Friday, March 24, 2017

7QT state of affairs

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
I realized we have exactly seven members of our family, and there are Seven Quick Takes, and so, I will update you on each member of our family :)

The baby.
The baby is doing great.  She is big (shocking?!?! Not at all) and is staying active by beating the crud out of my insides with her huge limbs.  You know it's interesting when the ultrasound tech is like, 'whoa, that is one big femur'.  The last week has been much better in terms of being sick.  We are excited for her July arrival, and her siblings are already completely obsessed with her.

Malia Paul
She continues to rule the household.  She is saying more words, LOVES to dance (like, loves) and is our own little d-d-d-diva.  I've posted about this on facebook, but we've started washing her hair with just conditioner (WHO KNEW!?!?!).  It brings out the curls which is so adorable.

John Paul Francis.
Oh my gosh. He is a three year old. I never used to understand when people complained about their three year olds...
Now I do.
I have to be VERY careful with this one.  Because we tend to lump the oldest three together, it's VERY easy to discipline John Paul too hard because he isn't acting like the older two.  But, he's not the same age as his big brothers.  
His life is pretty much one revolving correction.  I think of my friend Mary's blog a lot with him (if you haven't read it, and you have a 2-5 year old, you're gonna wanna)... 
Lest you think he's all work, he's also so sweet. 
Er'time he gets in trouble he now says, "I'm so totally sorry mommy".  The 'so totally' reminds me of Zoolander, and melts my heart.

Joseph Michael.
Oh my Joey.  He gets sweeter by the minute.  For real, he does.
He has completely turned his behavior around at school.  He is our quietest kid, and by far our most sensitive.  His snuggles are still the very very best.
He LOVES to say his prayers and tell me stories about Jesus.
Joey is probably most excited about the baby. He knows she will be born right after his birthday, and is beyond excited about that.

Aaron Christopher II
"It goes by so fast"
Yup. We are definitely at the age where I've decided he can just stop growing up. I think from this point on, it's going to be the daily, painful reminder that it all flies by so much faster than we want it to.
Yesterday, the boys all went outside to play. The youngest two got cold and came inside.  Aaron stayed outside for 1/2 hour longer.  It's VERY unusual in my family to have kids play by themselves (how cool is that?), but he was just playing by himself.  I watched him out the window and couldn't believe how big he'd gotten.  He was doing lots of little boy stuff, kicking the soccer ball, shooting some baskets, playing with is cars... mundane things that absolutely took my breath away.
He saw me staring at one point, turned around and tried to show off for me.  Then he blew me a kiss.
Make the growing up stop.

Aaron Christopher I
my boo.
Aaron switched jobs, he was courted by another company and it was an offer we couldn't refuse.  He continues to work incredibly hard for our family, whilst being an awesome-ish husband and father :)
Yesterday, he came home from work and I was exhausted.  He told me to rest, he would take the kids out of the house for an hour or two.  I'm lucky to be married to a guy like him.
We are still in a standstill about our spring vacation.  He wants to go to Grand Rapids, I want to go to Disney. We will go somewhere in April, I think he's gonna win. I am bummed.

Life is good.
This month proved to be a bit more than I should have put on my plate in terms of ministry, but it's been such good ministry, that I can't say I regret it.  
Pregnancy is going well.  I look like I could deliver next week, and I have 3.5 months to go, so that's interesting.
I get tired a lot and out of breath more.  I lose my patience with the kids too often, but am trying to reign it in vs. giving into the temper.
I really want to travel the world.  Or at the very least go somewhere besides Grand Rapids... le sigh... one day soon.
I've got a great husband and five wonderful children.
Life is good.

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, March 17, 2017

7QT let's talk about some things

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
It's probably not nice to talk about behind people's backs in a blog.
Even if they are celebrities.
But can I just say, and you can draw your own conclusions... Emma Watson is becoming my new Anne Hathaway and that is NOT a compliment.

The last couple weeks have been rougher than usual with pregnancy (which is still way less rough than any pregnancy before). I am back to throwing up a couple times of day, which is a challenge, but the bigger challenge is in order to avoid throwing up I need to eat, and almost all food is pretty gross to me right now.
I hate that.
What do you eat when nothing sounds good?
Maybe you can give me some ideas.  Soup is working well, so is Ramen.  My gosh, what would I do as a pregnant woman without Ramen?

Speaking of getting sick.
This week at some point I was throwing up (I'm sorry, is this gross to you?) and I accidentally didn't  shut the door tight enough. 
Sweet John Paul came in and was rubbing my back, 'you sick mama?'.
Nothing like a sweet little boy to perk one up. 

I am itching to go on a vacation before the baby gets here.
Aaron is never excited about spending money.
We are at a stand still.
He's thinking stay-cation, I'm thinking 3 night disney cruise... we are on very different sides of the spectrum on this one.
Who will win?

No Wednesdays with the Wilkersons this week.  It was going to be on Thursday, but we watched 'This is Us' and then it was too late.  I did do Wednesdays with my boys, it was cute.  But what you didn't see (if you watched)  is I was hard core disciplining during it. I even sent one kid to his room in the middle of it.  If you were watching and didn't realize one kid was sent to his room and then apologized and came back... it pretty much means I am a rock star parent.
There was also some slight pinching going on to demand good behavior.
Basically, we won't be doing 'live with the Wilkerson children' again anytime soon.

O.M. freaking Lower case g.
We are watching the ESPN special/documentary on the OJ Simpson case.
It is captivating.
There are so many themes that are amazing me.
But, probably the most surprising at all... wait for it...
I can actually see how the Jury decided against conviction.
They were wrong, of course, but I finally understand why they reached the conclusions they did.
It's absolutely memorizing, if you're bored, you should watch it.

My girlfriend Erin had quite the scare yesterday morning with her son, Noah.
He had a Grand Mal Seizure and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  
I can't imagine the fear.  She did an awesome job writing about it and how much a person can take, but more important, how much God can take.  Click this link to give it a read, you won't be disappointed. 

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

5 Things I'm All About...

... and you should be too.

My friend Erin has started a blog, and would like to expand it into a type of speaking ministry.  Erin has two beautiful boys here on earth, but also had the most difficult task of trusting two other sons to heaven.  Miscarriage and Infant Loss affect us all, whether directly or indirectly.  I think we, as a church, don't always do an awesome job of walking with people who are healing, and living with such a hard cross.  Erin would like to be a voice of solidarity and a voice of hope for the hurting. If you are a Priest, DRE, Pastoral Minister, Pastor, even a Youth Minister, consider speaking to your leadership about having Erin offer an evening of reflection for those in your parish who might have some sort of dealings with this very painful topic.
Also, make sure to follow her blog, We Wait Until Heaven... the first post was pretty amazing. I am excited to see the insights the Lord has given her and apply those insights to everyday life.

Another friend is helping to organize a special night, 'Michigan Shines of Autism'.  In the last couple of years, Aaron and I have had the opportunity to attend different fundraising events. We've found that for the price of one fancy date night, we can date at events that really make a difference.  These events make a difference both by raising awareness, but also through raising funds.  You know I love me some fancy nights, if you are in the market for one, consider this.  I think I would be hard pressed to find an adult who is not currently touched by someone living with the reality of Autism. I continue to be amazed at the advancement of therapies and developments in this realm.  Wouldn't it be cool to know YOU were a part of it.  Sign up, go have a fancy night o' fanciness.  

I told you about this, but Aaron and I have started 'Wednesdays with Wilkersons'.  We just kind of turn on our 'facebook live' button and go.  As you know if you read this blog, I do think there is something valuable about discussing the reality of day to day, not glorifying the hard, but not hiding it either.  Aaron and I certainly do not have a perfect marriage, but we are madly in love with each other, we love to banter back and forth, and we have fun with our friends/family.  This is just an extension of that. 
So, if you are free on Wednesday Nights... join us. 
This week's "Wednesdays with the Wilkersons" will be moved to Thursday.  We've got plans tonight, including watching 'This is Us'- and we are in charge, so we've decided to put Wednesdays on a Thursday. 

"This is Us" is the best show on television.
I didn't watch last night's episode yet, but we will tonight. If you don't watch, and someone haven't heard the hype. Hear it now and get on it.  It's SO good.

This song is amazing.

I first heard it at a youth conference, it was so good it made me cry.
I love how it points out the lack of power this world/satan has over us.  
If only we solely relied on Christ, wouldn't our whole view of the world be so different?
I want to live the words of this song.

That is all. 
Check it all out. 
It's good stuff.

Friday, March 10, 2017

7 Quick Takes with some cute pics

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Yesterday, a friend messaged me...
"Do you have power? I hope you have power with four kids and being pregnant"
I thought she meant it in a 'how do you do find the strength to do it?' way (conceited much?).
So I responded that it's not power, it's grace.
And she was like, 'Ha, but seriously, do you have power?'
And again, I went on to explain it was more like grace.
I even expanded up on it, and how it can be hard when Aaron comes home late, but it's do-able.

I woke up at 5:00 am this morning and realized. She was legit referring to electricity, and was totally confused as to why I wouldn't just directly answer the question.


\Aaron and I are doing Wednesdays with the Wilkersons on facebook live.
This Wednesday I was probably a bit too bitter to be talking about the subject of unappreciated women.
So I am sorry for the man bashing.
Is that better erik?!?!?!
(Erik felt it was too complain-y)

Up at 6:00 am for prayer daily. 
It has worked 5 of the last 7 days.
Pretty sure I am going to switch it up though.  It's hard to pray when I can't even open my eyes.  

John Paul with glasses (that are not his). 
I cannot

I spend my mornings with these two.
How lucky a I? Seriously.

I say lucky. But I have been really cranky this week.
I am hoping this weekend to really deep clean our three bedrooms in our house.
I feel like that will make me less cranky.
The messes in these rooms make me feel cranky every time I enter them.
I should not let them get as messy as they are.
It steals my happiness.
I am reading, 'Resisting Happiness'  Have you read it?  How good is it, for real? I am only on chapter 3, but I am really loving how it's opening up the idea of self-sabotage.

Can I tell you what I am getting REALLY excited about even though it's REALLY far away.
My three night hotel/hospital stay when I have this baby.
I love hospital vacations so much, that I seriously get excited.
I get excited about the lighting.
And the low beeping of machines.
The quiet of mama and baby time.
The 'pick up the phone and have food brought to me'.
I know so many women cannot relate, but man. I LOVE the hospital after birth. I would stay there a week if they'd let me. 

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, March 3, 2017

7 QT... Am I the worst mom ever?

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
So Aaron and I facebook'd live this week.
I got a new phone and it's really fun, so I am using the new features/clearer pictures, etc...
On Tuesday I called Aaron and was like, 'should we facebook live?' and he said, 'I was JUST thinking about that'.  So we did!  It was fun.
And people didn't hate it (except for the people who did, and I get it, I do find it a little self-serving).
I think it's good for a married couple to have fun, and this is a way we can have fun. We are pretty notorious for our squabbles, so we decided to let our friends/family weigh in.
Everyone took Aaron's side.
Other takeaways...

1.  I was sitting WAY too close to the screen
2.  I breathe incredibly heavy, which is a pet peeve of mine, so I will try to breathe less intensely today.
3.  "Five minutes" probably isn't practical, especially when we are interacting with others.
4.  Interacting with others on social media is awesome.
5. I like my best friend, who I happen to be married to.

Did you watch?  We are going to do another one tonight!  TGIF with the WILKERSONS
8:00 pm.
See ya then.

\Are five year olds not the absolute best?
Aaron started reading.  I KNOW!  It's so adorable watching him sound out the letters, and comprehend sentences.

Do you pray?
I have an ultrasound today and while I am confident everything is fine, I always get a little anxious for these.  This will be my fifth c-section, and the concern is always if the scar tissue is choosing to play nice.  Regardless I have a great group of doctors, but, as you can probably imagine, I'm excited to hear 'everything looks great'!  
So, if you pray, will you say one for the appointment today.

This is how my joey was sleeping the other night.
Not a care in the world for this dude.
I don't mind him one bit.

Yesterday was an amazing day of ministry. Absolutely amazing.  I was blessed to spend the day with 9th and 10th graders, and the evening with the Women of St. Regis.
The evening was just awesome.  You know when the spirit is so present, you can really feel it?  It was one of those nights.  The women we were so lovely and receptive and I truly felt sky-high from our reflecting in faith together.  God is good.

It's cold again.
I'm not complaining.  We had an AMAZING couple weeks of AMAZING February weather, so I shall suffer through a couple more weeks of cold to get us to Spring, glorious Spring.

Wanna weigh in on our level of terrible parenting?  Because I can't discern how terrible we are being.
Aaron and Joey both have class field trips, maybe 3-4 times a year. We have always attended.  But the up coming field trips, we think we are going to skip.  
One is to a local aquarium.  We have been there before and not only is it almost 1 hour away, but it's super lame and super expensive.  To get a sitter, travel so far, andhang out in kind of a lame aquarium... just doesn't seem worth it to us.  
The other is to the zoo.  Although it might be fun to go, we plan on going to the zoo as a family in a month or so, and I'm not sure the kid really needs to go twice in a month.

What I can't discern is how mean it is to keep them from their class trips.  Remember, we have already done the other trips, we will do the final trips... but these just seem like a lot of effort, for a little reward.  And it's hard to logistically plan because siblings aren't allowed, between naps, pick ups, etc... the effort just doesn't seem worth the reward.  However, I'm just a bit concerned this makes me the worst mom ever... thoughts?

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, February 24, 2017

7QT Catholic Nerd stuff, job change, and a gift from Jesus

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
One part of me thinks I should be terrified about global warming and shifting weather patterns and the impact on the environment.
The other part of me is like, 'Whoa, Spring is AWESOME'
I truly become a different kind of mom when the weather is like this. We do stuff, the house is clean, the dishes get done, I'm nicer.  It's so great.
And the kids don't mind it one bit.

\I had to buy a new phone yesterday.  Well, my spouse would say I didn't HAVE to, I could have paid $200 to get the battery and screen fixed... but to me, if I was going to pay that much, I should just go ahead and get a new one.
Aaron's annoying, so he refuses to do payments plans for phones. So we have to pay cash.
It was a LOT of money. Like, I am pretty sure, when I was in high school, I could have got a cheap car for the amount I just spent on a new phone.
BUT dang.
I love iphones.  Apple has me hook, line and sinker.
Which is kind of stupid, because I am pretty sure their phones are made to crap-out after a couple years, so people upgrade.  Which makes sense if you do the payment plans, but we don't.
Anyway, I have a new phone.

No, the Pope didn't say 'It's better to be an atheist than to be a hypocrite'.  If that was the case we would all be really screwed, so we should be glad he didn't.  

What he ACTUALLY said was important though. And a really good call-on for us all.  The scandal of our personal sin on the community is something we should all keep in mind.  I try to, but I suck at being a Saint.  #workinprogress

In other news, as I said on 'the facebook'  THIS is why I don't trust the news.  This is why I am completely confident using terms like 'fake news', and this is why I think the media is more dangerous than other things people think are really dangerous.

Speaking of the scandal of sin..
I was pretty scandalized by the Catholic nerd world this week.  For those who don't know what I'm talking about, it's really too long to get into, so you should just skip this.  For those of you who do... here are a few of my take-aways for Grown Ups...

1.) We absolutely cannot expect young people to use social media wisely when so many adults clearly don't know how to.

2.) You should not write super controversial stuff on social media (as a grown up, public, Catholic) and then walk away form the conversation saying monitoring threads is impossible.

3.)  It's important to speak up against social media bullying.  Even if it's uncomfortable, and even if it doesn't make a difference.  A grown up called another grown up a b@#$% on a thread I saw.  I was really upset about it all day. I decided to write something, 'hey, you probably didn't need to say that' (or something like that).  The person what like, 'you're right, heat of the moment, I shouldn't have'.
And that made me feel good about humanity.

4.)  Some people are just not going to be nice on social media and it's important to just walk away when it is super gross.  So another grown up wrote, 'I would slap some sense into the wench'... speaking about a professor at our local seminary.  I wrote, 'yea, you probably shouldn't write stuff like that'... the person defended it.  I left the conversation.
Some people just don't know how to use social media.

5.) Saints fought and disagreed. It happens. It's okay.  But we should always be careful about the scandal we are causing others.  About the words we use and allow. We should be careful not to escalate drama in the social media world.  And we should be...


That is all. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

I decided to leave my Parish Position. Starting March, 1st, I am no longer a Coordinator of Youth Ministry at the Parish level. And that's a really great thing for my family and a really great thing for the teens at the Parish I was working for, especially since the new CYM is amazing.
The thing is...
Working in Parish life is really, really hard. I'm actually not sure I will ever do it again.  It's hard for so many reasons, but principally, I think, because it's a lifestyle, not a job.  And my life style right now is being a mom, it can't be being a youth minister.  I told Aaron, I am honestly not sure I will ever work in Parish Ministry again.  That's not to say I won't work in Ministry...our BOLD MINISTRIES  reality continues to grow in a really healthy way, but I just can't hang in Parish life anymore.
I will still be working with the teens as a volunteer, but no more of this 'being in charge' at a Parish.  It's just too hard.

In other news, right now, send a thank you message to those who work in Parish life, it is no joke.
In still other news, I'm excited to have more time with my growing family.  

Are you a young adults (18-35)?
Do you live in Michigan, or around it?
If so, you should be coming to the Michigan Catholic Young Adult Conference  (If you click on the link, you should Aaron was like, "Yeah, you REALLY need to change your professional photo")

It's going to be awesome.  It's a lovely time of community, prayer, sharing and joy.   It's nice to be around people of faith, and if you haven't been in awhile, you are gonna wanna get on this.
Oh, and I'll be there, and I'm fun. So you should come.
And look, my picture is on the flier (#callmefancy)

Jesus has given me a particular gift in this pregnancy.
I am able to drink coffee without puking.
Dear Jesus. Thank you.
That is all.

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, February 17, 2017

7 REALLY quick takes!

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
These are gonna be quick.  Because I want to eat breakfast.  Here we go.

Pregnancy Update.
Er'thing looking great.  For the first time in three pregnancies I passed my early glucose test with flying colors (normally I fail with flying colors).
I've been less sick than I've been with any pregnancy and that is awesome.
I've been more tired than any other pregnancy, which, actually has been manageable.
I'm at 18 weeks.  How cool is that!??!?!

\I find it amazingly interesting that on the interwebs in 2017, if one says anything short of 'Donald Trump is the devil'- one becomes a DT supporter who defends his every actions.
You people are crazy.

Look a family picture of the kids.

Can you even?
I didn't think so.

Taking a deep breath before we get into March's BOLD MINISTRIES calendar.
Good thing I love the ministry I do.

Wanna hear of another terrible wife move? I know these are your favorite.
In the last couple o' years, the ol' husband has dropped the ball on some holidays (anniversary, valentines, birthday)
So this year, for Valentine's Day, I was like, "And if you're going to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work and pick me up flowers, don't bother... that shows about ZERO thought"

So he comes home from work with grocery store flowers.
And I handled it well, I thought, until my oldest said
"Why are you being so mean to daddy when he bought you flowers"
And Aaron says
"You're going to feel real bad when you see what I actually did"

Turns out, the man got the grocery store flowers to throw me off my game.
He actually wrote me a book of poems, one for every year we've been together.


One day, my friends, one day, I will learn to stop being a total brat.

Speaking of the ol' husband.
We are going on a date tonight.  It's been a long time since we've been on a proper date. Over two months.   I am very excited.  Bravo gift certificate! woot woot.

On March 2nd I am facilitating a Women's Lenten Evening Retreat with one of my very favorite parishes, St. Regis.   I have done this the past couple years, and it's always been a wonderful time to slow down and enter into Lent with other amazing women.  I checked, and it's open to non-parishioners, so let me know if you'd like to join and I can get you the contact info to sign up.  I think there is a small cost associated, but you get dinner and it's at a super nice retreat center (Manresa).  It would be really great to have some friends/alumni/family there...

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!