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.

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

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.
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.

On a lighter note.
My opinion on the fact that my daughter is 2 months old?
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.

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.

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.

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 :)

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/


Friday, November 13, 2015

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

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.  
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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).


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/


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Is it HIS money or MINE?!?!?!

Money is a complicated thing isn’t it?

Bonnie did a series on Financial Hardships and Surprise Pregnancies  It was good.  She got questioned on the 10% tithe in the comments- She then wrote a follow up that I am still rolling around in my head because it was that good.  Read it now.

My friend Father Mario called this morning, he is helping to give a marriage prep retreat/conference thing this weekend.  He said he thought he remembered that Aaron and I tithe and was wondering if we would write about our experience to share with the couples. Most young married couples don’t tithe.  Father Mario/his parish want to introduce the concept in marriage prep. I think that’s not only necessary, it is good ministry.

Colleen wrote a blog today on her experience of giving.  On being generous with financial resources like we are called to be generous in other ways… trusting that God will provide.

So I've been thinking a lot about tithing in it's practicality.  I've been thinking about how a lot of us think about giving, and some of us don’t.  Some of us have excess to give from, and some of us just can't find room in our budgets for it.  Some of us wonder if it’s supposed to be about giving from our excess or giving our ‘first fruits’ even when it hurts.

I thought I’d write a bit about my experience and then my family’s experience.  Before I do, I am assuming you know that ‘tithing’ is giving 10%. A tithe is a measurement.  It is 10%.  Anything less than 10% is not a tithe, anything more than 10% is over the tithe.  I bet most of you know this, I had no idea until I started understanding money, giving, and stewardship- so I thought I would start there. 

When I was single…
I graduated from college with a LOT of debt.  A crippling amount of debt actually. I spent the majority of my 20s panicked because of how much money I owed people. I lived in a cycle of stealing from Peter to pay Paul.  I was also really, REALLY bad with money.  I wasn’t intentional about my dollars.  I talked about having no money to give because of my debt and how ‘poor’ I was… I believed it to be true.  I really did. I remember one year I ‘owed’ on my taxes and I was furious that I barely had enough to get by, but I had to give Uncle Sam ‘More Money’ (I thought it was ‘more money’ that’s how bad I was with finances). 

I felt very, very broke.  At the same time, I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, had a car payment of $300 (vs. driving a used car), went on vacations, ate most meals out, had a fancy phone plan- and...I didn’t tithe. I didn’t think I had enough money to tithe.  This makes me cringe now, and I’m sure it makes some of you cringe as well.  I should have been tithing or hustling to get out of debt so that I could begin tithing.  I know how easy it is to justify not giving to one’s church community.  I did it for a really, really long time

When I got married…
We got married with a lot of debt.  We worked really, really hard to pay it off.  To talk numbers, we payed off 86 k, in 2.5 years, making $100,000 combined (hopefully real number talk doesn't make you nervous).  If you do the math, we lived off of about 40-50 k to make that happen.  During those 2.5 years we had 2 kids via c-section, we went through another pregnancy, I worked through three pregnancies, and we had to replace a crazy amount of things (water heater, flooded basement, air-conditioner, car repairs).  During that time, we were committed to giving, but decided until we paid what we borrowed {sidenote- huh, imagine that? Being convicted that one should PAY what they BORROWED} - we couldn’t give a full 10%.  During that time we gave between 1.5-3 % of our income to our Church community. I know what it’s like to not give a tithe because you cannot afford a tithe.   We couldn’t afford a tithe until we were out of debt.  We couldn't afford for me to be a stay at home mom until we paid off our debt, we couldn't afford a lot of things while we were paying off our debt.  

As soon as we got out of debt we began giving the tithe (10%).  You know I love me some DaveRamsey.  He does really well explaining the importance of tithing and what it means to be a steward of the resources you have been given.  Maybe I should have always known this, but it really rocked my world when I started considering that everything we have belongs to God, and we are given the noble responsibility of being stewards of His belongings.  Our children, our families, our resources, they are all meant to serve the Kingdom.  We do that by first taking care of our families, and then our Church community and then the wider community.  At least in theory…

Here are some thoughts, now that we tithe the full 10%.  These thoughts aren't a judgment of you and your giving; they are thoughts that have worked for us in terms of guidelines for giving.  I think it’s really important that we don’t judge the giving of other people, for a whole bunch of reasons. Aaron and I are on a journey of discernment when it comes to giving and being good stewards of the resources we work for and have been given.  Maybe you will relate to this journey, or some of these thoughts could add to your journey.  But they in no way are meant to condemn.

If we were still in debt…we wouldn’t give a tithe.
If giving a tithe meant we couldn’t feed our family...wouldn’t give a tithe.
If giving a tithe meant I had to work outside the home… we wouldn't give a tithe.
If giving a tithe meant we couldn’t afford insurance…we wouldn’t give a tithe.
If giving a tithe meant we couldn’t afford essentials (telephone, transportation, gas)…we wouldn’t give a tithe.

However, tithing is a priority in our house, even though sometimes it hurts.  

Tithing came before we consider moving. 
Our house is smallish (I am embarrassed to say that) by today’s standards for our family.  We are a family of six, and we live in a house just barely over 1000 square feet.  The truth is, it’s plenty big for us, and we have a game-changer finished basement, but sometimes it does feel small to me.  Our immediate neighborhood is just fine, but if I am being honest, my city has a bit more crime than I feel comfortable with, and the schools make me nervous for my kids as well. We’d like to move, but we won’t do it at the expense of our tithe- so it’s going to take a bit longer.

Tithing came before we considered saving for retirement or school.  
Tithing came before we considered private schools for our children.  

Tithing is a reality, even if that means we drive around used cars and live pretty tight when it comes to clothing and other things to purchase.  
Tithing comes before family activities, vacations, gift-giving to others.  
Tithing comes before almost every.single.thing once the essentials are taken care of. 

If Aaron lost his job, and we had to tighten up to afford essentials alone, I am positive we would stop tithing.  As long as he has his job and we are out of debt, we don’t consider the 10% as money that is ours- it’s our Church community's. 

Oh, and I fully understand even with giving the tithe, my husband and I probably still bring in ‘more’ money than many other families.  Which is weird and another reason why I think it’s really important not to spend a second considering what others are doing in terms of tithing, but to constantly discern what our family's call is.

Those are just some guidelines we as a young-ish family follow.  It’s good because it reminds us constantly that being good stewards means understanding that our money is ‘ours’ in as much as we are discerning with God how to best spend it. 

I share this because it’s what we do, but I do have complicated feelings with it all.  
For us, we can ‘tithe’ and still go on vacation… is that fair?
For us, we can tithe and still save for retirement… many couldn’t.
For us, we can still enjoy unnecessary things and give a tithe… maybe that means 10% needs to be more?

Those are the questions I ask myself.  I’m not sure the answer, except to acknowledge the importance of being in constant discernment about what we have been given through our work, choices and grace…  What do you think?

Friday, November 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes- SAHM Life Hacks Part 1

So, I had my fourth kid.
And my oldest is four.
Intense right?  But I don't feel like I am drowning everyday... which is pretty amazing.
I've been thinking about what's different with this one- what we are doing differently.  
So I thought I would tell you- 
I don't do all these things perfectly, but they've made a significant difference in my life.
A lot of them will probably be completely obvious to seasoned SAHM/Ders... but for me, I had a sliiiiiight learning curve :)

Part 1 will be about Controlling the Chaos- and Part 2 (next week) will be about taking care of myself in the land of crazy.


Remember THIS POST when Aaron was out of town for a week and my kids got pneumonia?
That was a hard week. But you know what it made me do?  JUST DO IT.
It forced me to take all four outside to the doctors.
It forced me to go to CVS to get some drugs with terribly sick children.
It forced me to have a tight schedule in order to be sane.
And being forced to do all that?  It gave me confidence.  Much needed confidence.
So now, when I think something will be overwhelmed, I tell myself...


It might have taken me four years to learn this, but trying to leave the house with children is hard.  Super hard.
There are always meltdowns, shoes missing, last minute diaper changes, and items forgotten for the diaper bag.  You guys. I kid you not when I say when John Paul was a newborn, I would actually be a sweaty and swearing mess by the time I got my kids in the car.
I was rushed, they were slow, and I HATE being late.

Now, before we to go somewhere, I start getting ready an hour ahead of leaving time.  You'd think that would be absurd right?  Waaaay too much time?  It's not.  It leaves room for meltdowns, last minute feedings, children who are refusing to find their freaking shoes...etc...
I haven't been a hot mess getting my kids in the car in a looong time.  It's not because I have become more patient (ask Big Aaron) it's because I have accepted the absurd amount of time it will take to leave my house.

The amount of eye-roll I would give to moms who would swear by making their bed everyday for sanity, cannot be overstated.
Until I cleaned my room "real good" before having Malia.  The dusting under the bed and all surfaces clear, kind of clean.
And I wanted it to stay that way because it made me feel peaceful.
So I've started making my bed everyday.  It's so funny, but it immediately gives me a sense of control over the chaos that can be our lives.  I like that I can leave my bedroom door open when guests are here without being embarrassed of the mess.


Full Disclosure.
At the end of pregnancy Aaron took down the laundry, started it, switched it and brought it back up.
He continues to do so.  I just told him this morning, I think that's just going to start to become one of his jobs.
But pretty much every morning he brings me a basket of clean cloths.  I fold them right away and put them away right away.
It makes laundry so much more tolerable when I don't have six or seven loads piling everywhere demanding to be sorted, folded and put away.

Every night I start a dishwasher load.
Every morning I unload it and begin reloading for the day.
Logical right?
It's amazing how much more peaceful life is without a huge pile of dishes awaiting me.
I'm also trying to wash by hand any dishes that need it, at night or first thing in the morning.
Clean counters make for a happy mama.

After breakfast everyone gets dressed, myself included.   This is for a bunch of reasons, but mainly we all have to leave the house at least once a day to pick up lil' A from school- if we are dressed in day clothes, all the way down to our socks, it makes the leaving much easier.
And, this is a common theme, but having all my kids/myself dressed does make me feel more peaceful throughout the day.  Less behind.
It's also much easier than dressing them slowly or one at at time throughout the day.
I grab all their clothes at once, make a pile on the floor that I sit next to, and they come one by one to get changed.  It takes about 8-10 minute and we are done.
Clothes can be a big deal of fuss when you have a house full of babies, toddlers and preschoolers-. This has taken the fuss away.

My mom has told me this my entire life.
"If you just picked up as you go, you'd never have a mess"
It has finally sunk in.

When I leave a room I do a quick scan-
...any trash, diapers, trash, or trash goes into the garbage.
...any dirty clothes go in the dirty clothes basket.
...any toys that I can reasonably grab with one hand, go into our toy baskets.
...any dirty dishes go straight into the sink.

Honestly, for the first time in my 'having kids' life, if someone randomly stopped by, I wouldn't die of embarrassment due to the condition of my house.  And that my friends feels good and peaceful.

I have been praying with the word ACCEPTANCE for awhile now and it has been so helpful. I have asked God to give me joyful acceptance of the fact that serving my family (children especially) is what I am called to do in this season in life.  It's hard because sometimes it can be overwhelming, looking down the barrel of years of this type of service.  It isn't glorious, it isn't celebrated in the world, it isn't service for recognition... it's the hard, nitty, gritty kind of self-donation that comes so difficultly for this selfish girl.
But I am finding the more I accept my state in life, the better I am at making it pleasant.  The more I accept that the buck stops here when it comes to housecleaning, the more I can pick up that sweatshirt of lil' A's for the ten thousandth time and smile to myself because I have four beautiful children to pick up after.
Dude- you guys, I have even started to accept that sleep just doesn't get to be what it once was for me, and counting it a win when I get a solid 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

And that, my friends....is progress.

If you feel so inclined, give me your best SAHM/D or Working Mom/Dad life hacks in the comments :)

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


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oh No She (they) DIDN'T


Our family (praise God) belongs to an incredibly family-friendly parish.  Today, due to timing we decided to attend another Parish (not to be named).  We walked in a little after the start of Mass (#fourkidproblems), and before we were even in the pew, a women in front of us gave us a dirty look.  As we were sitting down, the woman turned around and told my youngest (2 years old) to be quiet.

At first I thought she was kidding.

After about three minutes, lil' Aaron whispered (a legit whisper) to Big Aaron that he had to go the bathroom, as they went to leave the pew- John Paul not-so-whispered, 'I COME TOO!'.  The woman in front of us again turned around, gave me a dirty look and said, 'BE QUIET'.  She then turned to her husband and loudly asked/gestured if they could move pews.


At that point, I whispered to her, 'you understand you are talking about BABIES right?'- and, instead of have a thrown down in the back of the church...


... I grabbed Joey's hand and Malia and we moved to another section of the church.  The ushers gave us dirty looks, and frankly the entire vibe around us was weird.  Really, really, really weird.  I have never felt so many eyes on every sound my children made- even the whispers.

The Church was beautiful, and the congregation older.  My kids were by far the youngest in attendance, there was a smattering of elementary and middle school children as well.

Now, blog readers- you know I don't play this card often, but...

Maybe it was because Aaron is black?
Maybe it was because we have many young children?
Maybe it was because the Church is not a welcoming environment?

But I have NEVER had an experience like that in a place of worship. EVER.

And now, the plea.

Please, if you work for the Church in any capacity, even volunteer- speak to your staff, your community, and your daily Mass attendees about the importance of welcoming families.  The importance of children (even young ones) having a place at Mass.  The importance of understanding the community of believers is open to all, even the youngest of us.  Please speak to your staffs about how Jesus welcomed even children , and how he rebuked those who did not understand a child's place in the Kingdom, in the mystery of faith.  Please TEACH your community HOW to be child and young family friendly.

My husband and I have chosen to make faith a priority in our lives (even if we fail all the time at it)- and the experience today really shook me up.

I have worked for and with the Church since I was 15 years old (that's 20 years) and the experience today made me feel unwelcome and unloved in my own home.

Our family will return to Church (though not that specific location EVER), and I will frame this experience as a moment of weakness for a community that probably has a lot of good things about it.

The thing is, based on our experience today and the experiences of so many of my friends with young families who have similar stories... the NEED to discuss this with your parish is essential.

Put it in your Church bulletin
Put a reminder in your pews


Because it needs to be done.  What happened to our little family today at Mass shouldn't happen in a place of worship. It shouldn't happen during prayer.  And it certainly shouldn't happen at something as mysteriously beautiful as the Eucharist.

That is all.

EDIT- Apparently there was a cry room, we just couldn't find it :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Seven Quick Takes in which I celebrate the good news...I survived.

I'm doing my Friday Quick takes on Saturday... so, um, there's that.

Aaron was out of town this week.  At a conference in Las Vegas at the fanciest hotel I have never stayed in (see what I did there?). He was gone the whole week.  At at a conference that ended each night at six and didn't start up until 8:30 the next day.  He ate fancy meals all week long.

I am 5 weeks postpartum- but we had a good plan in place with babysitters, breaks, etc... What could possibly go wrong?

Oh yes.
A call from lil A's school on Tuesday morning to come get him with a fever.  And all the downhill from that.  The kind of downhill that includes multiple trips to the doctor's office and not one, but two kids with pneumonia.

I think the high point, for me, was being at CVS to get prescriptions with all four children and being told our insurance wasn't updated.
Don't worry pharmacy man, the 1/2 hour wait ain't no thang with a screaming baby in one arm, Joseph Michel literally laying underneath the counter because he was so sick, and John Paul pulling anything he could off the shelves. I think at one point, I even pulled him by his fro (gently) to get him back to the waiting area.
And by waiting area I mean pharmaceutical counter.

Imma go ahead and shout out the Chamberlands in this post, even though I am not quite sure either will read it.
First- Michael Chamberland, ministry partner extraordinaire who took lil' A to school on Monday prior to the 'ish hitting the fan. He did so in order to save me from having to drag out the whole crew to drop lil' A off (which includes a flight of stairs and an elaborate sign in process)..
I love that my kids are comfortable with my friends.
Second- Kellie Chamberland, who brought me a six pack of beer on Thursday night when I realized I had survived the week and desperately needed to celebrate and recover.

Malia Paul Wilkerson has decided sleep isn't necessary or possible unless she is in my arms.
I have three boys under the age of five.
This combination is not a pleasant one.
In case you were wondering.
Made even more unpleasant by the pneumonia and stuff.

I'm so pleased with lil' A's school.
He loves his teacher.
He loves his friends.
He is learning about good things like letters, numbers, shapes, colors, proper behavior, and Jesus.
In an awesome environment.
That said...
Seriously, this house has been sick since I brought home Malia home from the hospital.
I don't even know what outside looks like anymore.
Not that I am complaining...
only, I am totally complaining.

Before we knew Aaron was going out of town this week, we had agreed he would spend today (Saturday) at his alma mater with some friends.  To celebrate the closing of a dorm or something.

 (this is what people do on the westside of the state...let it be known he can never mock Franciscan University again)

So- flying solo again today.
Not that I am bitter...
only, I am totally bitter.
He sent a text and was like, "Too bad we have four kids or you could be here with me"
He sent the same text regarding Vegas.
He should probably stop sending text.

All that said...
In case you were wondering...I wouldn't trade this for the world :)

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


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On newborn falls, snuggles and the need for good young men in little girl's lives...

A few days ago, Malia was laying in a Boppy pillow on the couch. I had to use the bathroom, so I hollered out for my husband Aaron to keep an eye on her while I left. I came back a few minutes later, and Aaron was holding her.  She was whimpering a bit.  Before he had a chance to tell me what happened, my oldest son Lil’ A shared, “John Paul (our youngest) knocked Malia to the floor. " You read that right, to the floor, our hardwood floors, from the couch, at four weeks old.
I called John Paul over, he got a stern talking to and crying apologized to his baby sister.  
A phone call to the pediatrician had me convinced Malia didn’t need immediate medical attention.  Four days later, it appears she is just fine.

Yesterday, we were in the playroom.  Being the smart and efficient mother that I am, I have a pack and play for Malia to lay in, so I can pay attention to the boys and we can all be downstairs together.  Lil’ Aaron went about the task of collecting toys for Malia to play with, gently placing in her make-shift crib rattles, blocks and little toys for his little ‘Mia’.  Just as I was delighting in the sweet moment, John Paul ran up and threw a foot long plastic ‘Lightning McQueen’ car into the crib for her.  Only thing is, he threw it in, and it whacked her in the face.  The car is as big as her.

And just now, while typing this here blog post, John Paul (are we noticing a theme here?) tried to jam a cheezit in his sister’s mouth, convinced she was hungry.

Being the little sister to three big brothers is not for faint of heart. 

Frankly, I’m not sure this sweet lil’ lady is going to survive her newborn/infant stage in my house of boys.  This stuff constantly has me on high alert, and as you can see, I am not exactly doing a smashingly swimming job of ensuring her brothers don’t hurt her.

But the thing is. They don’t want to hurt her.

Quite the opposite they are completely and totally obsessed with her.  This girl gets more kisses, more love than you can possibly imagine. 

 You see, the other day, I walked into our room and little Aaron was laying next to Malia on the bed, singing her songs. One after another, he only stopped because I made him because we had to leave.

Joseph, our middle child asks to help me with her bottles and burping each and every time I feed her in his view.

John Paul lets me know the second she is crying. “Mia cryin” he says with urgency.  He gets frustrated with me if it takes me more than a few seconds to get to her.  John Paul, the big teddy bear can’t stand to hear his sister uncomfortable.

First thing in the morning the boys want to see her.  
Yesterday, they went to my parents house.  Right before they left, little Aaron made me promise I would send pictures.  Send pictures of his sister, because he didn’t want to leave her, even for a few moments.

 ~ ~ ~ ~

I was talking to my big sister the other day.  Though she is expecting her sixth baby, her older ones are on the opposite end of the spectrum.  They are well into the teenage years and have begun (GASP) dating.  We were talking about how to navigate our children through that phase, how to help them understand the importance of protecting their purity, while still allowing them to date and develop healthy relationships with the opposite sex. I had remarked to her that in some ways, in today’s culture, I think it’s much easier to raise girls who are willing to ‘wait’ or demand respect than it is to raise boys.  She said  it depended.  

It depends on if our daughters really understand their worth. 

  Because understanding their worth is essential to helping them choose young men who will do the same.  We both discussed how our husbands will be essential in helping our teenage daughters to understand that.  We discussed the important role of fathers…
To tell our daughters they are beautiful.
To tell our daughters they are good.
To tell our daughters they are worthy of authentic love.

I believe that to be true- but I also believe my sweet Malia will have an extra bonus.
She has three brothers who love her. I am hopeful they will tell her she is beautiful.  I pray they will protect her from accepting anything less than what the Heavenly Father wants for her.

And if she ever doubts just how loved she is…I’ll show her this picture, a picture caught on a Monday afternoon, of her brother speaking to her so gently singing her “You are My Sunshine” for the twentieth time.

And I will remind her, just how priceless she really is.
In the eyes God.
In the eyes of her Mother.
In the eyes of her Father
And, of course, in the eyes of her brothers.

Friday, October 16, 2015

7 Quick Takes- Michigan Football Edition

So, I'm gonna spend this quick take writing about something I am certain no other quick takers are gonna write about.  The other night, the husband and I were watching an ESPN special on USC football.  It was so good, and I kept thinking to myself, 'MAN- I LOVE FOOTBALL'.  And so, with the big in-state rivalry game tomorrow (and my triumphant return to the Big House) I decided to share with you seven reasons I love Michigan Football (memory edition).

I love Michigan Football because going to the Big House for the first time is one of my earliest childhood memories.  What is the Big House?  For all you who might not know (I mean, I hate to stereotype but I think most of the people who read my blog are Catholic Ladies who might not know) the Big House is the largest stadium in the United States and the second largest in the world (according to 'the wiki).  It's big.  And it is magical to walk into it for the first time.  But all that isn't why I remember my first game.
I remember my first game because my dad took me and my sister. I was five, my mom packed bite-size snickers (I have shared this before somewhere on the blog).  And I felt so so so VERY special. It's one of my most cherished memories.

I love Michigan Football because you never know what's going to happen.  You just don't.  Games can go either way.  Expected good teams, can be not as good as expected.  Undefeated teams can lose.  A few seconds left on the clock can be the difference maker.  I remember years back (maybe 10?) I went to a game with my cousin Aaron.  It was against Penn State.  Penn State fans are THE.WORST. I have never witnessed a fight in the Big House, that day I saw several from belligerent Penn State Fans (you know who you are).
Anyway, Michigan was behind with like 3 seconds left on the clock and it was their ball.

 I remember turning to a stranger next to me and asking, 'Is there anyway we can win this game?'
He responded, 'There is always a way'
We scored.  And won.  It was AWESOME.  ELECTRIFYING.

Speaking of strangers, I love Michigan Football because it makes strangers, friends.
There is nothing quite as magical as when you're in the Big House and Michigan scores during a big game.  Strangers become long lost friends as high fives and hugs are shared.  It's not entirely unthinkable that in an intense moment, one could grab the strangers jacket in front of them, or hand beside them.  Our family has sat in the same section since the 70s.   We sit by the same people every week.  We look forward to seeing them each season.  I don't know any of their names except 'Big John' the patriarch of the family that sits beside us and in front of us.  This summer, we were out in Detroit at a restaurant and one of Big John's son walked outside the restaurant.  Aaron pointed him out. It was so funny, like a fourth wall was broken.  That's our stadium family- how bizarre to see them in real life!
The agony of defeat
I love Michigan Football because of everything associated with October Football Saturdays.  The tailgates, the beer, the anticipation, the drive to Ann Arbor while looking at fall colors.  The smell, you guys, the smell of a crisp fall football Saturday gets me every time, and I love it.

I love Michigan Football because of all the things associated with November Football Saturdays.  The freezing cold that turns fingers to ice while walking to the Big House.

When I was in Middle School, my dad took my sister and I to a game in November.
You Guys.
We pulled up into our parking lot and my uncles met us.  The took one look at us and knew we'd freeze our little tails off (thanks Dad). They went into their cars and before we knew it, we were in mens clothing, jackets, hats, anything to keep us warm during the game. I won't forget my Uncle Danny telling me if I tucked my hands under my armpits under my shirt, I could keep myself warmer (seriously? It worked).
There's a love/hate relationship with November Games.
You wouldn't trade some of them for the world, but, at the stadium, there is an awareness that one's family room/big screen tv would be a heck of a lot more comfortable to watch the game.
Yet still, we go.

I love Michigan Football because of Game Day with my children.  They are starting to understand.  Saturdays are for game-day jerseys and special snacks.  While we watch, they 'set...hike!' on the floor with the players.  Big A thought it would be a good idea to pull a football upstairs the other week and play in our family room while watching (mom shut that SH$% down quick).  I love how our family watches together/apart. I love that my sons like to know who the 'good guys' are, and that they are already learning to detest the scarlet and grey.  There is something generational about being fans of this team that I just adore.

And finally, I love Michigan Football because of the Big Games.  The Good Games.
The games where you can feel something a' brewin' all week long.
Michigan has had a rough go these last few years, so we haven't had lots of games like it...
...the anticipation of a rose bowl
...the drama of the Big Ten Championship on the line
...the game when Michigan/Ohio State were ranked 1 and 2
...the games with National Championship consequences
...or the Game tomorrow.

Lil' Aaron's school is letting the students wear their Green/White or Maize/Blue today.  Lil' A is wearing his game day jersey today. He has been instructed to share a friendly, "Go Blue!" to anyone wearing green.

 It's gonna be huge.  And honestly, as the hype has been building in our state all week- the truth is, neither side knows who's gonna win.  It really could go either way.  And I'm thinking it's gonna go ours.  And I cannot wait!


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


Friday, October 9, 2015

7 Quick Takes in which I try to form coherent thoughts...

You guys.
I want to be blogging so much more. I really miss doing it, but man, it's hard to keep one train of thought for very long lately.  Yesterday, I couldn't remember the word for 'driveway' so I told Aaron I would be parking the 'parking lot' and he'd have to help me bring in the kids.  WTh?!?!
Alas, at least we have the seven quick takes as our steady right?!?!

I believe Jenny, at Mama Needs Coffee admitted that she has quit preschool.  I must confess, being a preschool drop out is super tempting to me right now.  Between the sickness lil' A keeps bringing home (he is sick AGAIN); the fear of an unexpected business trip meaning I have to take the whole crew inside the building to 'check' Aaron in (why, oh why, do they do it this way) for a week (though I am going to cash in on some offers for help); and lil' A saying, 'can't I just stay home with you guys?' pretty much every day...
... it's starting to seem like a lot.
He LOVES it when he is there. I LOVE how it is teaching him to interact with his peers, and frankly, I am not full of awesome at home teaching (unless the ipad counts)...
So for now, we stay.

Fact- I was going to insert something controversial here, but when I tried to formulate sentences, it just wouldn't work.
Let's just say this.
I think it's wrong to take advantage of women who have just gone through pregnancy/birth by suggesting they insert a permanent or semi-permanent artificial birth control device inside their body or, suggest they 'fix' what isn't broken.
It's annoying.
That is all.

We are adjusting to four kids.  Man, you guys, I have four kids.  It is equal parts amazing and daunting. I look at you champions with bigger crews and I am astounded at the amount of work it must take to keep your households going.  Seriously. Because recovery has been less than ideal, my parents agreed to take the lot of big kids on Wednesday to give me a break.  It was just Malia and I.  Lemme tell you, I know when I had just one I was completely overwhelmed for sure. I know those feelings were real.  I am not slamming at.all.the work it takes to care for one newborn.
Just Malia and I was the biggest break ever.  It didn't even feel like parenting. It felt like a day of peace :)
And it was sweet, because I had time to really cuddle/love on the lovely lady.  That part made me cry.  Because of the crew of kids and their ages, I pretty much just move Malia from feeding, to sleeping, back to feeding and back to sleeping.  It was nice to give her focused attention of cuddles/love/snuggles/songs/kind words. It was just the break we needed.
Plus, the boys got to play at my parents, and they needed some good play time.
My parents don't read my blog, but if they did, they should consider themselves warned that I will probably be asking for the same break next week :)

I know politics is one big sh#$ show. I think we all do. However, in following the campaign of Ben Carson, it is shocking to see what a real sh#$ show it is.
The amount of times simple quotes are taken completely out of context is amaze-balls.  It's so intentionally devious to discredit my boy.  
I love, love, love, how calm he is though when explaining how once again something he said has been taken out of context, or twisted to mean something it was never intended to. 
He really is our guy. 

How could I not at least mention Michigan Football.
This weekend's game is huge.
And once again, I can't go :(
I was going to try to go, but honestly, I don't think the ol' body can handle a game (or the benches) 3 weeks out of surgery.
I better.  BETTER make it to the Michigan/Michigan State game.

This weekend is Malia Paul's Baptism.
I'm so excited because I love me some Baptisms.
And I love me some Baptisms of my kids.
And I love me some post-Baptism parties at restaurants (ain't nobody got time for party planning after just having a kid).
And, I LOVE me some sister coming to visit because she is the godmommy.  And her bringing her crew of four.  And the double date we have set up for Saturday night.

Good stuff, my friends, good stuff.
This took an hour to write.  Heaven help me :)

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


Friday, September 25, 2015

7 Quick Takes Malia Edition

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, September 11, 2015

7 Quick Takes brought to you by me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, September 10, 2015

On first days, baby girls and prayer askin'

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Thursday :)