Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Gratitude

Inspired by Katie's blog, I thought I would make a list of 10 or so things I am grateful for. Here it goes:

1) Kids songs. The boys have been singing and singing together. "Take me out to the ball game", "Down by the station", "Twinkle, twinkle", etc. Isaac is funny in that he will sing it just like his older brother (just as he does when he talks), misplaced sounds and skipped words and all! I am grateful that the boys are singing and playing together more and more.

2) Andy's 17-credit semester is finally over!!! What a long spring! And because of that, he has more time to do things around here, so the cars are clean inside and out and the garage is clean and organized, not to mention dishes and laundry getting done! Granted, he's starting summer classes on Tuesday. They'll run for 7 weeks. But it's not 17 credits!

3) I am grateful for a husband who sees things that need to be done and just does them! For a husband who is capable (and knows he is capable) of taking care of two boys himself while I work or so that I can get out of the house for a little me time. For a wonderful, loving, supportive husband who loves me even when I am in a crabby and irritable mood and not acting lovingly toward him.

4) For finally being able to put the manger scene away (5 months after Christmas)! And for being able to start organizing the basement so that we can have a play area down there by this next winter (or earlier for rainy days!). For having time to post on my blog!

5) For friends and readers who check back on my blog even when I have not been posting and have not been good about keeping up with their blogs and lives or posting comments. Thank you! I hope all is well with all of you and that God is continuing to bless you! I will start checking back soon!

6) For green leaves and grass, for warm weather and evening walks. For a 3 day weekend to enjoy it with my family!

7) For a name for what I have been feeling. Adrenal fatigue, which apparently is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome and can also lead to fibromyalgia and other chronic painful illnesses. I saw a doctor a few weeks ago who started me on a regiment of vitamins and gave me a book to read and will follow up about a month from now. I'm already starting to feel a bit better.

8) For the ability to act! I want my children to know joy. When my 3 1/2 year old son asks me regularly, "Mommy, what's wrong?" or "Mommy, why are you crying?" when nothing is really wrong and I'm not currently crying but just because he has seen me cry and upset too often, something is definitely wrong! I'm starting to get some energy back and so I have the ability to act happy. And I figure if I start to act happy, maybe I'll remember how to be happy!!! And my boys will know what it's like to live a joyful life filled with faith in God! I recently read that "if you do not teach your children to find joy with you in your home, they will go out into the world looking for it elsewhere." I want the boys to know the true Source of joy instead!

9) For puzzles and games. Blaise is nearing 4 years old and really enjoys playing games and putting together puzzles with me. And he is beginning to learn to play by the rules which makes it more enjoyable for us to do together, and a good teaching tool for him! Isaac will pretend to join in sometimes too. I have been looking forward to this stage for a while! I love having an almost 4 year old, at least most of the time!

10) For two boys behaving well at Mass this morning. For the last three weeks, Andy and I have brought the boys to church separately. The first two weeks weren't great. Today, I took Isaac with me to 8:30 Mass, and Andy took Blaise to 10:00. They both did very well. Usually they are very poorly behaved, and their energy will rub off on the other so that by the end, they are ganging up on Andy and I and have completely worn us down. So I thought we'd take them separately and teach them what we expect for 1-2 months then bring them, more aware of how to behave in church and used to behaving that way, back together. This week gave me hope that that plan would work!

I have to add one more: 11) For friends! I have some wonderful friends who share my commitment to faith and to family. Several wonderful friends I have met over the last several years, blogging friends, and others scattered in many places. We are getting to know a great group of friends around here also, a thriving Catholic community of families! I am thankful, especially this weekend, as we were with many of them at a potluck on Friday, and I was able to meet some of the moms out for breakfast on Sat also. How blessed I am with such great friends and also with a great family (whom I can also call friends), both immediate and "extended."

Thank you, Lord, for this and all other things you give us! Thank You for your presence in our lives!

God bless you all this week!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blaise's puzzle

First of all, happy Mother's Day to all you moms!

Blaise (3 1/2) has been excited about the "Scary Monster Movie," AKA Monsters, Inc since my mom brought it for Isaac and him to watch a month or so ago when she came over to take care of them for a day. And he had was able to put a 24 piece puzzle together with only a little help soon after he turned 2 1/2. So when I saw a Monster's Inc 60-piece puzzle at a garage sale, I bought it.

I took it home and tried to put it together while he was having quiet time. I struggled with a couple pieces almost right away, since the puzzle is so dark and so many pieces look the same, so I boxed it back up and put in on the basement stairs to bring it down to the basement. I planned to bring in out again in several months. Before I could hide it in the dark recesses of the basement, Blaise found it on the stairs and asked to bring in up and put it together. Though I thought putting the puzzle together would lead to quite a bit of frustration on both our parts (Blaise because he wouldn't be able to do it, and me because Blaise would be frustrated), I bit the bullet and brought it upstairs. To my pleasant surprise, he did great!



It also turned out to be a great learning opportunity for him. First, we sorted the pieces into ones with a straight edge and ones without a straight edge. By the end, he had the concept down. I placed the first few around the edge then helped him to match up the pieces so that he continued the "edge" around the picture, looking at other clues to help find the right pieces.



Then we sorted the rest into pieces with Sully's fur and pieces without. He got the sorting idea down right away this time. Again, with some help, he learned to match the shapes of the puzzle pieces and the colors to create Sully.



He was nearly done with Sully when it was time for bed. The next morning, we finished Sully and put together Waternoose. He did even better the next day and needed fewer cues. All together, he placed every piece except the initial three or four at the top edge of the puzzle.



He was pretty proud of his creation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Refreshed!

My goal every night is to get to bed by 10:00. Since it is now 10:23, this will not be a long post. My one day off during the week, Wednesday, always fills up quickly, and I don't want to take any more time away from the boys by posting on my blog.

This last weekend was wonderful for us. Not only were we able to witness our wonderful friends' marriage, but Andy and I were able to get away for 4 days alone to enjoy our own beautiful marriage. This last semester has been a long one, and so time away was much needed for both of us.

We came home refreshed and with some great memories. But not only do I feel more appreciation for Andy, but I also feel more appreciation for the boys. A good friend and I were talking yesterday and both agreed that, as mothers, we at times need time away from the kids so that we can truly enjoy them and appreciate them more. If they are always vying for our attention, we don't have time or space to miss them and thus lose appreciation for them.

Today was a very enjoyable day. The boys were doing well, and I actually had energy to bring them to daily Mass, something I was hoping to do nearly every week when we moved over here. But usually as 8:30 comes up, the boys are whiny, not dressed, and I'm already exhausted. And Grandma (my mom) came over, which was wonderful for all three of us. Isaac also surprised me. He is 2 1/2 today. We have a car puzzle in which the wood cars are slightly different shapes and fit into particular places in the wood board (a basic kids' puzzle). But this one doesn't have any pictures under the slots for the cars. He would pick up one after another and, barely looking at the car, would point to the spot where it goes. He went 12 for 12 a few times in a row before losing interest! My mom and I both commented that we have to think harder about where the cars go than he seemed to have to!

It is now nearly 40 minutes past my bed time. I hope you all have a blessed night and wonderful, blessed day tomorrow!