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Archive for the ‘Decluttering/Organizing’ Category

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Fri May 2

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– praying for them

– thank you for our play date in the back yard the other day ( t)
– thank you that mummy lets us watch the Spider-Man video w the baby because it’s so cute ( j)
– that last line in the reading jumped out and spoke right to me 🙂
– mmm, lemon blueberry oatmeal

– my toddler jumping out peekaboo from under the prayer table
– all the boys playing in the backyard, all 3 coats discarded on the grass
– such wisdom and gems in our book club book

– meetup chaos, at least it shows what we’re doing has a lot of value
– pretty blue flowers in a bed by the sidewalk
– a new book in my future
– a wonderful evening w other catholic homeschooling moms in a coffee shop, talking about everything and a great book

Sat May 3

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– great article to help get rid of excess stuff
– google maps laughs, guess we can’t drive to Edinburgh st, UK
– pikachu riding squirtle
– superman is starting to love cleaning up his clothes, today he wanted to fold the socks over his arm like pants!

– a great pile of boxes ready for us to go through today!
– a great big tarp on which to sort everything out
– oh the random things I used to note down on any piece of paper I can find
– the sweet moment where my big kid read it out to us 🙂
– boxes of memories
– old new recipes

– a family break for hello dolly squares
– juicy gummies for everyone

– a plethora of plastic tools
– sleeping toddler tush
– focus on the family broadcast on control

– my guys playing with our new croquet set in the yard
– warm coffee and a blanket as we kept working into the evening
– the sun has gone down on our day but we have 3 bags of clothes and 2 boxes full of toys and books to give away to others who will really be blessed by them. Complete win win 🙂
– my toddler banging on the drum w the maracas
– leftovers to make a late supper easy

Sun May 4

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– DH did a great job, my kitchen looks so much better this morning 🙂
– my toddler left his own tidy the kitchen surprise in the microwave

– my big boy at church, w the only 2 black shoes we could find
– their arms raised in praise as they danced in circles for the last song

– ooh, look what my Mummy got!
– the little family snuggled up on the couch w a book
– my brother’s old tow truck book
– delicious smooth chocolate cake

– boys discovering the bells
– photography challenge- capture the story of the 50 yr old bell
– meanwhile the boys looked awful cute outside in their uncle’s sweaters 🙂

– epic Pokemon movie, fire, lightning, ice and the stuff of legends

Mon May 5

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– thank you that it ‘s first Monday and we get to get together w other homeschoolers 🙂
– Ty for my little toddler, for although he whines a lot, he also steals my heart

– superman’s super winged hair
– my toddler in his yellow boots
– a radio broadcast all about the gift of the sabbath
– little yellow boots splashing in puddles

-Jesus buddies on the top bunk
– jackpot, finally found my favourite shirt in my top drawer!

– a nice dinner, and lovelier company
– aw, DH put up my sunflowers. 🙂

Tues May 6

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– early morning reading w superman
– the boys giggling singing Lego house!
– my toddler holding his apple over the gate to share it
– real multiple book story time 🙂
– and finally catching up Little House!

– my 2 year old watching in awe at the God moment in our baby video
– my little guy helping clean up the wooden trains
– putting together one of our favourite little folks stories into an actual little book
– Something other than God, just fascinating reading 🙂

– mini bike trip to the playground, after the rain stopped
– my two littles w big smiles in the trailer to ride w Daddy
– seal penguin

Wed May 7

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– after church, a trip to find the perfect little holy communion gifts
– walking in to see my friend had completely engaged my big kids on a game of pictionary on the white board, genius!

– school work out in the sun today
– my middle kid found me a second can of fruit cocktail but no can opener!

– my toddler racing trains in the coffee table
– all natural math counters

– Indian chicken wrap tonight for something different

– getting out of the house and up to my hill after almost a week
– Him just sitting there w me while I relax and think
– dead plant like a firework

– we found turbo on the way into the mall
– my big kid singing through the months w the baby due date wheel

Thurs May 8

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– my toddler picking out everything I needed to get dressed
– this morning I found my new bunch of bananas, hanging from my porcelain doll stand 🙂

– story time on a blanket in the sunshine
– my toddler found the missing religion manual- by throwing the race track pieces on the floor
– w a timer going my big kid buckled down and finished his writing quickly 🙂
– superman doing his math and finally starting to get it 🙂
– meanwhile my toddler made yellow towers
– a special jellybean stalk lunch
– the boys round their circle patio table, holding hands and saying grace all together 🙂

– special prayer cards 😉
– my little toddler in my old dress shawl, twinkle twinkle!
– the guys on their bikes and my toddler on his 😉

– a purple owl in the grass
– towering dark clouds of wonder
– a cloud like a beam straight down

– toddler discovers T-ball
– yellow mallet, yellow ball, yellow boots
– family game of croquet
– my friend on the phone, oh what a gift she has been to me

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Jan 18

Decluttering is not ONLY having too much stuff, it is actually a two-fold problem.

Organization Basics
“Simply stated: Having children and being uncluttered are not mutually exclusive endeavors. You can have both. Problems occur when people (of any age) have more stuff than they can store and routines do not exist to take care of the things they own.” (Source: Your Children can have Toys and you Can Have an Uncluttered Home)

I found this helpful because it got right to the heart of the matter and explained clearly that a clutter-free home is possible, even with kids, and also how to achieve it. This article also had some other good suggestions: How to Organize Kids Toys

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We’re staying with my in-laws over the holidays because DH’s sister will be coming back for a visit. As a result my day is a little out of whack and I forgot about Quick Takes until now. (and I also forgot to watch the 2nd episode of Minor Revisions 😦 )

Friday Dec 14

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Little one laying beside me soundly sleeping
my 3 yr old cooperating for me to get a special photo of him when he says his prayers
running fast clearing obstacles in my house and feeling like I was flying
grace for the first time to immediately recognize and correct when I have wronged my children
watching at a distance (through the window) as my oldest asked for God’s help to behave better

Evergreen wreath and pomegranates deep red
tiny arils bursting with sweet juice
Marveling as the kids cleaned up their entire room in about 3 minutes all because I counted to 30
Extras hands making light work
Regaining order and cleanliness
All 3 of us together blessing a clean house

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All three of the boys watching tv on the couch together
Hands to fold, a heart to care and lips to lift the hurting up to God in prayer
A bunker for the Holy family and their animals, to hide them from the bad soldiers
Thank You Lord that tragedies like that have not come near to us, that unlike so many mothers, I still have with me all 3 of the children that I birthed.
That all my children are healthy, only suffering injuries that can be made all better by a kiss from mummy
DH’s kindness and generosity towards a friend.

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-the church turned into a theatre, an alternative to the media
-a deeply insightful movie that truly enriches my life for having watched it
-an empty chapel, Jesus there now, just for me
-being so near to the source of all love

The porch and yard lit up with coloured lights
Little one gazing up at me, great big eyes full round
Utter fascination and wonder at just one little element of God’s creation
A sleepy baby being very silly (falling over upside down etc on the couch)
Floppy joe – little baby walking with pjs too long
A new thing, something is changing, I can feel new grace in me, birthed out of the colds and my willingness to praise and stay close to God even in the suffering

Saturday Dec 15
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A packed theatre full of excited kids
The boys waiting patiently for their first movie in theatres
A heartwarming Christmas classic
Stepping out again to a fluffy snowfall

finding the fireplace both DH and I liked – on sale (now just to wait for more to come in)

A crafty girls’ night
Flower angels
Fancy glass mugs
Creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows
A sweet assortment of Christmas cookies
spending that last part of my baby’s birthday with him and his godmother and friends.

Sunday Dec 16
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A warm bowl of spicy chili full of flavor
green cabage leaf bowls
Creamy sweet chocolate pudding

Monday Dec 17
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A fireplace flickering on my kitchen counter
One last google search and finally finding another adorable camera bag for a fraction of the price of the real leather ones.
Children singing arms raised in praise
All of us here together

Tuesday Dec 18
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My oldest and the baby hiding under a table while my middle son takes their picture!
A piston cup race to Bethlehem – ‘We have to race to Bethlehem’
Boys watching as a truck tow the old trailer away
Watching them recreate the scene with a truck and a toy house
The sweetest words of faith – My oldest Tyler stomping around the livingroom, ‘I’m making footsteps so baby Jesus can find me.’
My soul/will waking up at last to cooperate with grace and finally get things done

Wednesday Dec 19
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Surprise of Familiar faces at mass
My oldest’s hands together like an angel, in imitation of one of our friends at church a few rows back
Knowing I was right where I belonged at Mass this morning, despite the freezing rain and snow.
Baby staring intently at Jesus in the monstrance through the glass door
A quiet morning visit with friends
Warm tea and falling snow
Sparkly pinecones
The kids with blankets on their heads imitating the characters from the nativity story
Baby hugging the baby doll close
Baby Jesus peeking out of the pocket
Mary and joseph receiving baby Jesus from the advent calendar
Adorable confusion about the true Christmas story (7: And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them… ‘ in the upper room!’ – Tyler)
Baby jesus in the exersaucer

The boys heads glued to the Christmas tree at the end of their bed, faces of wonder lit by the tiny lights
My oldest telling a story to the baby as we both waited for him to fall asleep
a special box with our name on it
A deep brown wood mantle with the perfect curves
Our family photo finally in its place of honor
flickering ‘firelight’
DH and I seeing our vision for a new living room come to life

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Thursday Dec 20

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Snow cross out my window
My living room tidy and organized
Watching baby discovering his prayer shelf

Mary, joseph and the animals walking on a cross to jesus
My 3 yr old joseph with a towel on his head watching the Nativity movie
Re-enacting the nativity story

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helping the kids decorate their own little tree
A quiet moment alone by the fireplace with Christmas hymns
Getting out the door for 2 weeks with EVERYTHING.
The sound of an old familiar voice, after a long absence
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Whoops, I’m little late getting up today. Not like I was up late watching Minor Revisions or anything…

Here’s my week of gifts, 7 quick takes = 7 days of the week :).

Fri Dec 7
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Grace on the phone – my best friend giving the gift of faith back to me
My 3 yr old’s determination to have the new bottle of juice – to himself: ‘ it’s heafy, I haf to be vewy cahful’ bawwww

Sat Dec 8
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Big kid tenderly holding daddy’s face nose to nose during the rosary
Nativity figures doing the conga while waiting for baby Jesus
Middle son and a mr potato head mustache, only a week too late
A nativity curtain call at the edge of the table
Big kid underneath the couch cushions while the world goes on around him
Baby’s joy at finding him there
Nativity figures on their look out posts
Twilight blue and the wet glow of headlights in the side mirror
Green and red reflections, on the pavement
A night out
Finally understanding why I have not been very good at shooting pool, and learning how to do better
laughter and Goofing around
2 more games at the end of the night since we had only gotten to play once

Sun Dec 9
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Baby blueberry smiles
2 boys in a chair sharing a book
Sink plug suspended in time
My little penguin reading
Unity of mind — DH and I discovering we were both ready to change up the livingroom

Surprise blessings – that we are actually going to have a fireplace in the next few weeks, a blessing I hoped for someday, but never thought I’d have any time soon
God’s perfect timing, all of this happening just as my brother is moving to a bigger apartment
baby peeking out from his snowsuit, only his eyes visible
Jet trail beams radiating out from a cloud
The sweetest penguin, the silliest monkey and the cutest little turtle
-little stars singing into the mics
Irony on a sock

Family dinner by advent candelight
Going to help my brother move some furniture
Walking into a cozy living room with – an electric fireplace.
The fulfillment of a little personal whim, a loved one’s priceless reaction when he saw the red van instead of our car
DH sitting on the couch watching one of our praise videos on youtube
All 3 kids and I singing bedtime praises to God, arms and voices raised
The littlest one walking all around the room waving his hands and squeaking with delight
My littlest’s clear exclamation of recognition as he reached for the crucifix, ‘thas Jesus!’

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Mon Dec 10
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My big kid hair tousled still trying to sleep in
My oldest content to read for a while today, out of the book of his choosing
Assorted tiny letters spelling out words
A gift from my 3 yr old- a winter rosary decoration for my dishwasher
My oldest in the next room with his big heart, singing through his entire repertoire of songs to help his baby bother go to sleep
Being a pillow for someone you love, even when it’s horribly uncomfortable

Tues Dec 11

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Raindrops twinkling in the sun like stars on the sunroom windows
My oldest fairly competently reading through several pages more of the more more more book.
Walrus baby
Little feet crossing the wood floor
Baby clapping two mismatched car shoes
Little one in peaceful slumber
A surprise extended chat with my mom on the phone
-a beautiful image of Mary, womb round with God
-encouragement in my spiritual walk
-a clean slate
Cloud patches in starry sky

Wed Dec 12
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Morning sun on the wall in the ktichen
Confession and the grace I received last night, since I am too sick to go to mass today
DH staying home to help out
Today feeling crummy I’m thankful for the gift of faith, to provide both purpose and comfort in my suffering
A much needed morning nap
Prayer over the phone – the amazing things God is doing in my best friend’s life through our friendship
Thank you for opportunities to bring healing and wholeness to the lives of my friends
baby sleeping peacefully next to his sleeping brother’s feet

Thurs Dec 13
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-waking up the first morning after being sick when you start to feel better
-my oldest leading rosary with his younger brother on the couch when my throat was too sore to read
-a card to bless others and practice mailing things
-thank you for new resolution and a symbol of that commitment
Real change, the grace to remember to stop and speak respectfully
Baby pointing excitedly at babies on my computer monitor
An entertaining and soul-nourishing reality show
Getting a glimpse into the life of a blogger I’ve been reading since I started being interested in faith
Seeing the complete picture too, complete with scorpions, conversion history, her life today and even a few surprises
Informative and interesting Christmas facts during commercials
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Here are is my usual friday quick take gift list. It’s like a look and find puzzle this week because there’s several big news items hidden in these gifts 🙂

Fri Nov 9
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The quiver of a spider on a moving web.
Teaching our first lesson of Seton Pre-K Religion. The kids largely paying attention and even asking questions 🙂
My big son closing his eyes with a smile, thinking of God, as I explain how we can talk to Him
Learning something I didn’t know on p 6 of my kids pre-k religion book!
My big son freely closing his eyes to say his grace at lunch!
His utter fascination with a Christian girl on youtube and her song cover
My kids excited about praise music – ‘It’s all things possible, sweet! Mom, it’s all things possible!‘
baby looking very suave with the top hat
A Family drum session on the bathroom door
Praying with power, even in the car!
Coming home to an old friendly welcome at confession
Starry ceiling over my front door/entrance/porch

Sat Nov 10
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-woah moment, daddy joining us for the rosary on the couch and even joining in the prayer for a moment!
– breathtaking skyscapes
-puddles-filled tire tracks – tire track puddles reflecting in the open sky
-patches of light
-the lines where sun meets shadow
– Date afternoon – a trip for two to the valley and going for a test-drive together.
-sitting in a dealership office with DH, 5 years later and a little wiser
-Providence – DH: ‘Can’t believe we got this deal…(exactly what we wanted and almost too good to be true etc)’ (Hey, not to get to faith-y about it, but I find that when the timing is right, things just have a way of working out. 🙂
-hope at the window
-the clink of my ring when my hand shakes in prayer
-a booth full of educational books at the Christmas craft fair
-a nice evening of shopping with DMIL and the baby
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Sun Nov 11
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Being the blessing – making brunch for my mom
Sharing my favorite movie (based on a favorite childhood story) with my Mom

Mon Nov 12
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The kids and I all going camera crazy together
-Wisdom from Dr Seuss- God speaks to me through a children’s book
-my 4 yr old putting daddy (and his atheism) on the spot by asking him out of the blue if he knows God
-the power of the sun, both of them. (the sun drying my diapers and the Son redeeming and transforming our lives).
-A place for everything (and everything in its place)
-A very productive day bringing order out of chaos
-Treasure in the mismatched sock box: 13 complete pairs!

Tues Nov 13
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-fluffy white clouds behind tree branches
-droplet ring around the base of my coffee cup
-hashing out some more faith discussion with my MIL
-soft sound of soap bubbles
-shimmer of suds popping randomly
-the graces You poured out on me tonight , to put my commitment into action– doing the dishes/kitchen though way past tired and cranky – I couldn’t have made that sacrifice w/o You.

Wed Nov 14

-Thank You that actions speak louder than words. My words lacked grace last night, but by your grace my actions told a different story. The kitchen is clean, usually I would have given up in frustration when DH wouldn’t help and would have left it for morning.
-I get to be with You, and receive You today, it’s a good day 🙂
-baby’s messy wet hair and little trusting eyes looking up at me from his carseat
-a dear priest saying our mass again today
-my oldest showing promise of actually behaving at church even when his brother wasn’t
-tuna wraps
-a nice mellow laid back day at playgroup
-painting a Christmas igloo
-Thank you that I’m not a mail carrier or a garbage man, and I get to be a mom indoors today!
-treasure in a chocolate tin – discovering cherished dolls and their clothes etc that I had thought were lost somewhere
-A treasure tin of craft supplies: 6 colors of glitter, a container of sequins, and googly eyes. My childhood self is very happy 🙂
Order in my cupboard and on my counter, just from a few plastic baskets.
Baby’s tentative little steps all across the room
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Thurs Nov 15
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-My son, easily reading his rhyming card words right off the bat, without even making the words with the letters. And reading correctly, even though the words were harder: gate and skate had the different vowel sound. 🙂
-reward for even the smallest faithfulness: WHAT A DIFFERENCE when I purposefully stop whatever I’m doing for the next task now I’m finally largely on schedule again! The afternoon is going really well!
-Time when I honor my commitment to God. (keep the routine)
-my square cupholder, holding one last chocolate milk carton.
-clean laundry put away in drawers
-a tidy main house
-the feast that awaits
-the gift of sharing my testimony again
-surprise gift of blessed items, the weapon for my goliath
-a long blessed conversation with my co-leader after the study

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1. My birthday was on the weekend. Turning 26, was not quite as controversial a birthday for me as 25 (I started to feel old last year, 1/4 of a century is a LONG time and of course, 25 is practically 30 and then you’re over the hill :P)
I will be giving the day it’s own post at some point (that’s the plan anyway) but it was one of the best birthdays ever. I left it up to God and the day before DH asked if he could play in his work softball tournament next day, and when none of his friends were free it was decided that I could play too. So we did. And it was a ton of fun, a time of community etc with DHs old coworkers and I even scored a run (finally!) Running that hard did however leave me feeling pretty sore the next day, and almost a week later I still haven’t got all the kinks worked out.

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After that I had not 1 but 2 home-cooked birthday dinners. My mom was out of town until evening so even Sunday brunch was out for her, but my borther offered to cook for me there instead. I requested the awesome chili and creme fresh they sreved at their wedding. Then on Wednesday evening my mom cooked a 4 course meal for me: leek and potato soup, spaghetti with two homemade sauces, her famous caesar salad and the piece de resistance: strawberry mousse 🙂 Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I wish I had a better photo.
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2. The routine has gone alright the week, especially given the fact that I’ve been sore all week since playing softball. The house became more of a mess over the weekend – I guess with my birthday I gave myself a bit of a pass on the housework that day, and then again because I was so sore on Sunday. All the stuff I was on top of, well, I wasn’t anymore. As a result there really wasn’t much chance to do further delcuttering, as I spent most of the week just playing catch up and trying not to get behind in anything else. I did get the play food/real life play things (doll clothes, cash register etc) all gathered up into a storage tote this week to join the trains though 🙂

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Because the social aspect of school is so important for DH and because it seems to be the only way to see another family, we are going to start going to the library on Moday mornings. I actually wrote that Monday’s school acitivty cna be social time, for kids AND mommy! I actually think it will work out really nicely and could even facilitate going to daily mass one day a week – gulp.

Yet God also led me to an even better opportunity to address DH’s concerns than the library. As I was finishing off my routine for DH to print, I was still working to incorporate exercise, especially getting out the door for a walk. I remembered how the mom of 6 says they’re all done schooling by 3pm and the kids are out the door to play and the thought magically popped into my head: Why not walk to the playground each day to meet the school bus and let my boys play with the other kids after they get off the bus? It would let my son ‘see 5 other kids at the same time.’ I was fairly sure that at least on nice days this would be a practical option as enough kids would stay behind to play and enjoy the sunshine so we tried it on wednesday and there were about 6 other boys little enough to be around my son’s age (He’s 4 and they were 5-7) that stayed to play for about half an hour.
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3. I awarded the first CAR! ! My middle kid earned his 10th star on sunday night and got his first car. My oldest has *ahem* 2 stars so far.
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Also, one night my oldest told Daddy that mummy knew all the lorax songs, so Daddy said ‘she can teach them to you’. My son replied, “Mummy’s always teaching us stuff’ 🙂

4. Faith notes

Rosary dilemma – I’ve decided to go back to the 1 person a day roation I used to have for offering things up. I’ve also found a block of time when I can get away from at least the two biggest kids and pray the rosary, alone, in my room. It’s only after we’ve read their rosary book, eaten breakfast and gotten dressed and tideid their room that I will put the tv on. And when I first do they are the most engaged in it. So 10 minutes is spent getting kids dressed and their room done and that leaves 20 minutes of free time where I can actually disappear! The first morning I just knelt on the bed and didn’t try to do ANYTHING else and it was so much more effective. I spent time feeling so close to God and Mary and I even smelled roses, while the kids sat on the couch (as opposed to getting into trouble!)

– I came across this really neat commentary on Jesus’ Baptism. It was posted as a comment on Spiritually Unequal Marriage, in response to this post: Where Did it Go?

“This brings me to something I listened to on a TV program concerning Jesus’ becoming the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Food for thought…It comes from first John the Baptist’s ministry and then to the actual baptism of Jesus. First they asked the question as to why John was not sent to the Temple to preach repentence and baptism. They said that it was because the priesthood was contaminated with sin and therefore God sent John out in the wilderness to separate himself from them and to preach Christ’s coming as prophecy predicted. Now here is the awesome part (I hope I can convey it correctly). When Jesus went to the Jordan it wasn’t to be purified from sin as we know but it was so that God Himself would anoint him as the High Priest for the people according to the Old Testament Ordination of Aaron concerning annointing the High priest (see Numbers 8). They studied the traditions of how High priests passed down the office of High priests to their sons. There was a ceremonial washing of water, then the High priest anointed his son with oil. when this was done they would say “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” thus passing on the role to the son.”

-I read this habit-making post this week and these words really stood out: “do things at the same time every day and find your self a different person”. All I could think was, “Oh My Goodness YES!!!!!!!!!!!!” It is amazing the difference implementing a simple routine is making in my life!

-But I need this: How to Cultivate the Habit of Focus . . . . . in an Age of Distraction

5. We had good school time every day this week and finally got to try out everything I’ve been trying to incorportate. Since I didn’t feel up to hauling out the bikes I decided we could just play some running games in the back yard as our ‘gym time’. Trouble is, even red light green light is almost beyond them and other than tag I couldn’t think of anything besides our jail game to get them running around. So I’m asking my readers, what are some good gym games we can play to get the kids moving? My kids are 4 and almost 3.

6. I have been working to reincorporate cheese back into my diet. I kept forgetting to have it daily but whenever it would cross my path I decided to stop hesistating and go for it, a little at a time. I’ve also bene trying ot have a single english muffin spread with cream cheese in the mronings. Well, it must be working, because on Monday night CCO ordered pizza for dinner and I had two pieces. 2 pieces of take-out cheese-covered pizza, of the knid that made me feel just awful the next day – and I hardly felt a thing! Also, while baby was squirmy with gas and kept me up for an hour in the middle of the night, he DIDN’t scream the whole time, so that is also progreess 😛 Operation Cheese-Re-integration is a success!

7. Last year my 2 year old had a Wiggle themed birthday part which he loved, so when I heard the wiggles were coming I thought I’d like to take him this year. Turns out it’s their last tour together as we know them, as three of the 4 will be moving on to other things and will be replaced. Yikes! Clearly this is the time to go!

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I bought 3 tickets, one for me and one for both of the bigger boys, as my oldest also expressed interest in seeing them. I made them a chain to count down the days… I think I might be as excited as they are!
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