Thursday, June 18, 2015

7 Reasons for My Blogging Absence, aka Small Success Thursday

I think one of the best ways to come back from an unintentional blog break is with a list of small successes. Start on a positive note, right? So here we go.

1. Gardening: We have quite the garden going his year. We had spinach in April and May, a bit of lettuce in early June but the rabbits got most of that, and we ended up with quite a few sugar snap peas that we are eating now. Hubby has planted our tomatoes where the spinach was, added the zucchini in next to the dying lettuce, and planted a section of string beans. I'm starting to see a few tiny green tomatoes out there and the other plants are all getting huge. I should have taken a picture today, but didn't. Sorry. Just take my word for it, the leaves on those zucchini plants are ginormous! 

2. Adoration: I officially have an adoration hour again. Every Monday night I get to spend an hour with Jesus in the Eucharist. Love it!

3. Sorting and Organizing Kids' Clothes: Plastic bins have been sorted, winter clothes put away, bins of clothes 9 month size and smaller are all in the basement, and all other bins are in one of two closets. Summer clothes in the right sizes are in the appropriate children's dresser drawers. Doing all this is very time consuming! But oh so glad to have it done!

The guest room closet, clothes from 24 months up to 5T

4. YMCA: We joined the Y in our little city. And then I started working out. I've only just started, met with a wellness coach last week and have been to work out on my own twice this week. Goal is 3 times a week, in the evenings after the kids are all in bed. Seriously cuts into my writing time, but it must be done.

5. Swim Lessons: Now that we have joined the Y, we registered the twins for swimming lessons. The next small success will be getting them into the water. No, scratch that. If we get them in the water that will be a BIG success.

6. Catholic Sistas blog series: I'm working on two series of posts for Catholic Sistas right now. One is mostly me coordinating the volunteers who are writing each post (and I have one to do as well) and one that I am doing entirely on my own. I like doing big series like these and I always think that it'll be easy. But they always turn out more time consuming than I expected. Regardless, I still like doing them. The first is our "You Did it to Me" series on the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy and the second is a series of interviews in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life (next post is scheduled for tomorrow). Go check them out, share them with others, and leave comments for our fabulous writers!

7. Work: I submitted my annual column to my new editor for our professional journal; I finally got moving again on a project that is massive and will takes years to complete but is always nagging at me; and I had my last big event to be in charge of for the faculty committee I've been chairing this year, which means my chairmanship will end on June 30 with all the boxes checked and someone else gets to take over. Very excited about that. And then I went and volunteered for something else. 

Lastly, I've been missing my blog. I keep thinking about things I want to write, but with everything I have going on right now, including a biggish project with Catholic Sistas, I have been trying to resign myself to the fact that writing here is going to be a very occasional thing. At least for the near future. For those who have been hanging with me for a while, keep checking back. I'm still here, even if just occasionally.

Linking this post up with Small Success Thursday at CatholicMom.com. Come share in the fun!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Teaching Manners

My kids actually listen to me!

This was my realization this morning when I finally figured out what my children were trying to tell me while we listened to their Veggie Tales CD on the way to work and school (for the gazillionth time). Last week they were trying to tell me something about the Veggie Tales not saying please. And they were very adamant about it. I wasn't sure what they were referring to and they eventually dropped it.

Then this morning they started telling me again about how someone wasn't saying please. From their seats in the back row of my van I usually can't hear their tiny voices while this CD is playing. So they'er trying to tell me something, I keep shutting the CD off, I don't understand what they are talking about, I turn it back on, and the cycle starts again.

But I got it today! The CD finally hit on the song "Give me oil in my lamp" and they started yelling from the back, "The Veggie Tales not saying please, they not saying please!"

Ah, Veggie Tales, my almost 4 year old twins think you need a lesson in manners, apparently.

Despite how many times I remind my kids to say please instead of "I want" or "give me," it's good to know that they are listening. Hopefully they will put it into practice more eventually, too.

Listen to "Give me oil in my lamp" by the Veggie Tales HERE.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Seven Toddler Quick Takes #7QT


Happy Easter Friday!!

My toddlers just crack me up. If you're a parent of a toddler or have been a parent of a toddler, you know what I'm talking about. I have twin toddlers that are 3. Between them and the 15 month old, who runs after them any chance he gets, our house can be quite entertaining (and loud). I thought it'd be fun to share some of the entertainment with you all.

#1
While reading about Easter from a great book I found: {opening the door on the scene of the Last Supper} "That Judas, he bad!"

#2
During the very beginning of Good Friday service (we were sitting in the front row) and seeing the priest and deacon prostrate in front of the altar: "Mommy, he sleeping?"

#3
I had emphasized the veneration of the cross prior to the Good Friday service, but we had gone over the whole story beforehand, multiple times (see #1 above). So at one point Peter leans over to me and asks, "Where the tomb?"

#4
On laundry: "We wear the clothes, we wash the clothes, we put them away, and we wear them again!" {Imagine toddler with his hands out, palms up, as he explains this to me. I'd like to know more about the "we" part of this process because right now it seems to be mostly me.}

#5
On why we are still talking an hour after we were told to go to sleep: "We not talking, Baby [or Monkey or Puppy or Snoopy or whatever animal they happen to have in their hands] talking."

Okay, whatever kid. Tell the stuffed animal to go to sleep.

#6
Most of time Silas doesn't get to play with his older brothers. He either wants to be with mom or dad or plays on his own. But he definitely doesn't like playing on his own. He tries to play with the twins, but they often won't play with him, which ends in some crying, usually Silas. Every once and a while though, the twins make a game out of Silas chasing them around the house. At those times I hear, "The ladybug, the ladybug coming!" "Watch out, ladybug coming." "There's the ladybug!!"

Don't ask me how Silas became "the ladybug" and why a ladybug is scary. I have no clue.

#7
Our night time prayers consist of the Guardian Angel prayer followed by asking Jesus to bless a list of family and friends. We list our priests at the end and a few months back we added an intention for our diocese to get a new bishop. We've been sede vacante since February 2014, but hadn't thought to add this intention until recently. Then of course we got word the very next week of who our new bishop would be. Funny how that happens! Anyway, so we added his name to the end of our prayers. Ethan has this funny way of adding extra syllables to what we say and neither child same initial "S" sounds very well yet. So we end up getting something like "... and for our new Bishop-elected 'Tow." {Should be Bishop-elect Stowe} Hubby and I have stopped trying to correct him.

Have a great weekend all!! And don't forget to check out more 7 Quick Takes posts over at Kelly's page, This Ain't the Lyceum.

Friday, March 27, 2015

{7QT} On Parenthood, Writing, and Adoration


Hello! Anyone out there? If you are, I just want you to know that I have not forgotten this dear little blog of mine. I may have a trillion things going through my brain at any given time, but thoughts of this blog and what I might want to write about are often at the forefront. You wouldn't know it right now since things seem so neglected over here, but I promise that the wheels are spinning.

One day, more will happen. Just in one of those seasons of my life right now. BUT!! I come here today to share a little bit of what our life looks like right now in the form of a Quick Takes post. Thanks to Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum for hosting!

#1
Potty training. I told some coworkers (who both have grown kids now) that potty training has got to be the hardest part of parenthood. And if it's not, please don't tell me otherwise right now. I don't want to know. Maybe it's because I'm doing two at once and they've been pretty resistant to the idea for a long time. Man oh man, this has been difficult. But there is good news!!

#2
We had major breakthrough last weekend. They started cooperating more last week and we started putting them in underwear. No more protection! By Saturday they were having lots of accidents but some successes, too. Sunday they started telling us when they needed to go (or thought they needed to go). We've now been doing this a full week, I can't believe it. They are almost completely accident-free as well. It's like night and day. I think I even hear angels singing.

#3
I promise this is not a post just about potty training. As proof: I had a book review published yesterday at Catholic Sistas (see it HERE) and I think everyone needs to go check it out and then go buy the book.

#4
While I'm pointing you to my review at Catholic Sistas, have you also seen my series over there for the Year of Consecrated Life? If not, you should go check it out. I've done three posts so far, one as an intro and the other two are interviews. You can get to all three posts at this link HERE. I am hoping to do one interview a month through January 2016. I have one for April but could use some more. If you know someone in religious life, have them contact me to be included in this series. My email: kasclar [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks, friends!

#5
The weather in our area finally started to warm up. We're still wearing long sleeves and jackets in the morning, but afternoons are nice and we have had the opportunity to take a walk after dinner on a few occasions. It got cool again Thursday and will be on the cooler side for a couple days, but spring is definitely in the air. Even if we have a bit of snow on Friday, it won't stick around. I love knowing that!!

#6
Guess what?! I finally have an Adoration hour again!! So, sometime around 2005 or 2006 I signed up to take an hour in my parish's Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. I held that spot until February of 2011 when I ended up in the hospital to have an emergency cerclage put in to keep my twins from coming early (I was almost 22 weeks at the time). I was put on bedrest and told my coordinator to just take me off the schedule. It was a 6am hour and even after the babies came I didn't know how my life would change and if doing an hour at 6am would even work. So I had to end it a bit earlier than I had planned. Since then, I've been so busy with twins and then eventually a third child got added, that I never considered finding a way to work in adoration again. But I had been feeling a nudge over the last few months and so I started looking to see where they needed people. I think I found the perfect time slot and I have now gone two weeks in a row! I'm now an evening person (9pm) and that works so much better with three small children. They are all in bed before I have to leave. It's actually quite perfect. And I love being back in there on a regular basis!! So peaceful, so amazing, one-on-one time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We are so blessed to have such a beautiful chapel!

#7
Okay, so I'm going back to the topic I kicked this post off with: potty training. Hey, it's a big deal. Anyway, very, very early Thursday morning (3 AM) I was awoken by a tiny voice right next to me. In the dark I could see one of my children standing there, but since they look identical I had no idea which one had woken me. It was 3 AM!! Turns out he needed to go potty!! I woke up so fast and practically leaped out of bed. I was so proud of him!! Woke himself up, came and got me, sat and actually went, and then went back to bed. Can night training be a possibility already???

Feels good to be adding something to the blog again! Hope you enjoyed and I hope to be back sooner rather than later. And don't forget, go check out This Ain't The Lyceum for more #7QT posts.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Desert, Water, and Prayer

In my studies as a novice for the Benedictine Oblates I receive monthly lessons to read with questions to reflect on. There was one in the first 4-5 months that gave a little history of hermits and monks in the Christian tradition. It was interesting to read, but one particular part stuck out.

I learned in my reading that the first Christian hermits went out into the desert to battle evil spirits and to encounter the devil. In early Christian times the desert was thought of as the place where the devil lived. These hermits were not trying to escape the evils of the world (as if often thought, even today, of people who join a cloistered monastery or convent), but to pray for the world to be rid of evil spirits. They were doing the battles against evil so that others didn't have to.

It was a noble thing which took much perseverance and, let's face it, a lot of guts!

Eventually, hermits gathered followers and they were no longer as alone as they would have wanted. Thus monasteries started forming and we had the beginnings of Christian monks living in community.

[I am qualifying "monks" because the idea of monks is even more ancient than Christianity. I do not know the history of Buddhist monks or any other religious monks, I'm only speaking of monks in Christian terms.]

Yesterday I was thinking about this a lot. I decided for Lent this year to participate in the Lenten Photo Challenge hosted by Catholic Sistas. I am not a photographer and I am not super creative in the visual arts. So this has truly been a challenge for me. Tuesday's word was "desert." I was at a total loss, but I kept thinking about the early hermits and why they sought out the desert as the place to live their lives for God.

After dinner, a thought struck me as I was trying to guzzle down more water. Water!! Yes, the exact opposite of the desert is water.

As it turns out, I am currently in Denver, CO for a week-long conference. I learned, just before coming here, that due to the altitude, it is very important to drink lots of water. Altitude sickness is a real thing. So I bought some six packs of water at a local convenience store and will likely be getting more in another day or two.

I reflected on this tonight and thought about the need the body has for water, not just here in the Mile High City, but also in places like the desert. It occurred to me that water is necessary for the physical body in the desert, so the hermits of the early Church needed water just as much as they needed God. They needed to not only strengthen their spirit through prayer and a relationship with God, but they also needed water for their physical strength.

So, yes, I took a picture of water for today's desert theme, but it still works. For me, I see water as a symbol of life and you cannot survive in the desert without it. In the same way, we cannot survive spiritually without prayer, which leads us to a more intimate relationship with God.

Without water we would die physically, without prayer we would die spiritually. So drink up and don't forget to hydrate as well.

Friday, February 20, 2015

{7QT} Snow, Snow, Snow, and Fun Links


We've been cooped up all week due to the weather. No school, no work. We've had some days when we've all stayed in PJs and others where we all get ready with nowhere to go. We've watched a lot of TV, shoveled a lot of snow, and read a lot of books. A snowfall like this one (about 10" on Monday and another 2-3" on Wednesday) is very unusual for our area of Kentucky. My husband tells me it has been about 20 years since the last time KY had snow like this. So this Quick Takes is all about our week being cooped up together because of the weather.

#1
We knew the snow was going to start before we woke up Monday. We knew it was predicted to be a big one (anywhere from 8-14"). We knew, too, that our garbage collection was Monday and they usually came early. So Sunday night, Hubby gathered the trash and got it all out to the curb before it got too cold (we were getting pretty cold temps, too). We hoped that maybe they would start earlier than normal to try to get routes done before the snow got too bad. No such luck. Our trash is still sitting by the curb.

#2
So when your trash cans are down on the curb and you have about 10" of snow on the ground that is taking forever to clear off the wrap-around-to-the-back-of-the-house driveway and the diaper pail is starting to fill up again, what do you do??

I had to be a little discriminating on which diapers went into the pail and which had to wait. That's all I'm saying.

#3
In anticipation of the snow, Hubby picked up some sweetened condensed milk at the store on his last run on Sunday and then put a large bowl out on our back porch Monday morning. Later in the day we gathered some snow from the large bowl and made snow cream. He put it all together but from what I understand it was basically the sweetened condensed milk, some vanilla, a little bit of maraschino cherry juice all mixed together and then mixed into some snow. It was actually pretty good.

#4
Hubby got outside and shoveled a few times on Monday just in an attempt to keep up with it. He was able to do about 7 or 8 feet in front of our garage, plus the walkway between the driveway and the back porch, and cleared out the snow from in front of the drier vent. Each time he went out to shovel he was basically shoveling a few more inches from that same area. Just enough to get the small car out of the garage, but not quite enough to get the van out. As a result we had a mountain of snow sitting about 8 feet from the back of the garage.
You can see the pile starting to mount in the middle of our driveway.
The garage is actually just out of view to the right of the photo.

#5
Tuesday I went out and helped. I'm completely out of shape, haven't exercised in forever, and I was out there chipping away at the layers and layers of snow. It was a great workout. One of the boys didn't want me to leave them in the house, so he told me I had 6 minutes only (why 6 minutes I have no idea). The two of them (baby was napping) sat by the large kitchen windows watching us for a while. At one point, I heard knocking on the glass, turned around, and through the glass one of the twins reminded me that it had been 6 minutes (in reality it had probably been 15 by then). I told him I still had five more. Eventually they both got bored and went back to watching TV.

#6
I have not been good about actually showering every day this week. What's the point, really? I know I did one morning, another I skipped completely, and on Wednesday I showered and dressed while the baby took his afternoon nap. I didn't bother drying my hair after that Wednesday afternoon shower since I wasn't planning on going anywhere. So I walked downstairs with wet hair and Peter sees me and starts trying to ask about my hair. He kept pointing and saying, "Your hair it's, it's ..." I waited for him to find the right word. I was just about to say "wet" when he said. "it's not pretty."

Awwwww! Kids say the cutest things!

#7
Okay, let's get away from the snow for at least one of these takes. Two quick links to share with you. First, my little blog here was featured on Wednesday in a new series on Catholic Sistas. You can check out the "Fabulously Featured" post HERE and be sure to follow Catholic Sistas to get all the great posts in addition to the "Fabulously Featured" posts to feature various Catholic bloggers on Wednesdays. Second, my post on Catholic Sistas today is the first interview I did for the Year of Consecrated Life series I started this year. Please go visit the post HERE and leave a comment for Sr. Anne Joan and share the post with others. I think this is a great way to honor this Year of Consecrated Life.

Thanks for stopping by and please go visit Kelly for more Quick Takes posts. I hope everyone has a good weekend. Stay warm!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow Small Successes

It's been a whole lot of snow this week. The university I work for was closed Monday and Tuesday, open Wednesday (though they probably shouldn't have been) and Wednesday night they cancelled classes and called a "Plan B" for essential employees for Thursday and Friday. My kids' daycare has been closed all week so far and I expect them to be closed Friday as well. So I've been home all week. And the roads are terrible, so Hubby has been home too.

So far, I believe we've had 12 inches of snow. Ten of which all came on Monday, starting around 2 am and not ending until around dinner time or so. That's a lot of snow for one day. Heck, that's a lot of snow for Kentucky! Then we got two more inches between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning plus it snowed off and on (light snow showers) during the day Wednesday.

Now, I'm not one who gets cabin fever much at all. Maybe it's because I'm often away from home, so when I get a chance to spend a few days at home, I don't mind it. But it's been so cold and all this snow has made it hard, no, impossible to get out that I think I may be starting to feel the effects of a tad bit of cabin fever. Hopefully I'll get a chance to get out soon. Probably not today, hopefully by Friday.

How, you are probably asking yourself, does this have anything to do with my week's small successes? Well, I'm making it work. Here we go.

#1
Saturday it snowed quite a lot in the morning. We were planning on family coming in from about an hour away for dinner that night and I really started wondering if we should cancel. I hate the idea of people putting in a long drive and then getting stuck somewhere. But we waited it out and I kept checking my messages for a cancellation on their part. Right about 3pm, the snow started to lighten up and the sun came out enough to melt things. It was actually quite impressive. By the time out guests arrived you wouldn't have known it had snowed much more than just a dusting. Anyway, the whole point here though was that I did some nice cleaning around the house for once. The nice thing was that Hubby occupied the children for an hour or so while I made beds and vacuumed our entire upstairs (two tasks that were long overdue). But it felt great to have those things done!

#2
Tuesday's mound of shoveled snow,
almost as tall as me.
After our big snow fall on Monday, I got out on Tuesday and helped Hubby shovel the driveway. I haven't done anything physical in a very long time. It felt good, actually, to put in some physical labor. We didn't clear off our entire driveway, but we got enough to get the cars out of the garage (eventually).

#3
Also on Tuesday, we helped a neighbor from up the street get his car moving. He had gotten stuck in the snow in front of our next door neighbor's house. So Hubby and I and the next door neighbor all helped push him out (after a lot of back and forth) and got him moving up the hill. He then got stuck at the top of the hill trying to turn the corner. Hubby and I walked up the hill to try again, but didn't have as much luck that time. Eventually some other neighbors came out and someone else got in the driver's seat and got the car moving. Lesson of the day: Don't leave the house!

What are your week's small successes? Come join the fun at CatholicMom.com.