One. More. Day
The documentation of our days has gotten increasingly bad and probably boring so my apologies
Getting ready for our early church departure. Complete with milk cups for breakfast and supplies to complete our Advent activity numero 2.
We eat breakfast in the parish hall so that means I've got to pack
three four sets of church clothes, shoes and jackets PLUS we were going over to Lee's brother's house after so pajamas were in order as well.
Loaded up. I've only forgotten crucial things like socks once and fortunately I was able to rummage some up from someone's bag.
Living an hour away from church is just normal to us now and the kids do surprisingly well in the van - no TV around here. Usually there's lots of singing, some minor spats, and silly game playing - like hide and go seek? Yep, the girls have played that more than once while strapped in their carseats : )
Bread that Papa makes for church...
Sleeping bebe = easier breakfast
We found that taking breakfast for the girls and having them eat in the parish hall is way better than rushing to eat it at home. That gives them plenty of time to eat and gets Papa to church is more than enough to do pre-liturgy prep as part of his deacon-duties. It only took us three weeks to figure this out when our service time was changed, we have been doing it for over 2 years and it makes Sunday mornings way easy.
Everyone gets dressed for church after breakfast - this is usually a bit more rushed. E usually hurries through breakfast so she can catch the last few minutes of Matins and get organized for liturgy. If she has her own music stand and stands with the choir she is bound to have much better behavior.
Speaking of behavior, I will say that Sunday mornings at church are
some of the most the difficult 90 minutes of parenting each week and this week proved no different. I'm not going to throw a pity party here just want to have some solidarity moments here of taking young kids to church.
Okay, so Papa was ordained (Deacon Joseph - since there is no saint Lee; and I probably really should refer to him as DJ more often - I'll work on it) when R was 3 months old. Prior to that he was a subdeacon and prior to that he served on the altar every week. So I've been eased into solo parenting 4 kids at church - which doesn't make it any easier - I just know what I'm up against. I think the hardest part about taking young kids to church (there is no nursery option, and if there was I doubt I'd send them) is that I really want my kids to behave plus be semi-tuned into was is happening. When that doesn't happen - this week case in point - it is because A need to be bounced and fed, M is taking off her shoes and scratching wax off the floor, R has decided she's not going to sing and wants to stand right in front of E try and be cute, and E is distracted by R. Some Sundays are awesome but I'm not going to sugar coat, some Sundays I leave church annoyed with a high BP. I will say this, I used to even question why I bothered bringing them to church - even though I knew the answer - but I don't ask myself that anymore because I am quite sure it is the devil trying to plant seeds of doubt and despair.
We hit up Target for our Advent Activity for Week 2.
Packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child
It is probably my favorite Advent activity to do with the kids... I'll post on that separately (maybe : )
Dear Target - your new shopping carts do not allow the infant carrier to fit in the normal spot! WHY?!?!?!?
Then after a few more errands we headed over to Lee's brother's house for an afternoon of family and football and food. The girls LOVE LOVE LOVE going over to their cousins house and we usually end up leaving in tears because we cannot handle being apart from all the fun.
Some of the 2.5 minutes A was not in the Beco because he just couldn't stay sleep anywhere else
#ihaveproblems - except really not.
Then we packed up and headed home after dinner, threw the troops in bed and called it a night
While we were driving home and I was thinking about all the posts I had done for the week and all the things we had done (and not done) and how all the gears turned to make our lives function the way it does I can make a few claims:
1. It is nearly impossible to raise your voice when your teeth are clinched. I have been trying ever so hard to not yell at the kids and whenever I start - I clinch my teeth and then say what I want to say and my volume isn't nearly as loud.
2. There are so many people who help make our world go around. Our family, our schools, our friends. Sometimes I think our lives couldn't get crazier and then I realize that it could be. If the family didn't bring E home from school - how would I finagle picking her up with 3 other kids and working in the afternoon? If one of the preschool teachers didn't help me out and let me drop R and M off 10 minutes early, how would it be getting home 25 minutes later for lunch? Two examples of how people go out of their way to help us and honestly I don't know how we'd do it without them
3. Our family is awesome. Aside from the fact they help us out a lot - we really enjoying spending time with them. The past two Sundays we've spent with Lee's family and my family. It is so nice to have family close by and to have the kids have cousins they spend lots of time with and grandparents who are deeply involved in their lives. Having grown up seeing my grandparents about once a year, because of distance, our kids are extremely fortunate to have grandparents this close.
4. School. Yes we did seriously toy with the idea of homeschooling E this year and I can tell you I believe we made the right decision not to. I think we are exactly where we need to be. And while E claims she 'does SO MUCH seat work' and 'NEVER gets to paint', Lee and I are more than happy with her school situation. I remember this being such a huge weight (on me especially) this time last year.
5. Work. Some people might ask why in the world do I work. I really enjoy what I do and I am fortunate to have two really flexible employers who let me bring the babies to work, work from home and take off when there is no school. It is the best (and let's be honest, hardest) of both worlds being able to work part-time and being at home in the afternoons.