Monday, June 17, 2019

Thinking, Playing, Reading

Stress Triggers: How Stress Affects Your Body
I have been here-all of it, almost every symptom,  Moms of many, pay attention!!! Moms of teens and little ones, for sure, pay attention.  
The biggest changes I made or was forced to make:
1. Saying no to my children.  Even about little things, that made my day, especially my summer, too crazy.  Or to anyone-it's so easy to say yes in the moment, and hard to say no.  Because I COULD do it, but not without a fast pace all day, and fast pace=stress.
2. Relaxing about everything-the way my house looks inside and out, etc.  It is really a mind set.  There are only so many hours in every day.  Make a list of priorities.  Keep cutting until you get to where you can breathe normally, and not feel stressed inside.  For everyone that is different and it is not a contest, it's about self-awareness, even if it means you can only meet the top three priorities-God, self, family.
3. Planning every week how I could take care of myself better-little fun things that made me feel good about myself.
4. Delegating more work to outside sources, or children, or my husband.  I was doing it all myself mostly, and I just couldn't bare the load - or I could, but not without a cost to my well-being.
5. Eating healthy.   This is probably the biggest thing.  I can tell immediately if I get off track and I feel more sensitive to this than ever, since I went through chemo.
6. Sleeping enough, but I will also say that wasn't really a choice, just my body, and earlier in my life, my children. 

I bought this magnetic white board and we love it.  My intention was to do a quote a week but I also find myself using it for weekend plans so everyone is aware of what is going on here.  Janey keeps switching it to the dishwasher to use it for fun.

Kendamas-Isaac is an expert on these things, but he has brothers and cousins all trying to keep up.  

Magnetic chess set-this set gets moved around the house a lot, and with all the rain we've had, it is getting used a lot.

Janey was dying for one of these "flippy" shirts which are all the rage and begged for one-I found this one on Amazon that is so cute and she was thrilled at her surprise gift.

These are THE BEST reading lights.  Rechargeable (no more batteries!!!) and it only takes a few minutes too.  We all have them and I've given them as gifts.


I am reading this book right now and it is hilarious but touching also. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Melancholic Sentamentality Syndrome

I know I'm not the only mom of grown children who suffers from this syndrome I just made up.

It can hit at different times of the year.  Usually brought on by a change in seasons or change in circumstances, such as children leaving, summer beginning, school starting, weddings, new babies born to anyone, birthdays, graduations, etc.  Oh, and looking at scrapbooks, old photos, or God forbid home videos.

Deep yearning for the past-just one day of having them all babies again.

Doubt over wondering if I spent that time appreciating or fully soaking up the stage of life of having littles ones with very few outside obligations- being able to cultivate that "bubble".   Did I spend too much time thinking it would get easier one day instead of harder in different ways? 

A fear of starting to really feel the loss and sadness and knowing that if you start crying and really processing it all, you'll never stop the grief and tears, so better to just take a deep breath and live in the present.

Crazy lady desires like holding babies in grocery stores that aren't yours, dreaming of baskets of babies left on your doorstep, or wanting to pick up and squeeze every chubby little toddler that walks by.  "That" lady who wants to tell the mom of young ones to just slow down and appreciate the days at home, and not make the days rush by filled with activities.

Remember that we all learn by doing, in the moment, day by day, and we'd all do things differently throughout our life looking back.

Deeply deeply appreciate the choices we made to have me stay home and be HERE every day, through it all.  Deep gratitude.

Acknowledge that it always is easy to see the cuteness, and not the sleepless nights and inner tension of being at the beck and call of needy little guys all the time.

And most important-one day I will be saying the same thing about THESE days right now.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Get To Heaven and Take Others With You

A tribute to all the work my friend Kate Kelly did for Heartbeat.  She truly was a Saint and didn't just talk the talk but worked every day tirelessly to be holy.  Miss her, as does everyone who knew her.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

If the grass looks greener on the other side...
stop staring.
Stop comparing.
Stop complaining.
Start watering the grass you are standing on.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Fun Activity For Kids (And Adults Also)

My mom bought Patrick one of these paint-by-sticker books and they've been so much fun.  They are addicting!

I've been teaching art on Friday's at school, and have some rambunctious, unable-to-focus boys. (I also get them right after lunch and recess and I also love them all and 'get it'.) . When we finished our art project one day, I filled time by borrowing Patrick's sticker-by-number book, had the kids get in pairs, and work on a sheet.  You would not believe it!  These boys were quiet, they sat in their seats, they LOVED doing this, more than any other project I've done.  I think it is something about the exactness, the numbers, the straight forward process that appealed to them-the ability to see the end?  I just loved what I saw-the ability to focus and accomplish a task, even for the kids who really really have difficult doing this.

They have books for all different ages.

The one I used in class for the fourth graders is this one-we all love it!

Here's some for ages 5 and up that are simpler and a good starting point for younger children, although if they recognize all their numbers and letters, and have the patience they could do the more difficult ones also.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


As school is drawing to a close, I thought I'd share some summer ideas we use or have used in the past to keep some sense of order. 

We have a "Summer Bucket List",  just simple things like going to the zoo, and visiting the Dum-Dum factory, and taking a long bike ride on a new bike path.

Patrick and Janey BOTH need to practice school work every day-Patrick loses math facts quickly I've found, and Janey is bursting into reading so I need to keep that going.  I've used Summer Bridge in the past, but this year I have so many fun workbooks around the house.  I already made a visit by myself to the library to pick out books for them both, which is sometimes easier for me-I can concentrate and give them new ideas.  (As in less sports biographies, which are fine, but maybe some inventors, etc.)

A few morning summer camps thrown into all that-maybe I'll regret or not, I always just try to guess that year if those activities will be beneficial for summer boredom, or more than they are worth in driving, and sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't.

We also are doing a very simple job list-like water outdoor plants for Patrick, and straighten up garage for Janey.

Andrew is taking a hard class at school, and unfortunately hasn't found a lifeguard job as he's not sixteen yet, but has his certificate all ready to go.  He is going to do a bunch of painting jobs for me outside.  Matt is busy working landscaping all day, and the older two are working in other cities, as they've flown the nest.  Lots of home visits planned for them which is always the best.  We also have a Beilein family reunion planned which is something we all so look forward to and Jeff and I will plan a vacation for ourselves at the end of summer, which I will need by then for sure. 

My summer goal?  A book a week.  And a daily walk, and a new routine of journal writing morning and evening.  I just attended the greatest little three hour retreat and it was so good for me.  The theme was Reflect, Renew, Reignite.  Why is it so difficult to me to remember to keep focused on my life goals, and to do that by daily reflection and inspiration to lead me to that direction?  My mother does it every day of her life.  What the heck?  It's more than buying a cute notebook which I must admit is one of the highlights of my week.  I found some at the grocery store (darn school supply section gets me every time) and bought every pattern because I couldn't choose one, so now I better be consistent and fill those suckers up.

I wish I could go back in time, because what a difference this daily journaling and reflection and gratitude list would make in every facet of my life.  No matter how busy you think you are, you must remind yourself every day who you want to be and how you want to spend your time.  It's so important!  Take my advice and there is nothing that will make your life fuller, better, in every way than this habit and I really want to finally be consistent with it.

The retreat leader had mounds of all these little books-she filled them with quotes, Bible verses and then had some where she, every night, would reflect back on her day and look at the interactions she had.  She'd write them down briefly-a brief list summary of the day-and then would put a smiley face or frowny face next to each one, depending on what brought her closer to God, or farther away.  She said then she could she patterns of what she felt she needed to work on-whether it was snappiness, or too much worry, or whatever she was struggling with in that time of her life.  BUT she also celebrated all the things she did holy and "right". 

Anyways, three more days of school and we are FREE!  No more packing lunches!  (I know we moms all feel the same-what is it about packing lunches???)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

Rushing and a tight time table does not equal happy moms or happy babies or happy toddlers. Settle in. 
Settle in at home with your role as mother, 
embrace it fully and trust that the time you give these years-if you give your children your attention, and structure and find ways to enjoy your days at home, 
it will all pay off. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ordinary Days

A long catch up for us here, and wanting to keep track of wonderful memories.  Life has been busy, hard sometimes, fun sometimes, like it always is right?  Patrick wrote on a Mother's card to me, what does mom love?  When everyone comes home.  What makes mom sad?  When everyone goes back to college.

In no order but "spring":

Jeff and I and the three littles decided at the last minute to go to Destin for spring break.  We watched the weather and were lucky to be able to rent a wonderful condo owned by a friend.  Sunshine and warm temperatures every day.  We had so much fun!  Water was freezing but the kids didn't care.

Visited Seaside for a day and I remembered how much I love that place.  If I win the lottery which I won't because I never play, I would buy a house here first. 

Vacation tradition of way too competitive mini golf.

SOOOOO cold, but beautiful water.

Sunshine was heavenly.  

Matt came home to celebrate his 20th birthday, just for a quick weekend, and then back to school-can't believe his first year is over.  He loves it and is doing so well. 

Abbey had her senior art show the night before she graduated at a cool downtown space.  We are so proud of her.  Two of her professors who attended raved about her, and her work ethic and the quality of work that she would always strive for.  It came with a lot of stress on her part.  One of the professors we spoke with was one that was particularly hard on Abbey and gave her a lot of grief so it was extra special to hear that he had a lot of respect for what she has accomplished in the last four years.  It was one of those "well it would have been nice to know that earlier" moments for her, but then maybe that is what pushed her too.  Two down four to go!  

Corny photo mom made her take.  11,000 graduates.  Four hours long.  But really cool also.  So much excitement.

Found this old photo of Jeff and I in Florida when we were dating...same age as Abbey!  And I thought I was old. :)

Made it to a MI game.  Janey was thrilled-a cheerleader and a dancer!

So much fun at these MI games.  They had a great season and I am so proud of my uncle and excited for things to come.  (I don't get too passionate about sports can you tell?)

I went with friends this year to the Fem-Catholic conference and it was SO SO cool and we had a bunch of fun too.  Great speakers and I learned so much.  It was in Chicago-cold but pretty on the Loyola campus.

Janey's door.  I miss Kate so much.  My hurt heart oftens because of it.  She is such an inspiration to everyone you knew her.

When Jeff was shopping for gifts for me for my birthday he said as a joke to Janey, "Let's get this for mom."  She said, "No Dad I know what Mom likes here (TJ Maxx my favorite) and this is NOT it."  But I am sure she wanted it for herself terribly. Who doesn't want a glitter mermaid tail?

My beautiful sister-in-laws who I love and who gave me wonderful gifts and helped Jeff with my party.  We have been through babies and teenagers, and now engagements, weddings and grandbabies for them and it's so fun.  We can cry and laugh together at how our children are growing so quickly.

Janey at her best friend's play-they found this pic of "Blue Christmas' and thought Janey found her match.  A good laugh.

A couple more Florida photos-Janey found these on sale for $10 and even though yes I know they are awful, she fell deeply in love and I couldn't resist.

Lots of digging and sand castle building.

I sit in front her Mary a lot and pray and find peace.  Our church is so beautiful.

I gave a wedding shower for my sweet niece Chloe and it was gorgeous.  All those SIL's pitched in and my other niece and Chloe's sister Tori did a fabulous job. 

The gorgeous bride.

Isaac had a long awaited surgery-weirdly he had one side of his jaw grow more than the other during college and it really threw off his bite etc, so he had both sides broken and matched up during surgery.  Wired shut for 6 weeks.  It was a very rough first week but was back to DC and work quicker than we ever thought possible and one tough but skinny guy now.  And we are so glad it's almost all over after waiting years for the right time to do it (had to stop growing first!)  Lots of smoothies and soups.  

School morning-usually one is chipper and the other is not.

Cousin love.

My sister who will kill me for putting this on my blog but who we are all so proud of because everywhere hospital she works at gives her these awards for being the best nurse ever or something like that and I don't doubt it because she is wicked smart, no nonsense and a super hard worker.

And finally, a gorgeous sunset down by the river.