March 26, 2013

Holy Week in our Earthly House

At the beginning of each Lent, I for some reason feel rushed to make my Lenten commitments and sacrifices. One day I'll look at the calender and think, "hmmm, Lent is coming. I should be more prepared this year." And of course the next time I look at the calender I think, "LENT IS TOMORROW! DO I HAVE VEGETABLES?"

I think Holy Week is a chance to re-group and re-think the sacrifices/commitments of lent. After being reminded day after day that we are approaching Easter, I have no excuse anymore. It's time to give up another time-sucking activity (bye bye Pintrest), and introduce an enriching one in it's place (journaling, reading, meditating).

Our house adorned with the palms of last Sunday, and our hearts filled with thoughts of our King, let's take a step towards Easter; truly the happiest day of our Catholic year.

March 23, 2013

How to go to Lowes with a Toddler

Fixing up our home has taken many shopping trips. I'm sure an experienced home owner or contractor could do a bathroom renovation in one or two trips to Lowes, but we pride ourselves in making about 5 trips per project. Lowes, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond... you name it, we've been there... within the past week, toddler in tow of course.

My most recent adventure was curtian hardware. After some time researching, I found the curtian hardware of choice and headed over to the great BB&B.

We have a sliding glass door, as well as a standard size window. The sliding door required about 8ft worth of curtian rod, and the window about 4ft. Not a problem. Until you add in the all dictating factor of....

The Toddler!

I'm not sure what took more convincing: getting the 8ft curtian rod into a shopping cart, or getting the toddler into a shopping cart. I guess both were equally challenging, because they both made their way out quite quickly. I encouraged Clara to "help" me carry the rod, which meant she hugged the bottom of it while I tried to direct her to the front of the store. Many other items were much more interesting than a stupid long box, and I had to re-direct her back to our goal a few times. Thank goodness for helpful sales associates. I needed a second adult to get both my child and my purchase safely back into the cart to make our way out to the car.

In addition to beautifying windows, we are renovating one of our bathrooms: Dark purple flowers covered the vinyl flooring, mint green climbed up the walls, and accents of gold hardware completed the look. I appreciate romantic decoration, but this was veering way out of my comfort zone. New, creamy tile is being installed on the floor. The walls will be soft white. Gold framed shower doors are in the garage, and an undecided shower curtain will be replacing them. The gold hardware? Maybe it will look good? Or maybe it will be Craigs-listed for some neutral chrome instead. Yeah... I think that's the direction we are heading in.

Taking a toddler to purchase paint is much easier than curtian rods. Let your little buddy help you by holding paint chips and browsing thru paint flyers. Free paint sticks with the purchase of your paint make great drum sticks. Also, is your toddler fussing? Fellow shoppers probably won't even notice over the sounds of the hardware store. If all else fails, take them to the lamp aisle. The free light and fan show will probably entertain them for a few minutes. Hey, you might even find some cute new light fixtures for the bathroom while you're there.

March 11, 2013

Life at Home with the Little One

About a year ago, I decided to leave my amazing job to take care of our amazing little girl.

My maternity leave came to a close when our daughter was about 2 1/2 months old. When the day care organized was not meeting the needs of Clara, the best option was for me to leave my job to jump fully into raising our child. The transition was quite difficult, and I was challenged more than I thought possible... but with time, patients, support, and faith I think I have been able to get thru the change with at least a little grace. I am really thankful to know that I can handle the full responsibility of being with Clara all thru her day. It has been a great opportunity to learn how to manage a house and a child at the same time.

I think unemployed moms sometimes struggle with how to title themselves. I know that when I quit the questions of, "What will you do all day?" and "Won't you be bored?" caused me to be self-conscious that I no longer had a paying job. I did lots of research online, fining different, "Stay at Home" or "Full Time" mom blogs, explaining how they went about their day... cleaning, cooking, and organizing activities for themselves and their kids. Many of these blogs help with my transition and proved to me that I wasn't just keeping myself busy until my husband came home. I really have a job that matters. What I do during the day makes a huge difference to my husband and my daughter.

I also stumbled upon many debating or defensive articles regarding stay at home vs working moms. People from both sides defending what they do, the choices they make, and telling others what they should or should not think about the different scenarios. It seems like the self doubt of moms, coupled with the judgement of those looking in, has caused this weird rift in society.

Life at home with my little one has been (and still is) an adventure. Learning how to move at a child's pace, coming up with creative ways to organize time and money, taking day trips to the zoo while at the same time wondering if I am missing out on a paying job... this can all turn from joy to doubt and regret if I let others get to me, or let myself doubt my decisions.

I'm sure most moms (and dads BTW... I know you are the other half to this discussion) do what they think is truly best for their families. It is up to us as friends and extended members of the families to give encouragement and beneficial advice to couples who are making the most challenging decisions of their lives: How to best raise their children.

House Blessing

Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.
2 Samuel 7:29

We finally felt our house was 'together' enough to have some good friends over for the blessing of our house! One of our favorite people (... one of our favorite persons?) who happens also to be one of our favorite priests (confirmed me, baptized our first born, and now blessed our first home), came and officially made our living space Catholic. 

I think it is the best improvement we have made thus far.