Thursday, October 31, 2013

7 Quick Takes in which I end with a bit of sass

Big A and I had a fancy date night last Friday.  As you all know, I love me some date nights.  We went to a fundraiser for one of our very favorite charities, 'Mary's Mantle'.  It began with Mass (sorry my dear children, it was flippin' fantastic to celebrate Mass AND be able to pay attention) and then dinner with drinks, followed by a Silent Auction.  But, the fun didn't stop there.  After that event, we went to our friend's Halloween Party and got to live it up with peers.  All and all, an awesome night.
The husband and I lookin' all sorts of hot!

On Monday, I took the eldest son out on an errand trip with me, which I disguised as a date because we went to McDonalds first.  Lil' Aaron was being as sweet as can be.  A woman stopped me and said something to the effect of, 'he is such a good kid, you are clearly a fantastic mom, doing a great job'.  I, of course, responded she should come by my house around bedtime and she might wanna re-evaluate that statement.  BUT, truthfully, it made me feel so good.  He was being awesome, said his prayers before eating, please/thank yous and conversed with me all through dinner.  It's just good to know that we aren't that far off track.
So, exciting stuff 'round these parts,  c-section moms will TOTALLY relate. I am finally wearing regular pants!  WOOT WOOT!!! Complete with buttons and zippers.  You see, this time it was taking forever to feel healed enough for anything but sweats (is this TMI????).  Graduating to big girl pants is a huge postpartum accomplishment, and I am glad I am finally there in recovery!
We got new couches!!!  We got new couches!!!  We got new couches!!!
Faithful readers, our couches were awful.  We bought them because we thought we were hip and cool, but they were pretty much the most uncomfortable couches ever.  Then, about a year ago, one of the cushions tore, and it wasn't normal size for a slip cover, and I am not a sew-er...so, naturally, we put duct tape on it.   Anyway, it has been a source of embarrassment of mine when people come over (I know I know, #firstworldproblems).  So, I am super pleased. We are having a couch coming out/football party on Saturday, can't wait!
Look how fancy!
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"- have you guys seen that movie?  It was so good, but I have never in my life watched a sadder flick.  There is this point in the movie where the child's pain is so well-acted and so 'real' I could barely handle it.  Children's pain, especially emotional, is so tough for me to grapple with.  I was crying so hard I wasn't sure I could complete the movie.  After, I naturally went and gathered up all three of my boys and brought them into bed with us.  We are the opposite of co-sleepers, to the point where our kiddos actually ask to go back to their beds with the lights out when I try to get them to stay with us.  Anyway, I forced them into midnight cuddles and it made my 'movie-broken-heart' heal.  Rent the movie, but know, it will hurt.
Don't they looked pleased to be in the 'Big Bed'?
Halloween. was. awesome. Look!  Screw the rain, we braved it and had a blast!  Check out my superheroes!

Obamacare is terrifying.  Every.single.person in this country should be terrified of the government overstretch happening currently.  Every American, regardless of whether personally benefitting form this law or not, should take a moment's pause and consider what the government mandating these things means to our freedom. I am not a tea-party supporter. I am not a crazy republican. I do not watch Fox news and I don't post crazy stuff on facebook and other social networking sites.  So, don't put me in that box.  But, mark my words, what the current administration has done with this law should have ALL of us concerned about personal liberty.  As we watch the healthcare system fall apart, and our premiums skyrocket, then the government slowly start forcing other things upon us, I truly believe that THIS LAW will be the tipping point we reflect on.  This law will be the one remembered in history as the moment in time when things changed, and NOT for the better.  Call me reactionary if you must, I'll accept it and then cuddle my family and watch- because honestly, I feel like there is nothing left to do.

And on that note, have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How I love my boys

Equal but different
It’s how I love them
It fills me with pride and constant terror that I am not doing it right.

You see, Lil’ A- well he is funny as heck (hell). He makes me laugh. When I sing, he says, ‘stop singing mommy, it hurts my ears’.  He fake falls from chairs.  He knows he has me wrapped around his finger, and he uses it at EVERY.SINGLE.CHANCE he gets.  He is the first boy to wake me up most mornings, ‘mommy!!!’ he cries.  And my heart leaps!  Why? Because the first word out of his lips is mommy.  Little Aaron? Well I love him differently than the other two. He helps me believe in miracles.

You see, lil’ Joey.  He is a soulful one.  His laugh is so deep it stops me in my tracks.  His eyes are so stunning in their questions that sometimes my greatest fear is I am not going to be able to match his sensitivity.   When I am upset, I am confident he fully understands why.  He needs more snuggles than the average kid (which we figured out through trial and error).  He hugs better and holds longer than any kid I have ever known.  Joey Mike? Well I love him differently than the other two.  He helps me understand who I am.

You see, little John Paul.  He teaches me.  Do you know I have wished away the other boy’s ‘newborn stage’?  True story. It’s hard. It makes me tired.  But, with JP, I haven’t wished it away. I am in awe of his infancy.  I delight in holding him, my hand cupping his head.  Smelling his newborn smell and spending time with him in the middle of the night. I hate not sleeping, but I sense something about this child. Something great. Something unusual. Something that draws me to stay up with him in the wee hours of the morning. John Paul?  Well I love him differently than the other two.   He helps me understand this finite life.

So you see, I promise I love each of my boys. I love them radically, I love them passionately, and I love them with the fullness of who I am.  But I have recently discovered….I love them very, very differently…yet equally.

Talk to me...

...about snacks!

It's Talk to Me Tuesday again, where I seek your help to answer some of life's questions.  Some are important, some are not.  The point of Talk to Me Tuesday is for me to learn from YOU and YOU to give me suggestions.  AND, if you would like some advice on the same subject, you can read either the facebook comments, or the comments below...so you can learn you some things as well.

So, life's questions...here we go.  Talk to me about Snacks.

With each of my boys, two things have happened.  AND, strangely enough, they have nothing to do with nursing (I have stopped nursing all my boys after a couple weeks).

The first
I get SO HUNGRY.  ALL THE TIME.  I am sure it is a hormonal thing or something, but after having the babies, I wanna eat all the time.  Unfortunately, a lot of times, I choose to eat unhealthy things, which is how I have ended up gaining 10 lbs with each of my boys.  I need to stop the insanity!
The second
This has been slowly happening, but I can say with certainty, I now, officially have a sweet tooth.  This is very bad news :(  I have always loved me some snacks, but I have never craved sweet things (I am more of a salty kind o' girl), until now.  DUDE, I love me some treats at the end o' the day.  Love me some candy, love me some icecream, LOOOOVE me some cookies.  My husband says he has never met someone that needs so many treats :)

We are really trying to get healthy 'round these parts.  Aaron has joined Crossfit, and as of Nov. 1st, I'll be back at the ol' gym.


What are your favorite healthy and quick snacks to eat?  I need some variety, need some quick go-to's that will be healthy, but FILLING (remember, the constant hunger I told you about).  The six small meal thing works for me, so the snacks can be on the bigger side.  What are your favorites?

What do you do to curb your sweet tooth other than snickers, flurries, and chocolate chip cookies? What are some good 'sweet tooth' snacks that won't be horribly unhealthy and aren't disgusting... I'm like a child when it comes to going to far outside the box with things like fruit :) (bananas, apples and strawberries are about as far as I can push myself!).


Friday, October 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes :)

I had my six week postpartum appointment today!  Woot woot!  Wanna hear something weird? I always dread this appointment because I have to 'the conversation' where I re-explain to my obgyn artificial birth control is just not in the cards for us.  But guess what?  Today, when I told her, she said I was the fourth client she has had in the last two days who refused an artificial plan for spacing children.  Crazy huh?  Maybe some of the dangers of some of the current fads of contracepting are becoming clearer to the masses?  cool stuff.
Funny story. This is my new favorite outfit. 
The husband hates it, he calls it my sister wife look. Anyway, I wore it to the seminary for a meeting I had on Monday. When I stopped in the bathroom, I decided I loved the outfit so much because it made me look like a nun (no wonder the husband doesn't love it). Then I took my first ever bathroom selfie so I could show my blog friends my new favorite outfit. My intent was to put it in quick takes and reflect on how there is something about religious life that is so attractive to me :) But this next part is where life gets awesome. My friend Mario, who I had lunch with at the seminary, said the next day, wait for it....one of his seminarian brothers asked what order I was in!!!! SCORE!
My dad rocked my world the other day. While talking politics and education, he remarked what a shame it was that kids are not taught the full value of our US Constitution. He went on to say that our forefathers were very well aware government naturally lends itself to tyranny. To fight against that progression, they carefully crafted this living document. When we begin to throw out principals of our Constitution or disregard them, or twist them... we become less safe in protecting ourselves from our government.   I know, I know, duh....but the way he said it was awesome, and timely, in light of certain mandates :)
Cute kid alert! When something bad happens, lil' A now says, "I'm so sorry" with a sad and empathetic voice. Are you kidding me?  Then, Joey mike is honestly the best snuggler, out of any snuggler there ever was! And my John Paul, well, he is nothing but cute.  Life is good in the land of boys.

The best snuggler in the whole world of snuggling!
John Paul decided not to nap yesterday, and in case you are wondering, it reminded me why naps are ESSENTIAL to a SAHM with three's mental. Stability.
Can someone explain why I hate putting laundry away? Seriously. The washing? I'm good with! The drying? I rock at! The folding? Ain't no thang, I find it weirdly satisfying.,,but the putting away!? I hate hate hate. That's my story, I'm sticking to it.
Guess what came in the mail today?!?!  OUR WEDDING PHOTO ALBUM.  Sure, it might be three years after the wedding, and three kids later, but dang, did it ever make me smile :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Five Favorites...Clergy Edition

So...we have all heard stories of not awesome clergy.  Whether priests/deacons/bishops...it seems like everyone shares about 'one priest they know that did XYZ' making them want to leave the Catholic Church.  And, you know I have ran into some flawed humans who happen to be priests as well.  BUT, for the most part, I have only had positive experiences with holy men in clergy.  For this week's five favorites, I'd like to tell you about some of them.

Fantastic Seminarians
I know, I know, kind of cheating since they aren't clergy!
For a hot second my brother was in the seminary.  Because of that, I got to know many of the guys.   Now, one of my best friends, Mario (JP's godfather) is in the seminary and so I get to meet a few more of them.  I love when I meet those special seminarians who will make a significant impact in our Church. I love hanging out with Mario and his homie Brian...both down to earth, hilarious guys, guys that are going to continue the Church's tradition of being good. LOVE me some awesome seminarians.

Young Priests
Is there anything better than a young priest who is authentic and excited to serve the Lord?  This weekend, I was at an event called the 'New Pentecost Project'.  The priest that married us, Father Craig, was speaking.  His message was awesome and his demeanor actually gave me a moment of pause.  Holiness radiates off of him.  Take him, and Father Steve, and Father Paul and all the other wonderful young priests who are helping to shape the current Church...it's hard not to feel inspired.

Priests who have shaped me
As I said, I have pretty much only had awesome experiences with priests.  Our parish priest, Father Bob, when I was in high school, went with a couple friends and I down to Cedar Point for the day and rode the best roller coasters with us.  Talk about EVANGELIZATION.  Another parish priest, Father Henry, cut me a check one day that enabled me to go on a Mission Trip to Africa...are you kidding me!?!?!  I have worked underneath excellent priests who have gently guided and always affirmed.  Then there's Father Alex, I met with him once and he opened doors that allowed me to go the HOLY LAND!  NO JOKE!  I have had good experiences with such holy men, bummer we don't get to hear about them.

Have you ever hung out with an awesome Bishop?  A member of the hierarchy.  Some of you might have negative views of the hierarchy of the Church.  Can I tell you something? I have only had interactions with servants among servants when it comes to Bishops (personal experience) .  The other day, I was in a meeting with Bishop Byrnes...do you guys know him?  Talk about living down to earth, authentic holiness...when I'm around him, it makes me want to be better, both in my personal life and in my ministry.  And, let's talk about that Bishop of Rome (Pope Francis)...are you kidding me!?!?!  We are in good shape.

Media Savvy Priests
I love me some seminarians/deacons/priests/bishops/popes who understand we no longer have an option to check out of the world of social media.  I love seeing the status updates of clergy, inspiring and present in a digital world often lacking in truth, beauty and goodness.  Good on you clergy who have embraced what it means to evangelize in this crazy world :)  Thanks for giving me hope!

And that, today is my five favorites.  Do I think wearing a collar makes you automatically exempt from sin/human failings?  Nope!  Have I met so many fantastic servants of the Lord who wear a collar?  Yup!  Do they occasionally deserve a shout out!??!  Heck to the yes they do, and here it is :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Talk to Me Tuesday...

... Because we all need a little advice.

Today is my Blessed John Paul's feast day. I know everyone and their mom has a John Paul, but I'm so glad we didn't let that stop us. My youngest carries the name of a strong saint, and tonight the three of us (along with all other saints and angels) got to celebrate Mass together. It was an awesome gift and so nice to be able to share this special feast for the first time with my son.

Can I tell you about a prayer experience I had the other night? I was at an event (The New Pentecost Movement) with adoration. I was talking to Jesus and it was so nice. I asked him "am I doing it right?" And he gently and not surprisingly answered "no". Throughout the course of our chat, (private revelation) He reminded me that the most important thing is our relationship...Him and I and he made it clear, that needs more time dedicated to it. Now, before you get nervous, don't worry...I know the big man loves me and rewards the efforts I do make through being a mom, but I also know, in a lot of ways, I've made him the last of my priorities.... And so, TALK TO ME...

If you are a mom, or a dad, or a spouse, or a single person with a really full plate...

What concrete ways do you pray? When do you talk to God? What form of prayer makes you feel closest? Gives Him most praise? Works in your busy life? What are your "best prayer practices"? Hook a sister up

But, just know. Early morning prayer is not gonna work for me:)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My, how life...

...has changed.

Aaron and I, about a month ago, started talking about the real possibility of going to Rome for the Canonization of John Paul the Second.  Now, if you know anything about me, you know a few things.  1) I love me some John Paul 2) I love me some travel 3) I love me some adventure.

After figuring out that we really would have the finances to do this fantastic trip, I was so very excited. And yet, something was sitting uncomfortably with me.  The trip would be a LOT of money for a very short amount of time.  We would have to leave our very small children for several days and travel VERY far away from them. I have no probs leaving the kids, we do it often-ish...but we are always close, an ocean away is not close.  Last night we came to a decision, although we COULD go to Rome to see one of the greatest influences in my life be declared a saint, we knew in our hearts, we shouldn't.
If you'd have asked me three years ago if I'd ever turn down a trip to Rome, a trip to Rome to see John Paul II canonized....I would have answered, 'not in my wildest dreams'.

My, how my life has changed.

This weekend, we finally had  NOTHING to do.  On Friday night, we had a movie night with the boys.  We ordered a pizza and they got to eat watching a Halloween special.  Then, we snuggled under covers.  It was AWESOME. And then, on Saturday, we declared a quasi pajama day.

This Fall, I MAY have scheduled entirely too many things, given that I had my third c-section in 2.5 years.  BOLD MINISTRIES is going fabulous and I love it, but it has made the weekends a bit on the busy side.  SO, having a Saturday with NOTHING to do felt so good. It even physically felt good.   Tensions that I had been carrying without even knowing loosened a bit.  Aaron let me sleep in until 9:15 am (yes, you read that right, and NO, I can't remember the last time that happened) We poked around in the morning and then went to Confession around noon.  Our little family watched some 'shows' and then some football.  My in-laws came over and we had a really nice visit, just sitting around and talking.  The boys went to bed and we watched a little Tigers.  I got to drink me some ice-cold Bud Lights in fancy bottles.  It was really one of those perfect days.  The weather was cold and cloudy (which is my favorite) and I just felt very cozy and protected with my little family.

Aaron and I keep saying to ourselves, 'we can't believe we have three kids'.

It is so ridiculous...and so fantastic
It is so exhausting...and there are so many blessings
It is so chaotic...and filled with so many laughs
We get SO little sleep...but our days are filled with SO many cuddles.

Although Rome might not be in the cards for 2014...fantastic blessings with laughs and cuddles are.

And that, my friends, leaves me struggle for words to give thanks to our Great God.

And thinking...My, how life has changed

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Life is Good Edition

Good things a' happening in the Wilkerson Household.  The ol' husband scored himself a new job.  He will be working for a fancy company (pool table/ping pong table/wear jeans/beer in the fridge on Fridays- TRUE STORY) as of November 11th.  We are really excited!
These were the flowers Big A surprised me with when we found out he got the job. I REALLY wanted him to get it.  It is a smaller company, but a caring company that does a lot of outreach. I am so pumped.  Also, it's pretty awesome to have him bring me flowers to celebrate HIS job.  He rocks.

To celebrate the husband brought us to IHOP, because we classy like that.  It was our first time at a restaurant as a family of five (I still can't believe we are a family of five).  The kids did okay, we survived, but we decided IHOP is about as classy as we will be getting for awhile.

Speaking of celebrating...let's throw me a little party.  Why, you ask?  When we began to seriously let the reality of three kids in diapers sink in, I was scared that I would never EVER be able to leave the house. I told the ol' husband, it would probably be a few months before I'd be confident enough to go places.  WRONG!  On Tuesday, I went to the Cider Mill, with three children, on my own.  And guess what?  It kind of rocked!  WOOT WOOT :)

For those of you in the 'know' in case you missed it...what's my excuse?  My excuse is that I didn't know I needed one.
Oh, the little dude became a Saint :)  I love me some John Paul Francis and we are so blessed. So very very blessed.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Talk to Me Tuesdays...Toddler Disciple Edition

On Tuesdays, I'll ask for advice.
I need so much advice about so many different things.  Sometimes it'll be about the kids (but people without kids, I am interested in your thoughts too- in fact, a couple weeks ago, some of those comments were the most valuable), sometimes I'll ask about marriage, or friendships, or faith, or housekeeping...just things in my life that I could use opinions on.

I figure this will be awesome in a couple ways
1) I can learn from people who are wiser than me in different areas.  The more I move through life, the more I realize it's just about community and really learning from others.  Why invent a wheel that is already spinnin' with precision by someone else?
2)  If you need advice in the particular area being discussed, you can follow, or check the comments and learn you some things too! 

So...here goes...
Turns out, my lil' Aaron is shaping up to be quite the little, um, special 2 year old :)  I got nothin' but love for his joyful spirit, and occasional uncontained energy.  BUT, I have got to draw the line on the yelling, hitting, fit throwing, etc...It's hard to know if he is just your average two year old, or if he has, what one would call, 'discipline problems!' :)  So, Talk to Me!  

If you are a parent/aunt/friend/work with kids, etc...
What are some of the best/ most effective ways to discipline a 2 year old.  SPOILER ALERT- if you think the best discipline is no discipline, I can tell you right now, I ain't into that :)  
How do you discipline in PUBLIC? (this one is HUGE for me)? What has worked for you?  What has not worked for you?  I want to raise good kids, I need help!  

Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Lack o' sleep edition

I don’t understand why kids don’t like to sleep more. I mean, I LOVE to sleep. Love it.  And kids, well darn it, the minute their eyes even flicker, they need to hop out of bed.  What is wrong with these little freaks?!?!?
Speaking of sleep.  Check it.  Last night, I spoke at a retreat (it went AWESOME!).  It was about an hour away and after, a couple friends, Big Aaron and I decided to meet up and have a bit of a work meeting/bit of a drink beer and watch the Tigers meeting.  It was so much fun to have  ‘grown up time’ and I am so thankful for my sister who hung out at our house so we were able to.  HOWEVER…as I walked to my car at 10:40 pm (knowing I had about a ½ drive), I thought to myself ‘what the H was I thinking???  I still gotta take care of the baby through the night AND get up in the morning!’.  Sho nuff, it is 6:59 am, I was up all through the night and the big kids were up at 6:00 am. I pretty much feel like Imma die today. Thank you sweet Jesus for giving us the gift of the weekend.
John Paul Francis is going to be a saint this weekend!  What what?!?!  His Baptism is on Sunday and I am so very excited. I am more excited than I remember being with the other kids (and I was excited with them).  He has fantastic godparents in ‘Uncle Mario’ and ‘Auntie Annie’ and several of our friends/family are able to make it.  We also wen the awesome route and decided to host a little party after at a restaurant which means…no work for me!  We are blessed by a great community of family and friends and I am so pumped to welcome John Paul into that community on Sunday J
Lil' A's Baptism

I love this pic from Joey Mike's Baptism

So, the song ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles.  Not really sure I know of a better song and I am totally going to use, abuse, and run it into the ground in ministry.  Please click on it and listen if you have not yet heard it.   You're welcome.

Wednesday, Joey and I got to have a bit of bonding time when I was able to take just him out to run some errands.  It’s weird, and I don’t know how many of you have middle children, but I do sometimes feel he gets lost in the shuffle.  It didn't help that for the first nine months of his life he was the most low maintenance kid  I have ever hung out with (and I have hung out with a lot of low maintenance kids).  Anyway, it was super special hanging out with just him.  My sister, Katie, wrote about the importanceof ‘dates’ with her children and mine are old enough to start rocking them out.  On Wednesday, I really saw the value.
My sweet Joey
Photo Courtesy of Russ W
This morning, my husband made the coffee.  Lemme begin by saying, I am so blessed to have a non-coffee-drinker husband who makes me coffee on the 'rough' mornings.  That being said, it kind of tasted like oil because he made it so strong.  I tried to do that thing, where you just add more milk/sugar...but it was to no avail.  Then, I tried to suffer through it.  Until I said, out loud to myself, 'coffee time is entirely too important to have it be screwed up'.  I dumped out his pot and started over.  #bestdecisionever #firstworldproblems #spoiledbrat
And, in conclusion, I do not understand why people hate on the hashtag.  It's awesome.  Because, you like, summarize your thoughts, in funny ways, and begin with a #.  How cool is that?  Answer, super cool.  Stop hatin'

Have a FANTASTIC week!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Talk to Me Tuesdays

So, I gotta say, I think probably the coolest thing about this blog (besides recording our family's history) would be the times I have asked for advice from those of you that read it, and you were able to offer me some wisdom.  The most significant, of course, was a couple weeks ago when I pretty much thought I was going to drown taking care of my three in diapers!  A lot of you offered kind words (I am so thankful) and most offered really concrete things I could do to make life more manageable.  I have put into play so many of your suggestions, and (knock on wood) everyday has gotten significantly better.  I am even ready to say we are in a really good groove here at the Wilkerson Casa.  But, I am aware that without some of your suggestions, I'd still be exactly where I was 2.5 weeks ago.  AND SO...I have decided to begin 'Talk to Me Tuesdays'.

On Tuesdays, I'll ask for advice.
I need so much advice about so many different things.  Sometimes it'll be about the kids (but people without kids, I am interested in your thoughts too- in fact, a couple weeks ago, some of those comments were the most valuable), sometimes I'll ask about marriage, or friendships, or faith, or housekeeping...just things in my life that I could use opinions on.

I figure this will be awesome in a couple ways
1) I can learn from people who are wiser than me in different areas.  The more I move through life, the more I realize it's just about community and really learning from others.  Why invent a wheel that is already spinnin' with precision by someone else?
2)  If you need advice in the particular area being discussed, you can follow, or check the comments and learn you some things too!


So- first 'Talk to me Tuesday'

Talk to me about dating...(not only married couples)
Aaron and I were quite intentional in the beginning of our marriage about dating, and I think it is kind of key to a good marriage (maybe you don't, you can tell me about that too).  BUT, each kid we add, makes dating more difficult.  We have kind of fallen into a rut where our monthly going out date nights are a groupon restaurant and then head home. Although I am thankful for the time we have- it'd be fun to do different things, fun things, things that help us continue to get to know each other.

And so, Talk to me...

What are some of your favorite dates in the Metro Detroit area for under $50?   What are some of your favorite date ideas for 'nights in' when you can't find or afford a sitter?  What's the best date you have ever been on?  When have you and your partner had so much fun but you didn't even expect to? What are your best dating practices :)?  


Friday, October 4, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Last week's 'Engaging  Young Church Conference' went really REALLY well. It was the first time I presented my lesson plan on Homosexuality to a group of professionals (twice! Yikes!).  You never know how something like that is going to go, and I had asked for lots of prayers in advance.  And...it ended up being really REALLY successful.  I love that the Holy Spirit has guided this particular lesson plan and I love that I am going to be able to continue to present it.  Talk about a need in our Church!  This week, I am facilitated two retreats with my buddy in BOLD MINISTRY crime, and speaking at a retreat.  Did I mention I had a kid 3.5 weeks ago?  Someone didn't plan their life very realistically, so this week is bound to be interesting.  The good news? I am psyched about all these opportunities!  Woot woot!
lil A
courtesy of Russ Wasylyshyn
I wrote about this on 'the facebook' but thought I would further reflect here. Lil' A and I got to go to Mass on the Feast of the Guardian all by ourselves (well, our Guardian Angels came with us). It was so awesome.  First, turns out the little dude is somewhat capable of behaving without his two brothers to distract him, and he even did the sign of the cross and said Amen!  WHAT?!?!  Plus, I was able to vaguely aware of the readings and even had a hot second or two to pray. I have decided I might try to do the Daily Mass thing once a week, rotating children.  Today is the Feast of St. Francis- maybe I'll bring John Paul Francis tonight!  In other Lil' A news, he still takes my breath away sometimes when I look at him and think that with God, Big and I created something so stunning (Sorry, it's true).
Speaking of Francis...you guys, Pope Francis is REALLY challenging me. Like, to the point where my head hurts.  My family doesn't live a super extravagant lifestyle, but we don't exactly live super simply either.  Pope Francis's view on poverty and the poor is jolting actually and I am not sure how to apply it on our lives.  The husband and I spoke about it for awhile yesterday.  Poverty and simplicity is a tricky thing....understanding to what level we are called to live it within our little family is super tricky. I am going to continue to wrestle with the words of our Pontiff.  But one thing is clear, the poor must be fed, clothed, housed and given healthcare...and it is our duty as Christians to ensure this, judgment free and without relying on our political systems.
Speaking of.. the Affordable Health Care Act (or obama care, or the other really long name) is a really hot topic this week.  Big A did some research.  A family of four, living on $90,000 is entitled to a tax credit under this law.  My family is entitled to a tax credit as well.  So, there's that.  Aaron was writing about the absurdity of this situation, and was challenged on 'the facebook' by a woman claiming that in some parts of the country $90,000 for a family of four is not enough money...good to know we are not entrenched in our entitlements at this point ;)
We watched this movie, 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World' this week.  And while I didn't love the whole movie (it was just eh...) the ending scene was absolutely beautiful.  SPOILER ALERT- STOP READING IF YOU ARE GOING TO WATCH THIS MOVIE.  It was the couple, laying in bed, just looking at each other before an asteroid hit the earth to end civilization.  The girl was very scared, but she just kept looking into the eyes of the love of her life and found comfort.  I often think about dying and how scary that last moment will be (thank God for the Hail Mary, right!?!?), maybe I can die at the exact same moment as Aaron and we can hold hands as we approach our final judgment?  no?  yes?  maybe?  Well, one can hope.
Our newest kid is awesome, but a few nights ago, he had a really rough time sleeping (this is NOT normal, he pretty much eats, sleeps, stares and then repeats the process).  So I was up with him, a LOT . Around three in the morning, I remembered that some bloggers had talked about sound machines being helpful with sleep and babies.  Anyway, in my sleepy state, I downloaded not one, not two, but three sleep machine apps on my iphone.  I woke up the next morning, shocked to see my downloading activity!  I probs didn't need three, but man, are they fun.
I am writing my Quick Takes and my Joseph Michael just comes up to me and snuggles. I mean the really good kind of snuggle. The snuggle that starts first with a kiss and then burying the head in your neck. I am so blessed friends.  So very blessed by my three boys and husband.  sigh...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Three Things...

...but first, for those of you that have been praying or worrying.  Everyday had been substancially better with the three little dudes!  I think recovering from the c-section has made the biggest difference.  Still hard, but we are getting in a grove and yesterday, my husband didn't get one text message with swear words!
Now, Three Things

Four years ago today, I quit smoking.  I had totally forgot about it, until this morning, when the husband woke me up and said, ‘Hey!  Congratulations, it’s been four years since you had a cigarette!’ Most of you did not know me as a smoker, but I promise, there was a time in my life when I was rarely seen without a stick in my mouth.  I loved smoking.  And I hated that I was smoker.  I hated when teens would occasionally find out. I hated that I couldn't quit.  I loved smoking.  SO MUCH.  I have talked about this before, but Aaron totally tricked me.  The first time we hung out and I was crushin’ on him I said to my friends, ‘and he doesn't even mind that I am a smoker’.  All that changed when we started dating. It became a deal breaker for him.  BUT, I really couldn't imagine my life without smoking.  My good friend described it best when he said, ‘I feel like the day I have my last cigarette will be the last day I have enjoyment in life’.  Sad, but true.  It’s how I felt.  Then there was the time I was supposed to quit in August, I went out of town and ended up smoking. I called Aaron and told him about it.  He felt so betrayed, believe it or not, it is the closet we ever came to actually breaking up.  Then, Aaron and I chose a quit date...October 1st and this time it stuck.  Wanna know how?  I’ll tell you.  Aaron was the most supportive person in the world.  Instead of being frustrated when I told him how hard it was to quit, he met my frustration and told me he knew it was hard.  He let me bury my face in his shirt when we were out with our smoking friends and I wanted one so bad. He let me squeeze his hand till it hurt when I was tempted.  Every.single.day he sent me a text or called (he was working in Boston at the time), ‘Hey it’s been one day since you quit smoking, and I am proud of you!’.
‘Hey it’s been one week since you quit smoking, and I am so very proud of you’.  
He also got me treats. Lots and lots of treats.  At a week, he sent me flowers I believe.  After 100 days, he planned a SUPER fancy date for us.  At a year, we had a major celebration.  Treats and affirmation…that’s what worked for me.  It’s probably one of the coolest things he has ever done for me.  The moral of the story is the following...
1)       Never start smoking. I tell teens this all the time.  Quitting after 10 years is the hardest thing I have done in terms of self discipline
2.)  Treats and affirmation- that’s the way to go for me!

People are ticking me off lately (shocking)!  So I thought I’d clear something up.  Ready?  Okay.  When Pope Francis said that sometimes we focus too much on certain teachings, he meant something very specific.  Lemme break it down (at this point I would like to break it down using a specific theologian’s name- who is rather known and ‘gettin’ it twisted’  but I won’t).  No, priests do not constantly preach about abortion, artificial birth control and gay marriage.  In fact, it is rare to hear a priest preach about those things.  HOWEVER, the Holy Father’s point, if I may, was that people KNOW the teaching.  They know it.  If you talk to 90% of people (non-Catholics included), they know they Catholic Church is opposed to artificial birth control, gay marriage and abortion.  However, they don’t know why.  And they certainly don’t know the CONTEXT or the FOUNDATIONS of those teachings.  THAT is what we suck at.  That is what we have to get better at.  Language soaked in love, understanding, sensitivity and compassion, language that SPEAKS to our culture.  Am I always good at this?  NOPE.  BUT, is the Holy Father challenging me to get better at it?  YUP.  More on that in future blogs…

Yesterday, lil’ Aaron was falling off the couch.  The way he was falling was horrific and slow, but his head was bending in a way that was certain to be a major freak story.  Thankfully, I caught him and pulled him up, but I was basically shaking. It was so horrifying to see him bent in the way he was bent and I can’t even tell you what it felt like to flash forward and think about the consequences of what the fall would have meant. I held him so close, he was crying a bit, and I told him he scared me and he can’t scare me like that again.  I told him he had to be careful.  He could tell I was really worried and said, ‘okay mommy’.  And we snuggled some more.  It once again reminded me just how real this parenting thing is.  Just how scary it is to love someone so much that it almost feels unsafe.  Parenting is not for the faint of heart eh?  Thank God for the grace to do it!

Happy Tuesday, carry on!