Thursday, April 17, 2014

Little bit of adventure, little bit of prudence

Seriously! I went to school there.
Did I ever tell you about the prank our college class played while studying in Austria for the semester?  Prank is too mellow of a word, it was actually this stunt that ended up being a really bad idea.  Several kids decided they would ‘borrow’ (steal) a horse from a local field and put it in our main classroom overnight.    When students/staff walked into class the next day, they got the surprise of their life.  Sound funny?  It pretty much was.  But, it was also a really bad idea.  The classroom was on the second level of this monastery.  Horses can apparently walk up stairs just fine, but down is not a possibility.  The horse had to be tranquilized and walked through the halls and out a window.  It was pretty cruel to the horse and the owner of the animal was furious.  As administration tried to figure out who did it (sorry Mr. Seidel), several good friends got ‘caught’ breaking some rules and were threatened with expulsion.  The whole thing kind of ended up being a cluster.  And, I’m pretty sure the culprits were never found out.  Wanna hear something?  I was invited to take part in the prank.  I went so far as to begin walking with the students to find out more and join them in the shenanigans with my friend Kellie.  BUT, something stopped me.  I turned to Kellie and said, ‘There is no way if we participate we are going to get away with it, and it doesn’t feel right’.  We turned around and went to bed instead.  Best.Decision.Ever. I know I would not have been able to handle the pressure. I would have turned myself in and it would have had drastic implications to my illustrious academic career.  I am so glad I exercised prudence and caution in that moment.
Photo By Robert Pernett
That's us! At the Grand Canyon
Did I ever tell you about the time I drove to the Grand Canyon in the back of a pickup truck with five other people...in a weekend?  In college, we were pretty known for spontaneous trips.  My good buddy Jay and I joked with our parents that we needed something to top our crazy trip to Niagra Falls.  My dad said (in Jest) “next thing we know you guys will be driving to the Grand Canyon”!  Well, we thought that was an awesome idea.  Gathering a few people and being led by the adventurous Paul Coakley, we all hopped in his pick up truck and drove across country one weekend to see the Grand Canyon.  We drove through the night.  We ran out of gas, had our brakes go out, had several flat tires (including one so shredded it's amazing we didn't crash), and ate donuts that tasted strangely like the gasoline we dumped on them.  It was an incredible trip.  We made to the Canyon in the morning and spent 12 wonderful hours exploring.  We found a little chapel that miraculously happened to have a priest to say a private Mass for us.  We laughed and felt so alive.  I cannot tell you how awesome the high of driving back to campus was, in the middle of the night, speakers blasting our theme song, ‘Ride on Josephine’ (the name of Paul’s truck).  It was a CRAZY A$$ thing to do, looking back on it now, but I am SO glad we did it.  The memories we created that weekend were some of the most exciting and fun memories I have from college.  I am so glad I, along with five other people, threw caution to the wind and lived in the moment.

Why am I telling you this?  It’s because of an experience we had a few nights ago.  I took the boys and met Aaron after work at one of our local malls to see the Easter Bunny and eat some dinner.  There were those silly little rides that cost $1 and make children happy.  Normally, we are too cheap to put in the coins and our boys just play in them, but this time, my frugal husband splurged big time and actually brought the rides to life.  It was FASCINATING watching my children.
As they become older, their personalities are beginning to show.  

Joey throwing himself a party on one of the rides
Joey is our character.  He is up for adventure.  He is a goofball- he makes people smile and loves to know he is doing so.  He is also reckless.  He’s the one who climbs on things when he shouldn't.  he other day, I came into the kitchen and found he had crawled out of his highchair, on to the tray and over to the kitchen table.  He was sitting, cross-legged throwing things off.  That’s my Joey.  Caution to the wind, and you could tell with these rides.  He was touching all the buttons, getting up from his seat, not at all concerned in the slightest that these rides were moving.  Even the helicopter, rising six feet into the air didn't faze him for a moment.  He’s crazy and he is careless and it makes me both proud and nervous.

Lil’ Aaron, he is different.  He is always up for a good time, but he is deeply aware of his surroundings.  He checks things out first..assesses the situation.  He is by no means a scared little kid, but he uses caution. I am so proud of him, because I can tell when he is challenging himself to do things he is afraid of.  And he never quite says he is scared, or nervous.  His back goes stiff, his eyes start darting and become really wide. 

Note the body language and facial expressions
While Joey ran to the helicopter and couldn't wait to ride it, Lil’ Aaron was suggesting other rides, begrudgingly heading over only when it was obvious he couldn't get out of it.  As the helicopter rose up, he stood straight as a statue, not moving and not smiling.  He didn't hate it, he didn't refuse to ride it, but you could tell he understood danger was involved.  When the ride was over he couldn't wait to get off, but he waited until it ‘touched down’ and stopped completely.  Meanwhile, Joseph was off of his seat before the ride stopped, ready to move on to the next adventure.

And I love them both for it.

Today, while driving to MOPS, I overheard lil’ Aaron say to Joseph, ‘Josey’ (that’s what I call him), ‘I love you SO MUCH’.  And my heart pretty much stopped.

I am SO glad these two have the gift of each other.  I hope as they grow up, Joey pushes lil’ Aaron to do some prudently reckless stuff. I hope they get into just enough trouble to have memories of adventures that will last them a lifetime. I hope Joey gets that twinkle in his eye from time to time, and lil’ Aaron allows himself to let down his guard with his best friend.  But I also pray that Lil’ Aaron leads his brother with good choices.  I pray he keeps Joey out of trouble when he is not properly processing risk.  I pray Aaron is able to caution Joey when they are taking risks that shouldn't be taken, and protects him when he wants to go too far.

I have said many, many times that having the two (three) boys so close in age is REALLY difficult.  So difficult, that at times, I feel like the last three years have been nothing but a whirlwind.  But then I see them, and I watch their personalities emerge… and I know the gift we have given them by giving them each other.  And I pray, so very hard, that they will always ALWAYS look out for one another and be strength for one another when needed. 

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Oh, and John Paul too. But we don’t know what his personality will look like yet!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On the Redefinition of marriage

This is one of them ones where I am going to have an opinion on things that hit pretty close to home for people. Read with caution, or skip.  If you decide to comment…as they say, ‘keep it classy!’

Last week Aaron and I got in a pretty gross fight. Truth be told, it's been a tough couple months. The cold and the snow have trapped me indoors, making me less than the happy spouse Aaron signed on to marry. I've been feeling like I could use a little more hand holding and nice words. He has been feeling like he could use a little more respect and honor. We've been missing each other a bit. But last week, after a pretty big fight, Aaron said it. Something I didn’t think he’d ever say.

"I don't know how much more I can take of this"

That was big, it cut deep. "What's that supposed to mean?" I yelled. We didn't speak the rest of the night. He left the next day in silence. In midmorning I called him and asked if he could come home at lunch, so we could talk. While the boys played on the floor we had a healing conversation. "You can never say things like that Aaron", I told him, and “you can never threaten to be done.” He reminded me I say things like that all the time! "It's different, you are my husband, we have three kids, being done can't even be an option!” I cried, a bit hysterical. Even though Aaron was sweet and understanding- there was a smile behind his eyes. "I wasn't talking about leaving you; I was done with you in the moment". I calmed down and remembered Aaron and I are in it for the long haul. It's going to take more than some hard times and a couple fights to break up our promise. We both fully understood on the day we were married what our covenant meant. Unlike most couples, we knew we weren't marrying each other's personality or physical characteristics.  On the day we were married, we committed to choosing the whole of each other for the good of each other with the possibility of children. Our marriage has not been redefined. Difficult? Yes. More challenging than we ever imaged? Yes. Re-definded? No.

I was watching "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" a few months back (because clearly, I only view quality television). The main couple, Bruce and Kris Jenner, announced their separation to their children.  One of the kids, Kim (of the infamous sex tape, with two, maybe three marriages already under her belt) stated her support, “We want you to be happy, and if you are not happy in your marriage, we support you leaving it”- The Kardashians, they have bought the redefinition of marriage.

A couple weeks ago, many of you read when Gwyneth Paltrow announced her separation from Chris Martin after more than a decade of marriage.  She didn’t call it separation though, or even divorce.  As I am sure you have heard by now, she called it a, ‘conscienceuncoupling’.  But wait, it gets better.  She went on to explain that marriage is kind of a stale institution.  SURE, it might have worked when people died at earlier ages, but now that we live so long, HECK!  It’s unnatural to spend 50-60 years with the same person.  My friend ERIN wrote a good piece on this.  Gwen and Chris, they've bought the redefinition of marriage.

A blog I read, but I don’t really love (do you ever do that? Don’t say mine!) had a piece on the process of ending relationships in a good way, with as little damage as possible.   The piece was fascinating, you can judge for yourself, but what shocked me was her assertion that successful couples are rare.  Those who choose to stay together, even when things aren’t awesome, do so out of denial of their best self, their truth, etc… They do  so because they are scared, or weak.  They do so when they shouldn’t.  Her piece was so matter of fact.  She bought the redefinition of marriage. 

Lots of my peers are reaching that 7-10 year itch point. I was talking with a good friend who told me that most of the couples, MOST of the couples she knew who married around the same time as her/her spouse are now divorced.  There’s lots of reasons, but most often I hear,  ‘not happy’, ‘my spouse is not who I thought they were’, ‘we weren't in love'.  You see, we are buying the redefinition of marriage. Regularly.

So much so, that I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say marriage was redefined radically and profoundly a very long time ago.  When happiness became the end goal, artificial birth control the norm, and no-fault divorce an easy out…THAT is when marriage was redefined.

And, it was a huge departure from historical norms. 

You know who I respect?  I respect couples who have stayed together.  Together when it sucked. Even for years and years of awful.  I respect the couples who have found their way back to each other through the battlefield they created in years of bad communication. I respect couples who have forgiven the unforgivable, held on, even if sometimes just barely, one finger on the ledge as the world tries to suck them down.  Those are the couples I need to make my example, not the ones who parade around in a cloud of emotional gush (And you know I love me some emotional gush)…because those are the couples who have not allowed marriage to be redefined.
And to those of us invested in the wider, ‘marriage fight’.  Who work to ensure the institution is protected from the so called evils that are after it.  I can’t be mad at you, I really can’t.  But, I must caution, we are talking to a generation, even generations, who have know idea what marriage is- so our words, they fall on deaf ears.  They do.not.make.sense.   

I guess I just think, most of the time, we are going about this all wrong. Instead of pointing out what authentic love is/is not….we let the misunderstanding guide the conversation.

I’m gonna try not do that anymore.
Oh, and to love my husband better.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A busy weekend and the life a complicated extrovert...

Holla! I am coming off the tails of a crazy busy but absolutely fantastic weekend.  Wanna hear about it?

Thursday night, as I said in the ol' Quick Takes, I was able to do a BOLD MINISTRIES presentation on Social Media to parents of Spirtus Sanctus Academy, which is the school run by the famous order, 'Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist'.  If you don't know, they are pretty much awesome.  And the presentation went crazy awesome.  Like emails and phone calls the next day awesome.  So, that was fantastic.  BUT, I didn't get home till 9:30 pm, had to do some quick cleaning and rally the house together for fancy Friday.

I've told you guys last year I was honored to be asked to sit on a committee for the New Evangelization Initiative in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  It was a room full of ridiculous fancy where "one of these things was CLEARLY not like the others". It ended up being a really great experience in my life and was a launching point for the continuation of this work into these next coming years.  Lil' ol' me was asked to lead a team of people, to join four other teams, to be under the leadership of a central leadership team. So many words.  Anyway, we had our first meeting on Friday.  The Catholic Leadership Institute (this is all for Catholic nerds out there) came in to teach us how to understand ourselves and understand our goals to lay the groundwork of success for the next two years. I am going to tell you about those findings in a hot-second.  Unless you are bored silly- then you might want to stop reading.
I went and visited some good friends. One who is wrestling with some very real things and could use your prayers, BUT, I'm not going to give you any more detail than that.  DON'T YOU HATE WHEN PEOPLE DO THAT?   But if you could pray for a dear friend of mine, I will give you an internet high five.
Since I hadn't been at my house in 1.5 days, and prior to that I worked through a gross amount of food poisoning, but in three hours my sister was coming...I cleaned. For three hours. It was not awesome.
My sister showed up with her husband and four kids under four at 10:30 pm.  We woke all the kids up and let them play until 1:30 am.  You read that right.  We went to put them to bed, let's just say- they weren't so excited about that.  Up till 2:30 am (what am I, 19 again?) and kids calling for me at 6:30 am.

We got up wonderfully early to head down to Sacred Heart Seminary to see John Paul's godfather and one of our best friends be ordained a Transitional Deacon. It was lovely and inspiring.  He was fancy and happy.  The whole thing was really really special. I couldn't help but think of meeting Mario in Australia (formerly) in 2008.  Our lives crossing and our friendship developing. And, what God has done since then. I am now married with three children, he has since entered the seminary and seeing that vocation become clearer and clearer.  God is good folks- that's all you need to know about that.
the fam
He's very holy
We got home around noon thirty and had a delicious lunch and visit with the adults while the kids took (too short) naps.  After, we went across the street to a park.  There are a lot of things I like about where I live, a park across the street is perhaps one of the best things!
Super model WORK
the dads
This kid is so handsome

John Paul spiked a totally random and weird fever- so, although we were all suppose to go to my grandmother's 80th birthday celebration, we opted to leave Aaron home with the littles, my sister's husband home with his little kids.  Theresa (my sister) and I would take our oldest children!  You guys, it was awesome. A special little date.  We stopped first and watched major construction on one of our local highways.  They actually have the highway completely shut down and it is a feeder into Detroit City, so it is a huge bummer for Metro Detroit.  But, do you know who it is not a huge bummer for?  Three year old little boys.  Aaron was dying. I don't think he had ever seen something so cool.  The only thing that keeps him from nagging to go back was me telling him again and again that 'constructions are sleeping'. After that, we went to the party, right by train tracks and several trains went by.  The whole night was like a little boy's dream!  Fries, Chicken Fingers and Coke included.  After the party which included a lot of people seeing and hanging out, we did some more hanging out at my house...and then went to bed around 11:00 pm. I couldn't sleep between 3:45-5:45 am, which sucked at 6:30 am.
He couldn't even turn away to smile at the picture
We began our morning by heading over to my parents for the most impressive breakfast ever (everything you can think of...so good!).  We socialized with each other and then ran out to attend Mass.
Palm Sunday Mass, awesome, but not short. Lots of kids.  Pretty tired.
Sister left (so sad) husband and kids took a nap, I cleaned
We had to go see the Construction site again (I'm thinkin' it's going to be a VERY regular thing 'round these parts)
7:15 pm kids are in bed, watch some shark tank, hit up my 'hotlanta' girls and then collapse into bed.

The point of this post.
So, I wrote all that, just to tell you this. I have always always ALWAYS said I am a VERY complicated extrovert.  When people meet me, they are always like, 'oh, she is an extrovert, hands down'. On the  'DISC Assessment' people always  told me I would be an 'I' hands down down.  'I' people are extroverted and dominate.  In a lot of ways, I am like that. But I have always said, I am a complicated girl.
When people talk about extroverts and how they 'recharge' by being with people, it makes me shudder. 
I am a person that VERY much needs my alone time, my decompressing time, in order to be the fun-loving extrovert so many people have met/know.  This weekend did not call for a lot of downtime, so I am honestly mentally, physically and emotionally spent.  NOT Because it wasn't awesome, but because it took so much of my energy to go with no break.  With no down time. With no solo time.  

Anyway, I always tried to convince people of my complicated extrovertness...but guess what?!?!?!
That fancy meeting I did on Friday, where we learned about ourselves and how we relate to others...guesswhat?!?!?!  I am an 'Is".  Which means my primary functioning is definitely extroverted, but the 's' represents a personal movement on the introverted scale.  AND, there wasn't much difference between them. Which means, I am a complicated extrovert!

This entire post was to say..."SEE, I TOLD YOU SO!!!!"
Oh, annnnd- to let you know.....I am tired.


Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes in which I talk about anger and basements

--- 1 ---
Our basement is done!  Look, isn’t she pretty?

--- 2 ---
My sister Theresa is coming with her four children under four this weekend!  She is going to stay with us in our new fancy basement.  Our kids are like kindred spirits even though they have not had much time together.  It’s really weird how similar they are, like our boys do freaky things like line up cars and worship monster trucks…but, we've never taught them to.  It will be so much fun.
Theresa's super awesome kids!
--- 3 ---
As though that wasn’t wonderful enough, John Paul’s Godfather and one of my very best friends Mario is being ordained a Deacon tomorrow J  We can’t wait to celebrate with him and watch this powerful sacrament be a reality in his life.  So very exciting.
It was also his birthday yesterday and he loves blog shout outs...so, there you go!
--- 4 ---
People done ticked me off in social media this week.  You know what’s hard?  When people you have to see in real life write really offensive and awful things in the social media world.  Not like your typical political differences, or even more personal differences, but really offensive things.  Then you have to see them, and pretend they don’t do awful things, when really, they are pretty awful (no, Mary, they are not awful, their ACTIONS are awful…remember, remember, remember…).  Then I had to leave this group of very righteous Catholic women, because they decided homophobia was a really cool thing.   You know, using words like, ‘disgusting, unnatural, etc…’ and all in the name of the Catholic Church.  It made me sick. I’m still not over it.  BUT…wait for it, I need your advice.
--- 5 ---
And, in a related note, I continue to insist that being a Catholic who is attracted to the same sex is one of the very hardest things to be.   Our brothers and sisters face constant persecution, from both sides of the fence.  It’s a life of constant martyrdom and frankly, I’m not sure I could handle it.  
--- 6 ---
The ol’ husband and I got in a fight this week!  Did you miss hearing about our fights?  I was really  ticked off about the social media things I just told you about, and I used lots of bad words.  And he tried to encourage me not use foul language, which made me rage even harder, except this time at him.  The bummer of it all, was we were arguing on the way to check out lil’ A’s potential school- so then, I was so darn mad, I wouldn't even get out of the car (mature, right?).  

Anyway, during the make-up conversation, Aaron pointed out that I get REALLY mad about things that really don't affect me.  At first, I denied it, but when I thought about it, he is right. I get really mad about things going on the world, to the point where I can’t even discuss them, even with like-minded people. I get really mad when the people I know loosely do dumb things or say things. The thing is, I just get really mad.  And now, being so angry is starting to seep into our family life- which is no good.  Because…I want to be a jovial and fun wife/mom/friend, etc…but I am so darn angry all the time, it’s hard to do.  This got a little personal, hopefully it’s not awkward for you.  So, here’s my question, how do you balance righteous outrage about the things that happen in our world, friend circles, family, and so on…while still being a happy person?  And…go!  (I should note- part of the problem is I think I am joyful person to 99.9 % of people, so when I am filled with all the rage, it gets directly pointed at the people closest to me…my husband and children).
--- 7 ---
And, to end on a lighter note, I gave our presentation on Social Media to a local Catholic grade school, Spiritus Sanctus (the Sisters of Mary,  Mother of the Eucharist’s school…so I was pretty much presenting to celebrities and I must have said that like ten times during the presentation)…the presentation went really well.  After, I received an email from a very affirming parent. He said he was involved in computer engineering but still found the presentation informative and faith-building.  But, here’s what is cute.  The last part of the email was so sweet.  He asked if he could humbly make two corrections, one of them being that the ‘itouch’ is actually referred to as the ‘ipod touch’. I laughed so loud.  Through the whole presentation I was calling it an ‘itouch’.  I do that a lot, leave off essential parts of words when I am attempting to be ‘in the know’.  BUT, I own it, so that’s okay right?!?!  My poor children when they are teenagers!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, April 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes- Sass, babies and the Walking Dead

--- 1 ---
Funny story. And important lesson.  I gave our presentation titled 'Myth Busters- What Does the Church REALLY Teach about Homosexuality' this week. I need you to know, the feedback I get from this presentation is ridiculously awesome. Words like, 'healing' 'freeing' 'mind opening' etc... I don't say this to brag, I say this to show you how crazy I am.  So at the end of the presentation this week a woman comes up (who I am assuming will never read my blog) and basically says, "I didn't care about coming tonight, I am not gay and I don't know anyone who is gay, I just wanted to get out of the house; The presentation was awful; I hated your process and you could have accomplished the entire night in three sentences".  She then went on to tell me the three things she 'learned' and said everything else was a waste of time.  It was really uncomfortable and I could tell she wasn't in a good head-space.  First, don't worry about me, I can hold my own, I responded AWESOMELY and was like, "I love feedback, maybe I will start my presentation by saying those three things and then inviting everyone who feels that they know it all to get up and leave" (Can you believe I said that?!?!  I was being really sincere too, so she didn't know how to respond).  My greater point is, even knowing this woman probably wasn't angry about my presentation, and she was one voice out of all the voices who I know enjoyed the presentation...that was the voice I took home with me.  Isn't it funny how we let the negative seep in and brush off the positive?  Thankfully, the next day, the host parish called me and left a wonderful voice-message talking about the gift of the ministry and the fruit she was seeing already.  I decided to let those negative comments go and focus on how awesome the workshop went...clearly, writing about it in the quick takes three days later shows I was successful at that.
--- 2 ---
I gotta tell you, the article titled, 'I'm Done Making My Kids Childhood Magical' annoys me, and so do other articles like it.  The articles imploring parents to 'just stop'.  Stop with the pinterest.  Stop with the over-the-top holidays. Just stop. Lots of people are sharing these articles on the 'facebook' as a push back.  "ENOUGH ALREADY", we cry.  But, I call foul on that.  Here's the thing.  If a holiday is important to you- go for it.  Go all out.  As they say, "Do your thang shorty".  I promise I won't see it as a personal attack on me that you are good at creativity, projects, etc... And, when I want to go all out, even if it is something as stupid as "International Pancake Day"- how about you not freak the freak and act like I am doing something wrong? What's awesome about me taking issue with this is that I am the opposite of a 'pinterest mom'.  I am not super creative.  I am kind of lazy ;)  My kids rock at self-directed play.  I think the reason people are annoyed is they feel they can't measure up for their kids, when other parents are doing 'more'.  But guess what?  That doesn't mean other parents should stop.  Because you can't measure up or deal with the expectations of kids doesn't mean others should cater to you.  Here's an empowering word I wish more parents knew.  "NO".

Not, "Well sally's mom shouldn't celebrate Christmas with 'Elf on the Shelf' because we can't" or "Jimmy's family shouldn't have a leprechaun hiding shiznatch on St. Patrick's day because then I feel pressure".

How about instead we just tell our kids 'No'.  You know, like people used to.  Try this parents, I do it all the time, it's awesome.

"Sally is so freaking lucky, we don't do that in this house though, but we do other things"- me
"Well that's not FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"- KID
Brace yourself, get ready, deep breath...

Whew, I feel better.
I just think we, in our current society, always deal with things in really weird ways.  Attack the parents creating magic, rather than just letting your kid know that sometimes kids will get things/do things that will appear 'cooler' than what you get/do.  And that's A-OK
--- 3 ---
The following conversation actually occurred in my house last night...

"I'm dreading work tomorrow- we are launching a new product, so they are having a party catered and then we have to go to an afternoon of whirlyball"- Aaron
"Well you don't understand, they are going to get Thai food and I am not going to be able to eat it because it's Friday, in LENT!"- Aaron
"AND I don't even like whirlyball"- Aaron
...- me
Can you guys say a prayer for my husband?  His MEAN company is making him eat delicious food and play Whirlyball this afternoon?  Do you sense the injustice?

--- 4 ---
How many times can one mom of three boys go to the park on the first nice day in like, four months???
Three. the answer is three.

--- 5 ---
Remember how I haven't talked about the basement remodel in forever?  That's because our cars kept breaking, then some of our house broke, and we kept having to pay for things we didn't expect, so our basement sat like this...
Sad right?!?!
BUT...guess what?  Now it's almost done!  Today we get carpet and then it is complete.  Look at the color?  Isn't it fun. I really wrestled with going total neutral or putting a tint of color in it. I love me some light blue.  YAY!!!

--- 6 ---
So COLLEEN had her baby!  How excited are we for her!  Girlfriend was WAY overdue and I was stalking her blog like I ain't never stalked a blog before.  Declan...I know! Right? on the name.  Congrats blog buddy!  Oh, you thought that was all?  Nope.  Ready!?!?  My SIL, Jen just had her SIXTH BABY!  :)  Natalie Faustina.  She hasn't blogged about it yet, or I would link you to it.  And then, THEN, my SIL Paulette announced she is expecting her SEVENTH!?!?!  She doesn't have a blog, so I can't link you to one.  So many blessings all around.  It's been a good week.
--- 7 ---
And, of course, I know you wanted my Walking Dead thoughts...spoilers- stop reading if you care.
I am glad they didn't go any further with the Carl attack thing. Or I would have had to stop watching.
They are cannibals, it's not even a question in my head
I hope the next season isn't only them fighting the terminus people...because like, we know eventually they will win, so I don't like story-lines where I know the outcome.

That is all. Carry on.
And, check out more quick takes by following the link below.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes.

--- 1 ---
Aaron and I went to Washington DC last  year with the kids (2 of them walking around, one of them in utero).  Aaron remarked it would be fun to do a tour of the White House.  I said, ‘no thanks’.  Aaron then asked me if I would like to meet President Barack Obama.  And I said, ‘never’.  Really meaning those words. I would have no interest in meeting him. No interest in shaking his hand.  No interest in exchanging pleasantries.  At this time last year, if he walked up to me in the street- I would walk by him. No joke.  Then, I watched the footage of Pope Francis embracing and dialoguing with the President of the United States, and once again, through his actions, he was teaching, teaching me.  Hopefully, after that witness, if I ever met the POTUS, I’d invite him in for a coffee… I wouldn’t declare all the things he was doing wrong, but maybe I’d ask him how his family is doing. More than ever, I am being convicted that we change things by the way we witness a God who loves.  
--- 2 ---
I saw this meme this week. It taught me.

--- 3 ---
 I am an ‘official’ SAHM mom now.  What did it?  The staying home? The being puked on?  The regular schedule of household chores? Nope.  I made my very first batch of chocolate chip cookies with the boys from scratch. I know, I know, permanent rock star status.
ignore the creepy face
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So, remember when I wrote THIS BLOG about social media and young people?  How I plan to parent through it?  Well, a priest friend of mine posted THIS ARTICLE and got me freaking the freak right out.  You see, I am pretty darn positive that I will be able to navigate my kids through the digital highways in a healthy way. I’m so convicted that I spend a great deal of time presenting to teens/parents about how to properly use this tool.  But other kids???  Well that scares the smack out of me.  The kids my kids will run into/associate with/etc… kids a few years old who have been exposed to pornography in graphic ways.  I think, from working with teenagers in a ministry-type of way, I was already hyper paranoid about abuse of any kind. I constantly think of strategies  to  protect my children from predators (I know- but it’s true).  How the heck can I protect my kids from the danger of other kids?  How can I protect them from the innocence-shattering ways of technology that OTHER kids will expose them to?  No, seriously, I am asking…how?  Tell me; teach me, I am all ears.  
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You.guys. The Walking Dead. I am so nervous for Sunday night. Like whoa!  I have read some theories and some spoilers and lemme just say, if they go where I think they might go, I am just not sure I can handle it. I mean...look at RICK'S FACE?!?!?!?
--- 6 ---
In completely different news. The blender continues to change our lives.  Who knew how easy it'd be to get our kids to eat spinach? We have been doing a smoothie a day, and we do it in the afternoon...when everyone needs a pick me up.  Let's just say...game.changer.
--- 7 ---
Wanna see what Joy looks like?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's going by so so fast...help me remember

So, when I graduated from college, I came home to the street I grew up on being profoundly changed.

There was a tree infection so all the trees that stood in front of people’s houses were removed.  Because I have a tendency to be a bit of a drama queen (#truestory), I waxed all philosophical in my journal about the trees being taken down with no one asking me first…kind of like my childhood being stripped away before I even knew it (I know, I know, when my husband reads my journals out loud, I just about die of embarrassment).  

Anyway, it was a really sad moment in my life.  I didn’t like being a grown up all of a sudden, and, truth be told, I spent the better part of my early 20s fighting it.  My dad always said I was his child with the Peter-Pan complex, I wanted to stay young forever.  Not like, ‘young because I don’t want to look old’, but more like, ‘hot dang, life goes by so darn fast, you blink and it’s over’ type of thing.  

So, keeping that in mind, it’s no surprise watching my babies grow up has taken on a new twinge of sorrow.

Because it really is happening so fast.  On ‘the facebook’ I shared that we moved John Paul out of our room this weekend. He has done so well with the transition, and he is seven months old- so it makes sense.  His feet were starting to stick out of the end of the bassinet and it was bending at his weight (I don’t have small kids).  However, more than any other kid, I felt a real sadness at our seemingly empty bedroom.  We don’t think he will be our last baby, but there really are no guarantees.  Transitioning him was tough emotionally, because I was forced to face how quickly this is all going by.

It’s hard...our reality, harder than I can even describe to most people.  Having three babies, so close in age is something very few people in our society understand (I adore those of you that do).  It’s looney tunes, truly.  You really should have seen the fiasco that was Church on Sunday.  When we got in our van to drive home, Big Aaron and I just looked at each other because we couldn't believe what had just transpired.  When I tell you that my husband, on the way to receive Jesus was one handing the baby, whilst holding the oldest up by his overall straps…I am not exaggerating.  My gosh it is hard.

But it is so so awesome.  Being in the ‘thick of it’ is this unique experience of love and sacrifice that is hard to describe.  I get glimpses of the awesome when I watch the two oldest play together, or I watch lil’ Aaron talking softly to John Paul. I get glimpses of the awesome when I ask my husband if he is tired and his answer is, ‘always’ with a smile. I get glimpses of it when we wake up in the morning, dad gets donuts and I play with the kids quietly with the tv off.  There is a whole heck of a lot of awesome seen at my house on the regular.

And I don’t want to forget it…so, without further ado, here’s some things I don’t want to forget…

Dear God, help me remember..

…lil' Aaron sings, ‘twinkle twinkle little stars' not star, but stars.
...Joey says, ‘yes’ with kind of a roar, and always raises his hands, like he is ready for a major sporting event
...lil' Aaron asked to jump in joey's bed to kiss him goodnight
...I had to remind Joey to be gentle, because he squeezes too hard
...Joey drools so much we have to change shirts on the regular
...Lil' A always offers Joey the worst car when he is asked to share ;) and doesn't think we notice
...Lil' Aaron  always wants to lay right next to John Paul on the floor
...Lil' Aaron asks to be my baby, and when he does, always looks me so deeply in the eye
...Lil' Aaron  snuggles with his dad in bed, and they talk, and mom isn’t invited
...When my boys wake up, the first thing they do is say, 'Mommy'
...How lil' Aaron knows they watch a 'show first' 'then get up'
...Joey's clumsiness and the snuggles that come with each fall
...Joey's smile, the one that is big and toothy, and sometimes drooly
...The way Joey looks at his brother, eager to learn all he will teach
...The way Joey loves books and brings them to me all the time, but never has the patience to sit still 
...Joey's snuggles
...At Church, he said, ‘jesus hurt, that makes me sad’
...Joey won't watch a show on the ipad, unless he gets to push the buttons
...Joey runs from me, but laughs hysterically when I say bedtime
...The way Joey says, ‘fly mama’ again. And again. And again. Then I get annoyed, then I feel grateful :)
...Their giggles, oh God, their giggles. Thank you sweet Jesus for their giggles
...Lil Aaron says, ‘hold me’ when he is scared. Not when he wants to be held, but when he is scared
...the way lil' Aaron talks to himself when he plays, setting up monster truck tracks all over the family room
...The way they love their grandparents. Both sets. Equally. It stuns me.
...The way Lil' Aaron asks for a ‘special treat’
...The way John Paul laughs, have you ever seen a baby laugh like that.
...The way they stand on the couch and just WAIT for their dad to get home, and how, when we first bought this house, I thought about my children waiting for their dad to get home.
...When lil' Aaron says, ‘why you yelling mama, I don't understand’ and reminds me, so painfully, to stop yelling
...When we do animal sounds, and lil’ joey knows them so well, so early.
...When they want kisses, and snuggles
...How they love their baby brother, oh gosh, they love him
...The smell John Paul has in the middle of the night when I'm so tired- but the baby smells so good
...The way John Paul wont sleep in my arms, but rolls his eyes to the side when I lay him down
...The way John Paul swiftly tosses his head to find a comfortable spot
...How he is six months old. SIX MONTHS but I can’t bear him not being by my side
...The way my husband plays when he plays with our children
...Family trips and holding my husband's hand
...Teaching my boys to talk to Jesus quietly
...Blowing kisses to Jesus when we get to Church

Sometimes I am aware, it is all going by so fast, and I never want to forget this special time in our family's history.