Thursday, October 28, 2010

Marriage Matters

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. How lovely and wonderful it is to be married to this man. I am lucky and grateful. We've had big ups and bigger downs, but our 10th year together has been a very happy one. It is not a fairytale. "Happily ever after" likely doesn't exist, but happy most of the time certainly does!

Like good parenting, a good marriage takes hard work and effort. Dedication, commitment and energy. I used to think that marriage should be easy. If it was too hard then it wasn't worth it. Boy, have I grown up! The more you put into your marriage the more you get out of it. Just like an education and the career that follows, you have to keep working, keep learning and keep giving one hundred percent. If you stop putting in effort at work you'll lose your job. If you stop putting effort into your marriage, you'll lose your marriage.

Marriage matters. The relationship between husband and wife is the priority in the family because it is the foundation of the family, the very reason there is a family. It's easy to forget about this when a baby comes along. You devote so much time and energy toward the baby that sometimes you simply forget about each other, or begin to take each other for granted. Add a second child and you may go days hardly looking at each other (especially if you have twins or children very close together). It is vital to keep putting meeting each others needs amid the needs of your children. A fire left untended dies out. If anything, think of your marriage as a child. A new marriage needs the same time as attention as a newborn baby. A 5-year-old marriage is more secure, less prone to tantrums, but still needs plenty of love and attention. And so on, and so forth.

I encourage you to take a moment today to let your spouse know that they matter to you. That your marriage matters.

A few good books that have helped me along the way:

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage Fifteenth Anniversary Edition
Saying What's Real: 7 Keys to Authentic Communication and Relationship Success
Grow Up!: How Taking Responsibility Can Make You a Happy Adult

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

Ok, so this is late and might not really count, but I'm excited to do this with my kids portraits:

Turn your pictures into an art canvas! Click here to find out more & let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are we there yet?

Saturday the children and I left hubby behind and went to my parents' house two hours away. The trip there was relatively easy. One emergency potty stop (where my 4-year-old sounded out the word BEER on the gas station window!) and 32 repeat playings of Can You Feel the Love Tonight on a Disney Princess CD and we were there. Well, almost. We'd reached the freeway exit. From there it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to reach my parents house.

"Are we there yet?" asked 4-year-old little sis.
"Not yet!" I happily responded. I was thinking how cute and typical of a TV sitcom that question was.
"Are we there yet?" She asked again seconds after the "t" of "yet" left my tongue.
"Are we there yet?"
"Not yet!"
"Are we there yet?"
"Honey, I just told you 4 times that we're not there. Do you think we're there?"
"I'm just so excited to see Grandma!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait!"
"Not much longer, sweetie."

Repeat scene 15 times.
A little funny, a little annoying, but we ended up making a game of it. I answered in all sorts of different voices and accents and turned the tables about a mile from home (my parents haven't moved in 40 years - it's home to me!).

"Is that Grandma's house?" I kept asking. It was actually fun to see how they recognized the area, but weren't sure which house belonged to Grandma and Grandpa.

We arrived and had a lovely, quiet evening with Grandma and Grandpa. The baby went down easily, though he didn't stay down very well. Grandma got the girls ready for bed and once everyone was tucked in I got to play Wii with my dad. That was my favorite part of the trip. Isn't it fun to be an adult with your parents? I think it's as fun for them.

Sunday was my grandmother's 99th birthday surprise party. She was surprised and so happy. She's such a lady. After lunch she, with the aid of her walker and nurse, made the rounds to every person to say thank you. I admire this woman so much. I often wonder if I'll be as lucky as she to see not only my children and grandchildren grow, but my great-grandchildren as well. The oldest great-grandchildren are headed to university or the military. The youngest (my baby for another few months - there are a couple more babies on the way) is just graduating to table food. She's led an amazing life. A century. And she hasn't sat idly by letting old age and strokes slow her down. Oh no, she still teaches art lessons at her own studio a few sessions per year, lives in her own home and goes to parties! The reason she's still living is because she is still living every day of her life.

We left to return to our home directly from the restaurant where the party was held. A quick stop for a grande peppermint mocha and some vanilla milk for the kids and we were on our way. The second hour of this drive was so awful I can't bear to recount it as one should not have wine so early in the morning. Let's just say we had to stop, not to potty, but to have a time-out. Blessed am I to have a husband who was feeling so refreshed and relaxed after a full 24-hours to himself. He took over when we got home and I got that glass of wine!

Who do you admire? Who inspires you to truly live each moment of your life?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy 99th Birthday, Grandma!

Every year on this day we celebrate your birth
Another year gone by that you've graced this Earth

A woman, a mother, an artist, a teacher
We love all of you, every flaw, every feature

How blessed we are to be your family
A more magnificent person there never will be

Happy 99th Birthday, Grams
Love DG & the Fam

(c) DGMommy 10/23/10

Friday, October 22, 2010

Easy Cheesy Pasta

I love a good cheesy pasta as much as the next mid-western girl, but I can't bear the thought of feeding my children such processed garbage (no offense if you do) and the organic brands cost as much as an entire box of pasta. So, I make my own. It is nearly as quick and easy as the boxed brands and so much tastier. Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what is going into your children's food.

So here is the recipe (disclaimer: I am an intuitive cook. I rarely measure, but I'll put basic measurements here that are meant to be used as guidelines):

Pasta of your choice, set to boil while you prepare the sauce.
Enough to serve 4

Sauce (this is a basic bechemel sauce with cheese, so if you know how to do that you're set):

 2 tbsp Butter
1 to 2 tbsp (whole wheat for health, but it really doesn't matter) flour
1/2 to 1 Cup (organic) milk
1/2 to 1 Cup shredded cheese (we already talked about this!)

Optional ingredients: minced garlic, cauliflower puree, nutmeg or your favorite herb.

Step 1: Grate cheese (do not use processed - make sure it is natural), and set aside.
Step 2: Melt butter in small to medium sauce pan on low heat
Step 3: Once the butter is melted, remove from heat, slowly add flour while stirring to keep it smooth
Step 4: As the flour and butter become a paste, slowly add the milk (you may heat this beforehand to avoid lumps)
Step 5: Continue to stir and add milk until you have enough to cover your pasta. Now you can add your optional items (note: if you are adding cauliflower puree to sneak in some veggies, reduce the amount of milk used).
If your sauce has become lumpy, use a whisk until it's smooth again.
Step 6: Add cheese and stir until nicely melted and the sauce is once again smooth
Step 7: Combine drained pasta and cheese sauce. Add salt or pepper to taste

Et Voila!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catch-up day!

Well, I've been a total slacker this week. Yes, the kitchen has been cleaned everyday, but I still haven't steamed anything and I'm behind on the laundry. And the kids need to be bathed! Well, two out of three anyway.

Do you remember a time before you had children? Thinking you were so very busy and there weren't enough hours in the day! Then you had baby and you couldn't believe how much time you wasted before kids?!

For moms of 2: Do you remember how busy you thought you were with one baby? Then baby #2 came along and you reminisced about how much time you didn't realize you had with only one child?

Vintage Humor Retro 50's "I Child Proofed My House, but They Still Get In" Wall ClockFor moms of 3: Do you remember how easy it was with two?! You and your husband could pair off and it was easy as pie. You may never have looked in each other's eyes once during a meal, but you shared the work and only had to deal with one at a time when you were together? Now you hardly notice your husband at all during a meal with the kids, you never have a free-hand, something or someone ALWAYS needs to be cleaned and the house needs as much attention as the kids because the kids are constantly leaving tornadoes in their wakes!

For moms of 4 and more: You must have so much love that you don't even notice the insanity anymore. Yay for you! Psychotherapy should be free at this point. I am one of 4. I know my mom could have really used it. :)
(love you, Mom, you're the best...)

Today's To-Dos:

Finish Laundry (two loads to fold/hang)
Steam couches (maybe if I start small I'll do it)

That is it. Besides the usual kitchen clean-up 3 to 5 times a day. Seriously, how many times a day do you clean your kitchen?


I have cut down on the mochas and wine, but the scale has gone in the wrong direction. I'm blaming PMS, because I really have been being good!

The cat is still missing. Time to mention it to the girls. TMI ALERT: I noticed strange poop in the litter box. It is not Meena's. Meena, however, acted quite strangely the day Milo went missing and has nervously licked away a large patch of hair on her back. Think she knows something we don't. I know other people are dealing with far more difficult things in their lives. I'm grateful for everything I do have and the health of my family. I still miss my cat. See: Perspective

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My cat is missing.

 My cat is missing. He's an indoor/outdoor cat. Not by my choice, but he so persistently wants to explore the outdoors that I have to let him. Or deal with constant meowing and scratching at doors. But he always comes home. Several times a day, in fact. Just to check in or have a nap. And though we've gone to bed before he's come home at night a few times, he's always there at the door in the morning demanding to be let in! I went to bed before my husband Monday night. I can't remember if Milo (the cat) was inside or out. He's usually blending into the navy blue armchair, curled into a ball of dark fur. When the light is low one can hardly see him.

Yesterday evening, as the sun began to set, I asked my husband if he had let the cat out this morning when he left for work. Typically Milo is the first one up! Or, if the baby wakes him he comes upstairs meowing to be let into the garage to do his business and have some breakfast. But I hadn't seen him all day. Not once. So, husband hopped on the bicycle to take a look around the cat's usual haunts on our street... and to make sure there was no smashed furry patch on the road... per my prompting. No sign of him. Baby boy woke me around 4am and I checked outside, hoping my cat would be there waiting. Nope. And again this morning. No sign. So, where's my cat? He always comes home. He annoys the crap out of me half the time, but he's my cat. I love him. He's one of my babies. And now I'm worried.

I brought him home on September 11th. Yes, the September 11th. We were living in Asia at the time and my husband traveled frequently.We were newlyweds and I'd never lived further than two hours from home (my parents' house of nearly 40-years now). I was in a strange country. I didn't know a soul. I needed a cat.  We had adopted Meena at 6-months old, just a week or so after moving there, to keep me company on all of his travels. Then, several months later a friend told me about a kitten she had found in her back yard. No sign of the mama and his eyes weren't even open. She had two older cats already and couldn't keep him. I took him in and bottle fed him and gave him love. This was not Milo. This was Bernard. But Bernard didn't make it past that first week. In our mutual grieving, my friend told me about a box of kittens that had been left at her vet's doorstep. We agreed I should stop by and just take a look!

My husband was traveling again. He was not there to deter me, though we had agreed after Bernard's passing that we should stick with just one cat. So, I stopped. First I held a tiny orange and white cat. But I'm not fond of orange cats. Then I saw Milo. The biggest of the litter, huge blue eyes and dark brown fur. One paw white, one brown. I picked him up and he immediately made a home on my shoulder. It was love at first purr. This silly, little cat was about 5 weeks old. He had just been weened from the bottle, but was drinking formula from a bowl. He sort-of rocked when he walked in the funniest way. He needed a bath after every use of the litter. He was so funny and so cute. Meena was about a year old and wasn't intimidated by this new roommate. She could knock him over just by lifting a paw. I introduced them to one another while the planes crashed into buildings.

Milo greeted my husband, upon his return, with that funny waddle of his. The husband was not upset. They became fast friends and Milo made a home in the husband's bathrobe pocket most mornings. He slept every night at my shoulder, nuzzling into my neck. These were lovely times. 4-years later we had a baby, and the kitty baby was displaced. But he handled it well. Months after that we moved back to the US and the cats came with us. They took longer to recover from the trip than we did, but eventually Milo felt at home again. He's the best cat for children. He lets them pull on him, lay on him, poke at him. He's always patient, and when they go too far he gives them a harmless warning. Enough to scare them, but never enough to hurt them. He's a good cat. But he's missing. And he doesn't have a collar. He always gets out of them, so we quit bothering. Enough of the neighbors know where he belongs. We'll wait another day to tell the girls.

Hopefully, he's safe.

How will I tell her?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday's Tips & Tricks: Stair clutter

Today's Tip:

Instead of blogging about how dirty your house is, get off the computer and clean it!

I'll let you know how it works for me!!

Seriously though, this week I need your help! My laundry room is on the second floor with the bedrooms.  Every day I end up with piles of dirty bibs, dish cloths, socks and other clothing (my children love to be half-naked) all over the bottom few steps and clean clothes that need to go back to a bedroom hung over the banister. Like so:

See how I've separated the piles? One is for kitchen laundry and the other is the discarded clothing of the girls. And there's a headband that needs to make it back up to the girls' bathroom. I can't stand this. It is messy and cluttered and there is enough of that around the house. However, I can't see myself running upstairs to the laundry every time I've got a dirty bib to deal with.

I have tried putting a dirty laundry bucket under the sink to collect the kitchen cloths, but inevitably I forget about it until we're out of towels and something smells! I put things on the steps because then I remember to take them up with me. Three children in 5 years has left me with mental impairment, I know. Someday I'll write a devotional to coffee and birth control, but I digress.

I have also tried baskets on the stairs to make it look nicer, but they are never quite the right shape and look out of place. I've also tried a bag (like the reusable grocery ones), which made it easy to carry it all upstairs, but then everything gets all mixed up and the not so dirty things get really dirty (think bibs). I will not be going upstairs every time I have something that needs to up there, so please don't even suggest that! And 90% of the time I do go upstairs I've got a baby in my arms.

So, let me have your tips for this area of mess in my home. I think I'll plot a nice little reward for the best tip!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Every person on this Earth sees the world from their own two eyes, hears the words spoken by others from their own two ears, interprets the sights and sounds around them through their own experience.

Your experience is yours alone and no one else can truly step inside of you and see what you see or feel what you feel. One of the reasons I appreciate your comments so much is because it allows me to see what I've written, thought and felt from a different perspective. I've always been gifted at stepping into the shoes of another person to try and see and feel what they do so that I may understand their choices and actions. This is empathy. Whether natural talent or developed skill, empathy is a key to quality relationships.

No matter how empathic one is, it does not enable them to change the way another thinks about something. Last week I read a heart wrenching series on domestic violence by The Redhead Riter . The "truth" of a situation is subjective. Painfully, dangerously so sometimes. But no matter how much good we mean to do, we can't force another person to see what we think is right. Even when their life depends on it.

It's not always life or death. Our perspectives are challenged every day as parents. When we don't like the way our children, or our spouse, are behaving, we might say in frustration, "What is wrong with you! Why are you acting like this?!" Because we want them to act differently. We want to control the behavior and force it into something that we find more acceptable. Something more in line with the way we see the situation.

For example, for a long time when my girls would fight for my attention (they're just 15-months apart, so they've almost always had to share me) I would get so irritated and sometimes even end up storming away from them, angry for the way they clung and whined for me. Recently, with the third child joining the fray of mommy-attacking-hugs, I've made a different choice in the way I react. Yes, choice. Now, I choose to allow gratitude to fill my heart and as all three kids are knocking me over I say to myself and to them, "Boy, am I a lucky mommy to be so loved!!!"

The "why" behind their fighting over me was because they each loved me so much and wanted to show me and share with me their love. From our children's perspective there is always a reason for their behavior, whether good or bad. It's our job as parents to take a moment and look into the heart and mind of that child. Exercise your empathy. Choose to honor your child's feelings and then be a guide, not a dictator, to help them learn to choose more appropriate behavior.

The same applies to marriage and friendship. Look for the "why" behind the behavior. As Stephen Covey puts it, "Seek first to understand." Only then can you be understood.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Accidental parenting perpetuated

Today my boy is 13-months-old and he has slept through the night exactly twice. Last night it was 1:30am, 2:30am and 5:30am (up for the day, mind you). This is why I require 3 cups of coffee to get me through my day. But this is my own fault.

Maybe it's because he's my last. Maybe it's because he's such a sweet, little cuddler. Maybe it's my paranoia that his crying will wake the girls, so I got in the habit of rushing in too soon. I know exactly what I need to do to fix this, but I have yet to commit to it. I've adjusted to the sleeplessness; Five hours of sleep in a row and I feel amazing. But this is not good for my body and this is not good for baby's growth and development. Or is it?

Here's where that battle of the minds begins. One mind is the student of parenting and child development. The other is mommy. Student mind says, "let him cry longer, he's old enough. He should not be having a bottle in the middle of the night!" Mommy mind says, "But he drinks the whole thing, so he must be hungry. And he cries because he wants me and I don't mind."

So, I argue with myself. Disciplinarian vs softy mommy.

Grr. What to do?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog hops and Fairy Rescues (a Tinkerbell review)

Welcome Wednesday
I was thinking of skipping blog hops this week, but as hopping around from blog to blog is what I've spent a good portion of my day doing, I decided instead to join in! So, hop over to the host, Take It From Me, and do the same!

Now, onto Tinkerbell. My 4-year-old and I watched Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue together today and I have to say it: I love the Tinkerbell movies! In the first one Tinkerbell is much like a toddler, prone to tantrums. In the second she asserts her independence like a preschooler and in this Great Fairy Rescue, she's nearly all grown-up. Impetuous as ever, but likable! This movie offers exactly what I like in a video for my kids and nothing that I don't. The characters care about each other,
they are cheery  (except for the ever-grumpy Vidia, who is quite mild in this one and earns some love by the end), kind and help one another. No violence, no typical Disney evil step-mother or talk of a dead mother, just a nice storyline with nice characters and gorgeous animation.

What's more is that this story is delightful for parents as well and the moral of the story is more for us than them.  I wrote about this very thing the other day in my post Out to Lunch. It's to slow-down and be present with your kids. Pay attention to them. Give yourself to them and allow yourself to really receive them. Put down the phone, turn off the computer and the TV and any other distractions and spend time with your children. 

Which is what I'm off to do now. Apparently my boy is hungry!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sluggish Monday

I think the coffee is broken. It isn't working at all. And I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by the clutter and mess. We have too much stuff. The girls make constant messes. I need to head over to the Lazy Moms blog to pick up a few pointers on training my children to clean up after themselves.

I am feeling completely unmotivated, but at least someone is getting something done:

Since he's refused to nap at least he's being productive!

So, here is the domestic duty list of the week, first dailys, then the extras:

Dishes/kitchen - 3x daily!
Laundry: Going for three loads today then one load per day this week to avoid overload.

Now, let's try to organize extras (which really just means the cleaning that should be considered routine!):

Monday: Bread baking! I love to do this, but didn't make it happen last week so we suffered through store-bought bread that just didn't cut it. One good thing is that I ate less.

Tuesday: Windows! The tiny hand prints are no longer cute! There are too many layers of them and the sun shines through at peak times now!

Wednesday: Entry closet. Time to make room for the coats. I have ideas, but they'll require the handy-husband.
Steam couches. No, I didn't get this done last week.

Thursday: Play with kids! They deserve more attention then the house, I declare!

Friday: De-clutter. Tidy basement. Dust/Vacuum.

Weekends only include the daily duties.

Two other main points to deal with this week: Baby weight loss and attitude adjustments.

Baby weight: Ok, I stopped nursing nearly two months ago. Those last ten pounds should have fallen off by now, but I guess that isn't going to happen the third time around. Actually, it only happened after the second since I was pregnant the second time long before I stopped nursing the first (they are only 15-months apart). Oh, and since I was teaching Kindermusik after #2 I was actually quite active and in reasonable shape.

Currently I'm using caffeine to get me moving in the morning and a glass (ok, or two... or three) of wine in the evening to relax. Vicious circle. Since my coffee is usually a mocha I'm going to cut out the chocolate, which should cut nearly 100 calories a day. And I'll be limiting myself to one glass of wine after the kiddos are in bed. Furthermore, I shall increase water consumption ten-fold!

Since the weather is rather nice this week I'm going to walk to pick-up the kids from school. That's 30-minutes round-trip and should get the job done. Meaning I expect/want/hope to lose 2lbs this week.

Attitude Adjustments: I need to get my motivation on for parenting this week. The back-talk and tantrums have gotten out of control. I had a good talk last night with the girls about the behavior I expect from them this week. Respectful voices, good listening, no fits! More on this topic tomorrow. It's time to clean the kitchen.

What are your goals for the week? Anyone want to join me in my weight-loss effort?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Out to lunch

I just had lunch with my 5-year-old daughter. It was delicious. No, not the food. The time spent together one-on-one. I can't remember the last time I gave her my full attention for more than 5-minutes... sadly, neither can she. Even though I'm at home with my kids, there is always so much to do. Change a diaper, feed the baby, let the cats in and out. Fold some laundry, tackle the breakfast, lunch or afternoon snack dishes. Wipe a bottom, wipe a face. The phone ringing, the e-mail dinging... the darn cat scratching at the door again!

Glowing girl
 At drop-off the other day my friend, whose daughters are the same age as mine, told me about taking her kindergartner out to lunch. Just the two of them! What a novel idea. The very next day that sweet girl pictured to the left was telling me how I never have time for her. How the baby gets all the attention she should get. How little sister always interrupts our time and so on and so on (she's slightly dramatic, but what she says is true). So, I conferred with the hubby and we agreed that I'd pick her up on her half-day and take her to lunch while he would stay home with the younger two.

Here's a picture of her during our lunch. It was a dark restaurant and a picture taken from my phone, but look at the joy on that face. It can't be denied. She was so thrilled to be together, at last, with no distractions! She got to choose the restaurant and we just sat and ate and chatted about her day at school. She was excited because it was her day as the 'special person'. All the other kids practice writing her name and draw pictures of her. Then she brings home all the drawings in a little book. Very sweet.

At some point I said to her, "Isn't this great? Finally, you get all of my attention!" and she replied, "And you get all of mine, Mommy!" I was struck with the realization that not only does she need one-on-one time with me, but I need that time with her too. Especially now that she's in school two full days each week. Two days where we hardly see each other and I'm completely separate from her life. I know her so well today, but oh how that changes as they get older. This is the time in her life when we're setting the stage for our future communication. I want this little girl to know that I am always available to her. Always ready to listen and always open to hear what she has to say. I want to really know who my daughter is and have her confident and comfortable enough to share that person with me.

As parents we need time one-on-one with each of our children. It be amazing to have that kind of time everyday, but it's hard. So, I'm going to commit to spending some special time with each of them once a week. At least 30-minutes. Mondays for baby boy, Wednesdays for little sis (while baby is napping and big sis is still at school) and Friday's for my sugar plum, when Papa can be with the other two.

Do something with your child this weekend that shows them that they are your world. Appreciate small moments and long hugs. Enjoy your family.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Well done, self!

There is this phrase in parenting: When..., then...
For instance: "When you put your toys away, then you may watch a video."
"When your teeth are brushed, then we can read stories."
And so on. It works like a charm on my girls. And apparently on me too!

Yesterday I wrote the must-dos for today and I have actually completed them already! I said to myself, "Self, when you dust, vacuum and get breakfast cleaned up and the dishes put away, then you may read and write blogs." Here it is, just 10:54am and the main level of the house has been dusted and vacuumed and the kitchen is clean!

Vacuuming is tricky with young children. The girls are fine now, but they used to be deathly afraid of what I call the "mommy vacuum". The "baby" vacuum is small, light and un-intimidating used on the hardwood floor in the kitchen. The "mommy vacuum" is this big-a$$, heavy and loud Dirt Devil used on the carpets.

When I use the baby vacuum, the baby is very interested and has to be carried so he doesn't chase it around. When I use the mommy vacuum, the baby is very afraid and has to be carried so that he doesn't scream and cry. It's too loud to use when he naps (which he refused to do this morning anyway), so I really get my exercise! Yes, moms to young babies please note: newborns will fall asleep and stay asleep as long as the vacuum is running. Older babies and toddlers may wake up to the noise and never go back to sleep as they typically fear loud noises and scream and scream and scream. At least mine.

Why must vacuums be as loud as airplanes? Does anyone have a powerful, yet quiet vacuum? One that works on pet hair, but won't alert the neighbors that I'm finally vacuuming? And how many times might I type vacuum or vacuuming in one post? I digress....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Domestic Duties

I noticed on Monday that writing this blog actually made me feel more accountable for the state of my home! As if proclaiming I am a domestic goddess will actually push me to become one. The law of attraction in action! I actually did finish the laundry, with just one load left for the following day. Last night I managed to bathe all three children and finish that last load of the week! Amazing.

So, I've decided to make a list of the required and desired domestic duties here on the blog. Seeing it in print and for all the world (ok, like 15 of you) to see will force me into getting it all done in a timely manner.

Today: kitchen! To date I haven't managed to get the kitchen cleaned before taking the kids to school - they go M/W/F. It's typically clean before I go to bed, so it's just putting away the dishes and cleaning up after breakfast. On school days I have a habit of pushing it back and pushing it back... So, there's that.

Tomorrow/Thursday: Dust and Vacuum! And bake some bread. I didn't do that this past weekend and we're out and feeling deprived. We bought a baguette from the store the other night and it was like eating paper. Not that I eat paper often enough to know...

Friday: Finally use the borrowed steamer on my carpets and couches! I've had this for nearly two weeks (since my cat vomited worms - ick!), but haven't used it yet.

So, be sure to check back and make me feel bad if I haven't completed the above tasks on their due dates! I'll be happy to do the same for you. :)

Gotta run... baby's either eating a plant or a puzzle piece!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm the choir mom!

This single thing thrills me. Yesterday, I took my 5-year-old to choir practice and the manager of the Academy asked me to be the choir mom for my daughter's group! Now, it's a bit silly to be so excited, as my only responsibilities are to take roll, help the girls to/in the bathroom and pass out the snack during their 5-minute break, but I'm happy nonetheless! I've been in choirs since I was 12 and to see her involved in something that has brought such joy to my life is amazing. And I get to be a part of it. No matter how small, it matters.

What joy do you share with your children?

Monday, October 4, 2010

No bus for us!

I was writing a very boring blog post about how I love morning drop-off, but I've deleted it. It's boring. And I'm glad! I'm happy to feel so calm and relaxed on a Monday morning that my words come out sleepy and dull! I guess I'm still going to write about it, but hopefully in a slightly more interesting way.

We live too close to the school for the bus. What I thought would be a hassle has turned into one of my favorite parts of the day. Dropping one at preschool, watching another play until her start-time while talking with my mommy friends and then home and baby goes down for a nap. It's peaceful and boring and sooo different from the crazy weekends with all four kids... I mean my husband and 3 kids ;) making tons of noise and a house full of chaos. It's chaos I'm intensely grateful for, but my Monday-morning-peaceful-coffee-hour is one of the best of the week. I love this very boring time.

Whether your Monday is chaos or wonderfully boring, I hope you have a beautiful day! I promise to write something more interesting next time!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Baby bliss

I have held him too long. He is falling back to sleep in my arms. I can hear his breath becoming long and smooth. His warm body shudders and lightly jerks as sleep descends. I should get up from the rocking chair and put him in his bed, but his little hand on my wrist is too soft and warm to part with yet. Finally, I gently lay him back in his crib and slip out of the room.

I am awake long before the rooster crows, before the rest of my family stirs, but today I do not mind. I am taken in by baby bliss. I know these moments are fleeting. My two daughters show me that. So, against all the books and websites and experts that tell me to do otherwise, I'll hold my baby boy too long again tonight. Embracing his sweetness and the rare, pure gift of love that motherhood gives long before the sun rises.