Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Humle Handmaid

I'm re-posting the following from Erin Franco over at Humble Handmaid. I thought it was a great reminder to all wives about what it means to do what we can to support our spouses and build up our marriages.

When we both need a hero at 5:00

Recently, I had a good conversation with my hubby and two dear male friends of ours about how chaotic the end of the day with our little ones can be. Our two friends are both wonderful Christian husbands and fathers, and both have multiple young children, with their oldest under six years old. All three guys are also the sole providers for their families. I was taken aback a little when all three men admitted to sometimes dreading going home. In a lighthearted-but-not-so-lighthearted way, they joked about how long they dare to just sit in the driveway some days before getting up the energy to walk in the door.

All three of these guys have Godly wives and strong marriages. All three are some of the best men I know. I have had many a conversation with my girlfriends about how hard this season of life can be, when we get so tired. God knows we women struggle with wanting our husbands to know how tiring a full day of our work can be, whether we are stay-at-home moms or work outside of the home.
I haven't thought enough, though, about how tired our husbands get, and how hard it is to come home from a full day at a stressful job to a needy evening of getting tired, hungry little children fed and bathed and put to bed.

All I've got tonight is a few little thoughts and the hope that me admitting I'm in the trenches too might make some of you feel a little less "Is it just me?!" and a little more, "Me too! So I'm not just being a selfish weenie about all of this."

There are a thousand ways that spouses can struggle with dividing up the responsibilities of home and family. And every marriage and situation and season of life is so different. To be honest with you, there are a thousand-and-one ways that Michael and I struggle with the responsibilities of home and family. Definitely one of them that we've been back and forth and up and sometimes down on is the few hours between when Michael gets home from work and when we put the kids to bed.

Truth be told, some days we both need a hero at 5:00. And when we see each other for the first time since breakfast, we're hoping the other one just knows we need a break. Hoping he'll offer to do the dishes. Hoping she'll do bath time tonight. Hoping he will cheerfully shove her out the door to go for a run (by herself).

So what are we to do when we start to get tempted into all of those easy-to-fall-into "who is more tired?" thoughts at the end? First, we must always pray unceasingly about all things, and be intentional and persevering in developing a strong interior life. Secondly, I think that there are probably some practical things we can do to be intentional about making our homes an easier place for us to live and our husbands to come home to.

Practically speaking, I want to share a few things that I have been striving to do in my particular life and situation that really have helped make evenings go more smoothly.

First of all, I try to have a set evening routine to help with the craziness of tired, hungry little ones. We eat dinner around 5 or 5:30, then we do story time (or family wrestling or a dance party:), bath time (some days), pajamas, pick up all toys, Family Prayer, then get babies into bed around 7:30ish. Anyone who knows us knows that we love to be spontaneous though, but the balance we've sought (and found, I think) is that we stick to our evening routine enough so that when we divert from it, the kids aren't totally thrown off, and they go back to it pretty easily the next day.

As far as easing Michael's transition home every day, house-wise I try as hard as I can to have the living room and play room picked up when he gets home from work. I only keep a few toys out at a time, and I try to pick up as the day goes on, so I can usually pick up everything in less than 10 minutes, which is very helpful. I make it a point to clean the kitchen and pick up the play room and living room every day during nap time. This really helps the house to not be a total disaster at night. I learned from a good friend to restrict how many "messy" toys we have out at a time. For example, if the kids are playing with the big wooden train set, they have to pick up the Legos first. If they've been playing with Mr. Potato Head, his body parts get picked up and put back into their basket before taking out the 25-piece Princess Tea Set. It's really tough to stick to making the kids pick up before taking something else out, and I'm not always on top of it, but I have been surprised to see the kids so used to it by now.

To try and help with the whiny-ness of those tough evening hours, I constantly talk Gabe and Faith through what they are going to be doing next. I give them little choices of activity within the next activity, so that they feel like they are choosing what to do instead of me. "It's time for Table Time! Would you like to read books or do puzzles today while I cook dinner?" I also often save TV time for the end of the day while I'm cooking, too. Also, sometimes I give them little jobs to do to help me while I cook.

Marriage-wise, when Michael comes in the door in the afternoon, I make it a point to always ask him, "What can I do for you right now?" Usually, he asks for a glass of ice water. (Lawn care and landscaping company owner, remember?) Sure, sometimes I really just want my husband to walk in the door with a bouquet of sunflowers, a box of chocolate-dipped fruit, a babysitter, and two tickets to that evening's performance of Wicked downtown. (I have gotten some lovely flowers and little surprises from time to time from him, though.) 

The fact is that I just try to be the hero even when I wish he would be one.  Because that's how we're supposed to live, as Christian spouses. We have to throw those, "My day was probably harder than your day" thoughts out with the trash. We have to accept the peace that God wants to give us when we give without holding back. We have to choose the live the hope that God is using our giving to His good purpose, and that He is working in our soul and the soul of our spouse to have a good and happy marriage.

When I really, really need a hero, though, I do let Michael know.:)

Being a hero does feel nice sometimes, you know. It's hardly all about being stoic or tough or long-suffering. Because sometimes your husband does come home and that new Pinterest recipe you tried out for dinner is delicious and after dinner you have a hilarious family dance party to old 90's high school dance music and the kids go down easily and you get to watch a couple of episodes of Once together before bed. Every day isn't horrible.

Another thought, too: when you're the hero for your husband in small ways at home, you touch and soften his heart so that he is more primed to be a hero for you. At least I've seen that in my own marriage. Our husbands listen more than we think they do, and every once in a while they surprise us with their thoughtfulness and awareness of our struggles when we least expect it. I will never forget one day when Michael stopped in unexpectedly for lunch and found me in tears over an altercation I'd just had with Gabriel. He came home at dinnertime that day with flowers and a card telling me what a great mom he thought I was.

One last thought. I've started offering up difficult moments for all of the young families I know--including my blog readers and their families. When I'm at mass with the kids or breaking up the 64th Dramatic Toddler Fight of the day, I pray that God would help me remember to stay calm and offer up that tough moment.

You know what offering it up means? It's a fancy term for saying in your head, in a heartfelt prayer that is as short as a breath: "My God, I give you this feeling of wishing so badly I were anywhere but here right now. I choose to stay calm, to do the right and loving thing in this moment, and to keep on going. I trust in You."

God bless each of you abundantly! May he sustain you, guide you, make your marriages strong, and fill you with hope and peace!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cloth diapers

Well, I've been tinkering with the idea of cloth diapering for several months now... and we've finally taken the plunge!

This makes almost one month of full time cloth diapering Samy (by the way, we just celebrated his 2nd birthday!!). It's sweet, because in the beginning, when we put the first cloth diaper on him, we made it a little too bulky and he just walked around the room with his legs bent in a wide stance- just like a sumo wrestler! It was hilarious :D We could not stop laughing! I want to remember that forever.

Well, since then, we've kinda figured out what we're doing...

annnd using a lot less padding ;)

We mostly decided to switch to cloth for 2 main reasons and 1 smaller reason.

First, Sam will be starting school again this month, and we'll be on one income again. That means, we're doing what we can to cut costs so that we will hopefully not have to touch savings. Cloth diapering, especially with another little love on the way, will save us a TON!! Not to sound all cloth diaper commercial here, but I'll just share a few bits of information that helped us make the switch.

It is estimated that the average cost of diapering a child, newborn to potty training (average 3 yrs old at potty training) using disposable diapers is $2500-$3000. I've read some sources that estimate as high as $4000, but I think that's a little high. Either way, that's a lot of money to think of throwing down the toilet, haha! The cost of a modern cloth diaper stash can vary greatly, but most people can get a fully stashed popular brand of reusable cloth diapers for about $500.

So, the first and biggest reason we're switching to cloth is the savings. We've got at least another year of diapers for Samy, and the cost of that alone will more than enough reimburse what we've spent on our cloth diaper stash. The best part is that we'll save money there, but we'll also be able to reuse these diapers with the little one on the way, and maybe make it through one more child (if God chooses to give us more children). In the long run, it will save us at least several thousand dollars. And I'm definitely okay with that!!

The second big reason, is that the more reading I've done on cd'ing, the more I've become grossed out with how disposable diapers end up in landfills and sit there for YEARS without breaking down.

Here's a quote from the Real Diaper Association (I know, weird name, but whatev):

"No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone."

"Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills..."

Now, we're really not big environmental type people- not saying that that's a negative thing at all, in fact, I kind of wish we were, but I think that cloth diapering is a really easy way to do our part, even if it's just a little bit.

And lastly, the third, and smaller reason, we are now CD fans is that I've been reading about all the harmful chemicals found in disposable diapers that didn't already know about. Again, disclaimer: I'm not a super green type person that recycles and knows about/avoids every harmful chemical. I'm just not. Don't want to be either, except maybe learning how to compost and start recycling. That's why this is on our lesser important reasons why we started to cloth diaper, although for many people, it is the biggest reason whey they do.

Not trying to trail off here, but Sam and I use natural family planning for trying to conceive/postpone pregnancy. The reason I bring this up is that one of the reasons we use NFP is because birth control is so harmful to a woman's body because of the carcinogenic chemicals in it. Well, disposable diapers have dioxin in them. Here's another quote on dioxin from the same link above:

"Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S."

I don't know a lot about the chemical aspect of disposable diapers, but I'm slowly feeling that cloth diapers are better for our family.

And I know I only listed 3 reasons earlier, but there is one tiny fourth one... they are stinkin' cute!! (Sorry for the cheesy puns, haha.)

Here are some pics of the diaper systems we use. I'm posting these pics, because some people I know only have the idea in mind of the old "nappy" type cloth diapers that you use safety pins with. Some people, in fact a lot, still use this system, but I just don't think that would be for us. Anyway, here are the pics :)

This is the Flip Diaper System by Bumgenius. They're versatile and create less laundry. We like these a lot.

The second style of cloth diapers we're using are pockets. We just started using Bumgenius 4.0s, and while they do create more laundry than the Flip system, I like the convenience that there's nothing to assemble at diaper change time. I get everything ready right out of the dryer, and they're all done until diaper laundry again :) These diapers are also very nice for grandparents, babysitters, and daycare.

Anyway, that's just a quick little update about our newest adventure. Next post, hopefully I will write a little about making our own laundry detergent that is cloth diaper safe, and hopefully will save us money along with cd'ing!

Happy start of the new week to everyone! Feel free to ask any questions :)

Post Script: Like I mentioned already, this is just me sharing about our newest adventure as parents. I hope anyone who reads this who uses disposables doesn't think I think they're a bad thing. We've used disposables for 3 years with no ill effect, and I'm sure we'll keep a few on hand just in case. I'm just excited about sharing a new way to save and make our little ones' bottoms look even cuter, as if that were possible ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Because This Will Make You Smile :D

I did. :)

Definitely worth the whole 8 minutes!

Friday, June 7, 2013

I'm borrowing this lovely quote from a post I read at Humble Handmaid (one of my favorite blogs ever :)

I won't go into detail about her post, but I will say that almost everything she writes from a trying-to-live-out-my-vocation-daily-Catholic-momma perspective, I feel like I could've written myself.

Okay, so here's the quote:

"The "miracle" which God asks of you is to persevere in your christian and divine vocation, sanctifying each day's work: the miracle of turning the prose of each day into heroic verse by the love which you put into your ordinary work. God waits for you there. He expects you to be a responsible person, with the zeal of an apostle and the competence of a good worker." -Christ is Passing

This speaks so loudly to me, because I find it very important to put myself into each and every task at hand. As a momma, wife, nurse, and in how I live out my Catholic faith. I sometimes become so tired at the end of the day, which is what Erin's original post is about, that it can be very difficult to still make the effort to pray for grace at the end of the day, in the moments in which I need it most.

Thank you, for this simple, yet very convicting reminder that God calls us to sancitfy each day's work, wherever we are, whatever we're doing, and to do so with zeal!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happy Post

I realized it has been quite some time since I've updated by blog... poor old thing was starting to collect dust. Anyhow, I feel like I've taken a breath of fresh air with my new (and fashionable) look!

Here are some pics, since I haven't posted any in for-e-ver. (Sandlot anyone?)

Yes, we're pregnant!!! Ella and Samy will have a brother/sister sometime in late November or early December, si Dios quiere.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I guess I just feel a little sad. A little let down and more than a little distant. I want my Moleskine to write in, but it's downstairs and I'm not going to find it.

Hope everyone is well.

I'll post a more cheerful post later. For now I'll go to bed early. Night.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Thoughts on Amazon.com

Its been about a month or so now that my husband and I have decided, after much prayer and counsel, to cease our business with Amazon.com.

Silly as it may sound, it wasn't an easy decision, as we were loyal customers and bought a lot of our houshold items from the website. We loved the convenience of being Prime members, where shipping was only 2 days and free. I loved that we got such great prices, better than almost anywhere else. Needless to say, we were fans.

However, Amazon recently launched a new commercial for its new product, the Kindle Paperwhite. We do not have cable, so we did not first see it on tv, though one of the men that Sam works with did. Actually, his daughter did. He wasn't too happy.

The commercial is about the release of the new Paperwhite, and in the ad, a woman and man are sitting side by side and he says they should celebrate him just ordering a Paperwhite. She says something like, "Oh, my husband is bringing me a drink right now." Then the man says, "Mine too!", and the camera pans to their to respective husbands.

The little girl of the man that Sam works with saw the commercial on tv one morning while getting ready for school, and at the end she said, "Ew! Daddy that's gross! Where's that man's wife?" He then had to give his 7 year-old daughter a lengthy explanation about why that was on tv and that it does not make it okay.

While I certainly know that not everyone agrees with mine and Sam's old-school thoughts on morality, we strongly hold to the teachings of the Church, and that is that marriage a covenant between a man and a woman, and is not something that can at all be redefined by man. I really don't like that Amazon did not just promote their product, but instead decided to push a completely different agenda.

After we heard about this commercial, Sam called the apostolate at Catholic Answers, and I posted a thread on catholic.com, just to get others' perspective on the ad. Some people answered that they don't care what Amazon is advertising, as long as they get a good price and the products they want. Others said they won't be doing business with them any more. As for the apostolate, Sam talked to Jim Blackburn (for those of you who may know who he is), and he basically said that our contribution to Amazon (especially if we mainly buy from vendors other than Amazon)is so miniscule and remote, that it wouldn't really make a difference... that we are not culpable if we decided to continue to buy from them. He also mentioned, that if we wanted to move our business elsewhere, that we'd thouroughly have to research the inner trappings of each company to be sure they are not similar in their advertising or that they don't give to parties we believe work in opposition to God's will for us.

:sigh: The whole thought has been exhausting, really. And while everyone, everyone has told us that its okay to continue to buy from them, my heart tells me its not. It is not okay to buy from a company that publicly advertises what the Church teaches against.

It may be scrupulous, on my part. It may indeed. But I cannot shake the feeling that God is telling me that this is an easy decision. I feel like I can almost hear Him saying,

"Miranda, my child, do you think this is a business I would support, knowing what they're promoting?"

"No, God, certainly not."

"Then why are you struggling in trying to decide what you'll do? Just follow me, my love."

"Yes, Father. I will follow you."

Sorry for the inner monologue, but this is why we've resolved to at least do away with Amazon. As far as researching every company, we've yet to figure that part out. But I now have no problem severing ties with Amazon, since they are so boldy supporting the re-definition of marriage that we do not.