Friday, September 26, 2014

7 Quick Takes in which I realize I am middle aged, my kids are cute and A LOT of people can see facebook fights!

I’m really not sure there is anything better than watching my boys play together outside.  Lil A and Joey do not always play together, but two days ago I glanced outside and they were joined together in a common task.  They were moving rocks from one side of our yard to the other, with a dump truck.  It nearly took my breath away that’s how wonderful it was.  Being a mom is weird, because moments like that can make your heart burst so big you can’t even handle it.

Love these two!

My friend Mary wrote THIS POST, which was just perfect. Mothering is so difficult, but so beautiful.  And I gotta tell you,  this post perfectly encapsulates what bad days are like around here.  There’s always still one or two moments of awesome, and praise Jesus for that.

In another note, that same friend MIGHT have been right about the song, 'All About that Base" and it's serious flaws, so we have taken it out of the Wilkerson Family Van Rotation.  We have replaced it with, "Mercy Is Falling" from a Praise and Worship CD circa 2000 with David DeWolf (I think that's how you spelled his last name).  FUS flashback anyone?!?!  I must say, as cute as it was to hear my boys sing, 'I'm bringing booty back', I feel better about my parenting choices with them singing, 'Mercy is falling like a sweet spring rain'.  Video to come, I'm sure...

Hiding people on facebook is liberating.  I have been doing it A LOT.  People who’s posts rise my blood pressure, for whatever reason, are now being ‘hidden’ no questions asked.  Life’s too short for people I barely know to work me up.  

Speaking of facebook, I got into a bit of a squabble with a person/persons who were arguing  against the 'church of nice' in favor of the 'church of truth' which of course means you MUST tell sinners they are going to hell.  They were Michael Voris disciples, so that’s pretty much all  you need to know (if you are not a Church nerd, you probably have NO idea what I am talking about, so you can skip this take). The funny thing was, my little debate was coming up in a lot of people’s newsfeeds, because that’s how the internets work.  Several people messaged/text me about it.  And I gotta say, I was 99.9 % proud of how I conducted myself whilst in the land of crazy (I mean, the person was arguing AGAINST speaking to culture and meeting people where they are at in order to deliver the message of the Gospel)…BUT, I probably put out a bit too much sassy.  I kept trying to leave the conversation, but the crazy kept getting crazier.  One of my favorite friends called me and was like, ‘Yea, I didn't even fully read the conversation, but I gotta respect anyone who can call you back into a conversation after you checking out…TWICE.’  I laughed loudly. 

Last week BOLD MINISTRES facilitated our  Confirmation Retreat, "Come Awake".  Because of an exchange of leadership, the person in charge was a Youth Minister I had never met before.  When we shook hands he was like, ‘Ah…finally meeting Mary Wilkerson!’ Later on in the day, as we got to know each other a bit better he said, ‘you know, I’ve been hearing the name Mary Wilkerson for a while now, and I always just assumed you were a middle aged lady with kids’.  And then we laughed, because clearly I am not middle aged.  But then we stopped laughing, and Mike (my ministry partner) and I realized we kind of totally are middle aged.  Growing up for the win!!!!

I’m a better mom when we do things during the day as opposed to hanging around these parts. I like a schedule, I like structure, I like leaving the house and going on adventures.  I know this might seem silly, but I am still trying to figure out this stay at home mom gig, but this week, we’ve had a REALLY great week.  So much so, that I told Big Aaron, ‘I am kicking stay at home mom-ings A$$ this week!!!’  So, we’ve been doing lots of adventures…wanna see?
lil' A and I with a big cow

Joseph Mike and I with a smelly pig. IKR?!?! with the hair???

Getting ready for our morning adventure

John Paul and I with a Horse

Storytime at the library

Playing at the Mall

I know, I KNOW...with that face.

After lots of discussion, and lots of back and forth, we’ve decided we are going to move.  Sometime in the next year!  We are still very much in the gathering-information stage and I am totally intimidated by the amount of work it is going to take- but I feel good about this choice for our family.  My husband is currently working in Commerce Township, near Pontiac Trail…right off of M5 for you locals.  Where should we look?  

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Quick Takes with entirely too many words

So, these past couple weeks have been the weeks of new stuff (thanks to signing bonuses and potentially imprudent decisions).  Aaron got the profuse TV we discussed on facebook.  Is it ridiculous?  Absolutely!  Would I have purchased it?  Absolutely not.  That being said, Aaron very rarely does things for himself, and he's wanted it for a few years, and so.... it is done.  In the meantime, I 'upgraded' my iphone to an Iphone 5s.  Thanks for all the help with that team facebook. I was very torn between the galaxy and the iphone.  But, the thing is, I like the iphone, so why fix what isn't broken?  I wanted to upgrade mostly for the camera.  Like many of you, our only family camera now is my phone, so I wanted it to be fancy. Lemme just tell you though, now that I have been introduced to siri, I think she is going to be my new best friend.  She is awesome. I mean, the bees freakin' knees.  Our whole family enjoys conversing with her.  Big Aaron often asks her questions like, "why is my wife Mary so mean?".  And listen, I know she was a 'thing' several years ago, but now, she is my thing.  Oh, and I got me a new computer too.  I wanted one for work stuff, so I am pumped.  Apparently I need to start using, 'visuals' to appease visual learners doing presentations (or so says my ministry partner, Mike).  #annoying. but he's probably right.  That is all from the land of new purchases.

That was a pretty boring take, hopefully they will get better from here.

Lil' A started 'school' once a week at Christ the King in Ann Arbor.  He loves it, and the class is adorable. I am so excited for him to be learning in a quiet environment. Because our house is a house of boy crazy, and we allow pagan things like screen time...sometimes, things are a little, um...loud.  Watching him learn silently in this class was AWESOME (it's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd).  Funny story though, once or twice I peaked in on him to see how he was doing (I had some concerns).  He looked at me both times, but didn't come to me.  After the class he said, "Why did you keep coming in my classroom?"  And I said, "because I wanted to see you learn."  He said, "Okay, could you please not do that anymore?"

Shot to the heart...and he's to blame.

And so it begins.

I'm having major blogger commenting issues.  Can someone tell me what I did to screw it up (I can't respond to anyone's comments)?  Also, how to fix it?  And while your at it, fancy bloggers, how do you do that thing where you respond to my comments directly in my email inbox?   It's fancy.  But I have no idea how to do it.  Thanks for any help you can give me in the comment box, if you can comment, which you probably can't.

So, this is for real...I had NO IDEA that people in the good US of A actually thought it was okay to beat children to the point of marks.  Lemme make this clear after a lot of thought and back and forth, Aaron and I are constantly discerning how to discipline.  So, I am not making any remarks on 'spanking' or 'swats' because, truth be told, I'm still a bit torn on the whole thing.  But, beating a kid with a branch seems to be a really bad idea right?  Apparently not to everyone. I was driving in my vehicle the other day, listening to some sports radio on the way to a fancy meeting with fancy people.  They were discussing the Adrian Peterson situation (for those of you not in the 'know' he was arrested for whopping his child with a switch and leaving devastating bruising all over his legs).  I find it black and white.  Child abuse.  No question.  BUT, a stunning amount of people called in, many from the African American Community, who were DEFENDING THAT FORM OF PUNISHMENT.   One guy even saying, 'it's suppose to hurt for a few days, otherwise it won't have an impact."  In listening to the national dialogue, many people are claiming it's a cultural thing, and is good for kids.  I.WAS.SHOCKED.  I was spanked as a kid, spanked real good.  I had fear of doing something wrong, because I feared the punishment. I don't think that's a terrible thing.  But, lemme make this clear, leaving bruises or welts on your kid is NEVER okay! I mean, RIGHT?!?!?!

So, I started MOPS this week.  And I can I tell you something I really appreciated?   Right at the first meeting, they went over rules.  And one of the rules is participants are not allowed to use MOPS to network their various products (home sale products). I love that.  They encouraged home businesses, and said they will compile a list of those selling, but this is not the place to network the products.  As someone who stays out of the home business reality for a bunch of reasons (both selling and buying) I REALLY appreciated it.  I don't mind the occasional facebook party request and the like, but I HATE being put on the spot to buy a product I don't really want or need.  I hate feeling like if I say 'no' or 'decline' that I am somehow being insulting.  I actually just don't like the entire structure.  (again, I am not talking about the occasional gentle invite- I am talking about the hard sell).  And I am super glad I don't have to deal with it on the regular through my MOPS involvement.

So I thought it was weird that Apple put U2's album in my music.  Even though I like U2.  And on 'the facebook', everyone was like, 'no it's not'. So then I thought, "it must be me".  I don't think that anymore. I like my illusion of privacy.  It felt weird to me to break that.  And lots of others, because Apple was pretty much like, 'our bad' and showed people how to remove it.

So I don't think I ever quick-take'd or blogged about our big fancy trip this summer.  You know, the one we had been planning for a year.  To the all inclusive.  For a weekend o' fun?  It was pretty much a disaster that began with a missed flight (because 'someone' didn't bring the passports, the 'someone' is still a hotly debated topic in our household).  Which led to freaking expensive one way ticket purchases.  For those of you who know us, the ol' husband was also unemployed, so the ticket purchases were probably the worst idea ever.  Then, because the ol' husband was unemployed, he was hustling to take interviews/research while we were there, so any chance of it being a refreshing bonding for the two of us was out the window.  THEN on the way home, our flight was rerouted, we were on the runway for hours, it just wasn't good.  My dad said, 'you are the only one who could make a trip to Cancun sound miserable." Touche father.

But another part was, I HATED leaving our kids. I HATED being away from them.  I even told lil A, I am not gonna do that ever again.  It was four nights, and just entirely too long to be away from the boys.  We do 'hotel nights' about twice a year, overnight in the Detroit area.  That's just fine, but usually that isn't even over 24 hours.  Leaving the boys for that long was heart-wrenching and honestly, on the flights I came nearer to a panic attack than I have ever been.  It was terrible.

All of that was to say the EDEL conference is in Charleston.  And I've always wanted to go.  And technically, Aaron and I could go together for a couple nights for a five year anniversary trip. I'd assume the city is very romantic, and Aaron could chill while I did the conference thing and then, we could hang out together for a bit as well.  That sounds so lovely to me.  But, honestly, I don't know if I could leave the kids again.  Especially on an airplane.  It was really difficult for me (and btw- I know everyone is different when it comes to that stuff and I do NOT think it makes me a better mom that I don't like leaving them, in fact, I wish I could do it with a bit less emotional baggage).  So anyway, that's what I'm gonna be discerning 'round these parts in the next couple weeks.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 12, 2014

7 REALLY Quick Takes

Not to be all like, 'my life is so busy' this Fall, but honestly, my life is pretty busy right now, I can't even believe I am writing the quick takes.  It's good stuff, but BUSY stuff.  CHECK OUT our calendar of events for the next couple months and it is constantly being updated.  See?  Good stuff, but man....

So, thanks to the inspiration of HAFSA and JENNA, and the help of facebook, Lil' Aaron starts Catechesis of the Good Shepherd on Monday.   You.guys. I am so so so excited.  It's his first taste of 'school' and I know he is going to love it. I also really believe in the method, so I am pumped. I also signed up to be trained as a catechist. I don't know how likely it is for this year, but I think it'd be a great training to have.

Didja see Bonnie's Video?  I watched it in bed before falling asleep and lil' Aaron was next to me.  After he said, 'thank you so much for letting me watch that video mama, I really loved that video on the 'puter'.  kid.you.not.

My kids are watching GI JOE right now as I type this...it makes me really happy.  I love being a boy mom more than I could even explain.

My mom's 60th birthday is next week.  How exciting right? Wanna know what else is exciting?  Fancy dinner at Fancy restaurant tonight.

My sweetheart turned 1 yesterday. Turns out, it is kind of weird to have a kid's birthday on 9-11.  Mix of emotions.  I never wrote his birth story...oops.  But he really is the coolest little baby.  And I have enjoyed almost all of his babyhood.  Not sure I am ready to see him be a toddler, for real.

I LOVE FALL.  LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT.  The Walking Dead is coming back, Shark Tank, Michigan Football (just kidding, they suck, AGAIN, which is a huge let-down, I can't even), Cider Mills, so much to be happy about.   And, kick me in the face, I don't care, I am excited about winter.  I have recovered from the scarring of being trapped in the house for three months last winter, and I'm ready to do it again.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, September 8, 2014

What to do about Marian High School...

...I don't know.

So my social media has been blowing up with questions regarding the “situation at Marian High School”.  For those of you who aren’t in the know (maybe not local), an all girl’s high school in the AoD recently laid off an employee.  A gay chemistry teacher was let go.  She had recently undergone IVF and is now awaiting the birth of her child with her partner.  According to reports, the problem is once she became public with the pregnancy, she also became public regarding lifestyle choices in opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  She was given a couple choices (one of them was to keep her health insurance, another was to stay the year), but chose the lay-off option because of principles.  You know the drill, now she is going to as many new’s outlets who will listen to her story.  And, of course, it’s causing quite a stir. 

I was talking to a friend this morning and I remarked that the situation is quite complicated.  He simply stated, ‘nope, it’s not complicated, the school did the right thing’. 

I’m not saying the school did the wrong thing.

I’m not saying the school did an illegal thing (they didn’t).

But, I do think it’s quite complicated. For so many reasons...

Even if I think the chemistry teacher knew exactly where she worked, and exactly what the expectations were. Even if I think the chemistry teacher signed a contract, and contracts have meaning, and because of the meaning, she knew her lifestyle choices could affect her employment (I do). Even if that frustrates me.

It's still complicated...

You see, the last few decades have seen sweeping changes in our culture and, sometimes,  it's tough to navigate through.  Catholic sexual teaching, up until about fifty/sixty years ago, was just accepted as a norm in society.  Not necessarily because people understood WHAT and WHY the Church teaches as She does.  In fact, most don’t from what I can tell.  (HINT- if you see no problem with a couple using artificial birth control, but you DO have a problem with a homosexual couple because of Church teaching, it’s probably because you don’t understand either).  Anyway, our changing culture demands that we, as Catholics, be consistent in EVERYTHING we are saying.  Because, people are watching.  And being consistent is of the utmost importance, even when it’s tough.

And that’s why I think it’s complicated.

In my response to people asking my opinion, I've been quite scatter brained. I’m not sure where I fall with all of this.   

But, one thing I know for sure is I don’t want to see hurting people, hurt more.  I don’t want to see people feel unloved or rejected by a God who passionately loves them. And so I find this conflict heartbreaking.

I also tend to be really proud of Marian High School, for taking a stand, knowing the backlash they would get, knowing how people would react (because, surely, they knew).  I worked for a Catholic institution that was Catholic in name only (not my previous parish) and there are few things that frustrate me more.  I think it’s a dishonest way to function. 

ANYWAY.  Because I was all over the place, I went to someone smarter than me from spiritualfriendship.org ,  to ask his opinion and he linked me to a fabulous article.

I highly suggest those of you who are interested in thinking critically about our culture and our institutions when it comes to Catholic identity give this article a read.  Tell me what you think.  The article is linked below, this is perhaps one of my favorite parts…

“Pope Francis acknowledged in January in his remarks to leaders of religious orders of men, it is a challenge to “proclaim Christ to a generation that is changing” in its attitudes towards marriage.  He also cautioned that the church should be “careful not to administer a vaccine against faith” to those who live in nonconforming relationships or hold views that conflict with church teaching”


Read more here…THE ETHICS OF EXIT   and give me your thoughts below or on 'thefacebook', but, you know the drill, do it respectfully or your comment will be deleted.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On why you won’t see me apologizing to my second kid...

...Or rather, why I won’t apologize to him any more than I would apologize to my other kids. 

There’s a letter going around facebook entitled, An Apology to my Second Child’. It’s a cute letter about how, even though the second kid will never have some of the things his big brother did (scrap books, pictures, clothes that match), he will always be equally loved.  I got it, it was cute, but I won’t be apologizing to my second kid.  Well, I won’t be apologizing anymore than I will to my other kids.

my first, flicking us off
My first kid had the scrapbook, the new baby gear, the outfits chosen nicely everyday.  My first kid has the neatly written birth story and milestone charts, and all that good stuff.  We had a huge party for his first birthday, and only did ice-cream at a restaurant for my second kid’s birthday.  But, my first kid had it rough.  I apologize to my first kid for not knowing one HAD to strap the their child in the stroller, even if just for a walk. I found that out when my kid was three weeks and I didn't strap him in. 
I dropped him on his head.  
The skull fracture was a little traumatic for both of us.  
I apologize to my first kid for being so overwhelmed by his crying that I stood up in the middle of the night, when he was six weeks old and screamed at the top of my lungs…
I poisoned my first kid. 
I did it on accident, but for the first two months of his life, I soaked his bottles in water with dish-soap.  I thought I rinsed them off well, but it was AHMAZING how he stopped violently throwing up at three months when we decided to just boil them.  
Turns out, dish soap isn't great for the newborn’s stomach. 

My second kid’s scrapbook isn't as great.  His baptismal certificate still has the wrong name on it, and I still haven’t gone to the Church to have it changed.  My second kid doesn't have a kazillion solo pictures, and sometimes he looked a hot mess.  But I was a much better mom to him than I was my first son.  
I snuggled him longer, and learned crying usually indicated something…I was empowered to figure out what that was because I was his mom.  
My second kid taught me the importance of snuggles, so even though it took awhile to figure out, he is snuggled more than any of the others.  And, because of that, he is a sensitive/loving boy.  
Sure, it sucked going to the emergency room when he was six months old because he fell off a table I left him on to grab the baby food while taking care of his ‘not yet two’ brother… but, what a lovey he was when we were there! 
This weekend, everyone was remarking what a loving kid he is.  My second kid might not have gotten some of the benefits of the first, but because I was a more seasoned mom, I think I did it a bit better. 

Then, there is my third kid.  He’s the first one I enjoyed during the newborn stage.  Instead of cursing getting up with him in those first few weeks, I enjoyed it.  I was aware how fleeting the newborn stage is, so I tried to freeze time and really live in it.  
With my third kid, I took the time to stroke his face, smell that newborn smell.  I delight in that baby, perhaps more than I delighted in any of my other babies.   
My third kid has worn maybe two ‘new’ outfits in his entire life, but he is the happiest/most content baby I have ever seen.  
About a month ago, he crawled up a couple stairs and confiscated a dirty diaper and PLAYED WITH IT.  I noticed when the ‘dirty’ was all over the carpet.  Yes, my friends, that means he played with it for a good few moments before this mom of 'three kids in three years' noticed.  Can you imagine?!?!   I apologize for that.  
But, although it’s not easy being the third,  his older brother protects him and plays with him so gently, sometimes I get sad my boys didn't each have a big brother to play with.  Sometimes I am bummed the only kid who will have the benefit of two older brothers is my third. 

I could totally apologize for not loving my boys the exact same at each stage in their life.  But, I’m not gonna.  Because loving them the exact same would have been a bummer.  Loving them differently, apologizing for mistakes, and trying to do better is what is making these three little freaks the coolest kids I have ever hung out with. 

I sometimes think people worry they might not be able to give a second (third, fourth, fifth…etc…) child the love they could with their first.  And they are right.  BUT, what’s so cool, is you’ll love them better, all of them, each child you add.
Mistakes and all.

And, for the record, so far my THIRD child is the only one I haven’t sent to the E.R.
Have a great week!