Friday, September 25, 2015

7 Quick Takes Malia Edition

So, I'm not pregnant any more! shout that to the roof tops and back again! The last few weeks were rough, the last week in particular, insanely trying.  Two hospitalizations for severe dehydration, back pain, zero sleep, etc...  I was so sick in those last few days I even ended up with an emergency call to the hospital at 4:00 am telling the ob on the line that somethin' wasn't right.  In the end?  Totally and completely worth it- as we knew it would be.
Meeting our sweet Malia for the first time
So very thankful for an amazing team of doctors and nurses who were in the operating room with us.  The anxiety of going into one's fourth c-section is hard to put into words.  The night before, due to hydration issues, I was admitted into the hospital.  This ended up being the greatest blessing in the world because as one nurse put it, I was so dehydrated from a week's worth of vomiting and barely keeping down food, that they wouldn't have been able to do the surgery- can.you.imagine?!?!  I was able to receive the Sacrament of Healing and get a really good night's sleep before surgery.  From the anesthesiologist, to the OR nurses, to my personal doctor (who is amaze-balls)... we felt and knew we were in such good hands.  It is also not lost on me that SO many people were praying for us, and I can't thank you enough for that.  It's funny, one nurse was right by my head, and I feel like her main job was to keep reminding me that any feeling I was getting was normal, things looked okay, and everything was going well.  Little Malia Paul (or should I say, 'not so little') was scrunched up in me real good, so it took a hot second to pull her out.  Of course, that was terrifying for her mother.  But, with the prayers I was able to remain semi calm (if semi calm is crying and begging Aaron to begin praying!).
First family selfie :)

You guys. I am obsessed with nurses.  I honestly think it's the most amazing profession in the world.  Those of you with hospital births (natural or c-sections) know all that nurses must contend with, we are in our most vulnerable state, and they meet us there.  We had such good nurses this time, it's hard to even write how lovely it was.  I missed my boys like crazy.  There was lots of drama on the childcare front due to a nasty flu hitting my parent's house.  Thankfully Aaron's parents were able to watch the boys the entire time (we owe them like whoa), but it still threw me off.  The nurses were so great about reminding this hormonal mom that everything was going to be okay, the boys were well looked after, and to enjoy this time with my sweet baby girl.   When the boys finally did come visit and it was time to leave, lil' A got a little emotional but was trying not to cry.  "Mommy, can't I just stay with you???"- That's what he said while burying his face in my arms.  You guys, I started to totally lose it, which would have been tragic all around.  But then...nurse KATE to the rescue, arriving just in the nick of time and bringing purple Popsicle and good cheer!  I was so very thankful.  Nurses, you rock and you don't get nearly the credit you deserve.

Om lowercase g you guys... I have four kids.  Four adorable, perfect, lovely, wonderful, children.  Four children who love each other and us.  Four kids.  FOUR.  And I was nervous about four.  Maybe it's too soon to call (it's def. too soon to call, Big A is still home) but honestly, pregnancy was so bad that recovery and having four children seems like a breeze.  I am SO tired (not sleeping for a week prior will do that to you), I can barely stay awake during feedings.  But, I keep telling people, it's not a bitter type of tired. I am so content in life.  My heart is content.  My soul is content. I can't believe this little family God has allowed us to create in the last five years.   It's enough to make me cry. So I do...all the time.
That would be four children- my favorite number
If there's anything cuter than a newborn baby girl in a huge bow and pink converse sneakers...I'm not sure I know what that could be.
I mean... come on!!!
There are two types of people in the world. Those that defy science and claim that babies are able to smile in the first few weeks of life as an expression of happiness and joy... and those who don't.  I am one who does.  Lil' A asks on the regular to take pictures with his baby sister Malia.  He is SO proud to be her brother- more than any of the other kids.  He loves her so much, which does this mama's heart good.  I went to snap this picture of them and Malia was smiling, she kept smiling, until he pulled away.  These two.  They will have something special in terms of a bond...you mark my words.

Still kind of mad at the pope for not Baptizing Malia this weekend... but in my attempt to get over it, I have been blessed by being able to stay in bed and watch most of the coverage.  Ladies and gentleman, it has not been super easy to be a Catholic in recent times in this country.  Whether or not it's deserved, there is a perception my faith is a hateful religion, there is the lasting effect from the sex abuse crisis, and the current administration's constant attacks on Religious Freedom/Liberty... it just has seemed hard to be a person of faith, my faith in particular these last few years.  But, DAZZZZZZZANG- the Holy Father is making it okay again to claim being a Catholic as a faith that shows people Christ. I was beside myself the other night when I heard Anderson Cooper (incidentally my best friend Andy Cohen's best friend) positively giddy over seeing Pope Francis arrive in NYC.  God is good and it's so nice to see people celebrating truth, beauty and goodness. And guess what?!?!?!  I have a front row seat, from my ipad, in my bed where I have spent most of the week :)

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/


Friday, September 11, 2015

7 Quick Takes brought to you by me

So yesterday one of my girlfriends asked, 'Can we stop by tomorrow around 10:30 for a quick drop off/pick up, visit?'. And I was like,' sure'.  Then, I realized lil' A is now in school, which means everyday at 8:00-8:30 am and 10:45-11:15 am, we've got somewhere to be.  Man, that's gonna take a commitment.

At this time, next week, I'll be in the hospital beginning the final preparations for meeting our little girl (assuming I don't go before which I TOTALLY wouldn't mind).  Excited? me?  HECK YES.

For those of you who have been praying for a little relief for me physically towards the end.  thank you! thank you! thank you!  Just in time, last night, I was able to sleep 7 or 8 straight hours.  Now, pregnant moms, you know what that means, I still got up every hour on the hour to use the restroom (#hugebaby) but I was able to go back to sleep within 5-10 minutes, which basically has not happened this week.  PRAISE you JESUS I feel like a new woman.  I was even able to smile when John Paul creeped into our bedroom at 5:00 am. It's his birthday so I wasn't even mad at him.  Well, maybe just a little ;)

Tomorrow- all day Confirmation retreat with 110 teens. Thank God for my ministry partner, who, like it or not will pull most of the weight- BUT, please for the love, remind me if this ever happens again to not accept any retreats 1 week away from delivery :)  That said, it's a great parish, with great kids, so I am sure I will survive.  AND, for this birth I was really smart and turned down every talk/presentation until November... to give myself and the family some real time to recover.

You guys. I can't figure out how to comment back to comments which is very stressful in terms of blogging.  Occasionally, I head to the person's blog and comment on their blogs to respond back to their comments....but I'm sad I can't just comment back to comments right here. Who has a link  or something that allows me to install a proper comment box?

I can't believe the Pope is gonna be on US soil and I can't go see him.  Still bumming about it. Thank God we got the way too big TV my husband insisted on- I'm just gonna pretend I am there.

I'm really large.  My baby belly is huge. It's normal. It's measuring four centimeter off dates and I can barely drive because of the steering wheel situation. I have a feeling this gal is gonna be HUGE.  That said, she moves more than any baby I have ever had- full and complete belly gymnastics... so maybe I am wrong.  We shall soon see.

That's it for me at 6:01 am.

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/


Thursday, September 10, 2015

On first days, baby girls and prayer askin'

Today was Aaron's first day of pre-k. I never thought I'd be a pre-k type of parent, but honestly, he thrives on learning... and I'm not much of a teacher :)  I also ALWAYS thought I would be the type of parent that sobbed on the first day, leaving my baby boy and all that good stuff.  I can cry at anything these days.  But seeing his excitement, I only had a second of a sentimental moment that was not accompanied by any salt water.  You guys, he ran right into the classroom, not a glance back.  He couldn't wait to tell me everything about his class and I am so very happy for him.  School is going to be a bit of a challenge in terms of adding a commitment into our daily living, but it's gonna be so worth it, I'm sure.  Here's a picture.

Sentimental mama alert- same school I went to as a wee one
So, the hospital just called to register me for the cesarean section next week.  The end is in sight.  I can't decide what I hate more, the beginning or the end of pregnancy. I'm at the end, so probably that.  I did one of those emergency texts to my sisters last night "you have to pray because I think I'm actually going to lose it"-  I am certain life will be easier for me once she is here.  In the meantime, my back is like 'whoa', I can't sleep, not sleeping induces much daily vomiting (too much?), it's just really the pits.  Tag that to having to care for three small children, boys even, and I am definitely  hitting some lows during the day.  Trying to remember to pray, offer it up, feel thankful because every second of this will be worth it.  But I'm just being real with ya'll... it's hard.

Some people really hate that we are naming our girl with the middle name of "Paul".  They are desperately trying to get us to feminize it.  It's not gonna happen. I can't wait for her to tell people why her name is Paul, and who St. Paul (...not official Church teaching.. YET!) is/was.  I'm also pretty pumped for her to marry Paul Blaze in a couple decades- it's all gonna be pretty perfect.

And, to wrap up this wrap up.  Would you guys pray everything goes well next week?  Add me to prayer lists, say some masses, whatever you can spare.  With every surgery I get nervous, but this being #4- and having some scary moments with #3- I'm just nervous as can be.  I have asked for your prayers before when it comes to these surgeries and they have always made a significant difference.  I'm looking for prayers of a skilled surgical team, but also, prayers for calm.  Having such major surgery, it's very possible to be so worried, I miss the coolness of bringing a kid into the air. It's particularly terrifying directly before, so prayers for those moments would be great. I know there is a lot to pray for in the world, and I do appreciate any you can spare.

I can't wait to introduce you to our baby girl, I can't wait to hold her in my arms.  I can't wait for my spa (um, hospital) vacation...

Happy Thursday :)

Friday, September 4, 2015

7 Quick Takes- at least every other is nice...

Let's get right into it, shall we?  Fair warning, we are gonna go intense and then pleasant... back and forth throughout these takes.  If I annoy you when I talk 'on the real' you might just want to read 2, 4, and 6.  You've been warned.

I think it's important.  I may have written this before, but I am really sick of people acting like to promote/discuss/encourage modesty is some type of play into the 'rape culture'.  I'm gonna keep this ambiguous enough, but I was at this thing, with lots of young people and I was SHOCKED at the outfits girls were wearing. I am telling you, shorts that are JUST above the ol' butt cheeks- if even.  And it appeared this was just a regular, normal thing.  And these shirts, with the back cut out, so you can be edgy and show everyone your bra or back... it's weird.  You can probably guess this as well, but I always see these things at Church events/activities.  Hey parents, it's okay to tell your daughters to put clothes on when they are out in public.  I'm just sayin' 

Go Blue!
I was seriously crushed last night when Michigan lost :(
BUT, the fun was we let the boys stay up.  Well, I shouldn't lie, it was fun for about a half hour...but then, I wanted to watch the game and my kids are little and they started to annoy me.  However, all day the boys were so excited about game day and they were beyond excited about their 'snack tray' I made (thanks team facebook).  Good times and family memories.  Oh, but let's not do kick-off games at 8:30pm on a school night again... that part was NOT pleasant this morning.
you should really click on this picture so you can fully appreciate me Suzy homemaker abilities.  Off the charts.

Just like I am in complete denial that anyone actually WANTS to, or is GOING to vote for Trump (I think it's a media invented hype)- I HAVE to believe that the majority of Americans really understand why it's not okay to ask my teenage daughter to get dressed in a locker room with a person who biologically is a young man, but believes they were born a woman.  Like, we haven't really lost our minds as a society, have we?  I get the extremists are alive and well (in the case of trump and this case) but the majority of us do agree it's ridiculous to ask my daughter to share an intimate place of often nakedness with someone who has a penis, right?  I get compassion, I get trying to figure these things out for kids who are walking through life feeling different- but we can all agree this bathroom and locker room thing is insanity right?  Please tell me I am right.

I'm gonna pack my hospital bag and Malia's bag this weekend.  I am excited to do both.  It's an exciting time.  Oh, but you wanna know what is most exciting?  I have purchased her most expensive item, and I am not even ashamed about it.  Pink, adorable converse sneakers.  Lemme just tell you, her 'coming home' outfit is going to be about the cutest thing you have ever seen... you've been warned.

Social Media is hard for me.  Really hard for me lately. I think I'm on it too much (shocking) but part of the reason I think that is because I am totally on information overload.  And part of the information overload is the knowledge of sheer awful in the world.  From moral awful, to crazy people, to weird a$$ ideas that have taken over...to way more serious things, like Planned Parenthood being totally busted for their evil and no one really caring.  It's a lot.

But it hit a high point for me this weekend.  With the refugee situation in Syria. I  have been keeping an eye on it for awhile, but then, like so many of you, I was horrified with the story of the sweet baby boy who drowned.  I have linked the picture, but I do not suggest looking at it unless you are emotionally ready, and you may never be emotionally ready.

I have talked to three people this week about the Syrian situation and I have said, 'have you heard about the insanity of this refugee situation???'.  All three of them have made reference to the fact that they actually 'have a job' (you know who you are, and I still love you) and don't have time to read the news all day or be on social media all day to stay up with these things.  Several people have remarked this is why they don't go on social media, they don't want to know things like this.


I don't know the solution to this all. And I agree that the constant overload of awful can't be good for me... but the solution?  To just choose to stay ignorant?  In a time when we can be more informed than ever?  And yet it's hard to be informed, because the news is so swayed it's almost impossible to find a reliable source?    I just don't know.
But I do know there was a period, a loooong period in history when we couldn't know these things, because we didn't have access to them.  But now, we CAN know them because we DO have access to them... so what are we to do?
Maybe just pray, during this season of my life, but man, that seems like such a cop out.
Anyway, I am not saying anything profound here.
It's just thoughts I have.
I probably had one of the roughest nights in my pregnancy last night (after the wolverines lost).  Back pain so I could barely walk, up every half hour (no joke) to use the bathroom with that back pain, a killer head ache, contractions that had me thinking it was time, etc... At the first kid's cry of 5:30- my whole soul screamed that I can't believe I have to do a day with three little ones who are, um, needy.
But then Aaron said, 'Mary, the offices close at 3:00 pm today'.  The heavens have parted and I will be okay.  Thank you Jesus.

So, the Jehovah's Witnesses done TICKED me off this week.  We get lots of door to door people and I know I am on some type of target list because I am a stay at home mom (the white van in the driveway gives me away).  Whenever 'they' come to the door I try really hard to be polite. I take their tracks, I listen to them, I thank them and then I close the door. Part of me really admires what they do.  But I have started noticing, they are doing it more often.  Two weeks ago, they parked across the street from my house and rang the doorbell.  I did the stop, drop and roll move that only stay at home moms are familiar with to pretend we weren't home.  It took an awkwardly long time for them to leave, but then they eventually did.

However, this Monday, man oh man, they took it too far.  They parked in FRONT of my house, like we are besties.  They waited until they saw me in the window and then approached the house. I had just put the boys to bed (thanks for waking them up JWs) and I decided enough was enough.  I opened the door before they even got there and said, "Can I help you?".  It's the same couple that has come to my house for months.  They started referencing my past kindness (GET me started) and I cut them off...
"Listen, I am really pregnant right now and I don't want to use naptime talking to you"
"Oh, how lovely, when are you due"

"yea, so I don't have time to talk right now and I don't want to use naptime talking to people"
"We just have a three minute video we would like to show you!"
At this point, I am almost shaking mad.

"Listen, I am going to level with you, I work for the Catholic Church and I try to be nice but we are already a convicted household of faith and nothing you are going to say is going to change my mind"

They had shocked faces and they were like, "okay God bless" then got in their car and pulled away.  And of course, I felt terrible, for hours.

Until one of my good friends said, "Mary, we are friends and if I showed up at your house at 1:00 pm unannounced and asked you to watch a three minute video, you'd probably tell me off"-

Man, they made me mad.

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/


Friday, August 28, 2015

Talking Pre-K, Voris, Dream Houses and Baby Girl

We had pre-k orientation for parents this week.  We had a small list of schools supplies to bring in, seven things to be exact. I forgot 2 after checking the list like, six  hundred times.  If this is indicative of how the year is gonna- nothing but trouble that's for sure.

For those of you who have been following my saga regarding picking up lil' Aaron from school everyday and having to walk in the building with three kids, including a newborn...guess what!?!?!  They changed the rules this year!  The teacher will be walking the kids directly out to cars where parents should be standing waiting...um, talk about do-able.
Jesus loves me. And proves it through easy pick-ups from Pre-K

Has anyone seen the movie "The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood"?  There's this scene, with a mom, right before she has a bit of a mental breakdown and has to be sent to a hospital.  The scene had to do with all her babies being sick, and the sick being all over her house and her inability to hang with what was happening (rightly so).  Watching it several years ago, way before kids, I was like, 'That would never happen'.
Lemme just tell you, the amount of human waste this pregnant mama dealt with in a 12-ish hour period due to a stomach bug in our house yesterday, is hard to put into words.  BUT, I asked for prayers for grace and grace was given.  Until 4:30 pm that is, when I text my husband at work and said, 'you have to come home RIGHT NOW'-  We survived though, and weirdly enough, I kind of felt like a rockstar, a life conqueror, and a kick a$$ mother, moving from kid to kid.  My how things have changed around here.

That shooting of those reporters? We hear horrible things everyday right?  But this one, man it got to me. I actually had to pull my car off the road and just sit for a minute in prayer.  As the days have developed I have had lots of thoughts on it... a lot of them divisive in nature.  I'm not gonna share those thoughts, but I am gonna share that I am thinking them.

My husband found me my dream house.  Like, my actual dream house (except for the creepy basement).  The problem is it is 450 k above our budget.  Does anyone wanna write us a check for $450,000 so we can afford it?  No?  Just checking...
I got some Catholic nerd talk coming straight at ya...it'll probably only make sense to Catholic nerds
Michael Voris is at it again, and thankful, Archbishop Chaput (one of my very favs) is like,'yea, just staaaaaaaaap it'.  

But here's the thing. I see people criticize him/Church Militant all the time, but then, the next day, post an article or blog they happen to agree with from Church Militant.
Friends- I don't think we should do that anymore.  It brings relevance to Voris' anti-Catholic ministry...and I think we should stop giving it the time of day.  Okay?  Thanks.

Three more weeks people- at this time, in three weeks (assuming we get there) I'll be greeting my baby girl for the first time. Can I tell you something I realized?  I think this time around, what I am most excited about (besides drinking bud light again, duh), is seeing Aaron meet his daughter. I cannot wait for that moment.  I really can't.

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/


Friday, August 21, 2015

Cleaning, Josh Duggar and Advice Needed...all the Quick Takes!

Cleaning the house...
We did it last weekend. For two straight days. My bedroom is probably cleaner than it's ever been.  The boys are all in one room (not gonna lie though, John Paul only lasted one night in the 'big boy bed' with his brothers).  Malia's Nursery is done except for the bassinet and glider which will be assembled this weekend.  The playroom/basement is cleansed and re-cleaned as of this a.m.  and the kitchen, family room and bathroom have all gotten a proper sprucing.  Here's the deal- I am discovering when my house is clean I am a better wife, mother, and human being in general.  The peace that comes from not living in chaos really does a number (in a good way) on my soul.
Malia Paul's Room
The boys room thanks to Papa and Big A
Speaking of cleaning house...
This week I got myself a babysitter and drove to the Solanus Casey Center (shout out) which has the Sacrament of Reconciliation pretty much every hour on the hour during the day. I got my soul cleansed, had some time for quiet prayer, and drove home.  Lemme just tell you somethin' my friends (Catholic and non- Catholics alike) if there's anything better than driving down the ol' highway, praise music blasting, knowing that if I crashed I might not go to heaven, but I am sure as heck not goin' to hell.... I just don't know what that is.

Speaking of clean house and clean soul...
I am starting to make peace with something.  I am ALWAYS going to be cleaning, organizing, washing, cleaning more, organizing, washing, cleaning, etc... for the next couple of years. I know as the boys get older, they will be helping more (they are already helping a bunch), and it will get easier.  But, I also think it's essential for my attitude on the regular, that I realize a huge part of my vocation is house-care and people-care.  It's not gonna change, so it is time to accept it.

So, I mean, you knew I was going to throw in my opinion of Joshua Duggar right?
I remember, years ago, sitting at Saint John Neumann, where I worked during Mass.  And Saint John Neumann has these huge modern screens (part of the reason my dad considers it penance to attend Mass there)---I was looking at those screens and wondered the level of scandal that would occur if some of my sins (the way I talked, the way I drank, the way I smoked, etc...) were to all of a sudden be displayed on those big screens. I remember thinking people at the Parish would be shocked by the amount of sinfulness I possessed in my heart.  I was horrified.  Then I prayed with why people's opinions of me would bother me more than God's knowledge of my sinfulness.  Because, to be honest, it would.

I'm not excusing anything he did.  I pray for his family.  What I'm thinking though is that life is really REALLY intense when one decides to make themselves a public witness for the faith (whether through ministry or through celebrity).  And we all need to be aware of what that means, even those of us in the blogging world.  We need to pray to avoid temptation whenever possible.  Because the devil delights in sin, but I think in a particular way, he delights in a public hypocrite.  That millstone around the necks of those who lead people astray is an intense image of just how damaging it can be.  That's all Imma say about that.

Lil A is starting school in three weeks!  I am so excited for him, he will LOVE it. I am so nervous for me, having to be somewhere twice a day is going to be insane in the fall with this house full of little ones.  Having to WALK INTO THE SCHOOL to pick him up with a 3 year old, 2 year old and newborn is going to be impossible (but I am problem solving that- fear not)...but I am SO excited for him.

Um so fall is around the corner for me.  That means a baby (what, what), The Walking Dead, Michigan Football (and season tickets because I'm fancy like that), cooler weather, sweaters, overalls, oh my!!! I love Fall so much... bring it.
Michigan Football Tickets

The ol' fourth c-section is four weeks away.  I know I have a few friends who do the multiple c-section thing.  I would really like recovery to go as easy as possible this time.  Though I think I have a better handle than I did four years ago- I'm into hearing your advice...What are something you do to make your recovery as smooth as baby's behind?

I read this article about handling postpartum like a boss, and I plan on following almost all of her advice... 

 But I am all ear for more advice, maybe even particularly from those of you who have had multiple c-sections (what have you learned that works well) OR that bring a newborn home to a house full of little people....
So, give me some.

That's it for me.  Check out more Quick Takes at http://thisaintthelyceum.org/


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

They always WANT something...

I've got so many things I want to blog about... and just can't seem to find the time to do it.  You know the drill...
So for today, I'm just gonna write about a quick reflection I had this morning.  Because I want to hold on to it.

Big A wakes up with the kids 99.9 % of the time, especially during pregnancy.  Sleep at night is difficult for me, and comes ridiculously easily to him (bitter?  nah...only, totally).  Anyway, by the time I wake up the boys have usually been with him in the family room quietly watching a show or playing for about a half hour.  The minute I open the door to my bedroom though, all hell-o breaks out.

They always scream MOOMMMMMMMMMMMMY and then they run up to give me individual hugs.   I usually stumble to the bathroom and shut the door with at least one of them crying outside of it to get in.  When I open the bathroom door again, there they are telling me how they slept, asking me how I slept, and beginning their litany of requests (so.many.requests).

No matter how hard I try to not let it bug me, it's a REALLY intense way to wake up every.single.day. with three little ones immediately on you, asking for things, demanding things, etc... although they are cute... whew, it's A LOT.

But this morning, before I opened the door to my room, I took a deep breath and I thought about something I read on "thefacebook" a few weeks ago about mothering young ones.

I don't remember the exact quote, but what I took from it is that at this point in my life, I will be loved with more expression than any other point in my life.

It's true. My boys love me big.  They always want to be near me, to show me things, to get my approval. I am told I am loved seven thousand times a day by them, and have enough sloppy kisses and clingy hugs to last me a lifetime.

But the thing is, this won't last a lifetime.

There will be some day when I desperately want to hold and cuddle one of these little boys, but they will be big boys, out the door.  There will be one day, probably soon, when I wake up after or before them (most likely before them) and I will have to remind them to say "good morning" and give me a hug because that won't be the first thing they are thinking about.

And so, with that knowledge, I am going to try to approach the morning of needs/wants and cuddles with a more patient, loving, heart.  With a grateful heart, aware of the tremendous blessing of having these three little men who think I am the bee's knees and can't wait until I wake up to hold and snuggle them.