A Conversation with my Son

Buddy turns four next week, and my sister always makes this gorgeous photo book commemorating his year. I refuse to let her stop. I made her do it when she was seven months pregnant. I’m making her do it now that that pregnancy has turned into a honey badger who needs to be breastfed constantly. I’m sorry. They’re too good.

This year she interviewed him, and because she’s a reporter we have a transcript of it. Enjoy.

Aunt: How are you, Joey?

Buddy: I not feeling well.

A: Oh, you’re not?

B: I’m boring.

A: No, you’re not. You’re the most interesting little man I’ve ever met.

He was complaining of being bored. Along with not being able to entertain himself, he can’t figure out parts of speech. 

A: Okay. Well, Joey, I have a couple of questions for you. Do you have a few minutes to talk?

B: Yes.

A: Okay. These are very important questions, okay?

B: What the racecar say to the giraffe?

A: What did it say?

B: You chip your tooth?

(Laughter all around)

We are taking this very seriously. 

A: Okay, Joey, I have a question for you. What is your favorite TV show?

B: Pocoyo.

Shocker.

A: What is your favorite food?

B: Um. Super Why cereal.

I KNOW I BLOGGED IT OKAY.

A: What is a food that you don’t like?

B: Apple sauce.

When was the last time I even tried to make you eat apple sauce, kid?

A: What do you wear that makes you feel the most stylish?

B: My suit.

I’ll say. He introduced himself to our new priest as “Stylish Joey.” That’s a great parenting moment right there.

A: What is your favorite movie to watch on Netflix?

B: Racecars.

A: Would that be the one with Mater?

B: Yeah. And Lightning Stack Aqueen.

A: Who?

B: (shouting) LIGHTNING STACK AqQUEEN.

Mommy: Lightning McQueen.

Fool. 

A: What is your favorite musical instrument?

B: Bells.

Mommy: Bells?

B: Yeah, they’re so loud. Ding ding! Like that.

A: That’s such a good answer, Joey.

B: Thank you.

This is why I drink.

A: What is your favorite book to read?

B: When I go to sleep, I close my eyes and the memories take me home.

Mommy: The memories take you home?

Squeaks: (in background) it’s a song that he likes.

B: Yeah.

We are raising Gaelic Storm groupies.

A: What is your favorite song, Joey?

B: My lullaby.

A: The Go, Joey, Go one?

B: Yeah.

Oh my baby. 

A: What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?

B: (long pause) Run around in the grass like a circle.

Funny, it’s Mommy’s least favorite thing to do. 

A: What do you like to do when Daddy is around?

B: My sister and I want to play with my mommy.

Score one for mommy.

Mommy: But what do you like to play with Daddy?

B: I like playing with Daddy with swing balls. You know dat? You kick da ball and you throw it to people on da nudder side. To two people.

A: Very fun.

B: Ask me questions.

We begin to enjoy fame.

A: Joey, what do you want to be when you grow up?

B: A rock star.

A: Joey, do you like going to church on Sundays?

B: No.

Mommy: (gasps) You love church!
A: I don’t think that’s true.

We try desperately to save the situation. 

B: (sounds of uncontrollable laughter)

He know he bad.

A: What do you like about church?

B: Playing with Nate outside.

Real presence? No? Just playing with our friends? Okay whatever. 

A: How old are you going to be?

B: Four.

A: That’s pretty old, right?

B: Yeah. Pre-tty old.

Almost ready for social security. 

A: One more question. What was your favorite thing that you did this year? Mommy can help you think of something.

B: My swimming lessons! I go underwater.

A: Did you meet anybody at swimming lessons?

B: I meet that girl.

A: There was a girl?

B: The girl. She so pretty.

Mommy: Tell us about the pretty girl.

B: She has two eyes.

A good place to start. 

Catholic Sistas Post: Why I Veil

So I’m super honored and happy to be able to write for the amazing Catholic women’s blog Catholic Sistas. I had my first post published earlier this month. 

“As a mother of two young kids, here’s what my preparation for Mass looks like. I get up (probably late) and run around like a crazy person making sure we’re all dressed and have the diaper bag and everyone is wearing shoes and coats and underwear. My son is mad that he can’t wear his football shirt. My daughter is mad because she doesn’t like to go anywhere or do anything if she has to, but would prefer to float through life without any obligations. (Me too, kid. Get in the car.) My husband stands in the wrong place or something and annoys me because he’s not in my head and I’m mad at him for not doing what I’m thinking of asking him to do because I didn’t leave enough time to get ready. Once we get to church it’s an hour of picking up thrown books, handing out this week’s Magnifikid to my daughter if I was smart enough to bring it, handing out last week’s Magnifikid to my son to color on and having him flatly reject it (sorry, you can’t read, so you don’t get your own subscription), and convincing both children that Daddy will, in fact, come back after being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He didn’t go away to war.

Wearing a veil has become a physical reminder to myself that I am in the presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament. I am participating in literally the most important thing I will ever do. Not that the obligations of my family go away, but I am able to switch my mind back much faster and focus much more after distractions.”

Read the rest of the post  over on Catholic Sistas. And follow them for some seriously amazing spiritual reading!

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Home Management, Part 4: Budgeting 


Um. I’ve got nothing.

***

No no no. I mean, I’m horrible at budgeting. Well, it’s not that I’m horrible at budgeting so much as I’m horrible at sticking to a budget and like, guys, I’m really bad at it.

But because I’ve struggled so long with it, I have some thoughts about things that make it easier or more effective. 

So here are my tips for budgeting when you hate budgeting. 

  1. Use a budget. If you don’t have this written out somewhere- write it out somewhere!
  2. Online tools like Mint.com are free and easy and really help stupid people like me see where my money is going (as though it went anywhere other than Sephora and Gwynnie Bee.) 
  3. Make sure you have categories budgeted for gifts and charity. These are two major areas of your budget that you definitely should not get rid of but we often forget to separate.
  4. If you’re bad at this like I am, force yourself to look at it every week. There’s nothing worse than ignoring it for a month and being surprised. 
  5. Be on the same page as your spouse. If you’re not (like me) pray about how to get on the same page. 
  6. You know what? Just pray about it in general. Seriously. You need to.

So…not really groundbreaking stuff. And if my husband reads this I hope he’s stopped laughing hysterically at the thought of my giving anyone financial advice. 

Getting Back to Here

I read a novel last week about an unhappy woman who woke up fifteen years earlier, with a chance to redo her life. She was living with her boyfriend with whom she broke up but always regretted it, and had her career once again firmly in front of her (except with the advance knowledge of how to get ahead.) She was pretty psyched.

This is actually not an uncommon trope in “women’s fiction.” Or as I like to call it, “Books that Are Fun and Easy and Few People Die and No One Questions the Existance of God.” Because I hate the title “women’s fiction.”

(I’m reading J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions right now. It’s an amazing book. But SERIOUSLY GUYS CATHOLICS ARE NOT ALL REPRESSED BADDIES.)

Anyway, I can think of four or five books that I’ve read or skimmed that have pretty much this same plot, with variations of endings. And it always kind of bugs me.

First of all, these women all wake up in their maiden (ha) beds and stretch and realize they don’t have a mom pooch anymore and so DUH IT’S 2005 AND I HAVE A CHANCE TO RESET THE WORLD!!! without any problems understanding this at all.

If I woke up in an unfamiliar bed and thought it was 2005 I would immediately head to the hospital because clearly I had gone insane. But that’s just me.

It’s an attractive idea, isn’t it? Knowing everything you know now, as an old boring adult (always a married mother in these books) and being able to use that wisdom except you have the thighs of a 20-year-old?

I catch myself wondering about this- I think we all do. I  can’t imagine only having to worry about myself. To just get things done for me- for my job, for school, for whatever. But just worry about ME. I can’t imagine being as thin and in shape as I did when I first thought I was fat. I can’t imagine my body before it bore a child. I can’t imagine kissing someone who has never seen me give birth. It would be really cool and fun to be able to do that right?

Except…not. In all these books, these women all are married. They all have children.

I am married. I have children. I am overwhelmed and wish I could wear all the size fours in my closet and watch TV whenever I wanted and eat whatever I wanted and spend my money on me and all those other things.

But none of them are as important as my husband. As my children. Sometimes I remember that if I had sat somewhere else the day I met my husband, my son would not exist and another woman would be raising my daughter. I would be thin and cute and probably pretty successful, but would I want that?

I’d much rather have this body and this soul and this relationship where I can only ever be with someone that has watched me push out a child while swearing. I’d much rather have the hugs and the kisses and the headaches and the crankiness and their soft little bodies cuddling in bed with us on Saturday mornings. I’d much rather have the constant nagging worry that I should be eating better, getting more exercise, doing more to volunteer work, teaching them better, have a cleaner house, be more loving and patient and kind and whatever and still get to hear their little voices say prayers I taught them and go to confession with my husband because it’s so important to us. (Not with with him, just at the same time.)

If I woke up in the past with a better body and more money and chances at all sorts of exciting things? I’d do everything I could to get back to here.

 

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Home Management: Part 3- Meal Planning


So no matter how clean my house is or how organized my planner, eventually my kids get hungry and I have to feed them. And ugh, I hate feeding them.

I hate cooking. I hate grocery shopping, I hate preparation, I hate plating, I hate cleaning up. I hate literally everything about the thing I have to do three times a day almost every day of the week. (Buzz does breakfast on weekends, God bless him.)

Because I’m also not that smart, I’ve always planned out the week’s dinners. I literally could not function and would have no food available if I didn’t do that. But I always did one week at a time. Which meant that every Friday I’d have to come up with food for the next week and I’d whine to myself and avoid it and whine some more and then eventually end up just saying we’d have tacos or pizza or something every day because I did not want to deal with it.

Kind of boring.

About six months ago I switched to a four-week meal planning schedule and GUYS IT IS AWESOME. It takes about an hour every month (probably less, I’ve never really timed it) and it makes my daily life so much easier.

There are tons and tons of meal planning templates and whatnot out there, and like with everything, it’s important to make sure that you pick something that works for you.

For me, physically writing things down works great. I have a special notebook that I use exclusively for this purpose. Once I had that figured out, I just work methodically through the month.


First, figure out how many days of meals you need. My default is 16, since we have date night on Fridays and usually do leftovers on weekends.

Then look at your calendar to see what special circumstances you have. Usually we have a dinner with family, a birthday or something, etc. Subtract those days. Don’t do any more work than you have to!

I also make a note of how many crock pot meals I NEED. I love crock pot meals, and I end up making them pretty frequently, especially in winter (so September through May.) But there are some days that I absolutely require them. This cycle the kids have swimming lessons and we don’t get home until too late to cook. So I needed three to be scheduled for sure.

Then I turn to the internet, Pinterest, and my recipe book. There are some favorites here, that I try to repeat every month. (Like if I know the kids will eat a vegetable if it’s hidden in something here.) I compile a list of the recipes I’ll be making, and some extra information about them. My personal favorite- difficulty level. I don’t want to work any harder than I have to. Seriously.

I also keep a rating system, based on how much we loved the recipe. I try new ones every month to change things up (I get super bored) and mark those with a star. Sometimes they’re duds and I know not to repeat them. I also list location so I know where to find the recipe (G for Google, P for Pinterest, etc.) and a section for notes (if I changed anything, figured anything out, etc.)

Once I have that all listed, I turn to my planner. I keep all my meal plans in my planner because it works well for me. If you want to do it week by week on a board or something, great! Go for it. I write out the whole month in my planner (in pencil, so I can change it) and then put it up on the board for the week so the kids can start their whining early.

This is also where difficulty level comes in handy. I am not making a huge pot roast and duck a l’orange two nights in a row. Homie don’t play that.

Once everything is scheduled, I can turn to the grocery list. I have developed a grocery template that I print out every week and hang on the fridge so my husband doesn’t say “Hey we need blah blah blah” and I’ve already tuned him out. Because that was a pretty frequent occurrence.

It’s arranged according to the layout of my grocery store, so I’m linking it here but it might not end up helping you. Keep in mind it took me ten minutes on Google Drive to do this, so you can totally make your own.

(And maybe you don’t need your alcohol section to be bigger than your produce.)

(However if you don’t then we probably can’t be friends.)

(Guys! I’ve discovered frozen pouches of wine!!)

Then the day before I shop I can go through and fill out what we need for the week. It makes it easy to keep track of even with two kids that are running opposite directions and if I forget a pen for marking things off, I’m even okay.

(I forget a lot of stuff.)

(Not the wine pouches though.)

I’m always interested in new ways to do things though so tell me- how do you meal plan?

A Day

Last Friday I was sitting in the doctor’s office so she can give me another refill of the pills I’ve been on since Buddy was born. My children were fighting about who got to stand on the little step to the exam table. Loudly. 

“Your blood pressure looks a little high- are you stressed?” 

pixabay.com

Ha. Hahahaha. Hahahahahahaahaha. 

Guys, I had had A DAY.

~~~

It started at crack thirty when I got up, ran to attend to my monitor that’s super finicky like the babies it allows me to space.

Dropped the freaking monitor. Shattered the freaking monitor. Well. Crap.

I called my husband in literal tears and he was like, “Wait you dropped your computer monitor?”

No.

No darling. The stupid fertility monitor and when in our almost five years of marriage have you ever heard me use the word “monitor” to mean LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE BYE I’VE GOT TO GO FRANTICALLY ORDER ANOTHER ONE. 

Frantic Amazon order while my children (including the one that almost killed me and made me buy the stupid monitor in the first place) yelled at me about not attending to every single one of their wishes.

Frantic realization that it doesn’t matter that I bought another one, I can’t use it for awhile.

Frantic second Amazon order for an opk.

Frantic thought that I might have some sticks already from the last time I went crazy and started conducting science experiments in the bathroom first thing in the morning. 

Nope.

Super embarrassing frantic run to Walgreens. You don’t know embarrassing until you’re makeup-less and dragging two ill-behaved children to buy two brands of ovulation predictor kits. I could SMELL the judgment coming off the cashier. 

Decided we could not stay home or I might murder someone, so we went to my mom’s. She’s super glad that in her retirement she has us to keep her on her toes.

My husband texts to tell me that he’s going to be super late. Awesome.

My contacts fell out.

Seriously.

When I tried to put new ones in my eyes rejected them and were like “‘mm nope not today loser.”

I’ll let you guess if I took the time to grab a pair of extra glasses while running out to buy embarrassing feminine items at 8am.

I don’t really even remember how that resolved but it must have because half an hour later I was on my way to the doctor with the kids.

Not even the fun pediatrician where you get stickers. My doctor. My doctor who works for an awful practice and while she herself doesn’t always annoy me literally everything else about the entire process from the scheduling of appointments and expecting people to be 15 minutes early for no reason and NOT TELLING THEM THAT to the cranky nurse to the fact that I have to come in every six months to get medication I’ve been on for four years…I’M GETTING ANGRY JUST THINKING ABOUT IT. Gah.

My children are as well behaved as two small children usually are at a boring internist’s office. 

She asked me stupid questions like “How do you feel about your weight?” (Not great but I liked the crushing depression from before I started the medication less!)

Then she goes, “And how about family planning? Are you good with the two?” (That were running around the office turning things on and off.)  

I got ready to give my typical spiel, we’re using nfp no really it’s the best choice for us  yes I have a gynecologist no I’m not stupid blah blah blah. 

But it had been such A DAY that I couldn’t, so I just laughed and said, “Well yeah but my monitor is in pieces on my bathroom floor and I’m probably ovulating but I don’t know!”

She looked concerned (for my sanity.) “Wait, your what?”

“You know, the $200 fertility monitor that tells me when I can have sex without risking death? SHATTERED.”

“Oh, honey.”

(Darn right oh honey.) 

Obviously concerned that some of the crazy will rub off on her perfectly successful size two frame, she hurried to wrap up the appointment by saying, “You’re turning 30 this year so we should probably schedule a mammogram.”

Oh yay! That’s what today was missing! Contemplating my mortality!

~~~

SO YES. I’M SURE MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS A LITTLE HIGH.

“Um yeah it’s been…a day. I think it’s just stress.”

Once I got home and got the kids (read: me) down for a nap I gained some perspective though- no one had died, nothing terrible had happened. Just a little stress. 

Nothing patio drinks and Costco pizza with friends couldn’t cure. 

And I got a shiny new touchscreen monitor out of the deal. 

…and an order to come back in three weeks to see if my blood pressure has come down. 

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Home Management: Part 2

Last week in our series we discussed general scheduling and my overall obsession with paper things I can write lists on. This week we’re going to move on to actual things you can do to make your life run smoothly.

This week- cleaning! (And schedules. Of course. I schedule everything.)

Keep in mind, like everything, everyone has different standards and desires. I can’t handle having a messy house. I need things to be neat and orderly and it bugs me when they’re not. That is just me though. Some people don’t mind clutter and would rather devote their time to other things. GREAT. That’s awesome. I am sincerely not judging you.

(Also, PSA. This does not mean that I have OCD. The fact that I compulsively take pregnancy tests and throw up when I smell BBQ sauce means I have OCD. All that wanting a clean house means is that I WANT A CLEAN HOUSE.)

I also love doing things other than cleaning. In fact, I hate cleaning. I really, really do not enjoy it. There is literally nothing in my life that I detest more than having to clean for most of the day before a party. Ugh. Such a waste of time.

So I developed a system for people like me who want as much time for Netflix viewing as possible, but like to watch Netflix in a relatively clean and put-together environment. Back when I started keeping house, I googled cleaning schedules and found a bunch of ones on Pinterest that were either too lax or too crazy. (Clean the oven every week? Nah, thanks, I’m good.) But I loved the idea of having a set schedule for cleaning so that a.) my house would always be in relatively clean condition, and b.) so I could have a specific end to the tasks. For me, I can’t relax and enjoy life if I have things left to do. But if I know I’m finished for the day, I can totally relax.

(That might mean I have OCD. But it has nothing to do with cleanliness.)

So I made my own! I know! Get excited!

I’m working on turning this into a full printable version, and I’ll update this post with it accordingly.

Basically all I did as break up the tasks into daily items, weekly items, and quarterly items. For my life (and I’m guessing yours), there is no reason to vacuum your drapes every month. Once or twice a year is good. Maybe I’m lazy, but whatever.

A few things- I avoided scheduling things on the weekends. Weekends are family and relaxing time for us and I want to protect that. Furthermore, we try to avoid any unnecessary work on Sundays. I also focused on inside the house. My husband takes care of the outside, and while this might be nauseatingly traditional, it’s how our life works. Finally, I have a full set of cleaning supplies (duster, broom, bucket, cleaners, towels, etc.) on each floor. This makes a huge difference for me just psychologically. I know it’s stupid because hauling a broom upstairs is not that big a deal. But it makes such a difference to me knowing everything is already up there. I do way more work than I used to. Well worth a $8 broom on amazon.

Daily Tasks:

  • Make beds and tidy rooms
    • Yes, I know I should have my kids do this for their own rooms. But most days it’s so much easier to do it myself.
  • Tidy kitchen and unload dishwasher.
  • Wipe bathroom sinks and toilets. (Otherwise my toilets get nasty and dusty and I hate that. Anybody else?)
  • Water plants in summer.

Weekly Tasks:

Monday:

  • Kitchen
    • Sweep and wipe floors.
    • Wipe out garbage disposal.
    • Clean out fridge.
    • Wipe down cabinets, walls, and counters.
    • Clean microwave.
    • Dust ceilings, woodwork, and flat surfaces.
    • Cursory cleaning of cabinets (make sure most things are in their place, but not a huge reorganization.)
  • Trash
    • Combine trash from all little cans around the house and take out to garage.
  • Wash laundry.

Tuesday:

  • Living Areas
    • Dust woodwork and furniture in living room and dining room.
    • Vacuum carpet.
    • Sweep and wipe hardwood floors.
    • Clean mirrors and smudges on interior windows.
    • Cursory cleaning of front hall closet.
  • “Stage” trash (make sure all boxes are broken down, bags are together, etc.)
  • Fold and put away laundry.

Wednesday:

  • Bathrooms
    • Clean toilets, sinks, and mirrors in both bathrooms.
    • Scrub tub and shower.
    • Sweep and wipe up floors.
    • Dust woodwork, walls, and flat surfaces.
  • Take trash out to the road for pick up.
  • Wash laundry.

Thursday:

  • Bedrooms
    • Change sheets.
    • Dust furniture and woodwork.
    • Wash comforters and sheets (comforters really only once every other week or so.)
    • Sweep and wipe floors.
  • Hallway and stairs
    • Dust.
    • Sweep and wipe hardwood floors.
  • Trash (collect and take out, like Monday.)
  • Fold and put away laundry.

Friday:

  • Family Room
    • Dust woodwork and furniture.
    • Sweep and wipe hardwood.
    • Vacuum carpet.
    • Wipe down closet doors/handles.
  • Wash laundry.
  • Fold and put away laundry.
  • Clean out car.

Quarterly Tasks:

Spring:

  • Clean oven.
  • Vacuum drapes.

Summer:

  • Wash windows.
  • Purge kids toys (after July birthday.)

Autumn:

  • Clean gutters.

Winter:

  • Wipe chandeliers/bulbs.
  • Purge kids toys (after Christmas.)

So I know this looks like a lot, and typing it out made me tired just thinking about it. But seriously, this takes maaaybe half an hour a day. I get up early so I can do stuff before my kids get up, and that works great for me. Maybe your kids are older and you can work it into the day, or stay up later in the evening. I work really well in the morning, and my husband already leaves suuuper early, so this is what works for our family.

Finally, a note on laundry. This is what I struggle with the most because IT IS NEVER OVER. NEVER EVER FINISHED GAAAAHHH. Seriously. I actually physically love the act of doing laundry, but it still annoys me that THERE IS SO MUCH AND IT NEVER ENDS. We have four people in our home, and I wash towels and stuff pretty frequently. So for us a washing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and fold on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday schedule has worked really well. I don’t get overwhelmed by having to have everything finished in a single day, but I constantly stay on top of things with a distinct endpoint. (Hamper empty? Done for the day.)

I hope this helps a little if you’ve ever been interested in trying anything like this. I’ll update with printables as soon as I can!

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: I’m Getting Old

Guys, there’s a new POTC movie.

(Oh, you weren’t hanging out on the IMDB message boards in 2003? How sad for you. POTC is Pirates of the Caribbean. After waiting six hours for our moms to get off the phone and the dial-up internet to load, we weren’t wasting time typing out the whole name.)

(We had important things to discuss like what that guy’s name was that said “That’s got to be the best pirate I’ve ever seen!” [Teddy] and whether or not the part where Elizabeth shoves her dress at Barbossa and says “It matches your black heart,” made more sense when he was named something else [Consensus was yes.])

(I didn’t say it was important to everyone. Just us.)

ANYWAY.

I was…interested in Pirates of the Caribbean when it first came out. Well, interested isn’t the right word. Obsessed is a better word. Literal actual obsession. It consumed my life. It was my life.

I was 15, it was summer, and I didn’t have a job. So it was basically fine that it consumed my life. My sister and best friend and I went to see it a nauseating number of times (*cough*17*cough*) in theaters, we’d listen to the soundtrack on CD (before ipods, natch) over and over and over again, and we’d just generally not stop talking about it. I look back on that summer so fondly- the giggling, the swooning, and just how much fun we had together.

I had this poster in my room.

And this poster.

And this guy.

It’s been 14 years since that summer. I’m a grown up now, almost 30, married with two kids and a teeth-grinding problem. The last thing I swooned over was when I managed to make a pack of Clearblue test sticks last more than one month. The times, they have changed.

And that’s totally fine. I wrote about that here.

So you might have guessed that I was not sitting cross-legged outside the theater guzzling McDonald’s coffee at midnight on the 26th. You’d be correct. I was at a parish volunteer dinner drinking water and I was asleep by 10:30. Because I’m old.

I was still excited to see it though. We had a date night set up for a week after it was released, and while cheap Chinese food before the show would never have set my 15-year-old heart aflutter, damn did 29-year-old Kathleen have a craving for it. So we had a tasty dinner, got to the theater and settled in for the show.

And…guys.

I was 15 again.

It was not a good film. It was not a brilliant piece of acting or storytelling or…anything really. Johnny Depp is basically playing Johnny Depp playing Jack Sparrow. Orlando Bloom is HOLY HELL HOW DID HE GET SO OLD HE WAS THE YOUNG HOT ONE. And the CGI half real Johnny half fake young Johnny? Yeesh. I cringed it was so bad.

But when the theme started playing they make jokes about the first few and how it was basically a soft reboot of the entire series and LITERALLY JUST EVERYTHING GAVE ME THE WARM FUZZY FEELINGS.

I spent most of the show crying softly and beaming and hitting my  husband’s arm and saying “MATT!! LOOK!!! IT’S (whatever)!” and he very nicely obliged my trip down memory lane.

Okay full disclosure I was also enjoying a lovely cocktail because GUYS THEATERS HAVE BARS NOW. DID YOU KNOW THIS???? Imma see a lot more movies.

(That might have been part of the weeping.)

And then…the last 45 seconds. Guys. Spoilers. A little.

When Elizabeth comes over the crest of the hill to the original soundtrack and runs to Will like the first movie?

I wept.

Full on sobbing.

Ugly tears and snot.

FOR SERIOUS.

It felt juuuuuusssstttt like 2003. When I was 15 and had never been in love and had no idea what was in store for me and I kind of sort of thought in the back of my head that maaaayyyybe Johnny Depp would want to marry me (I was delusional.) But even if I had to marry a mere mortal the love theme from Pirates would definitely play in the background while we made out right?

I had never had a job or a car or a mortgage or adopted a kid or been pregnant or given birth or bought a house or worried about wrinkles. I had never drafted a will. I hadn’t bought my grave.

I had never done any of that and my life is soooo much better now and I wouldn’t trade any of that (even the gross stretch marks from being pregnant and giving birth] or the grave) and I don’t even mind that THERE IS NO AUTOMATIC BACKGROUND MUSIC WHEN I MAKE OUT WITH MY HUSBAND. I’m way happier than I ever could have imagined being.

But I am sooooo different than I imagined being. My life is so much more complicated than 15-year-old Kathleen could have ever comprehended. It would have been no matter what because 15-year-old Kathleen was…well, a 15-year-old. Foresight wasn’t her strong suit.

But for the two hours of this movie, I felt like that girl again. It felt like my dad was going to drive me home because I didn’t have my license yet. It felt like Mary and Colleen and I were going to fall asleep on our floor and not in beds with our husbands. It felt like 2003.

Was it a good film? Absolutely not.

Was it an amazing fun movie? Absolutely yes.

 

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Home Management: Part 1


So I’ve been thinking a lot about household management and homemaking and femininity and sacred space and honoring the role God gave me and…wait. Hang on a second.

Okay. So I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my kids. We homeschool. I take care of our house. That’s pretty much it. I mean, that literally takes all day long and then some, but that’s basically all that I do.

I used to have a real job where I literally just thought for a living, and then wrote down my thoughts and tried to get other people to listen to them. (I realize I just described blogging. It wasn’t blogging.) I wore skirts and heels and taught people stuff and had an office and it was awesome and I loved it until I hated it and by that point Squeaks was conveniently waiting for me to marry her dad and take care of her, so I was able to file my master’s thesis, go home, and put on a pair of yoga pants just as Buddy’s embryo attached to my uterine wall.

So I was pretty used to getting stuff done and I liked that feeling of accomplishment. And it’s hard to make that switch to being at home full time, even though it was completely what I wanted to do. Yeah okay great, I unloaded the dishwasher. Only every day ever until I die left. Whoo. So much accomplishment.

But over the last year or so I’ve thought a prayed a lot about it because it’s what I’m doing and hey, if I have to do this I might as well find some fulfillment in it, right? And maybe as a bonus cut down on the number of days that my husband gets home and I am curled on the couch drinking a gin and tonic while the kids eat bare spaghetti in the family room.

(It still happens. Don’t get me wrong.)

I’ve come to realize that my position as homemaker right now is part of my vocation. That’s sacred and I should devote myself to it.

Gradually that allowed me to realize how lucky I really am that I was able to do this. I am able to be home with my children. I am able to be their primary educator and form them in the faith that I hold dear. I am able to to be the practical head of our household and run things smoothly so that we can keep all of our obligations and enjoy our time together as a family.

I get to sanctify every part of my life and my home and even though that sometimes looks like cleaning toilets and sorting through mail, that’s awesome.

As I became more intentional about thinking about this, I became more organized about how I go through the day and the plan out our life. And, since all I do now is write about things, I’m going to write about it. Obviously. WHY NOT I MEAN.

Because I’m lazy! I’m super lazy! I don’t like having things to do! I hate doing things! I am organized, but only because otherwise my children would have starved in 2012.

For the next few weeks, on Thursdays I’ll post another segment of the Lazy Girl’s Guide to Home Management, and we can go all through my emotional and physical journey into homemaking.

I know. Get excited.

So, without further ado Part 1 or CALENDARS AND OTHER FUN SHIZZ YOU GET TO PLAY WITH.

Step 1. Get yourself a planner.

I don’t care if it’s online or in paper or written on your walls or carved in the bodies you keep in the basement (I’ve been trying to keep up with CSI:NY before it goes away, guys. It might get gory.) JUST GET YOU ONE.

I am a paper girl. I can’t remember stuff I type into my phone, and nothing is as satisfying as writing something down in a fun colored pen.

This is my planner- I use Erin Condren’s Lifeplanner in the vertical layout. I love love love love love this company, and this planner, and literally everything about it and all the fun accessories make me so excited to plan out every week.

But that’s just me. I’m a hardback paper kind of girl, and this is how I best outline our lives. But the important thing about any planner or calendar is that you use it. You put everything in it, and make sure you USE IT EVERY DAY. ALL THE TIME. Otherwise it’s a waste of space and money (even if it’s digital space.)

For instance, my husband can’t get anything from my crazy-awesome planner, and yeah, okay, part of that is because it never leaves my side and I guard it jealously and way more closely than I do the kids. But he’s an online guy. He loves his Google calendar. So because I’m a good wife, I copy everything from my crazy awesome pretty planner into the family Google calendar and he’s happy as a little clam.

Step 2: Figure out how your life should be designed.

In my case, I use the top section for appointments, the middle section for to-do lists, and the bottom section for blog planning. Meals go at the bottom (I’ll have a post about meal planning up in the next few weeks.) Daily and weekly tasks go on the side, with ample room for notes. Because did I mention this is awesome?

To-Do lists are hard. Some people love them and some people can’t use them. I love them and wouldn’t get anything done without them. I have everything from “prep dinner” to “wrap gift” on there. In theory I’m always prepared for a birthday or holiday because everything is schedule. (But whether I remember to bring the gifts or cards with us is a totally different matter.)


I have a section for daily tasks on the side. These are things I, duh, need to accomplish daily and don’t want to waste space with in my more specific to-do lists on each day. Plus it’s super nice to be able to look at the whole week and see what I missed, etc. My husband tells me this is good visual management. I think it’s just awesome planning.


Then I have a smaller section for things I want to accomplish that week that I can’t totally schedule. I try to keep this section as small as possible because otherwise I’ll just never get anything done. I make a point to make sure that specific to-dos, like making doctors appointments, are just put on a day so I make sure to do them. But some things like a lengthy moving company conversation, or taking pictures requiring light or whatever can’t be schedule. So this way I can keep track, and not get behind.

I use a color-coded system too. I have five colors of markers. Black is general information, blue is me, red is Buzz, purple is the kids, green is adult activities (not like that you perv), and orange is family events. This way I can glance at the week and know who has to be at Mass early, who has gymnastics, etc.

Again, none of this works if you don’t use it though. So make sure you design a program that works for you.

I have a variety of stations set up throughout the house for planning/scheduling purposes.

Our mail system is pretty simple. If I bring it it in, I distribute it immediately. If someone else does, it sits in the pretty tray in the front hall until I can put it on one of our desk. I take care of mail twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, no matter what. I take pictures of invitations and put all the requisite information on the notes pages of my crazy awesome planner, so I don’t have to save a bunch of paper. I’m not sure what my husband does because he’s generally not my problem.

Our main family station is in the kitchen. We have a big dry erase calendar, a menu board, and baskets for incidental stuff (camera batteries, random crap the kids find, etc.)

This is nice because I can just run into here and check to see if we’re free for something without checking my crazy awesome planner, and I also have plausible deniability when my husband is like “Um no one told me I had to drive to La Crosse for a four hour high Mass with Cardinal Burke,” and I’m all “BUT IT’S ON THE CALENDAR GOSH DON’T YOU PAY ANY ATTENTION TO OUR LIVES????”

(I might have been pmsing that day.)

This is, generally, how I’m able to keep our family scheduled and happy and kind of on time at least most of the time. Okay. We’re late for pretty much everything. But at least I know what time I was supposed to be there!

Come back next Thursday for Part 2: Lazy Cleaning Schedule!! Or NEVER WIPE URINE OFF THE TOILET SEAT QUICKLY WHEN GUESTS COME OVER AGAIN.