Friday, January 23, 2015

Better Late Than Never

For most of Silas' first year I managed to get a picture up at least once a month to track the many changes that happen over the course of a year. But after month 11 I fell silent. But if you've been reading for some time you may have noticed that I wasn't blogging on much of anything the past month or so.

So this is rather late, but ...

Happy Birthday, Silas!!!


He's so stinking cute!!

We had a birthday party planned for him for the Saturday just after his birthday, but ended up canceling it after sickness started going through our house. I was so glad we canceled! Silas wasn't feeling well, Hubby was on and off not feeling good, and then Sunday I caught a bug and was totally out of it that whole day. So this was better. The day the party should have been (which is when the above picture was actually taken), everyone was doing pretty okay. Silas wasn't the happiest, but he wasn't yet at the worst of what he would end up dealing with over the next week-plus.

Regardless, his Godmother came to see us anyway and she brought cupcakes. So we had a mini-celebration, Silas for a cupcake sans frosting, and we opened a couple gifts.

I can't believe my baby is 1. He's now walking, wearing 9 month size clothes, is getting close to 18 pounds, and knows how to stand up for himself when big brothers try to take toys out of his hands. The walking thing is hilarious. It is slowly becoming his favored method of mobility, but it's so funny to see this teeny tiny baby walking so well. He doesn't look big enough to walk!

Overall, not the best of birthday celebrations, but that's okay. He'll have plenty more in the future.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Small Success Thursday: Interviews and Blogging

Another week has gone by and I'm struggling to figure out where my successes are (which is also why I'm doing this so late in the day, too). I'm reminded each week when I do this that because I struggle is exactly the reason I need to do this. So here we go.

#1
I wrote a blog post for Catholic Sistas last Friday. I wasn't sure I was going to get that one off the ground, but it is an introduction to a series of posts I'll be doing over the next year. It is in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life that Pope Francis declared. I'll be interviewing (hopefully) people in consecrated/religious life and sharing those on the blog from now until next January. Hopefully we can also do something on February 2, 2016 for the World Day of Consecrated Life, but I haven't thought that far ahead yet. Anyway, if you want to see my first post it is here: Pope Francis Declares a Year of Consecrated Life. You'll be able to see the interviews on Catholic Sistas as well, just check in on the 3rd Friday of each month, or better yet, subscribe to the CS feed! We'll have a category in the pull down menus at the top for "Year of Consecrated Life" that will get you to all the posts as well.

I'm very excited about this, I have two interviews in hand, one other that I'm expecting to come back to me soon, and the possibility of at least one more plus a few lead for others. I don't know of any other big efforts this year for this Year of Consecrated Life, so I'm excited to be doing this one at CS.

#2
For my novice year as a Benedictine Oblate I have monthly lessons to read and reflection questions to answer. I don't have to submit answers to the Oblate director, but I feel like I should so he knows that I am actually reading them. I had fallen behind, hadn't submitted anything, but had scratched a few notes in the margins next to the questions. I finally went back and reread the five months of lessons and typed up some replies to the reflection questions. Just yesterday I finally sent him my answers/reflections to the first 3 lessons. Only 2 more to go! (Although, I'm expecting to find Lesson #6 in the mail any day now.)

#3
I completed a "featured bloggers" interview for Catholic Sistas. That sounds weird, since I write for CS, but I'm also a blogger on my own (obviously) and when our fearless CS leader said she wanted to do a series of posts with different Catholic bloggers (including any of us) I decided I should. So I managed to fill out the interview and submit it yesterday. It was kind of nice to do because it actually got me thinking more about my blog and what I do (and don't do) here. Plus I've been considering some changes so it offered my the opportunity to do some reflecting on the whole purpose and future direction of my teeny tiny corner of the blogosphere.

Speaking of interviews, I also participated in the "Working Mother" interviews that Erin McCole-Cupp conducted as a promotion for her novella Working Mother. My interview went up today, so go check it out HERE.

For more Small Success Thursday posts, go check out CatholicMom.com. It's always a fun time!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Giveaway at a Favorite Website!

One of my favorite websites is CatholicMom.com. And not because they do weekly giveaways, because they do, but that's not my reasoning.

Though it helps. I won't deny that.

And I've actually won an item or two here and there as well.

So okay, that is one of my big reasons for following them. But really, they have a lot of great content too. And you don't have to be a Catholic Mom to enjoy it.

This week's giveaway looks awesome. A beautiful rosary! Gorgeous! Tiny Saints. I love Tiny Saints! I have a St. Anne from Tiny Saints. They make great gifts to children, Godchildren, and anyone else who likes cute saints. And several books that all look perfect for my reading list.

So go check it out HERE. And then spread the love. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Small Success Thursday: Blogging, Feedly, Cataloging

The weeks keep zooming by! I keep promising myself that I will blog more, even just one post a week (that is, one in addition to this one) and then all of the sudden it is Thursday again. How does that keep happening? In all my 30-something years ... oh wait. Nope, that's not right. I'm 40 now.

So maybe it's just an age thing. Remember those days when you thought you'd never be a teenager or an adult or ... you get the idea. Now it just all speeds by. But in the midst of this whirlwind we call life, I still manage to get a few things done here and there. This week it was:

#1
I got my Friday article (as in tomorrow) for Catholic Sistas completed, finished, and scheduled on Sunday evening. That never happens! Not only that, but I may soon be done with my February article too.

#2
For a brief time on Tuesday afternoon my Feedly account was empty. Yep, I caught up on all my blog reading. What the what?!?!

Seriously, it's like the twilight zone over here.

#3
At work I have a goal of cataloging 40 scores a month. Thing is, I have so many that need to be done that I really need to be doing more than 40. Much more! So 40 is still the goal, but in reality I'm hoping to be a lot more. As of now, I've exceeded my January goal. 58 scores so far! I have to focus on doing staff evaluations now, but hoping to get that number even higher before the end of the month. So far so good, though!

Check out more Small Successes today at CatholicMom.com.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Small Success Thursday, No. 16


#1
I unpacked one box sitting in my basement.

Part of my effort to get better organized this year. It was mostly candles of all shapes and sizes and other things that produce scents. I never use any of that stuff, ever. And now with a kid with asthma, I have a good excuse to get rid of it all. I already have several friends wanting to take some off my hands. Yay!

#2
I've gotten a ton of laundry done this week. And all folded too. Most put away, but not all.

#3
I wrote thank you notes from Christmas. Quite an accomplishment since I was pretty slack about doing so since Silas was born. Three kids and working full time finally pushed me into a place where sending any sort of birthday cards or thank you notes just didn't happen. Hopefully I'm now coming out of that place and will be better about this in the future. Hopefully!

No success is to small. Join in on the fun over at CatholicMom.com!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Looking back on 2014, Forward to 2015

Hello again, dear readers!! It's been a long time. The end of the year got crazy and blogging fell to the wayside. I'm back and hope to be a bit more regular, we'll see if it works out or not. Ha! If you've followed this blog for a long time you know how it goes. I'll be here for a while and then I'll disappear for a time. Hopefully this is one of those times when I am back. #crossingfingers

So, since I've been MIA for a time, I thought I'd give some highlights from the previous year. I'll be as quick as possible.

January 2014: newborn baby, twins got RSV, continued struggles with nursing

February 2014: I attended a conference for my profession in Atlanta and took the two-month old with me. Thankfully he was great, slept a lot, and nursing felt better (though it never felt "natural").

March 2014: went back to work, had to settle into a pattern of nursing, pumping, daycare drop off and pick ups, and getting to work close to on-time.

April 2014: Another trip to Atlanta, this time the whole family went. We celebrated my brother's wedding from the previous fall (they got married in San Francisco). It was a fun party.

May 2014: Birthdays! Hubby turned 43 and the boys turned 3. Hubby built our garden boxes.

June 2014: Gardening and new windows (18!!) for our house.

July 2014: Peter got sick, difficulty breathing, ended up at the doctor office for several hours then the emergency room, and finally an overnight hospital stay. Diagnosis: pneumonia. Also, failed attempt at potty training.

August 2014: Peter gets sick again, exactly a month later. Another trip to the emergency room, no overnight stay this time, but a different diagnosis. More doctor appointments over the next week, diagnosis: asthma. Also this month, I was invested as a Benedictine Oblate Novice.

September 2014: Trip to the beach! Family vacation in Hilton Head. Fun times! Boys still hate the water (although Ethan did get in the pool twice over the course of the week). Silas (now 8/9 months old) seemed to enjoy the water. Maybe I'll get one water kid out of this bunch.

October 2014: normal life, all kind of a blur.

November 2014: I turned 40. My birthday gift to myself was to stop pumping. Silas started on whole milk. (And the heaven's sang with joy!)

December 2014: Silas turned 1, the daycare did their Christmas program, and we had a quiet family Christmas at home, just the 5 of us. Oh, and Christmas miracle!! I planned our Christmas dinner AND did all the cooking. Yes, me! I know, crazy, right?!

With 2014 over I can look back in awe at what all was accomplished. How we managed to do the things we do with two toddlers/preschoolers and a baby ... I have no idea. When you're in the thick of it you just do it. Then you look back later and think, "How in the world??" I'm still kind of in the thick of it but feeling a bit more capable with each passing day. This is probably why blogging had to take a back seat recently, just too tired of the day-to-day stuff to fit in the time for blogging.

Onward ho to 2015!!

This year I am working on making myself a better person and, hopefully, in the process, my family will become better and stronger as well. I don't like "resolutions" but prefer to think of these as personal goals. (Yes, yes, no real difference, but it makes me feel better, let me have this one.)

First of all, I've heard a lot of people choosing a word to focus on each new year. This year I am focusing on the word industrious. I have a big reason why this word is my focus this year, but I can't share that quite yet. However, it fits well because this is the kind of thing that I know I need to work on right now, for a variety of reasons involving both my home and my work.

My other personal goals for this year (many fit in with the idea of being more industrious) are:

To become better organized
I need (NEED!!) to be better organized in many areas of my life. Just before Thanksgiving I completely organized my desk at work: cleaned out files, cleaned off my desk, dusted my desk, found old buried (literally) problems and fixed those, rearranged my organizational system (well, okay, basically created one out of the chaos), and set up a whole series of folders and accessible files, etc. I feel better about getting things done at work because I can see everything. In the last month of work before the winter break I got a ton of stuff done. I want the same thing at home.

I need to be better organized in so many ways. I want to organize the mess that is our basement, I want more shelving in our storage area and better/more shelving in the toy room, I need to declutter, declutter, declutter, and I need to organize my desk space and other working space. There is so much that needs to be done in this area. I probably have rich fodder here for future blog posts.

Eat Healthier/Get Exercise
The perpetual goal. One thing I realized recently though is I can't take everything on at once. That's how I end up failing. I can work on eating healthier along with the organizational thing, but I think I need to put the exercising off a month or two. I just need time to get other things in order first. It's not procrastinating, it's keeping my sanity. So I have some plans of attack in my mind and hope to institute those in the coming months.

Daily Family Prayer Time
#1 We've been slackers here with the exception of before meals and before bed with the kids. I want something more now and I think the boys (the twins, anyway) are old enough to at least listen while Hubby and I pray and eventually join in here and there. I know ti won't be perfect, but we have to start something.

#2 We need a prayer space in our home. I think this will help with some focus and helps to set the mood. This also fits in with the organizing aspect of my year. I have plans for rearranging some furniture and taking some tips from The Little Oratory for giving us a small space in our home as a prayer corner.

TV Time and Bedtime
I'm making a conscious effort this year to turn off the TV by 10 PM each night and I plan on eliminating TV during Lent this year. I am also planning on being in bed by 11 or 11:30. I've been terrible at getting myself to bed at a decent time for a few months now and the TV was a big part of the problem.

Gee, I wonder why I have a hard time adding exercise into my day. #duh

(Shhhh, I'm breaking this rule tonight just to write this post ... and to bake brownies for a work function tomorrow. << That's a good excuse for being up late, right? Oh wait, I'm supposed to be eating healthier, too. #DietAlwaysStartsOnMondays)

Read More
It makes me sad that I used to be such an avid reader and now can barely make it through 2-3 books a year. But I seriously want to make reading more of a priority this year. I remember reading in one of Matthew Kelly's books how by reading just 5 pages of a good spiritual book each day we can get through several books in a year and thus grow immeasurably in our faith (I don't remember the exact stats, but they were impressive). This extends to several things for me:

  1. Reading the Gospel reading for each day (and I found a great app to help me with that)
  2. Always working on reading a good spiritual book, even just a few pages a day (I have plenty of unread books on my shelves, plus I'm open to doing book reviews either here or at Catholic Sistas)
  3. Reading the Rule of Saint Benedict each day (I have a schedule to make it easy, can read it three times through in a year by only reading a paragraph or two a day)
That's it. Easy peasy, right. Haha! No, I'll admit, it is a lot. But like I said above, I don't plan on doing this all at once. This whole year will be a work in progress and by the end of the year I hope to be at a place where I can feel accomplished in some areas or that I'm making progress in others. The one thing I don't want is to feel like I did none of these things. 

And now I'm done. Enough talk from me tonight, this post is already crazy long. So with that, I bid you good night (or good morning?).

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Small Success Thursday, No. 15


#1
Okay, so this wasn't this week, but it was just last week. And since I didn't do a small success post last week I'm taking the liberty to share more than two weeks worth of success. Since moving into our house a year and a half ago our front hall closet has been a mishmash of stuff. The coats are hung nicely, but everything else was thrown onto the shelf above: summer hats, winter hats, ball caps, scarfs, gloves, and even baby carriers. So I finally organized it all in neat baskets so that we can keep them organized. There are even names on each basket!
So clean looking!
#2
Speaking of organizing, I organized my desk at work. AND cleaned it, too! I wish I had a picture of the clean space. Actually a before and after picture would have been nice, but I didn't think of it at the time. Oh my goodness, the stuff I threw away!! Tons of old papers that had no meaning any longer. Lots and lots and lots of old meeting notes, conference notes, hand outs for programs, workshops, software we no longer use. My desk was so bad that I had asked for an additional new desk organizer a couple months ago and it had arrived and then sat on my desk, on top of stacks of stuff, still in the box, for about two months. Ah, the irony! I've cleaned my desk here and there over the years, but not to this extent. It looks amazing, and yet I don't feel done yet. As we approach Christmas and we get less productive in the office, I want to tackle more of my filing cabinets and the carts sitting around my desk. I'm so motivated now!!

#3
Invitations to our almost one year old's first birthday went out Wednesday. I'm so on top of things! And they are the cutest invitations too. I love them and can't wait for our family members to see them.

What are your small successes this week? Come on over to CatholicMom.com to share in the small success fun!