Friday, January 3, 2014

Confident Mom Household Planner

One of my goals for this year is to find a cleaning system that works for me and use it consistently. Everyone in the family (well, at least Ben and I) is so much happier and more relaxed when the house is not a mess. Keeping it clean is an area I really struggle with.

One of my other goals is to be more intentional in spending focused time just playing with my littles, which I have a really hard time doing when there's a disaster everywhere I look.

A friend mentioned this FREE Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner on Facebook last week. Based on her rave review I decided to give it a try.

I've used it all week and there is a definite difference in the tidiness of our house. A major bonus is that it's fully customizable. Any of the chores can be erased or moved around as desired. I'm a major list person. I love checking things off of lists. And having extra things on the list that I don't need to check off really bugs me, so my slightly OCD side loves that I can delete the unnecessary things.

Training the children to help with cleaning was another item on my list of goals for this year. Prompted by one of the daily items in this planner, we've started having a "15 minute clean up" immediately after dinner each day. While I clean the kitchen, Ben plays music and sets a timer and he and the children pick up the house for 15 minutes. This alone makes a huge difference!

We're only a week in, but I'm enjoying the fruit so far. We'll see how it goes for the other 51 weeks this year! Since the planner is free, I wanted to share it with y'all so you could try it as well.

Here's to cleaner, calmer, saner homes this year! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goals for 2014

This year is weird for me. It's my first time since I was married that I'm beginning a year without a baby under 1 or a baby on the way. I'm hoping to maximize my productivity in the coming months, because God could change my current status at any time! :)

My life with three littles under age 5 is busy. I make almost all of our food from scratch and we almost never eat out. I work from home as a virtual assistant. I'm home schooling one child, breastfeeding another, and will be potty training one in the coming weeks (hopefully!). So, even though I'm not pregnant and I don't have an infant, my days are full and I don't have time to waste (who does?).

A lot of my goals for this year are basic, but I tried to prioritize my goals based on what would make the most significant difference for us during this season of life. My current priority areas are my marriage, my children, our home, and my personal health and well-being.

With that in mind, here's the list for 2014:

Personal Goals
1. Read through The Quiet Place when I nurse Joshua in the mornings
2. Memorize Ephesians 1 and 2
3. Read 12 books
4. Wrap up my Family Herbalist Course (should be done this month!) and complete the first two modules of the Holistic Wellness Professional course.

Marriage Goals
5. Go on one date per month
6. Have one overnight stay sans children this year (this would be a first for us since our honeymoon!)
7. Write 12 love notes
8. Iron Ben's dress shirts every week

Parenting Goals
9. Finish Kindergarten with Katie
10. Start preschool with Benjamin
11. Train the children to diligently help with chores
12. Memorize through Question 75 in the children's catechism with Katie and Question 20 with Benjamin
13. Set aside at least one hour every week to just play with the kids

Homemaking Goals
14. Establish a cleaning routine that works for me
15. Use Flava app on my phone and a notebook to keep track of milestones/funny things the kids say each month
16. Upload and organize our photos every month

Benjamin's 3rd Birthday Letter

Dear Benjamin,

Three years ago I had no idea what it would be like to mother a boy. I can now say with all the confidence in the world that I am SO glad to have sons. You are such a precious gift from a gracious Heavenly Father and I am blessed to be your mama.

Through and through, you're a mama's boy. Maybe it's from the slightly more attachment parenting approach I took with you, or maybe you would've been a mama's boy anyway. You love your daddy, but when something's really bothering you, mama's the one you want. And I love that.

My heart still melts when you say, "I love you," (which you do on your own several times per day) and your sweet smile brings me such great joy. You certainly have strong-willed, disobedient moments, but overall you're a compliant boy. You want to do a good job and make mommy and daddy proud. When I give you a task, you usually try your best and do it without complaining (but, hey, not always!).

You  are very loving and sensitive, quick to apologize when you are reprimanded (and sometimes even before that). You are very busy and all boy, but also tend towards being shy. You have a funny habit of sticking your tongue out when you're nervous or put on the spot, like when you're introduced to a beautiful princess at Disney or you receive a gift in front of a bunch of people. You also are somewhat of a follower and often parrot exactly what Katie does and says, which is usually okay but has gotten you into trouble on a handful of occasions.

Right now, your biggest interests are cars/trucks and guns. You can play contentedly for endless hours with just a few matchbox cars, though you have a pretty extensive collection at this point. Your fascination with guns and swords is a perfect match for Katie's obsession with princesses. You all play pretend for hours every day, which I just love.

You're a big boy for your age, weighing almost 40 pounds with a height to match. Your vocabulary is also very advanced for your age and even strangers are often impressed with how clearly you communicate.

I can't believe you're three! It doesn't seem like it could have been that long since I held you in my arms for the first time after your incredible birth right here in our house. My sweet Benjamin, you make my world a better place and I can't even begin to say how thankful I am to be your mommy. Raising you and your brother and sister is such a gift and such a great responsibility. I know I fail you often, but my prayer is that God will use my efforts, feeble though they be.
As it has been since the day I knew you God had given us a son, my prayer for you is that you grow up to be a happy and successful man who fears the Lord and lives a holy life, one who is fit to lead a wife and family in godliness if that is what God has in store for you. Whatever path Providence takes you on, I pray you'll be steadfast and faithful. And I hope you always love your mama.

My sweet boy, I love you more than words can say. Happy birthday, son.


Benjamin turned 3 on December 28. I wrote this letter in time for his birthday, just didn't get around to posting it here until today.