2:30 UPDATE:

* showered
* got The Girls new costume pieces labeled and helped them get things together and pack for an afternoon of dancing
* did The Girls hair (BTW, this was a most unpleasant experience for all involved, especially The Older Girl and Mommy!)
* dropped The Girls off at the International Institute for a Festival of Nations review, from their they will go with one of their instructors to perform at the Wee Leprechauns Contest
* took The Boy and The Baby with me to Michaels to buy a star-shaped cake pan and the supplies for The Younger Girl's birthday party invitations
* stopped at McDonald's -- The Boy has been begging to go to a Play Place, and since the older two weren't with us, it seemed like the perfect opportunity (plus, The Boy has been driving me NUTS with his motor mouth and ants-in-pants and it's been too wet and muddy to send him into the backyard to play!)

8:30 UPDATE:

* spent another hour and a half reading the above-mentioned case
* picked up the living room
* picked up and swept the dining room
* went to Mass
* went out for Chinese
* dropped two kids at home to get ready for bed
* dropped DH off at office to work some more
* picked up a friend at a birthday party (got lost!) and dropped The Older Girl and her friend off at The Celtic Junction for a Two Tap Trio concert (The Girls take whistle lessons from Mr. Miller and The Boy's dance teacher is Ms. Norah)
* brought The (very. tired.) Baby home and got her ready for bed

11:00 UPDATE:

* unloaded the dishwasher
* poured a glass of wine to enjoy while ...
* ... still reading this (stinkin' long) case

11:35 UPDATE:
* finished reading ... going to bed

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Creamer Funny


Since The Girls had dance tonight and my DH had to teach, we decided to celebrate The Younger Girl's birthday by going out to brunch.

You know those individual creamers they put on the tables? I have always given them, and the sugar and sweetener packets, to fussy babies to keep them busy in a restaurant. I've never had a problem doing this. Until today.

Guess what The Baby did? She figured out how to get that little container open with those four sharp little teeth and before we knew what was happening she was drinking the cream! I thought it was maybe a fluke, so I gave her another one -- she wasted no time chewing on it until she could get the cream out!

Better watch out for this one -- she's a smartie!

My Sunshine's Birthday

My second child has always been affectionately known as our "Sunshine" around here. And here's why ...

Happy 8th Birthday, Sweetheart!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cowgirl Birthday Party

The Older Girl turned nine on February 26.

When the kids were little, before we moved to Milwaukee for graduate school, I would have birthday parties for them with their aunts and uncles, grandparents and godparents. While living in Wisconsin, we celebrated as a family. I think The Girls had a sleepover with one friend once. Last year, with the early arrival of The Baby and the fact that I was either pregnant or recovering from an emergency c-section, we barely celebrated anyone's birthday (all four of The Kids birthdays fall between February 26 and April 1).

Anyway ... the fact is, I feel like I owe them each a birthday party this year (not to mention they've been to parties now, know what they're missing, and have been asking me about it for months).

Saturday was my first attempt at hosting a kids' birthday party. It was a huge success and the girls all appeared to have a great time.

The Invitation
(the boot lifts to reveal invitation details)

As the girls arrived, they each received a pink bandana
and set to work painting some wooden horses.

Next we played some games:

Farm Find
(the girls were ranchers helping the farmer's wife find her missing husband and animals --
small stuffed farmer and farm animals hidden around the living room)

Horse Color Word Search


Horse Picture Puzzles
(photocopied from this book)

Horse Breed Bingo
(created using this website)

After games, it was time to eat our cowboy fare -- on tin plates of course!

hamburgers with all the fixin's
baked beans
potato chips
and a bottle of sarsaparilla

Making Music

Then it was time for presents!

And cake!

And a group photo!

Finally, each girl grabbed a goodie bag on their way out.

silly pink straw
Lipsmacker lip gloss
horse stickers
hard plastic foal
two balls
pink glow-in-the-dark star
bubble gum

It was a loud couple of hours, but my daughter proclaimed after it was all over that it was one of the best days of her life!

One party down ... three to go!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Successes - Volume 5

Running around like a chicken with my head cut off today ... join me in celebrating your Saturday successes ...

* attempted morning prayer and a cup of coffee, but the kids were up before me, so ... you know how that goes

* got The Baby dressed and fed her breakfast

* helped The Older Girl paint the horse she drew for a pin-the-tale-on-the-horse game

* made a cake

* fixed a fried egg and cheese sandwich (and ate it!)

* put a load of towels in the washer

* unloaded, reloaded, and started the dishwasher

3:00 UPDATE:

* picked up The Baby's room (where everyone's been playing this morning) and put her down for a nap

* picked up and swept the kitchen

* took delicates from dryer, put towels in dryer, and put The Boy's comforter in the washer

* hung pink streamers and balloons in the dining room

* decorated and stuffed six goodie bags

* cut out seven paper horse tails

* made lunch for the kiddos and myself (salami and cheese sandwiches) (look, Sweetie, two meals already today!)

* took a shower

* took towels out of dryer (had to send a Girl down to get one for me when I got out of the shower!) and put The Boy's comforter in the dryer

* decorated cake

* printed out horse breed bingo cards, horse color word search, and horse picture puzzles

* took staples out of seven pink bandanas

* picked up the house

6:30 UPDATE:

* hosted a birthday party for The Older Girl (more on this in another post)

9:15 UPDATE:

* gave The Baby a bath, nursed her, and put her to bed

* ate dinner with DH

* played Word Pirates with The Boy and DH

* watched an episode of The Waltons with DH

going to bed. now.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Daybook - March 1, 2010

For Today... Monday, March 1, 2010

Outside my window... the sun was shining today and the snow melting. The backyard is turning into a small pond, which is slowly making its way into the garage.

I am hearing... The Oldest Girl getting ready for bed.

I am thinking... about silence, about trust, about letting go ... more on this in another post, I think.

I am praying... for the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus -- a wonderful group of young women starting a new religious community in the Diocese of New Ulm. We will be attending their investiture and one of their member's simple profession of vows later this month.

I am thankful for... the fact my house did not burn down today. I put some chicken on to start cooking because Monday night dinners are rushed in between tin whistle and dance lessons. I dropped the girls off at whistle lessons, returned some overdue books to the library, filled the car with gas (low fuel light on for the second day), and on the way to pick the girls up remembered I had left the stove on! I stopped home to turn it off. Dinner was, thankfully, salvageable.

From the school room... we're trying to catch up on a few things this week -- yes, I'm behind here, too. Any Latinists out there? The Girls just finished Prima Latina and I'm not sure what to do now.

From the kitchen... this week's menu:
Monday: fajitas and southwestern corn
Tuesday: upside-down meatloaf, sliced potatoes and onions, and carrots
Wednesday: pork chops and rice, green beans, applesauce, and biscuits
Thursday: taco soup and tortilla chips

I am creating ... plans for The Older Girl's birthday party this weekend. It's a cowgirl theme -- any ideas for games?

I am going...
to get something to eat and go read some work stuff when I'm done with this.

I am reading... Redeeming Love, a retelling of the story of Hosea.

I am hoping... to write a February birthdays post and a Lent post some time this week.

Around the house... the laundry is piling up, the dust bunnies are attacking, and the paperwork pile is close to teetering over ... but the kitchen garbage can is clean. finally. Ahhh, the small things (seriously, people, this was the highlight of my day!).

Noticing that ... I am very tired.

One of my favorite things... not smelling poop for a whole day! (Don't ask.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: I'm not sure. I've really been taking it as it comes lately. I plan to keep going forward.

A picture-thought:

One year ago ... and he still ADORES her!!!

For more daybooks, visit here.