Thursday, October 2, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Thank you, forgive me, help me more!

Saturday marked the beatification of Don Alvaro del Portillo in Madrid.  Don Alvaro was the successor of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei.  To be honest, I don't know much about Don Alvaro, but I have some very dear friends who are part of The Work, and who were able to be in Madrid for the exciting day.  In his letter to Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei, Pope Francis recalls Don Alvaro's frequent prayers: Thank you; forgive me; help me more!  This prayer is so appropriate for today's crazed busyness (I think of myself as I scurry about chasing after the littles and trying keep some sort of order in my head).  No matter how flabbergasted I get during the course of the day, I've been trying to remember to utter this short supplication, because it has been a sort of lifeline this week.

Pre-school for the twins continues to be a hit.  And I'll admit: Mama enjoys having that two hour breathing room too.  I can go food shopping, for example, with two children as opposed to four.  This is huge!  Speaking of food shopping, a new BJ's is open in our area.  Not only can you save a lot of money buying wholesale, but BJ's has shopping carts with four seats!  ....for crazy families like us, of course.

Maybe it's pre-school, maybe it's because this is the 3rd year I've been doing the stay-at-home gig, and like many professional teachers will tell you, things start to come together the third year....but our weeks seem to actually have a little structure and schedule to them.  That is, I don't feel like I have to invent a brand-new plan for each day.  And no, I am NOT over-scheduling the little ones.  I'm talking a very basic weekly schedule: Tuesday's and Thursday's are pre-school for the twins, and Wednesday's are story hour at the town library for all four kiddos.  Other days are open for play dates or just hanging out at home.  Our town library, by the way, totally rocks.  They even schedule field trips!  Here are some pics of us visiting a local farm.

(The kid in the Red Sox jacket?  Yep, mine.) 

The calves were only a day old.  Precious. 

I finally figured out a solution to the daily negotiating of screen time in our home.  I actually sat down with the girls and wrote out a contract.  They even signed it.

If you can't read the terms beneath the scribbles, it basically states:
1.  No screens in the morning (morning is play time!).
2.  TV choices are 2 shows, or 1 short movie.
3.  Mom's Kindle: 30 minutes for apps, but reading books is unlimited.
4.  If we fight over Mom's Kindle, no one gets it!
5.  Giraffes are nice.

I know everyone has their own opinion about the amount and content of screen time.  I am not sharing this to say my plan is the best, but it has been working for us.  I am happy to report that since we have implemented the screen time contract, there have been no tantrums when the TV goes off, no begging for one more show, and I feel less guilty when they do watch TV or use my Kindle because I I've already agreed to a reasonable time limit.

Even though I feel a little more confident in my momming job, I still have moments when I loose my cool, because, well, there are many kids under the age of four living here.  I'm not excusing the times when I bark at the kids, but I do admit it does happen.  And just to rub it in, Gregory, who has been piecing together full sentences lately, has been asking me quite deliberately, "You happy?"  He usually asks this at times when my answer is a resounding NO! and it makes me feel like such a failure.  I have got to work on keeping it together.

To be clear, I am happy in this vocation, but perhaps I could be doing a better job showing the joy that I have in my heart.  Thank you, Lord, for revealing this truth through my son.  Forgive me, Gregory, for letting my emotions get the best of me.  Jesus, help me more!

Monday was the Feast of the Archangels and Thursday was the Feast of the Guardian Angels.  We didn't make whiskey-glazed carrots or anything extraordinarily celebratory.  I had every intention to making an angel craft, but we all somehow got distracted.  Nevertheless, pondering the angels and God's plan for them in our lives brought great peace to me on both days.  Thank you, Lord, for giving us angels; forgive me for not making these liturgical feasts more of a priority in our family's lifestyle; Guardian Angel, help me more!

I think I've become slightly addicted to blogging.  I am find and reading so many good ones!  I've also been playing around with the layout and look to my own space in the internet.  I'd love to hear what you think!  Check out la Joie on Facebook.  It would make my day :)

Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting 7 Quick Takes!

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