Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Operation Clean Sweep!

Before you even ask...no there aren't any pictures...

For those of you that are super neat freaks, love to organize, or somehow have a great handle on keeping your home clean you may not understand this post at all. However maybe you are the ones that can be praying for me, sharing helpful tips, or encouraging me along the way. I REALLY struggle with keeping a neat home. Partially because we have too much stuff but it is mostly because I get overwhelmed very easily. I have a hard time breaking down tasks into manageable pieces. Instead of asking for help I rant and rave and have a mental and emotional breakdown. This strategy has yet to work or bring joy into the home. Lately, I found something that is really working. I have been PRAYING about it! Amazing, eh? Although I do admit I have had my tirades too. (Sorry Michael!)

Sunday night began what I am calling Operation Clean Sweep! I just began with the pantry. I got the girls involved and they loved it! It now looks spectacular in there! One of the things I realized is that I kept buying more food but didn't even know what we had. I had lost control! When the girls told me "mom, we have 3 bags of whale crackers", plus, I had just bought another box thinking we didn't have any, I knew I was in trouble. They were a bit amused by me but I was just embarrassed. It is mortifying to me to not have things neat and tidy for my family. I am not teaching my girls the basic skills that they will need someday. So, I admit I spent (wasted) a lot of time beating myself up about it. God had to forcefully remind me to quit it. He didn't condemn me and I shouldn't either. Surely if he could forgive the woman caught IN THE ACT of adultery he could forgive me. I am a woman that was caught in the act of disorganization but there is hope in Him.

It may seem silly to pray about something like this if this comes natural to you. Well this does not come natural to me at all. The only reason I share this is because I desperately need and desire help. Ultimately my help comes from the lover of my soul. He sees my messy heart, home and attitude. Despite it all He loves me more than I'll ever understand this side of Heaven. But, I also know that my help comes from those around me. So, as hard as this is I invite you to stop in anytime. I would prefer a phone call first but I'll still let you in. It is VERY difficult to invite people into my mess but if you have read this and you actually know me then consider this your invitation. You may not want to bring little ones with you just yet though. I have a lot of work to do before that can happen.

As my dear friend, Emily, suggested I am working on one room at a time. Within that room I'm working on one area at a time. I'm working within my physical limitations and time constraints. I am understanding my personal boundaries so that I can do this for healthy reasons. I seriously want victory in this area which had held me in bondage for far too long! So, I covet your prayers most of all. Maybe soon I'll be able to post pictures but for now trust me...it ain't pretty!!! (but it will be soon.)

To be continued....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Where's your buddy?

We had a chance to visit the National Air and Space Museum. It has always been my favorite museum. I had completely forgotten how large it is and was in awe as we entered. Since the museum is so large we had to stay in pairs. If the girls tried to run off we kept reminding them that they had to help their buddy so he/she wouldn't get lost. I had a good time watching their enthusiasm and wished I could have kept their pace. Although sometimes they went a bit too fast. Michael and I wanted to read at least some of the information at the exhibits. Of course to a child looking at things is much more exciting than reading about it.

Cristina was so excited to ride Metro and a huge escalator! Victoria and I spent time looking at the map. We figured out where we needed to transfer. They both loved the speed of the train. They were also fascinated because their Metro ticket had a picture of President Obama on it. They are really interested in him. It was great for us to have a chance to talk about current events with them.
The girls definitely loved any exhibit that you got to go into or touch. They had a lot of questions and I wish we would have had a tour guide. We got to see a variety of planes from various eras. The Wright Brothers section was one of my favorites. Of course so was the Amelia Earhart display. Plus we all enjoyed the section on the planets and rockets. It is truly difficult to choose one favorite. History has never been my favorite subject yet seeing it like that was amazing. I loved seeing how things have changed so much. Victoria was impacted when we told her there was a time that blacks and whites were not allowed to travel together. She couldn't imagine anything so horrifying! Thankfully she doesn't have to worry it and I praise God for the progress our nation has made.

As we were leaving we discovered a children's area. It was filled with interactive displays. We were so upset that we found this last because we had run out of time. We had to go through it quickly but we got to see displays on gravity, friction, air pressure, force, and density. They girls even got to climb into a plane and pretend to fly it. It was very difficult pulling them away from that area but we had to get back home. The girls were so excited when they found out there was a McDonald's in the museum. We went and tried to grab a quick bite to eat. Unfortunately Michael and I didn't realize we'd be paying about $8.50 for some nuggets! A bit embarrassed we quickly got out of the line. We were not willing to pay such outrageous prices. We settled for a hot pretzel at one of the food cards by the Metro. I was very proud and relieved when they had a great attitude about it. We had a fantastic time and I highly recommend this museum! As you can imagine it was an awesome and exhausting day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Striking at 70!

The main reason for our visit to MD is to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday. None of us can believe her age. She is looking really good and praise God she has been feeling a bit better too! I know that having her family around her does wonders for her health. Her four grandchildren had a good time toasting with her and helping her blow out the candles on her cake. Although they wondered why there was only one big one and not 70 candles. They also tried to give Ines 70 spankings. I'm not sure if they ever did it or not because I lost count.

My dad, Pepe, and the girls had a great time making Ines' birthday cake. Victoria loved cracking the eggs. She was so happy that none of the shells fell into the bowl. Some of us were slightly concerned that we'd get a small cupcake to eat because the girls wanted to lick too much of the batter. I was worried about the mess they could make. My father isn't one to enjoy making a mess even if it was his own granddaughters. I was happy they had a good time and the cake turned out pretty good too. Everyone wanted a second slice so I suppose that is a very good sign!

Cristina helped put the frosting on but by then Victoria had lost interest. I think she had run off to play with Carolina. After the cake had been baked and frosted I couldn't find Cristina. It was too quiet in the house so I knew I had better investigate. I found her happy as can be trying to lick every part of the cake batter out of the bowl. She was covered in chocolate. My maternal instincts kicked in and I had her and the kitchen cleaned up long before I considered taking a picture of it for the blog.

We took my mom to Azucar Restaurant. It is a very nice, upscale Mexican place. My parents have been there before so some of the waitresses knew them already. The food was off the charts! We had a fantastic time celebrating and eating. The tables had a white paper covering so the kids were able to doodle while we waited for our food to arrive. My nephew, Gabriel, is an amazing artist. He didn't consider his drawing to be very special but I was amazed. He was able to sketch out a scene with minimal effort and it looked great. My sister-in-law, Angie, also has some talent. Her and the girls made a Dora The Explorer scene. I can barely draw a stick figure so I watched instead.

While we've been away I had my first taste of what it would be like if I homeschooled the girls. Hmmm...let me just say I'm now even MORE grateful for Mrs. VanOtterloo and Heritage Christian School. We lasted one day before the whining and crying began. I'm not sure if I was whining louder than the girls or not. Even though it is only 1st grade curriculum it was quite the challenge for me to try to explain the basics. I have discovered that I'm not very creative. Although my favorite thing to do is have the girls read to me. I could listen to them all day!
I commend anyone that does homeschool but I've come to realize it is not for us. Of course I imagine that if we did pursue this venue of education we wouldn't be doing it at grandma's house. There are too many distractions here which made it a LOT harder!! My sister, Sara, also joined in the fun. She actually made it a lot easier. Victoria loved playing school with her. Sara reassured me that it is always easier to teach other people's children.