A tiny parenting win

I am amazed at how quickly our son is growing up. Though like any parent we have our struggles.   Our evening routine has been a serious struggle for years for various reasons. There would be threats and yelling and tears. Sometimes EVERY.SINGLE NIGHT.   Almost always on nights when B was away at a meeting or in class.

Now I am slow to catch on to this idea, but he is our only ( L) kiddo and we tend to think he is not as capable as he is of doing things on his own. Or more likely I get too impatient and it is faster if I do it myself. Yeah not really teaching him anything that way am I?

So a few weeks ago he was complaining he never got to watch TV. We severely limit screen time. (though there are no rules at Mamaw’s house no wonder he likes it there so much!). We told him he was welcome to get up in the morning and watch TV before we left for school if he woke up early AND was completely dressed before the TV came on.   So far it has made mornings much easier since he has an incentive to wake up on his own. He has been wearing his school clothes to bed “cause it’s faster” and I’m fine with that. We did have to adjust the rules a bit and say he can only watch PBS and the TV goes off at 7am because those last 10 minutes before we leave the house are a little nuts if he is distracted.

The other change we made was I showed X how to start the shower and adjust the temperature. So instead of the 20+ minute battles over bath time I just tell him to take a shower.   He still asks me to check the water temperature and still runs around the house without clothes too much….BUT no fighting, no yelling. He can do it all himself and that little bit of independence has made him so proud and mostly cooperative.

Finding Balance

The last month was the most balanced time I have had.   It was busy and I seemed to run all over town, but this Advent passed by peacefully, even with all the crazy of this time of year.   I was so happy one Friday realizing that the week was so balanced and I started thinking about what was I doing that made the difference.

– Prayer.  I have been praying everyday.   I went to adoration 3 times in one week.   We are fortunate that the cathedral here has a perpetual adoration chapel and when I found myself with some spare time before and after meetings I was able to pop into the chapel in addition to my regularly scheduled hour at our parish.

-I went to Mass.  Every week during advent I made it to at least one week day Mass.  It helped focus me, calm me and remind me where the center of my life should be.

-Taking it easy in the kitchen.  We have had more hodge-podge meals while I prepared for the holidays.  Everyone was fed, it might have been weird, but I gave myself some grace and didn’t stress if we didn’t have a “real meal.”

Working part time has given me the opportunity to fit all of this extra in. It has been a huge blessing.  My mother-in law was able to spend so much time with her sister this fall.  We didn’t realize she had so little time left.  She passed away on the 18th.  I am just happy we were able to give her the opportunity to be home with her sister when she wanted to be and she did not have to worry with helping us out with watching the boy.

Now that I have had a taste of balance I am not sure how to go back to the way things were before.  I don’t think we can financially sustain me working part time much past the summer. Everything has worked out so far, I just need to keep trusting that it will continue to work out.

A heart full of gratitude.

Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas Tree 2014

I am curled up on the couch next to the christmas tree on this lazy Tuesday morning.  I’m cozy in a hoodie and leggings ( seriously why didn’t I know about leggings before now!!!!)   and I am grateful for the time off – 2 weeks of it.  I can hear B and the boy downstairs playing with nerf guns and the washer and dryer humming along.  Christmas gifts are wrapped.    We traveled over the weekend and celebrated Christmas early with my family.  We have never been home before 5pm on Christmas Eve, so to have the whole day here tomorrow seems like such a luxury.  I will spend the day prepping and baking for Christmas dinner, because after midnight Mass it will be a SLOW morning on Christmas Day.

Today is a good day.  Snuggles and giggles with the boy, time to pray, a leisurely breakfast and no need to leave the house.  Sure, I could run to the grocery for a few last minute things, but they aren’t necessities.  We can get by without those last minute additions to my list.

I am grateful for today.  I am not stressing about the things we don’t have or the uncertainties of the future because right now things are good.

A good day.

Last night X and I had a sweet evening that I want to remember. It was a good ending to a day that did not start off the best. I yelled at the kid when he spilled smoothie down his front trying to give himself a “drippy purple mustache”.   Wrapping up the evening in such a peaceful manner was nice.

 

He had been at the in-laws that afternoon and had gone out to dinner with them.   He had finished all of his homework so we only had reading and spelling left to work on.   B washed dishes and I chopped veggies for dinner while X took a spelling quiz with a dry erase marker on our glass pantry cabinets.   He then chose a book to read. I was so proud of him. There were many difficult words to sound out and he kept pushing through, didn’t get frustrated, and he read the whole thing on his own! He was really proud of himself too.   We ate dinner and X snacked on some cooked carrots and told us about how much he loved the broccoli and hummus in his lunch box that day. (A boy eating vegetables!!! Amazing!) He gave a mushroom a “hello bite” and decided he liked the taste but not the texture.   He put on pajamas the first time we asked and we had time to play Monopoly Jr.     He brushed his teeth, again the first time he was asked.   It was almost like my real child was abducted by aliens.

 

I put him to bed and we said prayers and chatted about plans for the week. He asked me “give me all of the details.” When did he get so grown up! We also discussed how tonight was different and the consequences of following directions the first time mean 1) no fighting 2) more time to play 3) more fun with Mama and Daddy.

 

It was such a fun and relaxed evening. It was without a doubt the first evening in a long time I really liked my kid. I love him, but frequently by bed time I am at the end of my rope with the whining and arguing.

It was so refreshing not only to have all of that be easy, but to see X as the person he is. He shares my love of planning ahead and shares my extreme disappointment when things don’t go as planned. I was able to see his wit and sense of humor and his disappointment with how the morning went as well as his pride that he read a hard book on his own.

Week in My Life: Sunday

Team Whitaker WIML_header

Sundays around here are either really busy or really laid back.  This one was a little of both.

Team Whitaker WIML_sunday

We woke up and made breakfast.  X requested “toasties”.  My grandmother would make them for us as kids.  It is toast, buttered and cut up in little pieces.  Somehow those little pieces of toast taste better than regular toast.

"toasties"

“toasties”

We all got dressed for Mass and surprisingly, had plenty of time.  I knew I needed to be there early because I was lectoring.  I wish I didn’t get so nervous.  I loved the reading, which was part of Proverbs 31.  I managed to survive the nausea and do the reading just fine, I didnt start shaking until I sat back down.   Why do I do this if it makes me so terribly nervous?  I enjoy it, I think I am good at it and I need to get better about not worrying what others think about me.

After Mass X had catechism class, which he loves.  B and I had a meeting at church.  Then we went to the grocery store.  A ridiculous amount of money later we got home and unloaded the car.  We picked around on leftovers for lunch.  The rest of the afternoon was spent picking up the house, watching TV and trying to get ready for tomorrow.

X at meijer

I wasn’t feeling great Sunday afternoon and since the surgery I have been so paranoid something is terribly wrong with me.  I hate feeling this way but I have been struggling with the unknown of suffering and death for a few weeks.   Later I realized feeling crummy was my asthma, which normally flares when a storm is coming.  A snow storm was due in that evening.

New Couch

New Couch

I need to brag on my husband for a minute.  He was awesome this weekend!  B worked so hard all weekend long. Not only moving boxes and building couches, but doing laundry and helping at the grocery store when he hates going to the store.

I reminded B there are corn dogs in the freezer as I headed to youth group.  Yes mom/ wife of the year, I know.  I do try and have a big family dinner on Sunday afternoons most weeks.  It gives us family time and frequently, leftovers for meals later in the week.  This weekend that didn’t happen.

Youth group is one of the bright spots in my week.  Over the last few years I have gradually ended up in the role of leader.  We have only volunteers leading the youth group at our parish. Right now there are really just two of us working with the high school youth.  Youth group is one of the things in my life that I am pretty sure I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  When I was in high school I wanted nothing more than to be a youth minister.  16 years later, here I am, doing exactly that.  5 years ago I NEVER would have expected this is where I would end up.  Our group of kids is small, but amazing.  We had a good discussion last night, even though we had to change the topic on the the fly.   I am so thankful my family has allowed me the opportunity to be gone nearly every Sunday evening for 3 + years and to be gone for a week at a time to take the group to camp in the summer.

Once I get home I peek in on X, who has built a fort from one of the couch boxes.  It is complete with a welcome mat, a cross and a “no girls allowed, except mama” sign.  Oh that sweet boy!

X fort

B and I watch some TV while I eat a bowl of cereal for dinner.  I ignore the kitchen that needs clean.  Later X sleepily stumbles down the hallway and crawls into my lap and goes back to sleep.  I hold him and it reminds me of when he was a baby.  Soon, very soon he will be too big to snuggle like this.

I am really proud of myself for actually posting 7 days in a row.  I have learned how much work it is to post regularly to a blog.  I need to find and charge my real camera since 99% of pictures I take these days are on my phone.  I know I will enjoy looking back and seeing what our lives looked like this week.

Week in My Life: Saturday

Team Whitaker WIML_saturday

Of course on Saturday, when I can at least sleep in a little, I am wide awake at 6:15 AM.  We get up and start getting ready for our excursion to IKEA.   We are borrowing the in-laws truck and asked B’s mom if she would like to join us for the trip.  We get on the road about 30 minutes late and make the almost 2 hour trek there.

On the road.  I always enjoy this view.

On the road. I always enjoy this view.

 

IKEA on a Saturday is a zoo.  I knew this going in, but WOW!  X is bouncing off the walls and after about 3 minutes walking through the store we hit the couch section.  So, we sit on couches.  We knew there were 3 options we wanted to look at.  The first is just MEH, the second we like but don’t love and the third is pretty much perfect.  Less than 10 minutes in the store we have accomplished our mission.  We meandered through the store looking at dozens of ideas for the rest of the house and making a list of things to think about.

X was still bouncing off the walls.  I am pretty sure he sat in EVERY. SINGLE. CHAIR. in the store.  We took him to the kids play area while we collected our boxes.   The couch boxes were a true surprise.  They were huge.  So huge it knocked pretty much everything else on our list off of it.  I couldn’t believe we had a truck and we still were not sure if we would have space.   We pride ourselves on the fact we always get everything to fit in our vehicles.  This was pushing the limits.   After 45 minutes of furniture tetris we managed to get everything to fit!

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B was awesome lugging the massive boxes into the house and assembling the couch.  We had some furniture to re-arrange before we could begin building the couch.  It took at least 2 hours.

We enjoyed sitting on the new couch for a bit and I prepared to lector on Sunday at Mass.  I enjoy being a lector, but it still makes me nervous.   I am always afraid I will mess up or walk up at the wrong time.

 

Week in My Life: Friday

Team Whitaker WIML_friday

Last nights accidental nap when I put X to bed made getting up this morning so much easier. I can not live on 6 hours of sleep a night, I need more. That is something I hate to admit. I hate to admit it, because it means I need to go to bed MUCH earlier than I do.   That would mean making hard decisions about what I do with my time….dishes or pinterest? I don’t like making decisions.

I head into work. This wasn’t planned, but I know that I am much more productive in the lab where I don’t have the distractions of laundry, TV or 101 organizing projects I would like to tackle. As the reigning queen of procrastination I would get a lot done around the house that I have been putting off and the expense of the work I am being paid to do.

Going into work no longer fills me with dread like it did when I worked full time. Especially today since it is Friday and I knowing I only have to be at work for 3 hours because I have plans I am looking forward to at noon.

I signed up for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration when I become unemployed and I look forward to it every week. We have the benefit of a 24 hour perpetual adoration chapel at the Cathedral in town as well. It is a beautiful space and I would try to get there as frequently as possible.  However,  sitting in our parish and praying is different and has been a great comfort. Not only am I there with Jesus really present in the Eucharist, but I am surrounded by all of the memories of our time there.   B joining the church at Easter and the excitement being so palpable. Midnight Masses. The joy of a friends wedding. The sorrow of my friends funeral last month. In that place I have battled my own pride and will to find faith.   I have beamed with pride at our youth group and been reduced to tears over pregnancy announcements of others while I have been waiting for 4.5 years.

B picks me up at work and I drop him off at the gym. I head to church a little later than I would like. Today there was nothing profound about being there today, just quiet and peace as I prayed.

After leaving the church I head home for about and hour and a half since my MIL asked to pick up the boy again. I feel like such a slacker.

I pick up B from work and we go to look at couches.     The evening is nice we make dinner and then procede to get into a not great argument because of couches.

It was totally my fault.   It was one of those moments I could see myself acting crazy and couldn’t stop. Not my best moment.

We get X to bed once he stops bouncing off the walls.   B forgives me for being a nut and we make plans for Saturday. Plans that include going to Ikea to look for a new couch because of this:

Broken couch

Broken couch

That is our sad broken couch the leg finally snapped off.  It is really comfortable still.  Though I doubt guests want to crawl on the floor to sit on.  We have been talking about getting something larger the whole family can sit/ lounge on.  So hopefully we find something we love.