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We met over 8 years ago at church as Shaun was walking in and I was walking out. The few words exchanged sparked an interst that kept Shaun coming back. When we FINALLY began dating 4 years later we soon knew there was something special here. Our first year quickly flew by and we both decided we never wanted to spend another year with anyone else or without each other. We married in the place where it all began on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava Marie on September 22, 2011 our next little one, Clara Rose came 16 months later on February 11, 2013. This blog began with our preparation with our wedding and has entered into recording the days and events of our newlywed life and new motherhood.

The Happy Couple...

Daisypath - Personal pictureDaisypath Anniversary tickers

Ava Marie

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Third Birthday tickers

Clara Rose

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers

Gabriel's ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Twins ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Pregnancy tickers

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Laundry... Hacks that might actually work!

Because this is where my mind is these days...

(THIS Mom is my hero... but my living room is NOT that big)

Lots of great ideas here (why did I never think of storing the sheets for each room in the end table for that bedroom?)

I would LOVE (I mean really really love) to hear your tips for keeping up on the laundry with big(ger) families.

Do you use detergent (powdered/liquid), pods or make your own.  If you make your own does it really work?  Currently we use tide pods and it IS much easier.

Here's our current laundry situation and it's pitfalls for us personally.

  • Washer and dryer are in the basement (which means I have to leave 4 little kids who have a track record of being creative with their use of time when I am out of the room... or even in it for that matter ...unattended.)
  • We do NOT have a laundry room, so things usually end up in the living room (where kids like to dump and "help fold"... or pretend laundry baskets are boats or rocket ships or beds for baby dolls and stuffed animals.  It is not uncommon to come into  a room where a number of baskets were recently folded and find them dumped out and the toy bin full of stuffed animals "sleeping" in said baskets and each animal "covered up and tucked in" with all those clean laundry items... "shhhhh Mom, the babies are sleeping!")

  • We have two floors in our (smallish) house and not enough room in the bedrooms for everyone's clothes, so we store in bins in the hallway too.
  • With stairs, we have tried laundry on the stairs for each child and that has not gone over well.  They are still much too curious.  (We have tried gates to keep them away... they are great climbers.  GREAT climbers.  NO gross motor skill issues here.)
  • With four VERY mobile littles four and under we don't have "bigger kids" to help out with laundry (that being said, I still have the "big girls" who are just newly 4 and 2.5 help sort towels, washcloths, bibs, panties and socks.  Ava folds the washcloths and handtowels ...and big towels sometimes and they help put the bibs and panties away... with a LOT of prompts. short sometimes I'd rather just scream and do it myself, BUT we're teaching lessons right?  Goodness I hope so!)
  • We always seem to be ending up with "interesting" laundry messes that don't end up in the regular "catagories".  Pillows, comforters and mattress toppers are often in the laundry pile.  With two potty training... it doesn't matter if they wear diapers.  Lots of stomach bugs and throwing up ...and too young to have great aim.  I regularly have bathmats that are soaked from exhuberant baths or more potty training accidents.  Even towels when kids don't quite get the hang of the toilet paper it seems that 's the next best option.  Ugh.  So happy they're learning... so hating the laundry, lol.
  • My husband works looooong hours, so when he gets home he has enough to do with helping with bedtimes and other tasks around the house, I don't want him to have to add laundry to the list.  I want him to enjoy his time with the kids since they are the ones he's working so hard for.  (that being said, he actually does help a LOT, but I'd love to be able to manage it and not have to pull him away from other things for something so trivial as laundry)
  • I am TALL.  I have genetically passed down my tall-ness (both Ava and Clara are on target to reach 6ft) which means I'm pretty much blowing through clothing sizes in record speeds (My toddlers are not beyond wearing size 6's) and since we are leaving our family size in God's hands, I am reluctant to get rid of too many of the clothes we have acquired because I don't know if we'll need them again in the near future and don't want to have to buy them all over again.  I also don't know what "seasons" we'll need.  Those with big families close together, I'm sure you "get it".  The problem lies in that if we weed out and don't have "enough clothes" they beat on them and wear through them quickly (we actually let our kids "play" and get dirty) too many and I feel like a hoarder.  Having clothes ready in the next size up has really often come in handy, but it's hard to keep on top of it all.  
  • We do not presently live in the type of neighborhood where I could say... send my kids outside to go play for a while and lock the doors behind them and know they're safe while I get caught up on things.  We also do not have a "play room" That means they are ALWAYS with me.  If they're not with me and are say, "playing in their room" the child locks on their drawers are nothing to those masterminds of imagination and all the neatly folded clothes that might have been there before I was trying to "catch up on something" are often no longer there and have been used in some magical pretend play experience.  
  • My children are NOT good sleepers (they're getting there), so I don't have a group "nap time" (except for very rare occasions like today, where I'm blogging instead of dealing with the laundry beast) or kids in bed by a reasonable time to allow me to get caught up on chores.  By the time everyone is actually asleep, I'm usually too tired to even look for a wine glass, so I'm looking for tips that are manageable to do with kids crawling and climbing everywhere around me, ha!
  • I'm ADD ...for reals.  (aka: I'm easily distracted)
  • Practicing nudity is starting to become more and more appealing.
Ok... so that's my "keeping it real", but seriously, I'd love to hear your input on how you keep on top of it all!  Send those tips my way and enjoy the links I found that seem to have some good tips.

All that being said, I would STILL rather have all the kids than a clean house with no "laundry issues".

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Walking the Little way is a Big thing!

Today is the Feast of St. Therese.  I haven't "blogged" for so long because... well... twins... toddlers... homeschooling/caring for four littles who don't sleep nearly as much as they ought to and a husband who works long hours make for little blogging opportunity.  Maybe quick facebook posts while nursing said twins, but not much "blogging".  I miss it though, so today seemed as good a day as any to "begin again".

Today I woke at 2am to a 2 year old who wasn't sick yesterday, but somehow was sick by nightfall and came in just in time to throw up all over my sleeping husband... our bed... and our white carpet... began our walking of the "Little way" first thing while half asleep.

I actually find that no matter how tired I am, it's hard to not be loving towards your toddler who feels like crap in the middle of the night and looks at you with a face like an angel in her feverish sickness.  God in his wisdom in return for the sacrifices required of us gives us such tremendous love as parents that it would be harder NOT to respond to their needs than it would be to stay in bed and let them fend for themselves.  As a single person I'm pretty sure I wouldn't respond as "lovingly" if a random person just came and threw up on me in the middle of the night and asked me to take care of them... yeah... the visual alone!

Today I am so appreciative of Therese and the many reminders she offers me personally in my daily life that is rife with opportunities to practice this slow steady walk towards Christ.  Motherhood (and Fatherhood) is truly a vocation to holiness if we embrace lovingly the little gifts given to us each day.  I do NOT always handle things as patiently as I could, but I suppose that's why I'm given so many chances to try again!

I keep saying to myself that I need to put little signs or reminders through my house to lift my heart up to God.  I remember when I would visit convents (particularly the Carmelites) years ago that they often had these little sayings posted everywhere that I just loved.  Over the clock would be something like "A little while and it will be eternity" or something of the sort.

Over my changing table I need to post something like "Do Small things with Great love" or "Remember you are changing the BABY not just changing the DIAPER".

...I need SOoooo many reminders.

Today I had a great chat with my "big girls" (by BIG I mean a whole week old 4 year old and a 2.5yr old) while changing the twins diapers first thing.  We were chatting about St. Therese and who she was and how she wanted to be their friend in heaven and pray for them and help them.  I told them how she was very much like them as a little girl.  She was beautiful and sweet and loved Jesus and Mary, but she was also very stubborn and had a bad temper and a strong personality.  I told them how they also have all the makings to be great saints someday.  We talked about how she wanted to be a great saint, but didn't think she could do all the difficult things the other saints did (I hear you, Therese.  I can't even finish a novena! ...or my laundry!) so she decided to ask God for help to do small things with love and offer them to gain graces for souls.  It did not matter how "important" the task she was doing seemed, she needed only to do it with as much love as she could.

While we were coloring their new calendars and doing their "schoolwork" I reminded them as they sat beneath the pictures of Jesus and Mary at our dining room table that sometimes they were going to be tired and not feel like coloring or paying attention to their lessons, but if they did it their best and offered it to Jesus and Mary, they could gain many graces just by coloring that one rectangle on their calendar or doing their best work painting or cleaning up.  They could offer it for whoever they wanted or give the graces to Mary and she would decide best who to give them to.  I was so proud of how hard they worked and the questions they asked and for the opportunity to talk to them like this and encourage them not only to learn and to "work" but to do it in a virtuous way.  Of course I want to foster my children's intelligence, but more importantly I want them to be "good".

At that moment I (like occurs to me many times) thought of my husband and how he was working so hard where he was today practicing his own "little way".  All this after being thrown up on at 2am being woken up many times during the night and heading off to work before 5am to provide for all of us.  He was walking his own path to holiness (and traveling quickly upon it) and if it wasn't for his hard work, I couldn't be home with the children teaching them and kissing them and cuddling them on sick days and doing all the things that fill our ordinary days.  I felt very close to him at that moment even though he wasn't with me and I realized again how the family is connected and each has a role to play ...and it is beautiful.  At that moment Shaun shot me a text message and I smiled knowing we were thinking of each other where we were in our daily lives.  Such are the simple things marriage is made of... and I was (and am) so grateful.

...anyhow I suppose I just wanted the day not to escape me without taking a few moments to express my gratitude for my "ordinary" life.  There was a time when I thought of nothing more than doing great things, but now I couldn't be happier than in this little life full of simple, but extraordinary blessings.