LET LOVE BE SINCERE

LET LOVE BE SINCERE

Friday, February 5, 2016

Seven REALLY Quick Takes...



(one)
Bringin' back the ol' Quick Takes in an attempt to blog a bit more.  I have fifteen minutes...let's see what I can do.

(two)
Next Friday, I am taking all three boys on a special date to a 'Super Hero' dance.  Aaron got us tickets for Christmas. I am way more than way excited.

(three)
Someone..,maybe Jenny? suggested reading the bible (daily readings) on your phone before checking any other sites in the morning. I've been doing this and it's really great. It's wonderful to root my day in Scripture.  I haven't read the daily readings faithful in a loooooooooooong time.  It's good for the soul.  Also, I'm not a fan of King David. I'm not sure if I am allowed to write that, but it's true.  When we meet (if we meet in heaven) I'm gonna be like, 'dude! you were something else'- he will probably agree, and we will move on.

(four)
So, AnneMarie on her Blog mentioned book of letters between St. Theresa of the Little Flower's parents, now declared saints.  Saints that were married and raised a saint?  And their letters?  I am in.  The plan is to buy the book and use it through Lent with Aaron. We will read a letter thoughout the day and then discuss at night.  I've been looking for something cool to do during Lent and I think this will be it.

(five)
Malia is asleep in her swing. The swing that hasn't worked since we brought her home from the hospital so it's just kind of a seat.  Malia is awesome.

(six)
Um, so if I ever tell you I am going to an 'Open House' at my pre-k kid's school and bringing his brothers/sister... you have my permission to punch me in the face. Trying to keep the little boys from destroying lil' A's lovely classroom, while little A tried to excitedly show us all the neat things he does, was exasperating to say the least.  I left a sweaty, yelling mess.  And I kept talking about the boys 'atrocious' behavior at school.  It was NOT.GOOD.

(seven)
Confirmation Retreat at one of my favorite places (the Solanus Casey Center) on tap tomorrow!  Super Bowl party on Sunday.  Pizza Friday tonight... life is looking good.

It took me seven minutes to write these.  In case you were wondering.  Now, I have to add links, link up and share on facebook. FIFTEEN MINUTES?!?!?  We good. (I wonder how many grammatical errors there are).

Linking up with http://thisaintthelyceum.org/  for the quick takes.  Go check it out!  And have a great week.
  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

LIFE AS IT HAPPENS


Today, I am linking up with my SIL Jen's blog to share with you a little bit about my life... as it's happening :)

Things have been quiet around this blog for lots of reasons, some of which I'll tell you about below.  But then my good friend Mary posted on 'thefacebook' a comment about my Alma Mater, Franciscan University's alumni Magazine, 'Franciscan Way'  doing a feature on blogs and this little ol' blog was mentioned in the sidebar (that there was an INSANE sentence).  As you know, I like anything that makes me pretty much famous, and so I decided to dust this blog off and give er'body a five point update.

ONE.
Life is good. Really, really good. I wrote my Stay At Home Mom Lifehacks a few months ago. I have been sticking to them, and I feel more sane as a mother than ever before.  Life is still challenging with four people under the age of five, but I feel like it's manageable.  Part of keeping things really good is being realistic about what I can and can't do.  I took almost three full months off of speaking, which was actually awesome.  After John Paul, I really crammed my schedule, it made me resent the ministry, which is a recipe for disaster.  Having really good postpartum time with Malia was awesome.  It means I have cut back on a crud ton of stuff, almost all commitments, etc... but it's allowed us to really be at a good place as a family.  Learning my limits has been really good.

TWO.
After taking almost three months off of speaking, I am back in full force.  My calendar is jam packed (for a stay at home mom) with cool opportunities to evangelize.  My ministry partner and I revamped our Confirmation Retreat and we are  loving how young people are connecting with it and Christ.  I continue to expand the speaking ministry when it comes to young adults and women.  I'm excited to be presenting in the upcoming months to a group of priests of Polish descent (I know right?!?!) on Homosexuality;  Emceeing the Michigan Catholic Young Adult Conference; and offering several different reflections on the year of Mercy.  Perhaps the coolest thing, and the one that took the most discernment, is I will be traveling a bit in the upcoming months.  One thing locked down for sure is a presentation at St. Jude school in Peoria.  I get to fly on an areo-plane for that one!  Last year, I presented at Spiritus Sanctus run by the Oprah Nuns (they have a technical name, The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist).  One Oprah nun told another Oprah nun, who's the principal of the school- and the rest is history.  

I'm excited about the ministry opportunities being put in my path, but I would be lying if I told you there isn't a battle.  The vocation to my little home, and the call to ministry is sometimes confusing for me- but I am just praying about each request as it comes along.  If you wanted to pray for me as I discern those things, I wouldn't mind.

THREE.
The year of travel. Travel feeds my soul you guys, more than you can even imagine.  And, by some insane twist of fate, 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year of travel.  Are you ready? Hold on to your hats and I'll break it down for you.

Last month, I went to Nashville with my girlfriends to see Paul's wife and visit our dear friend's resting place. It was awesome, and beautiful, and sad, and healing. I had no idea how desperately I needed to grieve my friend with my college friends.  It was incredible.

On the horizon is Kentucky to visit my sisters in March, Disney in April (I KNOW!?!!?  I drank the koolaid and I can't stop #sorry #notsorry)), Minnesota in May/June, Myrtle Beach in July (family reunion), and then... wait for it...

POLAND IN OCTOBER.
I wrote about on thefacebook. Long story short, the husband came home with a flier and said, 'I think you and your mom should do this pilgrimage to Poland'. I cried and told him it was impractical.  I went to the information meeting, ran out in tears because (#firstworldproblems) it is apparent God is calling me on this trip, but I know that means leaving my children.  Going on a 10 day pilgrimage makes absolutely no sense in my current season of life.  But with the encouragement of my good friend Erin, it's obvious to me that God wants it- so I am going.
THEN.
We decided to knock off a bucket list item and hit up NYC at Christmas time. We have been talking/planning for years. We even planned to do it a few times and then canceled.  But this time?  It's happening!  We are booking tickets in a few days.  Dude. tickets are cheap right now- just fyi.

My soul's need to travel will be fed this year, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

FOUR.
I'm trying to be less controversial on the interwebs when it comes to faith and politics.  I am constantly asking myself what my motivation is for writing/posting... if it is not to calmly and rationally point out my 'view' in order to bring about greater understanding, for the most part, I'm staying away from it.  It's hard. I delete a lot of things.  People unfriended me because of my sassy posts, and although all the sass is sometimes necessary, being unfriended weirdly REALLY hurts my feelings (when it comes to family especially).  I used to be like, 'ha! screw them, they can't HANDLE the truth'- Now, I'm trying to be like, 'mercy and stuff'.  #workinprogress

FIVE.
Lil' A's open house is tonight! We are so happy with how his school is going, I am so happy someone else is taking care of early learning (SOOOOOOOOOOO not my gift).  Next year, we've decided to keep him in the school for Kindergarten and add Joey for 1/2 day pre-k.  Just today lil' A told me he is 'going to miss me' when he goes to kindergarten.  UGH. If that doesn't just crush a mom's heart.  But it's the right thing for our family next year, we think.  HA! Who knows, we've got some time for God to change our minds on that, but that's the story I am sticking to.

And those are five things.
Five things telling you about my life as it's happening!  

Hope things are well, I've missed you and I am ready to begin virtual dialogue through this forum once again!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

That time I was kind of proud of my kid...

... for doing something he shouldn't have.

Today the boys and Malia were all playing downstairs. Mia was next to me, and Joey (our middle son) was goofing with her.  All of a sudden, she started screaming, Joey obviously hurt her. In a stern, and perhaps too loud voice I said, "JOEY  WHAT DID YOU DO???"  He said he, "Scratched Mia's arm".

As I was yelling (ahem, calmly disciplining) the other two boys ran up to see why their baby sister was crying.

"JOEY GET IN TIME OUT RIGHT NOW"- I said in the perfect whisper discipline voice (we can change things around to look prettier on blogs right?).

Joey was crying and began to walk to time out.

John Paul (our youngest) said, "Joey hurt Mia!" and before I could stop him he took OFF. I mean like a battering ram.  He completely leveled Joey to the ground. "YOU HURT MIA" he hollered.  Aaron was RIGHT behind him, "What did you do to my little sister!?!!?"

Meanwhile, I was holding Malia, trying to calm her cries.

"John Paul, Come here RIGHT NOW, JOEY GET IN TIME OUT"

After about a minute, everyone was in their respective corners and Malia's cries had settled.

Taking a deep breath I called John Paul forward for discipline.

But you guys. I'm not gonna lie. That's EXACTLY how I want my boys to react if someone hurts their little sister.  The immediate, almost animal like need to protect their sweet baby girl was awe-inspiring.  Is that wrong? I mean, I was legit proud of John Paul for immediately going after the person he thought hurt his sister.

I asked John Paul to sit for a minute, because I seriously had no idea how to discipline a situation like this.  You should have seen how hard he pushed him to the ground!

I next called Joey forward to explain to me why he scratched his sister.  "I was playing with her," he whimpered, "she was laughing at me, and then started crying".  I asked him to show me EXACTLY what he did.  He ended up showing me that he bent her finger back, which very easily could happen in play.  Joey said he was so sorry for hurting his sister.  He looked at Malia, apologizing in the cutest little boy voice you can imagine, breaking my heart with his cuteness as he ended with, "will you forgive me????"- (SHUT THE FREAKING FRONT DOOR).

Back to John Paul, my gentle giant. My 10 pound 11 ounce baby, who wears size 3T clothing and is just a brick house all around.  Could I really fault him for laying someone out who he thought hurt his sister?!?!?!  What would Jesus do people, what the heck would Jesus do?!?!?!

I ended up telling John Paul that I was proud of him for defending his sister.  I affirmed that no one should make his sister cry without hearing from her brothers about it.  I told him he shouldn't push his brother though, brothers don't hurt each other.


And that my friends is the day I was kind of proud of my kid (John Paul) for doing something he shouldn't have done (ramming his brother to the ground).



The.end.



Friday, January 8, 2016

A year ago today...

...was the last time I saw my dear friend.

Facebook has that feature, the one that allows you to look at your 'memories' from the years. I must admit, my melancholic heart loves it.   And today, it brought up a picture of the last time I would see my dear friend here on earth.

I will forever be thankful I was blessed to hang out with Paul one last time. I will always count it as one of the best decisions of my life- that moment of spontaneous decision making.  Calling my husband, texting with my brother, Katie/Jay Eck and Ann, feeling an urgency to go right then, to not wait another moment.  I will be eternally grateful my parents took the kids, my husband allowed me to stretch our budget, and four hours after I decided to go I was sitting on an airplane.

Our time was blessed.  The look Paul gave when he saw my brother and I in his hospital room after returning from tests.  Pure Joy!  The love and strength I witnessed as Paul and Ann showed me once again how to trust God, how to put our words into actions when it comes to faith.  As they explained to us the way they intended to fight, but also, the way they would allow God to use this situation as He saw fit.

Saying goodbye was tough, we didn't want to know it, but we knew in the back of our heads, this COULD be the last time we would see Paul.  We didn't want to believe it, so we prayed in hope.  When I left the hospital room, I left with a smile.  By the time we approached the elevators, I was sobbing.  The intensity of the situation hitting both my brother and I sharply.  Did we say enough?  Should we go back and say more?  Paul was going to be okay, he'd have to be okay.  It's PAUL we are talking about (how many times we said that in the two weeks that followed?).

But as God saw fit, that was the last time I would see my friend here on earth.

Man, sometimes it's tough.


But every time I feel overwhelmed by the thought I won't see Paul on earth again though, I am encouraged by the thought that follows.

The day Paul died was a hard day for so many people, myself included.  Aaron came home early from work.  We put the boys down to sleep and I just cried and cried.  That night, we went out to dinner with two of our closet friends, friends from college, friends who understood what the loss of Paul meant, because they felt it too.  On our way to dinner, Aaron said, 

'You know what's cool- when you die, I bet it will be Paul waiting to welcome you into heaven"

Those words are what makes knowing I will never see Paul here on earth okay. 

I think often about what it will be like, after serving a looooooooooong time in purgatory, when I finally get to understand the mystery of the heavenly kingdom. I have reflected in my life fairly often on how cool it will be to exist in the presence of God, to hang out with the saints and angels.  That's gonna be awesome.  The 'reward' of this pilgrimage we are on is something I think of with faith, and a bit of fear, but also, a sense of excitement.  

I had plenty of reunions with Paul over the course of our friendship...  

In college, after the long Christmas break, back in our dorms, we would meet up at dinner/lunch/breakfast, or let's not lie, as I was smoking a cigarette outside of Tommy Moore. 

Right after college, when Paul came to live with our family, a truck full of toys in tow.

After Paul moved back to California, we were reunited once again, when Paul brought his beautiful fiance for my family to meet.  The way our family was so smitten by her from the second we met her.

The reunions at our weddings, and when we met each other's children for the first time.  

Waiting in my family room for my best friend's family to come spend yet another Thanksgiving with us.

Heck, we even had a reunion in the lobby of 'Financial Peace Plaza' when Aaron and I were there for our 'debt free scream' and Paul/Ann/the kids came to meet us.

We have had lots of joyful reunions. I know what joyful reunions look like when it comes to Paul.

BUT MAN.

I am quite sure there will be no reunion like the reunion I can hope for when my time here on earth is through.  And I can't wait to see Paul's goofy smile, strong arms open wide for an embrace as he says,
 "Mare!!!! Welcome Home"






Monday, November 23, 2015

Advent and Liturgical Living Blogs- a Perspective.


Before I start, I want to say this. I love me some blogs about Liturgical Living. I love Advent/Lent Liturgical Living Blogs especially.  They have helped me create sweet traditions with my little family I would have never dreamt up on my own.  I am so thankful for Better Than Eden and the way Mary intentionally and specifically lives each season with her children. I am thankful for Kendra at Catholic All Year, for giving me great ideas on how to incorporate faithful living into our home.  I feel so blessed by Bonnie, at aknottedlife, who gives real practical tips that are applicable to a young family trying to live out the gift of our Church calendar.  

But I don’t feel like everything they say is the Gospel.  And, I know for sure, they don’t either.

Yesterday, I took the boys to see the Christmas Lights at a long stretch of park in our local area. It was awesome.  We blasted Christmas music on the local station and our boy’s little hearts were soaring as they saw the nativity and we talked about Jesus coming. They laughed outloud at the dinosaur Christmas lights, and they delighted in the Menorah as we told them about Hanukkah. 

A lot of bloggers who move with the Liturgical year are adamant about not playing Christmas music until it is REALLY the Christmas season.  I think some of them might judge me for singing, ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ with my crew when we are supposed to be quietly waiting for the birth of Christ.  Waiting has a place right?  What’s with having to rush it?  I get it, I really do, and so some might judge me… but I think more often than not, most wouldn’t care.

Little Aaron is desperate for a specific gift this year from Santa.  He saw it a few months back at a store with Big A.  It’s a gigantic, totally impractical Power Ranger Robot.  It follows every trend today.  It has entirely too many pieces to be a good purchase for our home.  While looking at it, Joey saw a Batman Robot.  Just as big, just as gaudy.  Truth be told, we usually just buy presents from the dollar store (except when I bought the Mass kit for lil’ A that was completely not age-appropriate, and yet Aaron and I were in a squabble so I ‘showed him’ by hitting up amazon one night- OFF TOPIC).  We buy our children 3 presents (one from Jesus, one from us, and one from Santa), and have never spent a lot of money on any of them.  These big, giant, robots are a lot of money.  But little A keeps talking about how excited he is to see if Santa brings them. I can’t even imagine how excited he is going to be on Christmas morning when he wakes up and sees this robot under the tree.  I can’t wait to see his wonder, his awe, when he sees the man in the north pole, who celebrates/works for Jesus, heard what he asked for.

A lot of bloggers have very specific ideas about toys.  Kendra published a blog today about how toys are not helpful for her family this year for Christmas.  Maybe to bloggers like Kendra, it’s a silly for me to spend money on something so impractical, something that will just become ‘junk’ in a few months if not properly taken care of.  But I doubt it.  I think probably these bloggers are writing from their experience, not to throw stones at me and my family's way of doing things. I think bloggers like Kendra are offering gentle suggestions.

Some of those suggestions I take.  They have added to my family greatly.  

Last year, each night of advent, we turned off every light in the house except for the Advent Candle/s, we put up a Jesse Tree ornament, talked about the story of Christ and sang, ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’.  Every night, in silence and stillness, our family reflected on the meaning of Advent.   We make a cake each year on Christmas Eve for Jesus's Birthday (kid's choice, so last year it was Peppa the Pig).  I’m not sure I would have thunk up those little traditions if it weren’t for the beautiful Catholic Blogs that have inspired me. 

But sometimes I feel like a cruddy parent because I don’t make Liturgical Feasts to follow the Church Calendar year.  I don’t have a liturgical living cookbook you guys. I probably never will.  But, who knows? Maybe I am wrong and when my kids are a bit older, I will replace mac and cheese with a dinner fit for a King to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King… maybe… but, doubtful.

Sometimes I feel like a bad Catholic because I love secular Christmas time.  The whole darn season of Advent/Christmas. I blend them.  After the first snowfall, it’s game on for me.  I can’t hold back.  And geez, I know that would probably make some bloggers nervous, I am certain it’s like nails on a chalkboard to the Liturgist when I attend Christmas parties, and say Merry Christmas on November 23rd. I can appreciate their perspective... and still enjoy the way we do things around here.

Occasionally I wonder if I am doing enough to organically have my 4, 3,2 year old and newborn fully appreciate the movements of our faith.  Sometimes I second guess myself. Actually a lot of times I second guess myself.

But then I take a deep breath, realizing our little family is growing in our appreciation of the faith every day.  And maybe I’ll get there with the liturgical feasts and pure celebration of the seasons of the Church…ha, but maybe I never will.  I’m not quite convinced God will care. 

We are figuring out, like so many of you, what traditions work for us, and that’s A-Okay.


So today I pledge to allow the blogs of others in the Catholic world of parenting to inspire me, but not own me.  To encourage me, but not define for me what is best for my family.  Today I pledge to appreciate how God is shaping all of our families, and maybe I’ll take a little heart in the fact that He appreciates the effort, no matter how small!

Friday, November 20, 2015

7 Quick takes where I give my opinion on all the things


I figured you'd want my thoughts on all the things this week, so I thought I would give them to you including the mundane stuff around here.

(one)
MY THOUGHTS ON REFUGEES
 It's complicated. I am suspicious of anyone who isn't naming in our world of instability/terror/danger/etc... the refugee question is complicated.
The simplistic Scripture verses and silly memes aren't helpful in this case.  I'm glad to see in the last couple days, people are admitting they don't know all the things, and that the question is complicated.

Must we open our country to the suffering, the stranger, the alien and the refugee?
YES.
Can we do it with a concern for safety and still be good people?
YES.
Is it hard to imagine making a move such as bringing in 10,000 refugees with a current leader who I don't trust?
YES,
Does the process, which seems incredibly complex, of admitting refugees into this country, seem safe?
YES.
Do I hope we safely welcome refugees into our country?
Without a doubt.
Am I confident we can do so?
eh...

(two)
MY THOUGHTS ON TERROR
I laid in bed last weekend, after Paris, and considered terrorism.
I thought about those people in Paris. I thought about the targets...a restaurant, a concert venue, a sporting arena.  Those intentional targets because hitting them terrorizes people. In places of extreme recreation, we just don't expect extreme violence.
Then I thought about the U of M game next weekend.  We are going.  For a second it made me nervous, but then I realized how far away from the conflict we are.  But then I remembered Michigan was specifically named by ISIS, and I was nervous again.
BUT THEN.
Lyrics from a song I was recently introduced to ran through my head.
"What's the worst thing that could happen?  What's the worst thing they can do?  Threaten me with heaven... that's all they can do."- Vince Gill, 'Threaten Me With Heaven'

I know this seems kind of hokey, but it is amazing to be a person of faith (albeit, weak at times).  Because, death really has no sting.  It still can carry sadness, very real sadness... but it has no lasting sting.  Death offers us what we are waiting for.  How freaking amazing is that?

When I considered that, I smiled to myself a bit in this crazy world.  The one thing a 'terrorist' desires is terror.  A terrorist really can't get that from people of faith.

Take that.


(three)
MY THOUGHTS ON MALIA PAUL BEING 2 MONTHS OLD
On a lighter note.
My opinion on the fact that my daughter is 2 months old?
AHHHHHHHHHH.
It flies by.
And she's the best. With her long hair and her crooked smile.  With her 8 hour stretches through every night, and mild mannered spirit.  She's just the best.
And she melts us all.

(four)
MY THOUGHTS ON HASHTAGS AND FRENCH FLAGS
I didn't change my profile to a French Flag and I didn't use a fancy hashtag to express my prayers for Paris.

I don't judge you if you did.

For me, it's just kind of gotten old.
The constant crisis and response in social media.
It's the same every time.

We state our shock at the news.
We offer prayers and come up with hashtags.
We post blogs/articles/etc.. laying blame and asking questions
A few days later, the 'extremes' are weeded out and people start to discuss somewhat rationally.
Then the profiles change back.
Then the hashtags go away.
And we wait...
until the next thing...
When we state our shock.

I don't know, I'm just kind of over it.
Probably a bit depressed by it.
Kind of grossed out by it.
I didn't want to participate this time.

(five)
MY THOUGHTS ON BEING BACK IN BUSINESS
I have started back with presentations/workshops and retreats :)
This time, after Malia, I took two full months off. I did not do that after I had John Paul. In retrospect the latter was probably a huge mistake.  It was good to have focussed time with my family.  But, it is good to be back.
As per usual though, I can feel God changing the ministry I do.
Where I once worked primarily with teens, I am finding adults/women/mothers to be a much more life-giving audience during this season in my life.
I was blessed to spend time with the women of St. Francis in Ann Arbor. Gosh- we had an amazing time sharing, especially about the role of joy.
Then, I was able to do some sharing with a local ministry in the Detroit area that serves young mothers.
It was good.
I feel so blessed to be able to do ministry.  As long as I keep my calendar realistic (not overbooking), I hope to continue this ministry for a long, long time.

(six)
MY OPINION ON AARON OUT OF TOWN
Aaron is going out of town again.
I am not going to tell you when so you don't come kill me (but if you do, #threatenmewithheaven).
I am not scared this time.
The cluster of him going out of town when Malia was 4 weeks and the kids had pneumonia was really THE.BEST thing to happen to me.
Because I did it.
So I feel like I can just about do anything.
As long as I have a 6 pack in the fridge :)

(seven)
MY THOUGHTS ON MY ENTIRE FAMILY COMING IN FOR THANKSGIVING
They have started arriving. My siblings, to the area. And bringing with them my nieces and nephews.
All of my siblings are coming to town.
With all of my nieces and nephews.
It's somethin' like 41 people.
To my great depression, even though EVERYONE will be in town, it doesn't seem like we are going to be able to find a moment when everyone can be together at once (due to arrivals/comings/goings/other family visits, etc...).
But there will be a couple times when most of us are together.
And we have such fun planned.
My kids are FREAKING OUT.
There is nothing better than cousin best friends.
It's gonna be a whirlwind.
It's gonna be fun.
I am sure it's gonna be stressful.
But I wouldn't want it any other way.

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


Peace!

Friday, November 13, 2015

7 Quick Takes- SAHM Life Hacks Part 2- Takin' Care of YoSelf



(one)
Prayer
I went to Confession with my friend Erin this week. We exchanged kids so we could get soul-clean.  It was kind of a cluster to be honest- my kids are much easier to take out in public in a lot of ways, but they are hard to wrangle. Anyway- I received a penance of 3 Our Fathers, it wasn't till nine hours later that I was able to pray them, when I was laying in bed.  I got through the first half of the first Our Father, that's the last thing I remember...I fell asleep.

Prayer is tough since having all these babies. Real Tough.

But I am not dumb, and I know it's important.

A couple weeks ago, I read on Jenny's blog her method is engaging with the Word before doing anything electronically (checking social media, email, texts, etc...).  It sounds so logical, but I hadn't thought of it before.  It's been a bit of a game-changer.

If you are a 'she' and not familiar with Blessed Is She, you should get familiar.  It's an email sent every morning, with the readings for the day- along with a short reflection.  I gotta tell you guys, I think started my day with a little bit o' the Word is already making a pretty large difference in my life.  
(two)
Realistic Mary
Aaron first explained to me the concept of 'Realistic Mary' vs 'Idealistic Mary'.
I think I have spoken about it before on the blog.
Basically, Idealistic Mary wants to do all the things, go all the places, make all the plans.  Idealistic Mary wants to be able to live as though I am in my late-twenties with no children to care for and no time commitments that come from raising those children. Idealistic Mary is lovely, I really really like her.

The problem is, when I start living, making plans, dreaming as idealistic Mary, I become a bit of a monster to my family.

I am a wife to a wonderful man who is currently working a lot of hours in a high stress job that, as of today, he loves.
I am a mother of four children under the age of five.
And that means I just can't do certain things.  I can't commit to certain things. Lots of activities just won't work for our family during this season.

When I live in the truth of what our family is realistically capable of, I am a much happier, healthier person.

(three)
Disappointing People
This part is hard.
It's tied to realistic Mary.
It's the canceled plans.
The inevitable word 'no'
It's the good friendships I feel slipping away because I can't make them work.
It's understanding as much as we'd like to be able to do all the things, it's never going to happen.
Disappointing people is a difficult part of where we are at with our family of six.

Sometimes in this season, people might be disappointed by our limitations.
I am learning to be okay with that.
And almost always the disappointment comes with understanding.  I am forever grateful for that.

(four)
No Comparing EVER
When I feel myself comparing our family to other families, my mothering to other's mothering skills, my wife-ing to other's wife-ing, it can become a really intense slippery slope of crazy.

Admiring the qualities of others is a really, really good thing. Taking those qualities, in a healthy way, and incorporating them into our family structure (if it makes sense) is a great.
But comparing our family, or feeling less than, based on someone else's family is no bueno.

Each family is unique.

My kids closeness in ages; the dynamics of Aaron and I; our financial, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual reality; is different than others.

It has taken me several kids to do so, but I have really pretty much stopped comparing myself to others almost always.

When I feel tempted to, I remind myself about how each family is unique.
It's amazing how healthy one can view their family if they aren't viewing it through the lens of someone else's family.
GAME.CHANGER.

(five)
Getting my Go-out on
The SAHM community has changed so drastically in the last couple decades. In order to see and talk to real people in real life, with as many little kids as I have, as young as they are... I need to be intentional.

Who knew my life would one day lead me to a day when talking to people in real life has to be a conscience effort???

I HATE going out without my husband.  I actually hate doing things without Aaron.  I really really like him as much as we squabble.
For me, it's not even really about guilt when I go out without him (though that's a part of it)...
It's more.
 I'd rather hang out with him than anyone else, any day.

But the thing is, we are in a season where that really isn't possible very often. We still do go out because of life-things once a month, but regularly going out together just doesn't happen.

I realized three weeks ago how much I miss talking to adults.
Talking to adults without having to correct kids.
Talking to adults in real life vs. communicating electronically (which has a place and has been life-changing to me as a SAHM).
I miss talking to people over the age of four face-to-face.

Aaron gets home, and understandably, he is tired.  Having good conversation is tricky during the week- because he's been talking to grown ups all day, and I've been talking to little kids all day.

And so, I have instituted Thursday night go-outs.

For who-ever in our little group can.
Early evening so we all can get to bed before 9:00 pm.
On Thursdays the last three weeks, I feed the kids dinner, lay out pajamas for the boys and when Aaron gets home I go meet friends for a couple drinks and good conversation.
It's proving to be a really healthy thing for me, even though I still wish Aaron could come every week.
I love so much that I am married to a man who is okay with me doing this once a week.

(six)
Early Bedtimes for Adults
I have spoken about this lots before.
After John Paul, I realized even though I DETEST going to bed early, it's absolutely essential for mental health.
Most nights I am in bed by 9:30 pm.
I hate going to bed at 9:30 pm.
But I am up all through the night, and our kids get up wickedly early.
Sleeping 4-5 hours a night with constant interruptions and get-ups does not work for me.
Sleeping 7-9 hours a night with constant interruptions and get-ups is do-able.
And so, like it or not I get myself in bed early.

(seven)
Know Thyself 
I get real upset about where we are at as a society.
Real upset.
Sometimes I like to comment on these things.  Yesterday on facebook, I posted a status about a current event that I actually can't handle. I started engaging with people, my kids woke up from nap, I was shaking mad because of this particular issue.  I had plans to make soup with my kids.  I made a decision to delete the post and stop discussing it.  I didn't need affirmation that I was right, and I didn't need to convince people why they were wrong.
I didn't need to be worked up over a current event while my four kids were up.
We laughed and made soup with our pretend chef-hats on.
I'm still upset about that current event, but I am glad I didn't let it dominate a whole afternoon.

KNOW THYSELF

Last week, several of my friends posted an article about 'responses to say when people find out your baby doesn't sleep through the night'.  It was cute, and funny and I could see how over-tired mamas would like it.
Malia sleeps through the night.
She pretty much has for the last three weeks.
The article, implied that those who's babies sleep through the night, somehow love their babies less.
I stopped reading the article after three or four responses.
KNOW THYSELF

The kids are getting older, and cuter.  They say cute things, and want to play. They live for projects and this non-crafting mom is challenging herself to do more projects with them despite my inner repulsion of them. I'm shutting off the computer a lot more lately.
KNOW THYSELF

It's hard to leave the house with all these tiny people.
I sometimes feel trapped inside my little house.
I love getting out, even with the effort, and taking adventures.
We've been taking adventures most days (to a park, or the mall, or the pet store).
KNOW THYSELF

KNOW THYSELF
KNOW THYSELF
KNOW THYSELF.

Game. Changer.

What are your taking care of you life hacks?  How are they workin' for you?

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


Peace!