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jul 27

1. Routine: I can’t seem to find something that works for us… There are days when I get up early and can plan a good breakfast etc, I can devote all kinds of time to the kids, but then later when I try to do anything else I can’t; I’m peppered with questions and requests, I give them a toy they want and they want another 5 minutes late etc.. . I know praying and especially the rosary are important, and the earlier in the day the better, but I’m having a hard time finding a time when they will leave me alone enough. And I can’t involve them yet because they don’t have the attention span. I don’t know what works well…. not really – save having things planned ahead, but when I try to plan, bam kids want me then too.

A good plan would be chores and school activities in the morning, and walk and rest in afternoon. Then have supper ready, and daddy take the kids would guarantee some of that quiet down time i crave….
This will only work once the temperatures go back down a bit, right now I find it’s too hot to be out in the sun past about 10 or 11 o’clock.

A key to success, might be to involve the kids in everything I’m doing etc.. chores, my blog, my photos? – Well, I tried it. I liked the idea of living holistically, invovling my kids in what is important to me, and then vice versa. But even my 4 year old got bored of looking through pictures pretty quickly 😦

2. No. The key to success, I think – is to purposefully stay off the computer as much as possible, ideally all daytime hours, but at least all morning and have 40 min or so very productive, after DH is home and I’ve done a bit of cleaning. THEN I can engage the kids more and fill their needs? THEN I can have supper already cooking when DH gets home.

Something else that might help, if I need them to leave me alone to read or write, would be to give them puzzles. Puzzles really seem to hold their attention and keep them occupied.

3. On Saturday night God turned my world upside down when He showed me His plans for the future.

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DH and I went to a homeschool seminar at our local church. As with the Theology of the Body session in the fall, this was something I wanted him to hear from somebody else and not just from me. The idea had cropped up and intrigued me in the past, but I figured given my organization and procrastination difficulties that I was not cut out for it, and I would be happy to submit to my husband and send our kids to public school, if that was what God wanted. But that night God turned my world upside down when he showed He had other ideas.

The couple that was giving the talk began explaining what they do etc and within minutes I was already considering trying out a kindergarten program with the kids this year as a first step. It was just like with Montreal, by the end of their talk God had completely changed my heart. So much of what they said resonated with me. They explained the how homeschooling helped them to be more organized, and they specifically mentioned that it’s important to declutter your home. Their reasons for homeschooling were the same as mine but there were even other benefits I hadn’t considered as well. The also explained how homeschooling was just an extension of what they already did each day, and suddenly I could see how easily it could fit into our life too.

God has been calling me to be obedient. He’s been calling me to true biblical submission as a wife. That means: deferring the authority etc for final decision making to my husband, even though he doesn’t share my faith, EXCEPT in cases where it would go against God’s law etc. THIS is not a morality issue and IN LIGHT OF SUBMISSION I was perfectly happy to let the kids go to public school, if that was what God wanted from me – BUT God has made it completely clear that this is not an area of compromise.

Overall DH was less than thrilled, but that said, the decluttering thing was not lost on him. I was not at all surprised when he brought up that point that evening. I already knew this was going to be the deciding factor: if He had to submit to this homeschooling stuff then I definitely had to take seriously his wish for a less cluttered home. And I am, we’re already talking about ways we can start to tackle this problem. The promise of a tidier home is the way to make this idea appeal to him. And quite frankly, I’m sick of living in such clutter, I find it makes it so hard to get anything done.

4. Faith Notes

-3 things to remember: slow down, take time to give thanks and keep your heart open to God and others.

-Let suffering make your valleys into sheltered places to light a match and see the face of God…. –Ann Voskamp – A Holy Experience

-Thank you for giving me a cold while on vacation, when I have extra hands – it’s better than if I was stuck at home with the kids!

-Actually, this cold, this suffering, could be birthing the new graces needed to make this big change : live simple, walk in spirit, declutter, change my focus and then educate my children!

5. On Saturday afternoon my best friend brought the baby out to my mom’s house so she could meet her. It was an interesting girl’s afternoon, as my 7 month old was the only male present, and we discussed labor stories, mostly hers. We also took a couple pictures no the deck to finish the photo story and I had DH bring the kids at the end, so they could meet the new baby too.

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6. It seems God is quite involved in the July photo project. I’ve found over and over that if I wait and follow God’s lead on the project, each day He helps me to get the perfect photograph. When I am patient and just wait on His timing He gives me the perfect inspiration, the 20 or 30 minute time-slot I need, He lines up all the perfect circumstances and even sometimes provides the perfect subjects as well.
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Also as I’ve been doing this project, I’m finding I have to take less and less pictures to get my shot each day. The photo for EYES was a major exception, but only because I had never taken a direct self-portrait with my new cameras, ever. I don’t know why, it is so much simpler than trying to take a decent photo in the mirror… Point and shoots were always too close but SLRs give anyone the necessary distance to get in both head and shoulders easily, just by holding the camera out in front of them.
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7. On Monday night we made it down to see the tall ships. It was just a nice night out with the family, but we ended up sitting for about an hour waiting for the fireworks, so I had the opportunity to play with some nighttime shots. We all enjoyed looking at the boats, the fireworks were pretty spectacular and I have the cutest photo of my little guy, dressed of course in a nautical outfit for the occasion 🙂

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Quick Takes

1. I’m sort of reevaluating the routine because what I have hasn’t been happening lately and some things still don’t have a proper designated time. A friend commented on my post from last week, how as mothers we always have to reinvent our routines, and I think this is so true. Something can work for a while, but it never lasts! I was hoping to try out some new things this week, but it really hasn’t happened since this week has been full of other things instead. We did try to go out for a proper walk yesterday and had a nice time by the lake with books AND snacks, but we never made it to the playground because my oldest took off when I said we would be going, and I still had to pack up our things and help with a potty break.

In particular I haven’t been planning my meals even the day of, leading to lots of last minute stress and compromises. I think if I can make myself plan more, I will be able to stick to it better, thereby getting back on top of both meals and hopefully dishes as well. If only I could remember to plan and read the routine every morning, and also to say a quick prayer before bed! This has gotten derailed due to watching a show most night with DH before bed, but this is a good thing overall, so I guess it is what it is, I’ll just have to thank God by being content and express it with words in the mornings. Putting in a walk in the morning frees up the half hour I used to take for exercise… so perhaps 8am is going to be my planning time now. But then that delays food for both kids and me so I may still have to move it back. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have free time in the schedule… Also, my oldest has been sleeping in again and it’s cooler in morning which leads me to use some of that time on computer (mine freezes up when it gets too warm inside).

Also, I had a realization on the weekend: that I actually rather enjoy cleaning; it’s the tidying up that’s involved before you can clean that’s the problem. That is what I find so overwhelming and difficult to do, I’m just bad at it. My brain is cluttered so my spaces are too, and then when I try and create order by putting things in their places, well, a lot of things just don’t have a place and trying to find one is stressful, so they usually just get put, somewhere. Pretty soon my counters and dressers and desks and shelves are full of things that don’t belong. Since clutter bugs DH and since he seems to at least have the potential to be a bit more organized than me, I’ve asked him to try to chip in in that area, and in return I would try to keep things a little cleaner- and put things in their places when they have them.

2. However, having prayed the revised prayers for my husband a few more times, I have since committed them to memory and can pray them whenever it is convenient to squeeze it in: driving in the car, washing up dishes, even walking through the supermarket. This means I have gotten back to praying them more often again, and this is a good thing.

-I’m beginning to see a future where my husband knows God. It is still really hard to picture, but I’m starting to really believe in it. In my soul, I feel it coming. I’m beginning to believe that this really is possible, as I understand more about how God and man were made for each other. I felt I could never picture my husband kneeling before Almighty God, but now I can see him as a child of God, and I am coming to understand that he, like every one else on this earth, is just looking for love. In this light, I can actually see the potential for God to fit into his life.

And I feel God calling me to believe. ‘Believe that this future is possible,’ after all, it’s God we’re talking about! ‘Believe in a future where your husband shares your faith.’ A future where Faith would be strong, real, living in the world out of a place of united faith, instead of in a divided home. In God I am filled with Wild hope.

3. Faith Notes
Expanding on the insights from two weekends ago: All is grace. Even the pain and suffering, the bad stuff. Suffering, can taste sweet: it can be the genesis of new life. It always carries that potential! Every pain and frustration and disappointment is an opportunity to die a little inside (to self) and grow a little in (the) spirit.

Using the time we have: How to Live Your Best Life
The importance of Relationships: “Do my daily decisions support my belief that relationship is the essence of reality? Or do I merely pay lip service to relationship — while the use of my hours clearly reveals true priorities?” http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/06/how-to-live-your-best-life-3/ Ouch…. Most days my intentoinal priorities involve the computer (mostly typing and blogging) and SOMETIMES to get some housework done. Of course the relationships themselves are far more important than the pictures or words that represent them! I really REALLY need to work on this area! God, help!

-I need this: -10 things to do before you click online- The instructions are to print out and tape to the side of every screen. I especically like the staring out the door and the timer. In addition, there are a few more I’d like to add:
+ read a book to a child
+ speak words of encouragement/appreciation into someone’s life

This is my finished product. Now just to print it out, and actually follow the advice!

Tadaa!
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– Tuesday was a rough day, I spent it constantly being tired and fighting my will to do noting and be cranky. Driving in to Courageous Catholic and still feeling disgruntled, I decided to try to apply the ‘All is grace’ mentality, and wondered why I had forgotten about it until now. I realized that I had been trying to live it that day, but only in order to accept it, not to actually thank God for it! ( I also forgot about the whole confidence in God part; I distrusted my own feelings enough to try to fight them but I had no sense of hope.) So, moved to live Eucharisteo even though I didn’t feel like it, I just started to pray, ‘Thank you for the blessing of tiredness…’ and the spirit just kept giving me words! ‘to help me to better understand how ineffective/useless/ I am when I rely on my own strength and how much I need You to help me, even just to be patient and to do what needs to be done.’ I was blown away by just how powerful the desire to live gratefully could be! Also, later I came to the realization that some days are just like that. I felt like a bit of a failure that day. It was a day of constant struggle, with little peace. I would try over and over to rise above the feelings and I just couldn’t. But I realized THAT is not failure. I think, you haven’t failed, unless you stop fighting. On these days, even if you are losing, you just have to keep fighting. On these days, that is victory.

-John 3:16 – perspective. Understanding my kids. ‘I’m here for their story, I’m here for their wounds… to show them what Love sees, when love looks at them.’

-Some encouraging pro-life news regarding Letters for Life and Motion 312: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/while-prime-minister-pressures-mps-a-teens-campaign-puts-pressure-back-on-h 🙂

4. This week we took a trip to a local farm museum located in the middle of town. It was rather strange to see main roads and gas stations behind rolling hills and wood fences but it was also rather neat. The farm was small, but they had chickens, ducks, cows and pigs, as well as quaint old buildings, some old fashioned toys and games, and a darling little tea room restaurant. We were there for a Meetup, but it’s simple enough to get there it would be a great place to take the kids for the day when I just need to get out of the house, especially if I had one other person to go with.

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Seeing the animals
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and after that we played with some of the games.
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A number of the mothers ordered food from the restaurant and it looked really good, but we had brought our food so I chose not to spend the money. However, I ended up taking each of my big kids in for a potty break, and inside it smelled amazing. It wads filled with the farm fresh smell of warm bread, yum! What a lovely place to go for afternoon tea!

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Since we had just had the house sprayed for ants and all the furniture was pulled out I stayed long after other people had left, so as to get home only shortly before DH. We talked with one other mom who had arrived late, and then I took the big boys inside for an afternoon snack. I skipped the china tea cups and bought them cookies and milk instead. I had gingerbread with lemon sauce and a fresh glass of lemonade. I’ve tried to make lemonade in the past and have never gotten the lemon-water ratio right, so when a place has good fresh lemonade, I always want to buy some. I decided to ask if she could tell me the correct proportions for a good glass of lemonade, (my $2 one was delicious) and she said they use 1 cup of bottled lemon juice with one cup of sugar, plus both the juice and zest from 1 lemon and 5 cups of water. I need to buy me some lemons, there is nothing like a fresh sweet glass of lemonade on a hot summer day!

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Lastly we popped into the old farm house and took a quick peek around.
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5. I am quite sure I mentioned that the baby is crawling, and I will even add, standing up on things as well. What I didn’t mention is that he still doesn’t really sit up, which means his balance is not really adequate for his mobility skills. In other words, while standing, and even sometimes in the crawl position, he will still topple over and get upset. Bump, waahh! Most children standing up and attempting to walk will fall into a sitting position, bump, cushioned by their diaper. He will clean over backwards, as he doesn’t have the sitting position as a middle ground. For this reason, I continually put him down in a sitting position so he can learn, but he gets mad and moves to crawl pretty quickly. Sigh… this is a very real reason why children shouldn’t crawl this young.
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6. While visiting with the neighbors they mentioned their older daughter is playing soccer this year, so I suggested that maybe we could come to the games too. I want to know my neighbours, I think it’s good for families to grow together, and not only do we get to cheer on a family friend, but we also get to spend guaranteed time each week with them, since this is one place they will always be with predictability 🙂 We went this week for the first time and had a nice visit outside while the kids and DH ran around in the open field. A perfect way to spend an evening and hopefully to tire the kids out so they sleep in!
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7. My mom told me about this post on the 5 best toys of all time and I thought I’d share because they are also cheap and easy to come by: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/01/the-5-best-toys-of-all-time/5/

This was also a fun read on the surprising uses for some broken toys: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/12/4-best-broken-toys-of-all-time/

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Ugh, I am always so late getting these up. I’m consistently at the bottom of the list-if I make it in at all. This week it doesn’t help that one or more of us have been sick since last thursday. Of course the ideal solution would to write pre-emptively, and have it done by Thursday, but the reality is this almost never happens. I had this great idea to put in the link before the pot was finished so I could not be at the end, but it tests your url haha. So, now I’m trying to write this as fast as possible, when I probably should be doing other things…

NOTE: This isn’t quite done, but it’s close enough to post.

1. ‘God’s foolishness is greater than human wisdom’

On Sunday with the 2 big kids sick it was just me and the baby. As a result, I was able to listen and internalize without distractions.

Sunday’s Homily, I summarize:
Jesus in the temple – he makes a whip and drives the moneychangers out! It must have been quite a sight. Holy church-goers don’t get angry… It’s actually kind of scary. Think of Chronicles of Narnia – Aslan is the God figure. He’s a lion. He’s a good and just lion, but he’s not tame. There is an element of fear… Like going into a nuclear power plant, everything looks safe but you know on the other side of that wall there is enough power to melt Nova Scotia.

“Contingency –looking out at the leaf on the tree in the front yard. There has to be a First cause – there has to be an unmoved mover.

‘I’m cute, but I’m compost. When I say a mass, it seems like a pretty little thing. I just do it, but it doesn’t seem of great significance. Now think about all the companions of the cross together in one room. Think about all the masses, baptisms eucharists etc they’ve ever performed all at once. Wow. Think about the transfiguration. It was like a crack of lightning! A peal of thunder! God contained in a human body. Jesus is God, all at once.

Church offertory-it’s not like applying for a mortgage, in Africa etc, each person brings something to give, and they dance with it as they bring it up to the altar. The offertory takes a long time! Imagine if we did that.

We just had our first taste of spring. You can feel it. As I looked out at the water etc, I felt passion. You know what for? Sailing. I love to be on the water. I saw the clear skies and the open water and I felt that pull. I feel it deep in my soul. AGGGHHHHH. He grunted like a caveman. It’s there inside me, just waiting to escape. This is how I approach sailing. Is that how we approach the eucharist? Prayer? Bible reading? That pull, that aghhhh! that’s what Christ feels for us, passion! Look at the cross! “

Wow. All of a sudden, I see the cross in a whole new light! I used to see it as the ultimate humility, complete weakness and submission, sort of, ‘yes my lord’ of a servant. Now, I see power. I see passion, and a fierce choice to Love. More than just accepting the cross, Jesus willfully CHOOSES it, out of love for us.

And I remember, that God loves us, so much more than we think, so much more than we know!

This got me thinking about what I am passionate about. I love photography, but I’m not sure I’d call myself passionate about it. I do have that passion to capture a moment or a feeling, and also to share my gift to bless my family and friends, so maybe I am. But the things that make me really feel a pull in my soul and make me feel so alive are being out in nature, usually the woods or by the sea, and my faith. I truly am passionate about it and about sharing it! I actually go out of my way to take hold of any opportunities to share my faith with others. When CCO had mission week in January, I asked Nanny to babysit and loaded all 3 kids up by myself to take them to her house, just so I could be on the front lines reaching out to students. I so want others, especially those closest to me to share what I have found in Christianity.

Father said ‘what if we had that same passion, every time we received the Eucharist? Every time we read our bible? etc.” I actually think I do. Sure there are times when it’s a struggle and I don’t feel like praying or reading my bible, but when I look at what is most important to me, God has my heart. Every time there is a faith-related event, a chance to learn and grow, I make it a priority to be there if possible. It doesn’t matter what else I might have done, I actually missed a party to go to adoration once. Granted, the party invite came second, but still. I’m that passionate about spending time with the Lord! He’s worth it. (Note I don’t go to all the available faith events because I’d be out 2 nights a week or more every week and that wouldn’t be fair to my family).

And of course, I’m also passionate about standing for life.

-I don’t know how I missed this Conversion Diary post before, but it was really helpful because I really struggle with the desire to evangelize everyone around me. I truly have a missionary heart, but sometimes that deep longing can get in the way.

“An analogy I often think of for how I used to handle pitching my newfound religion is that it was like I was describing the sun to someone who’d never seen it – while blocking out all the light and casting a shadow on them. ”

“When spending time with friends or family who don’t share my religious beliefs, I remind myself that nobody was ever converted by being chastised about how wrong they are. The first thing I need to do is shut up and pray. I have the grand Creator of the universe on my side, who desperately wants all souls to know him, and he probably has a better plan for how to get his message across than I do. The question, as I’ve come to see it, is not, ‘How can I show this person the error of her ways?’, but rather, “How can I focus more on the error of my ways, to conform myself more perfectly to the image of Christ? How can I do a better job of pushing my ego aside to allow people to see Christ through me?”

As I struggle with the ache for others to experience what I have, it’s helpful to know that it’s not all up to me and in fact it really is as simple as just striving for holiness in my own life.

-The penitential nature, stations, no seasoning, working to embrace my cross-it’s all bringing me such joy, and it’s not even EASTER!!!! Also, God has been stirring up lots of dust in my life and the changes are incredible!

2. GASP, We’re finally going to talk about it 😀 Canadian Parliament Will Engage in Rare Abortion Debate

3. I don’t know if this has been all over the news or not, but it’s pretty cool: A Chinese high school student might have the cure for cancer!
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4. On Sunday CCO had a ladies night and clothing exchange. We all went through our closets and gathered up the clothes/shoes/accessories we didn’t wear and brought them along. We laid everything out all over the Newman Centre and then we all went shopping! It was SO MUCH FUN.

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There was such a spirit of sisterhood; everyone was so encouraging, ‘that looks great on you!’ They were also realistic though, if something didn’t work, they told you. It was very helpful. There was also a lot of ‘this didn’t fit me, but it would look great on you’. And it would. It reminded me of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. It was almost magic how most of the clothes fit all of us and how something that had never worked on me looked great on someone else.

Every time someone found something really great (or really funny) we’d model it for the others.

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I picked up 5 pairs of pants (all of which fit my body NOW!), 2 dresses and a ton of shirts (all of which will let me nurse!). It’s nice to be able to throw some new pieces into my wardrobe.

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It really didn’t help me pare down my wardrobe though, I brought a green bag full to give away, but I brought home twice as much!

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5. On Saturday we sprang forward for Daylight Savings Time. Even though I have to lose an hour of sleep that night, I am so FOR this time change. The kids have been waking up far too early in my opinion, when they used to sleep in till 7:30 or 8 and that was great, especially with the baby still getting me up in the night. Since they’re used to getting up an hour later than the new time, and since the sun will be coming up an hour later, it should help them sleep in! Also, I love when it starts to be light for longer in the evening. It always seems depressing when the sun goes down before we even eat supper. I think it actually gives me more energy when it’s light later, because as soon as I see it start to get dark my brain starts winding down for bed.

Update: AND the next morning I had almsot an hour of peace and quiet to wake up with the baby, to pray and even to read a bit!

6. This week we watched the Lion King.
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This is another childhood favorite and I was pleased to see that I still knew all the songs! I don’t think it was my first movie in theatres ever, but it was the first one my mom took me to. The kids really liked it too, it’s a good story with great music. It’s just uplifting. There is something beautiful and transcendent about the Circle of Life opening and how they lift up the baby lion. There’s lots of good character messages in it too.

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I made lion face pizzas which sort of worked. And of course because of the baby, I had mine without cheese. It is just not the same.
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Rawr
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Also, I realized after the post last week that my 2 year old’s love languages are pretty much the same as mine. I can’t decide for sure whether one is moreso than the other for myself or for him. We both seem to respond to physical touch AND quality time. He is like me in so many ways so the fact that he shares this too is really interesting. It makes me wonder if love languages really are genetic, and not just a product of our environments.

7. The Back to Life movement kicks off tonight in Houston. I’m soo excited about this event! 39 women, 1 for each year of legal abortion since Roe v Wade, will be walking from one of the largest Planned Parenthood clinics to the courthouse in Dallas where it all began. Here’s an article that explains a bit more about Back to Life: http://www.citizenlink.com/2011/12/26/walking-out-their-faith/

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I wish I could be more a part of it but I can’t wait to follow their journey!

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1. This past week I have been more involved with CCO and engaging my faith more than the usual day to day at home, and God has felt so much closer! (as in w/o thinking, most days I took it for granted that He was with me, it was just automatic) It is just awesome to see what God does in me, when I’m out doing things for Him. I’ve got to work on having the ‘serve God in this’ mentality when I’m home every day…

2. Also, I found a great new blog, by someone I know. This post about Mary really warmed my heart:

“When motherhood has felt like such a tall order, when I doubted my ability to actually instruct a child in how to be a follower of Christ, she has taken me by the hand.
She is gentle, she is silent. Her silence gives me a space to cry when I need to, and a listening ear to take these cries to her Son.

When I have felt overwhelmed by my lack of natural homemaking skills, she takes me by the hand.
She is orderly, she is diligent. She “does not eat the bread of idleness” and has guided my hands and heart to knead bread with love, to wipe a counter in prayer.

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After all, she did these things for her Holy Family, too.

When I have felt too little, like a child who can’t find her mother in a crowded store, she comes running to me.
She is strong. She “makes haste” to be at my side, and shows me that “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

When I have felt less than lovely, less than worthy, she smiles her tender and knowing smile and stands in her unhampered, unselfconscious stance. This is how she shows me that she is a real woman, made beautiful because of her passionate love for Jesus.”

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Wow, this is the relationship with Our Lady that I want to have. The post did inspire me with a first step: to try to bring all the little things to her. She’s the one to pray to, when we want our cooking to turn out (and probably when it doesn’t as well!)

3. My best friend still has her baby, and the father is still reluctant but sticking around. But now its her parents that are driving her crazy and causing problems. Her father just doesn’t understand why she didn’t/won’t have an
abortion, given how things just haven’t been working out. And both of them are pressuring her to move out and in with the father, even though neither she nor the father wants to at present.

Since she has become pregnant, she has had a lot of questions for me, and I have felt so blessed to answer them and to be there for her. She was somewhat surprised to hear how blessed I’ve felt, and she told me seriously that she didn’t know what she would do if she didn’t have my mom and I supporting her. God is already using me in a BIG way She still doesn’t know how it will all work out. Her plan is to have the baby and see if she can take care of it, and if she really is as miserable as everyone says she will be (I doubt it) then she will consider adoption. Meanwhile, however, she keeps amassing baby stuff in a corner of her room.

This week she was asking me if it was a good idea to get a playpen or if she should get a crib. I agreed with her that a playpen is much more portable and that she really didn’t need a crib. She told me about a great little playpen she saw that doubles as a bassinet and change table and was on sale. It’s grey with little elephants and she thought it was cute. She had wanted to get it but had no way to transport it and when she was there again with her mother, her mother forbid it. She said it was the last one and I felt that if it was something she wanted for baby then she should have it, so I offered to pick it up for her. And she blessed me by accepting. So after the mission night I stopped in to walmart and got it. She was right, it is pretty cute!

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4. The baby would get pretty fussy and it seemed like he was always hungry. Since I am nursing two of them, I wondered if maybe my big kid was taking too much milk (like right before I nursed the baby) so now I make a point of feeding the baby first, or feeding my 2 year old the side the baby had just had. It seems to have helped.

5. This week I decided it’s time to cut back on the tv. When we were potty training it was easier because it kept them in one place etc. When I was 9 months pregnant and exhausted it helped keep them out of my hair. But now that the kids are mostly trained, the baby is out, and mummy is starting to feel a bit more rested, there really is no excuse for having it on all day without rest. I was also feeling disappointed about how little the boys were playing wither their new train table. My 3 year old would go out occasionally when he was bored of tv but mostly they just sat on the couch etc, asking for show after show. Turning off the tv mad them have to find something else to do, and they played with toys more.

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It also helped that I fixed up the train tracks. They are both still too little to really build a track, and my 3 year old (rightly so) didn’t really want to play trains with broken tracks. So I repaired Daddy’s old layout, then remade my own, that fits closely with the map on the table.

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I’m really pleased with it, it has everything: a bridge over the river, a little boat/rescue area by the water, a forest, a quarry, a downtown with a railroad crossing, and even a zoo!

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The only thing missing is the mountain, but we can make another layout with that some other time. I was so pleased with my layout, I kind of kept the kids out and took some photos first. 😛

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With regard to the tv, I probably should also add no pc time for mummy when the tv is off, to be fair and especially since it really seems to eat up a lot of my time. It’s just frustrating when I still can’t get things done on the computer either, but maybe if I limit my time again I will be more focused when I do sit down here? It is definitely something I’m thinking about, but so far, not making a lot of progress on.

6. When I was at the mission training night, I learned some valuable camera tips. There is another girl there with a Nikon (1 model up from mine) and I asked her how she shoots etc, because I’ve seen her photos on facebook, and they look better than mine. I wondered if it was just a better camera, or if she also knew something I didn’t. She said that she shoots with manual. So I mentioned that I couldn’t use manual light etc settings with the auto focus. She took the camera, and put it in manual and proved me wrong: For some reason I never realized I could use M on the dial, instead of the manual focus switch on my lens. I’m so excited that now I CAN use the manual settings, and not have to try to focus manually!

She then explained her trick is to take a photo with auto etc and look at the settings, then match them in manual and tweak it from there. Manual settings really do add a depth to photos that auto just can’t match. Of course, I don’t have time to tweak light settings when I want to snap a quick photo of a kid that will be gone in a matter of moments. But when I have a bit of extra time, I’m going to experiment with this some more. I tried a quick test there, and it really did make for a better photo:

With auto settings:
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With manual settings
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Edited to brighten a bit:
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What a difference!

7. This week I stumbled on a good list of the important things to keep in mind while parenting, especially while raising boys: 25 Rules for Mothers of Sons

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