September 1, 2011

Saints have clean houses!

I’ve seen a lot of posts on the internet lately that look something like this: 


When I see things like this, I’m immediately hit by two contradictory thoughts. The first, and briefest, is this: “Yeah! That’s right! I must be a GREAT mom…because my house is disgusting....” 

But the second, the one that comes from a place of deeper recollection is this: “Why can’t a good mom have both?” Or maybe…shouldn’t we have both? 

Believe me, I understand. It is hard to keep a clean house when there are kids in it. Mine is often--very often-- in complete disarray. In fact, I think almost every night this week I have gone to bed with a sink full of dishes…and a floor full of rice. And by no means do I think our children’s well-being should suffer for the sake of sanitization. However, when I think of sainthood, I think of order. Order in all things--in our spiritual life, in our relationships, and within our homes. 

Kids are fun. They’re wild. They’re spontaneous and messy. These things are good. I love love looooove spontaneity. But spontaneous-and-messy doesn’t necessarily mean chaos. Our kids are going to learn about God--about what it means to live a saintly life--from us. God is not about chaos. He is about fulfilling promises and responsibilities. He is about self sacrifice and unconditional love. Obviously, this goes beyond just having a clean house.Way beyond. But our kids will come to know God through all of our actions and relationships, even the tiny ones. Though it may seem insignificant, the way we keep a house is part of that. 

I know what some of you are thinking. “Can having a messy house actually be a detriment to our spiritual lives?” 

I submit that it can. 

I admit. I say it all the time. “My house is a mess because…blah blah blah…something about having a toddler…blah…Sophia did this…blah.” But as I sit here, honest with myself, I know that the ONLY reason my house gets to the state of “disgusting” is because I have been lazy. Maybe it was too much facebook. Maybe I felt like I’d rather write song lyrics. Maybe I wanted to flat iron my hair. Whatever the reason, I put off cleaning up long enough to allow chaos to set in. And the funny thing is, if I would have just been faithful to my responsibilities, I probably would have had more than enough time to do all of those things and more. But once I’ve let it go too long, getting it back in order takes an entire day…or two. It’s like this in the spiritual life. If we’ve been keeping ourselves "clean" (frequent confession, prayer, Eucharist, etc.), maintenance is stress-free. But when we let ourselves tumble all the way down to the bottom of the valley, the climb back to the summit is quite a chore. (pun intended). 

I am called to be a wife and mother. Part of that responsibility, that vocation, includes keeping the house in order. Are the floors always going to be immaculate? No. Are all of the toys always going to be put away before bed? Probably not. But I do believe that I have a duty to keep a clean house, an ordered environment, for my family. And that duty is shared by my husband and my children. 

I might add that there have been times that I have been successful in keeping a clean house for a while, and by no means did my children’s happiness suffer. There was plenty of time for play. More time, actually. If things were kept up, morning chores only took…the morning. The little things that needed to get done during the day were accomplished easily, and I even had some help from my toddler! 

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is this: I think that sign, though well intended, is a cop out. I think that mentality is an excuse, and one that I myself have used too many times before. And I don’t say this because I’m a “clean freak” (My husband can attest to the fact that I am anything but). It’s not about keeping a clean house for the sake of having a clean house. It’s about a deeper value, a value in order and in maintaining our responsibilities.

So I say this: Good moms have clean floors…and happy kids. 

Now. Time for me to go and walk the walk. 

*sigh*

Happy sweeping!

August 24, 2011

The Glorious Mundane: A Day in the Life. Why Being a Stay at Home Mom is a Full Time Job.

I often feel like I stay busy all day, only to have nothing accomplished by the time I go to bed at night. So on Monday (house cleaning day), I decided to chronicle my day. It’s not very interesting, and I don’t expect anyone to read it, but I found it helpful for myself. And therapeutic. I learned that I'm so grateful for every last little moment of my day. Even the boring ones. I had pictures to include, but they were impossible to load VIA smartphone. So, you'll have to use your imagination. :)

Midnight: Joseph finally falls asleep.

3:01 AM: I think Joseph squirmed and nursed to sleep, but I’m never sure…

7:30 AM: Sophia (who is in our bed of course) pops straight up, gets in my face and shouts, “Wake up, it’s morning!” I begrudgingly acquiesce.

7:45 AM:is when we actually get out of the bed. I’m sleepy. We go downstairs and accomplish the following:

-Help Sophia to the potty.
-Wipe Sophia
-Brush her teeth. Brush my teeth.
-Change Joseph’s diaper.
-Set Joseph up for his tummy time.
-Fix Sophia’s breakfast.

8:15 AM:I step outside to put the diapers on their pre rinse (We live an old house, so our washer and dryer are in the garage.). It’s then that I realize that there are still towels in the washer. Move towels to the dryer…and realize there are still blankets in the dryer. Take care of all of the above. I gain three mosquito bites in the process.

8:25 AM: Begin the long process of fixing my own breakfast. (Peanut butter toast and coffee.) This process is repeatedly interrupted by the demands of a toddler, and by my checking on my semi-mobile infant. He has backed half of his body under the couch. I put him back on his blanket. Man. Those mosquito bites are really bothering me. I got one right behind the knee.

8:50: I finally sit down, ready to attempt breakfast. I sit on the chair in the living room so I can watch my angels play. Five minutes in I realize I should pick up the baby, because Sophia is stealing his toys…and accidentally abusing him.

9:00: but I still haven’t picked him up. Sophia has distracted him by playing the xylophone and telling random stories. I get to finish one piece of toast.

9:02: Joseph rolls himself over and scares himself. Darn. I guess I actually need to pick him up now. He wants to nurse.

9:03: but he keeps stopping nursing to look at his sister, who is attempting to sing with her mouth closed.

9:12: Joseph is bored with nursing. I finish my breakfast while holding Joseph. My first cup of coffee is cold.

9:15: Time for morning prayer! I pray it from an app on my phone, because Joseph likes to attack my breviary.Nope. Nevermind. Joseph wants to nurse more.

9:23: Morning prayer, take two. Two things stick out at me. The prayer that says “Make our day happy, without disturbance and without sin, so that when we reach evening we can praise you joyfully with pure hearts.” Beautiful. The reading is about working to earn your food, and not being idle. Good to hear. I’d love to meditate on this a while…

9:33: …but Joseph spits up all over me. Time to put the diapers on the wash cycle. I check on Sophia. She has dumped all of her toys out of their boxes and is building a tower, using a pretend otoscope as a hammer. Sweet.

9:36: Time to fix cup o’coffee number two. I take one sip and instantly regret deciding to pour it, because Joseph needs a diaper change. And he is also letting me know he’s ready for his nap. Nurse Joseph to sleep. Check facebook while he nurses…

9:50: J man is out. Decision time. To work out, or to clean? I normally work out in the evenings, but tonight I have band practice, so working out now could be good. Buuuuut, my house is gross. Blah. I guess I’ll need to be responsible and clean my house. It needs some serious attention. As I make my decision, Sophia tells me we “need hats”. She grabs every hat out of her dress up box. She’s chosen a snow cap for herself, and put two Santa hats on me.

10 AM: I put Joseph in his crib upstairs. I come back down and do a dance for Sophia. She laughs.

10:05: I survey the mountain of dishes that lies before me. Pots and pans from dinner and baking a cake are left all over the counters. Must muster motivation. I get to work.

10:15: Just heard the wash finish. Heading out to put diapers on the rinse cycle. I almost run into a creepy green spider, who is dangling in the middle of my usual path. Gross.

10:16: Back to the dishes.

10:20: Half the dishes are finished. I check on Sophia. I Can’t get that creepy spider out of my head. I have to Google it. I prop the phone up as I wash. Maybe it’s a green lynx spider…

10:25: Sophia is bored, but I really need to finish the dishes. I color a little with her, and then leave her to herself. A minute later, she shows me her work. She’s ready for a snack, but refuses to eat what I offer—you know, healthy things like bananas and cereal bars. She wants chocolate pudding. Looks like someone isn’t getting a snack.

10:37: She’s now piling blocks into a cardboard blocks. Back to work! I go check on the blankets in the dryer, take them out, put diapers to dry, avoid creepy spider, put towels to wash, get a new mosquito bite on my arm. I feel like I must have West Nile by now.

10:45: I come back inside to find Sophia perched atop her high chair tray…that isn’t secured. Scary. But of course, I make her sit there long enough to snap a picture. Back on task! Dishes. Ugh. My intestines are screaming at me. Shouldn’t have had that red wine last night. IBS is lame.

10:50: Sophia has been pushing her box of blocks around, but is bored again. She starts pulling out her clean dishes and says, “We can put blocks in them!” Agh. Oh well. She’s entertained, and it’s not TV.

10:51: Sophia comes up and says, “can you hug me?” Well, how could I say no? Chores are on hold. I play with her until she’s ready to play on her own again.

11:00: Back to dishes. I realize the manicure I gave myself last night is already chipped from dishwater. This is why I never paint my fingernails.

11:05: I stop to get Sophia and myself dressed and ready. If Joseph wakes up in time, we are going to go to 12:05 Mass. Of course, I have to find a huge shirt, because my abdomen is ridiculously distended. IBS is for the birds.

11:15: I realize I have been holding my pee for an hour. Bathroom break.

11:20: I serve Sophia lunch. She is telling me a fantastic story about a shark. Apparently, it was raining, and a shark tried to swallow her. But then it was a nice shark. I check the monitor. Joseph is still sleeping. I’m not hungry, so I guess I’ll wait to eat until after Mass. Well, I decide to eat a Luna bar to avoid a hypoglycemic episode during the liturgy. My blood sugar drops rapidly. I suppose it’s the result of a fast metabolism. It’s a blessing and a curse.

11:25: Back to dishes. Sigh.

11:38: Dishes done! Did that really just take an hour and forty minutes? Joseph is still sleeping. Our chances of making it to Mass are growing slim. Sophia is done with lunch. Time to clean her up.

11:42: Sophia is coloring in her high chair while I clean up the rest of the kitchen. We discuss life in general, from a two year old’s perspective.

11:58: Sophia runs to the bathroom and says she pooped. Joseph is still sleeping. It’s officially too late to make it to Mass.

11:59: False alarm. It tends to take her a while to really get things moving. I help her find a toy she’s looking for.

12:01: Going to check to see if the diapers are dry.

12:02: Drying the diapers again.

12:04: Back to cleaning up the kitchen.Nope. Sophia wants to show me a “surprise”. (A bunch of her toys she shoved into a box for me).

12:08: I light some candles. The good smells motivate me.

12:09: Sophia wants mommy time.

12:10: Sophia spots a bag of toys we are giving away. Of course, she wants to play with them. She abandons mommy time.

12:15: Scrubbing chairs in the kitchen, and the extrovert in me begins to crave adult company. I then realize I haven’t received one text or call today, other than from my husband. How unusual. I guess it’s because school is back in session. (I’m still in denial over the fact that I’m not that popular). Sigh. Back to cleaning…

12:18: I go upstairs to check “Rip Van Baby” to make sure he’s still breathing. All is well. So thankful he’s taking a good nap .

12:28: I really think Sophia was just falling asleep while playing. I tried to rock her and finish her off…but it backfired. She wants to help me sweep.

12:35: Kitchen is cleaned! I think Joseph is waking up. Feeling light headed. I realize I haven’t had lunch yet. Oops.

12:38: I go get Joseph. He’s all smiles! While I’m changing his diaper, he grabs Sophia’s toy brontosaurus and just about pokes himself in the eye with its tail. Good thing Nichole “quick hands” Lanthier was nearby!

12:50: I go to heat up my lunch. But Joseph is ready to nurse.

12:52: Trying to eat, but it’s distracting the nursling. Sophia is grabbing my snap peas and squeezing the peas out of the pods. Pretty sure she dropped some in between the couch cushions , dug them out, and put them back on my plate. But I don’t know which ones are which…

12:57: Joseph abandons nursing. That was quick. Trying to eat with my left hand while holding him with my right. Yep. Picking up chicken thighs with my fingers. Sophia is still mutilating my peas.

1:00: I remember that LPB is playing the “Dinosaur Train Movie” today, and that I wanted to let Sophia watch it. Perfect timing! I set her up, put Joseph to play, and try to really eat my lunch.

1:11: Lunch consumed. Joseph ready to try nursing again.

1:22: He’s done for now. I put him in his exersaucer to keep him upright a while. Go outside to get diapers and move towels to the dryer. Starting a second load of towels. Yep. I had THAT many dirty towels.

1:29: Back inside. There was a dead gecko in my washer. Gross. Folding and putting away diapers.

1:33: Done. Take Joseph out of the bouncy exer-whachamadoodle. Oops. I just realized I never put clothes on him today. I bet he’s cold. Let me grab a onesie.

1:38: After playing with the baby a bit, I realize I’m still hungry. I need to grab some almonds. And a glass of sweet tea. I check on Sophia, who is grinning from ear to ear and the antics of those cute little dinos.

1:39: I realize I’ve been holding my pee again. I need to stop doing that. Potty break.

1:42: Joseph is playing in the living room, so I’ll clean that room while he hang out. Two birds with one stone. I’m done with my almonds and my stomach is literally still growling. What’s up with that? Maybe it’s because Joseph is nursing the life out of me.

1:55: Holy cow he wants to nurse again.

2:03: Shoot! The dinosaur movie ended and Curious George started. I let time get away from me. I guess I’ll have to go in there, turn off the tv, and face a meltdown.

2:04: Or let her watch it.

2:05: Had a funny encounter with Sophia. Stopped everything to post it to facebook.

2:08: Vacuum and dust.

2:26: Sophia’s show is over. She turns it off herself (score!) and comes to help me dust (double score!)

2:35: Finished dusting. Play with the kids a bit.

2:40: Post a video of the kids to facebook…

2:42: Sophia and I start a puzzle. Joseph is getting irritated with something. I think he’s frustrated because he’s trying to sit himself up…and failing.

2:48: I decide to get up and sweep the floors while the kids are both busy.

2:54: Joseph is too fussy to ignore. Mommy to the rescue! I scoop him up. I also realize that it’s snack time, which is great because I have never been able to get myself un-hungry today. I forgo healthy, because I remember we have leftover cake. Cake for everyone! Sophia is happy.

2:58: I have Sophia set up with her cake. She’s not getting a nap today. This is not abnormal. Diaper change for J man.

3:01: Nursing a sleepy baby.

3:04: He’s no longer interested. Agh. I just remembered about my towels. Man, that candle smells good. Oh goodness, Sophia is full of icing. Time to clean her up.

3:09: Wash some Tupperware I dirtied, check towels (they needed to be dried again), got Sophia a clean outfit.

3:19: Time for mommy to have some cake. I try to eat while holding Joseph. Sophia is pretending to be a bee. I’m getting a little flustered as my nap-deprived toddler is becoming more and more annoying.

3:29: Cake is eaten during play time with kiddos.

3:30: Time to finish sweeping. I put Joseph in a baby chair. Sophia helps me clean the bathroom, too. Isn’t she fabulous?

3:50: Husband gets home as I’m wrapping up the bathroom. I tell him I’ve been chronicling my day. His half-joking (hopefully) response: “Well, you sure were on Facebook a lot”. Resist urge to punch.

3:56: Joseph is nursing again. Michael is playing with Sophia while he eats a snack. I brought Joseph upstairs to rock him. It’s so quiet. He’s falling asleep, and I relax for the first time today. Then I remember the towels in the dryer. Gr. And I also remember a song I was supposed to learn for band practice tonight. Agh. Trying to relax. I can hear Sophia telling Michael a story downstairs. She’s so sweet. I feel guilty for finding her annoying earlier… Time for a little mental prayer while Joseph drifts off.

4:07: Joseph is out. I go to put him down. He wakes up. Time to rock some more.

4:14: Now he’s really asleep. I head downstairs having changed into my workout clothes. I have a nice chat with Sophia and Michael, then drink a glass of water.

4:20: Start workout. It’s cardio day. Download the song I need to learn from Amazon Mp3 on my phone. Listen to it over and over again while working out with Tony Horton.

5:05: Finish workout. Scoop baby up out of the cooking husband’s arms. Tend to the crazy nap deprived toddler. Forgo a shower.

5:15: Nursing again.

5:20: Scarf down the food that my fabulous husband prepared.

5:30: Make a palette for the toddler who just fell asleep at dinner.

5:37: Out the door heading to Moss Bluff for band practice.

6:00: Practice

8:00: Get home. Nurse baby. Eat snack.

8:20: Glass of red wine. Because I need it, and because I like being mean to my intestines. Hang out with hubby.

8:41: I’m starving, still. Turkey sandwich. That’s right.

9:00: Pray night prayer with Sophia, put her to bed. Michael puts Joseph to sleep, and he’s out by a little after 10. That’s early for Joseph, who normally stays up until midnight.

10:45: I think…I fell asleep. And no, you didn’t miss anything. I really never showered.

And I forgot about my towels.

August 20, 2011

must...blog...now...

So. It's been a while since I've blogged. Mostly because...I don't have internet access at home. I know, bummer, right? Sad but true. But I just couldn't take it any longer. So here I sit, one arm constantly in the vincinity of my sitting (sometimes wobbly) five month old, and the other furiously battling auto correct on my smart phone. All for the sake of some blog-therapy.

Life is great, the kids are cute (and hilarious), and the husband is just as fantastic as ever. This past week has been a little rough however. A dear friend of mine lost her husband suddenly. Please keep them in your prayers.

The event has caused me to really count my blessings. To not take my loved ones for granted. It has also helped me to realize how greatly I am blessed. I've also seen true Christian faith in action through my friend. Sure, it's easy to follow Christ when everything is going just fine. It's quite a different task, however, when everything in your world is suddenly turned upside down. This woman is incredible.

I would love to blog more, but alas, auto correct is defeating me. More (brief) blogs to come, promise.

May 6, 2011

"goo"

For those of you who didn't see it on facebook...

Isn't he a cutie? And, I know it's coincidence, but listen to what he says AFTER I say "oh you're welcome"! It sounds like he's trying to repeat it!

March 24, 2011

Joseph...a difficult arrival!

Joseph Karol Lanthier
Born March 4, 2011
1:43 PM
8 lbs, 13 oz  20 inches
 
 



Yes, that's a big baby.

So big, in fact, that he gave us all quite a scare. Here's the story.

My water broke at three in the morning as I was lying in bed. This caught me by surprise, seeing as I hadn't had even a hint of a contraction and that my water never broke on its own for Sophia. So we took our time, packed our bags, loaded up our toddler and arrived--feeling confident and experienced--at the hospital around 4 am. 

Once we were admitted to early labor, I began feeling mild contractions. I was so pleased when the nurse told me I was already at 4 centimeters, because for Sophia, it took much stronger contractions to get to that point. (By 5 and 6 cm I was almost ready to give in to an epidural!) I was wheeled to my room and joined by friends and family. I love having people with me during my labor, and the room was set up perfectly for it. There was even a little living area with couches and chairs! Not too long after being in my room, my contractions got a little stronger. Still, I found them very tolerable, and was surprised when the nurse told me I was already at 6 centimeters! All right, I thought, this is going to be waaaay easier than my first labor. And it was...until the end. I quickly went 7, 8, 9 centimeters, and began to feel the urge to push. Sweet. I thought. The contractions are just now starting to really hurt, but I'm bound to be ready to push soon. Normally 9 to 10 comes so fast. And, as I remembered for Sophia, pushing was the easy part. It felt like sweet relief compared to those horrendous contractions. So, I was sure that within half an hour I'd be pushing my little boy out into the world. Right?

Wrong.

I kept feeling the urge to push, and the nurse kept checking me and giving me the same line (that made me want to punch the poor sweet thing right in the face) Well, you're still at 9...

Still at nine? Afa;lkjf;hklghja;oaih! You've got to be kidding me. I'm having back to back, unmedicated contractions and needing to push this giant kid out...and I'm STILL at 9?

Yep. And I stayed at 9 for TWO hours.

TWO HOURS.

Finally, when I felt like I honestly couldn't resist the urge to push any longer, my fabulous doctor informed me that I was completely dilated. Then he asked me a really ridiculous question.

You ready to try pushing?

Um, seriously? I'm not sure, but I may have said "hell yes". Or maybe I just thought it. Either way, I was pushing within minutes. And I was very pleased to be at this stage, because, if I remembered correctly, it was one of the easiest parts.
Problem was, Sophia was a pound and a half smaller at birth.

It was far from easy.

It. Hurt. So. Badly.

I was thoroughly confused, and in the middle of labor, so I was yelling out all sorts of things such as, "get this kid out of me". They kept telling me he was right there, but as I pushed, I felt like he just wasn't going anywhere...and that something was really hurting me.

Well, he really wasn't going anywhere.

Without a word, suddenly two nurses jumped on top of me and started pushing and squishing all of my internal organs. I realized at this point that something wasn't right. My doctor was remaining calm in his speech and facial expression, but he was acting with great urgency, using all he had to pull my baby out. 

It seemed like an eternity, but within a matter of seconds he was out. And not crying. I began to panic as I saw my baby, blue, and not breathing. 

The nurses reassured me he was ok, and that his heart was beating, but all I could do was cry, and pray. We all prayed.

Again, it seemd like hours, but within a few seconds, I heard that sweet little dinosaur-sounding cry. They got him to breathe. He was going to be ok. 

I looked over at Michael for the first time since I had started pushing. His eyes were red and teary and he was shaking, but trying to be so strong for me. In those few seconds I think we experienced more fear--and also relief--than we ever have at any other moment of our life together.

Turns out, Joseph was just too big for me. His shoulders simply wouldn't fit through my pelvis. The nurses were not, in fact, trying to attack my insides, but trying to turn his shoulder to get him out. I'm so thankful that the staff was so well trained for this kind of incident. Time was definitely of the essence, and they responded perfectly.

Our sweet little man had some facial bruising, but that was it! Many times, babies who have to deal with shoulder dystocia end up with broken collarbones, temporary palsy, or become too oxygen deprived. Joseph was very blessed. So were we.

He was a whopper, and still is! He took well to breastfeeding and, at 3 weeks old, is already 11 lbs! He is already such a blessing to our family. We're so thankful to Jesus for getting us all through the delivery safely. Thank you to all who prayed for us.



Joseph, and his bruised little face.

 Sophia meets her brother for the first time.

Our sweet little boy...and all his hair!

-Nichole

March 3, 2011

it's the flu, BABY!

I think Joseph is trying to beat Sophia's record.

As of tomorrow, he'll be a week past due. I'm growing so, so very impatient!

I am glad, however, that he stayed in there the past several days. Michael came down with the flu (or something very similar) last Thursday (the day before my due date). We were extremely worried about the whole situation. It would have been a very yucky ordeal had I gone into labor. First, I wouldn't have had my husband there...at all. This was a thought I just couldn't fathom. Who would coach me through labor? He was my strength during my labor for Sophia. Would he really have to miss the birth of his son? How long would it be until he could hold him?

And then, as the days went by my anxieties shifted to what would happen if I caught the bug. Could I get through labor, naturally, while dealing with the flu? Would I give it to my newborn baby? What if Sophia catches it? She's never had a virus that serious. Would she end up with pneumonia? I was a nervous wreck.

Good news is, Michael is back at work today. He's been fever free for two days. And Sophia and I? No sign of sickness yet! Michael and I truly believe it's a miracle that we didn't catch it. We prayed, prayed, and prayed. (and sanitized, sanitized, sanitized!) If there were ever a time we didn't need the flu in our household, this would be it!

So, now that everything seems to be clearing up, we're both ready for our little guy to make his grand entrance. I'm going to try my best to wait it out in prayerful patience, thankful to God for how things have worked out so far!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

-Nichole

February 24, 2011

Due dates schmoo dates.

Well, Joseph is due tomorrow. This is my "40 weeks pregnant" glamor shot.


Cute, eh?

But I don't think Joseph has caught the memo about his due date.

I'm trying really hard not to be impatient. I mean, after all, he has to come out eventually, right? And his sister came a week past her due date, so I was kind of prepared for him to do the same. Kind of.

I guess I've just reached that point in the pregnancy when I feel like I'll be pregnant forever. All of my due date pals have already popped. I've been looking through pictures of their little newborns, telling myself it will be any day now. It's crazy. This pregnancy flew by, but now that the due date is here, it feels like it's slowed to a crawl...or a complete stop. 

But enough whining. He'll be here soon! I can't wait to see that little face and hold him :) I'm really excited to see Sophia's reaction, too!

In the meantime, please keep us in your prayers! Pray for a safe delivery and a healthy baby! 

(And maybe that I go into labor within the next few days?)

:)