Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stubborn Old Man Winter

This year couldn't be more polar opposite than last year. April 2012 we were already dying of heat stroke and had the air conditioning on already, and this year I am shoveling 3-4 times a week. Native Coloradoans tell me that it is usual to get a really good dumping a few times in March and April, but we are getting slammed with snow 2-3 times per week! I guess I should have seized the opportunity to take the kiddos to the park a month ago when we were having 75 degree weather and it was dry out. Good news is that the snow pack is 98% and we really, really need the moisture. Hoping for some serious green in the near future.

Other then weather, we keep busy. Paul has had a lull in travel this month, so it has been nice having him around, although it is very hard to keep a stocked fridge when he is here inhaling everything all the time. Leo isn't helping me there either as he has decided that baby food or mashed/pureed food of any kind is for the babies and birds and he is neither one. This morning he ate a whole 4x4 in slice of egg bake complete with potatoes, chunks of ham, mushroom, peppers, cheese and eggs. I will be making lots of egg bakes in the near future. His other favorite is Indian food with curry and naan, although chicken tiki marsala in a diaper is the nastiest thing I have ever seen or smelt... and that is saying a lot coming from me! He is getting more motile by the minute, pulling up and walking around everything. He also likes getting into and eating everything, so I am busy spring cleaning and putting things out of reach of little hands.

Paul is loving his Toastmasters Club, and since he won table topics one week was eligible to compete in a competition. He really enjoys it and it is helping him to stretch himself and become a better speaker. He aslo got to get out and do some golfing; just hitting range balls and putting, but he enjoyed being outside and getting back into the swing of things (he he, I love puns). He will be traveling a lot more for next few months as FOCUS is getting ready to do placements for the next school year and summer training is around the corner. Our family travel schedule will get buck wild come the end of May through the rest of the summer, and we will be doing several cross country jaunts. I am praying that the kiddos do well. All right, enough jaw flapping and on to the good stuff (pictures!).

Did I mention he LOVES spaghetti? He is also cutting 4 teeth on the top, so his new amber necklace has been helping keep the crabbies manageable.  

Sophia loves being read too, and she has memorized half of our books. 

After Mass a week ago, there were a bunch of First Communion kids all dressed up in their suits and white dresses. Sophia freaked, and wanted to wear a white dress and pretty flowers on her head. This was my best rendition using odds and ends around the house. She walked around like this the rest of the day.

AND.... more snow. Old news, but still fun.

At least Paul was off that day so they spent lots of time playing outside.

Sophia doing a little light reading: The Mystery of the Transfiguration 

Bouncy fun

He loves smiling and his fingers!

Dishwasher dash! All he needed was some motivation in the form of a plastic measuring cup.

They play really well together, especially with Soph's castle. Who knew that thing would provide hours and hours of fun. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Parenting Battle

It has been a rough day for my psyche, and I feel very acutely today the uncertainty and weight of the path we call parenthood. How do I go about raising my little ones to become good, holy people who will go take the world by storm and change it for the better? My heart is heavy as my search seems to lead me to more indecision and is fueled by the "Mommy Wars" that seem to pervade every nook and cranny of many conversations and the internet. Attachment parenting, sleep training, spanking, time-outs, voice tone, vaccinations, food choices, public education, homeschooling, and blah blah blah. Anyone have a brick wall I can borrow, or better yet a really good pair of earplugs?

I find it frustrating that we spend so much time tearing each other down, and less building up, supporting and truly loving one another and our children. Why do we spend so much time arguing about the best way a good mother should love her child, and do more for those children who have no one to love them at all? I mean no two children are the same, we are all different and have different love languages. Why then are we trying to shove everyone and their children into a single little box?

We sleep train our children when it is age appropriate, especially if a problem exists that is causing a child to lose too much sleep so that it is adversely affecting them and the rest of the family. I am trying so hard to learn not to raise my voice, but that is challenging. We choose not to vaccinate until they are older. I am trying to do more developing virtue, and less discipline. I hope that I can lead through servant leadership and example, not through fear and coercion. This is who we are, and what works for our very own little family. I don't know what works for you and yours, but be who you are and live that which is important to you and helps your family grow and be happy.

At the end of the day, a few things stick out to me. I want my children to know without a doubt that they are greatly loved unconditionally by God and their parents. I want them to know Christ our Lord and Savior, to have a personal relationship with Him, to imitate Him and to practice virtue throughout their life. How will we go about instilling these in them, that I am unsure. I want our home to be one in which they will always feel safe, loved, and free to express themselves just as they are. I can only pray that I am shown guidance through prayer, that I can learn to fail and pick myself back up again, admit my wrongs, and exert mountains of love and patience.

 I refuse to take offense when others choose to raise their children differently or make vastly different decisions than we have chosen to make. Nor will I judge or look down on their choices. We all have our own road to holiness, and God calls us to many different challenges and to meet those challenges in different ways. May God bless you on your road and may we all meet at the end in paradise.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Leo's 1st Easter

Just after we got back from Fargo, Paul's parents arrived to celebrate the rest of Holy Week and Easter with us. It was nice that Paul and I got to go to our first Holy Thursday Mass in a long time as G &G stayed home with the sleeping kiddos. The week was fun, Good Friday was very dreary as per usual, and we made cookies to frost for Easter. Holy Saturday we hung out and dyed eggs and frosted cookies and watched the new 007 Skyfall. Sunday was a very beautiful day! Sophia loved trying to find all the eggs hidden all over the living and dining room. Mass was very crowded as usual even though we were over a half hour early. John and Paul's co-worker Holly came for dinner, and we all stuffed our faces so much I couldn't eat until Tuesday... no exaggeration.

A tired Sophia getting some Grandpa time!

Learning how to color Easter eggs

Daddy's egg in the orange dye


Grandma W back from the store


Two peas in a pod... they are so fun together.

The Easter bunny strikes again... He is a funny looking bunny....

Easter morning, look at all that grass and those eggs.

Ready for Easter Mass.

Changed and getting ready for company and dinner.

Lounging and balloons.

Daddy built a sweet Easter train track...hours of fun until Leo destroyed it :)

Happy boy loves his spoon and bananas

Many travels over and spring has arrived!

It has been a very busy new year, I am so behind and cannot believe it is April! Happy Easter to all! We had lots of travels and a great many visitors the past few months. Both sets of grandparents were her multiple times as were several friends from out of state. I have never washed so many sheets and towels in my life. We decided to take the whole family on a few of Paul's work trips so that we could meet all of the teams he oversees in Duluth, Mankato, Fargo, and Bismarck. We had a blast, but time changes, very early and very late flights, and teething children make life ultra interesting.

Other wise, they are growing like weeds. Leo is crawling around like a maniac and has two front teeth. Sophia is growing with leaps and bounds and loves Cinderella, playing with her blocks and wooden train set, and is eating us out of house and home. Our biggest accomplishment these past few months was to move the two of them in together in Sophia's room. It is so nice to have our room back, and Leo is not waking up 4 times at night because of us coming in late or getting up early. They play so well together, and I am working on sorting out things and doing some spring cleaning.

Our mom's group Magnificat Moms has been very busy. I am the TLC person, so I help organize and deliver meals to new moms and with the baby boom this spring, I have been delivering a meal almost once a week. I am also helping to plan our Easter party and egg hunt for the kiddos next week. Sophia and I are filling lots of eggs, and next week we will be making a bucket load of cookies to decorate!  We are keeping busy!

On the home front, we are trying to decide if we will move from our apartment. Lots to think about, and decision and details to follow soon I hope :)

Alright, here is the best part! A few pictures of all our happenings. :)

We love trains at our house... hours of fun!

Sophia, Leo, and Mandie
Grandpa G pulling Sophia around the yard

Penny, Grandpa, Sophia and Mandie coming back from a snowshoe trek on the frozen lake... Skittles in tow.

Snow angels!

It was a beautiful day and we were having a blast!

Grandpa and babies Susanna and Leo

Plastic container just the perfect size for a Leo bath! He loved it!

Paul trying to do push-ups with two very silly girls along for the ride.

Addy and Sophia having too much fun.

Leo, Mandie, Sophia, Addy, Ruth (with baby L on board) and Susanna