Friday, September 30, 2016

"Well regardless, I am sure you are going to blog about it" 7 Quick Take

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
This Tuesday night began 24 hours of intense, INTENSE discernment in my life. 
A priest friend text to ask me if I would consider a job teaching at a Catholic School. 
I said no.  
I am a Stay at Home Mom DARN IT, who probably is already doing a bit too much ministry as it is.
Then he text back, reminded me a perk would be  my kids will go to school for free.  
And the salary was more than generous. Like, the type of salary you don't see in Catholic schools.
He told me to pray about it. 

Then, the next morning, the job was informally offered to me.  To begin in two weeks.  A job that would be PERFECT for me in 3-4 years when all of my children are in school. A job I have actually dreamed about being offered...in three years, when all of my kids are in school. Due to various issues, I had 24 hours to give my decision.

I panicked.  But calmed down and started walking down the path of diccernment.

  By Noon, I was taking the job, but everytime I thought about it I cried.
I talked to a lot of people.  Friends who know me well, friends in education, both sets of parents, my cousin, my sisters...Some felt I should take it, some had reservations.  
By four. I was pretty sure, despite the fact that this would be the perfect job for me in several years, we aren't several years down the line.
A dear friend who has known me since I was 16 years old said,

 "Mary, you have to take the money and the tuition out of your decision making. The question is.. is God calling you to be a teacher today?  And if He is, you have to say 'yes'.  but if He's not... it's a really intense job, it's not the type of job you do for a paycheck, even for a short amount of time"

Other friends reminded me what it would be like on our family to have to leave so early in the morning(the school isn't super close) and get home later. How tired the kids would be.  The irreplaceable time I now have with Malia/John Paul.  The fact that we LOVE our current school, and I'd have to pull my kids in the next two weeks to attend a new school.
And then, I felt God steadily, but quietly say...
"Not Yet"
And so, Wednesday morning, I called back one of the best principals I am privileged to know and told her, I understood a job won't come like this again...but God told me 'Not Yet'.
And she was awesome. Totally understood. Said she would keep me in mind in the future.  She said she supports people, and she supports me.  This is the type of principal you want running your school.

It's two days later and I still feel really spent from the emotions of the last 24 hours.
If you read my blog, you know I always feel a tension between my call/desire to be with my children... and a pull to do the ministry God has called me to. After I told the story, my ministry partner said, "Several things like this have come your way recently, so perhaps you do need to start to be open to the Lord calling you to full time ministry, and not be afraid of that."  My husband said the exact same thing.

We shall see my friends.

But my very favorite comment was from my friend Father Mario... half way through the day, when I was really undecided, shooting me a text, "Well, one thing we know for sure, you are going to write about it on your blog"


After saying no, there was an incredible peace. I mean full on absolute feeling that the right choice had been made.  And then, as these things go, my two youngests turned on the absolutely adorable.  Their smiles seemed bigger.  Their giggles, louder.  Malia took her first steps!  
I'm mellow dramatic (SHOCKING, I KNOW) but those smiles confirmed I made the right decision. I am not ready to let go of our morning time yet.  Going at a somewhat easy pace (we are still out the door most mornings by 8:30 am)... not rushing, and most of all, not giving up the amount of time I can see those smiles.  
We are at a point now, after a lot of hard work to get out of debt, where I don't have to work full time.  If we want to do Catholic schools, I might have to look into more serious full time work as the years pass, but for right now...we are good.  And I'm not ready to leave them.

I talked to my sister after deciding to say no to this job. 
"Do you realize how much money, between Aaron's job change and this job, we have walked away from in the last month?... Katie! I could live in a mansion"
"Yes, but you would never be there to enjoy it"


We then went on to talk even more about the decisions we make that shape our lives and the identity of our family.  In a lot of ways, we are still a young family.  We are figuring out who we want to be, we are putting our actions behind the values we claim to stand on.  We make mistakes all the time, but I am so grateful for the times God saves us from ourselves to ensure we stay on the track we want to.

In other news.
"This is Us"
Let's just take a second to feel thankful for that show. 

Speaking of Ministry.
I think I'm moving (after fulfilling current dates) to stay away from day-time retreat facilitation with very few exceptions.  It is just too darn complicated to get the kids babysat, but then also, get them picked up from school at two different times.  It's a bummer though, because daytime ministry is often school retreats and man, do I love me some school retreats.  I had a great one last week and a couple really cool things coming up, but alas, #familyfirst

Cool birthday parties. 
We have been to two really cool birthday parties in the last couple weeks.  One, was at an awesome petting farm, for our best buddy Noah.  Check out how cool this place is!

 Eating Delicious food, playing with animals, enjoying the outside...what's not to love.  And guys.  Malia. I know!!!
We also were able to go to Joey's pretend girlfriend's party (he is so in love with her- in a 4 year old kind of way).. which was at a gymnastics place...


I know there are some of you that are like, 'Yeah, I don't care about football'.  I get it, to some it just doesn't matter.  But if you  happen to be flipping through the stations Saturday, and land on the Michigan/Wisconsin game... just know it's HUGE!
And I'm excited.
And saved all beer consumption for the week for Saturday :)



The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Let's Do some 7 Quick Takes Shall we?

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
I just don't have words for this one you guys. I really don't. She stuns me, often. And I want her to stop growing up.

Thinking about baby 5.
That's not an announcement, we are not pregnant.  
But thinking about it. Intensely.
Because Malia got a cradle for her birthday.  That used to be my mom's and then was my mine.  She started kind of playing with it, with her pretend baby doll.  
And I love that my kids have each other and siblings.  

The cradle. 
My mom surprised us with it.  She made a quilt, 'mattress' and pillow for it to match the quilt she made for Malia.  It made me cry.  It is so beautiful. I love so much that we have it.  Here's a picture over-share.

Stranger Things.
You guys weren't lying, it's awesome.
The husband tried to pretend he didn't like it for the first two episodes- just to be cooler than the guy who likes it. 
But we are four episodes in, and I think he is ALMOST ready to admit how much he likes it.

Flag Football Saga Continued... 
Little Aaron just found out that he is NOT on the flag football team his friends from class are on.  And he was like, 'well, can't you just sign me up to play next weekend with them, they have jerseys, they are playing flag football, I want to play with them'.
But I told him we didn't sign up, so he can't play.
He cried. A LOT.  
Not in a bratty way either, in a heartbreaking way, "But mom, why can't I play with my classmates"...
Um, because you have brothers.

Joseph Michael Wilkerson came home with a pant change on Monday.
I got concerned that he had an accident, as he is the age when accidents still happen.
His teacher pulled me aside though, and said, "Well, this one took awhile to figure out"
Apparently during bathroom time three boys were at the urinal.  And a little boy knocked into another boy, who lost control of his stream... and um, peed on Joey.
Boys are so weird. 

This was just too funny not to share.
This is little Aaron when I went to go check on him last night after they all fell asleep.
He had hung up his clothes on his bunk bed planks for school today.
To say this boy LOVES school is the understatement of the year. 


The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, September 16, 2016

7 Quick Takes in which my husband blogs and Malia gets looked out for

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Aaron, my husband wrote a blog post on his decision to leave his current job.
It's really good. 
It made me REALLY proud of him.
It was a really profound decision for our family, in many ways, I think this job switch has changed the path we were on as a family.
And I am so thankful for that.

Malia was up from 10:00 pm- 2:00 am
I actually considered taking her to Urgent Care because it was so weird.
She woke up this morning just fine.
Is it rational to be angry at a 1 year old for stealing sleep from you?
Thank God for a good husband and team work.

My brother officially got a job in a local department 'round these parts.
His wife has been in Michigan for several months solo.
With seven children to care for and cooking an 8th.
Anyway, last night we had a party for my mom's birthday and all the cousins played together on a Thursday night.
And that's really, really cool.

This weekend Malia Paul turns 1 year old.
Can you even believe that?
She has just lit up our lives in a way I didn't expect or anticipate.  The transition to four children has gone so smooth, so wonderful. 
We don't do big parties for our kids anymore.  We have a lot of them and it's really hard to pull off.  But for the 1st birthday, we invited some folk.
Folk will be coming here on Sunday.  
A lot of folk.
It should be awesome.
And lucky John Paul, because his birthday is so close, he gets to have a big party too.  

We are SO off track with our healthy living goals of 2016.
It bums me out
I haven't been to the gym at all this week :(
And our eating is pretty terrible again.
I'm hoping next week, when things in terms of INSANELY BUSY level out a bit, we will be able to get back on track.
But I am worried they won't because I am worried insanely busy is just our new norm between school, Aaron's job, BOLD MINISTRIES and the Parish Youth Ministry job. 
So, um
I'm gonna have to learn how to meal plan/eat healthy/exercise when life is insane.
I haven't that yet.

Should my boys do scouting? 
The controversy regarding scout leaders and sexuality doesn't bother me, so that's not why I am asking.
I am asking because the amount of insane shenanigans these boys get into at sleep away camps is enough that I am proceeding with extreme caution.
But maybe Aaron (husband) can be a scout master or something?


I love this picture. So much.  It's at our local mall. We had some errands to run, so I let the kids play in the play area.  We've been there a million times before, but Malia is old enough to play now...
well, kind of.
Things like this here climbing thing are a bit too tall for her. I distinctly remember Little Aaron being afraid to play on this slide when he was like, two years old.  But our Malia, almost a year old, scaled the steps and was getting ready to slide down.

The picture is a bit deceiving though because the slide is actually quite tall, and very steep.  The boys know that.  So when Malia climbed up the stairs, to the top, they separated.  John Paul stayed with her on top, and Joey/Aaron when to the bottom of the slide to catch her.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  I love how God crafted together our family.  As parents, we are only going to be able to do so much to protect our kids.  But I pray all the time for good friends and good relationships to help my kids grow into kind people of faith.  But Malia gets an extra bonus.  She gets three big brothers who can stretch her to do all kinds of adventurous things, but will also be there to catch her if she might need some extra help.

I'm a lucky mom.


The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, September 9, 2016

7 Quick Takes...where Aaron gets a new job and I listen to yo gabba gabba

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
This is not a short one.
My husband, Aaron handed in his two week notice. 
Today is his last day at his current position as a Business Intelligence Manager for a global company.
And I couldn't be more proud of the man I married.

A couple of years ago, I heard an awesome talk on authentic manhood.  Bishop Byrnes (an Auxiliary in Detroit) explained how one temptation for men in the modern day is working so hard to financially support their family, that they kind of lose their family in the process.  This was starting to happen to us.  

It started with really crazy hours.   Working with different time zones at all hours of the day and night, but not being able to comp any time, because work needed to be done.  In January, I told Aaron this wasn't the kind of life I wanted.  It's nice to make a great salary, take fancy trips, buy a van with (TWO) dvd players, pay for Catholic schools, and be a SAHM mom.  Those things are nice, but they clearly weren't worth the cost.  Remember our trip to Disney this year? It was awesome, but it was also really frustrating.  Aaron worked everyday.  Waiting in every line he was on his phone.  At night he was on his phone.  Waiting for elevators, he was on his phone.  It wasn't good.  He was THAT guy.

Since January, Aaron and I have been in constant discernment if the benefits of this position were worth the consequences of time away from family.

After shifts in management. coupled with stressful leadership, Aaron decided this summer he needed to start looking elsewhere and perhaps take a step down on the corporate ladder in order to be the husband the father he needs to be.  

Yesterday, Aaron said he might come out of 'blog retirement' to blog about his decision. I hope he does.  

I think it's really hard, in 2016, to take a considerable pay cut and a "step down" in order to truly provide for your family. There's all kinds of things that could stop a man from making that choice-  ego, worries, pride...etc...
Aaron's presence in our home is the most valuable commodity we have, and I am so proud of him for recognizing that.  

Starting on Monday, Aaron will be back in the position of Business Intelligence Analyst.  He will provide for us more than just financially, but emotionally, spiritually and with his presence.  I am so glad I married a guy like the guy I married.

I got one more about my husband you guys.
Because you know he drives me crazy. Like, 'whoa' kind of crazy.  
But he does awesome things too.
I couldn't sleep last night.  I've been up since 1:45 am.  I'm in a bit over my head with the start of the school year, the practical start of my job as youth minister, and BOLD MINISTRIES .  At 4:00 am, I couldn't believe I was still awake.  At 5:00 am, I was using swear words.  But, at 5:45 am, Aaron turned on "Dreams" from Yo Gabba Gabba on his phone, and rubbed my back.

I know I've said it before, but if you don't have a Bae yet, find you a Bae like my Bae.  


Aaron is in Kindergarten.
Joseph is in Pre-K
And John Paul is distraught.

But, when he gets too sad, I remind him that he gets to go to "Mom School".  And then he gets happy again.  It's the simply things with this kid.

I just spilled an entire cup of coffee on my coffee table.
It's not really a coffee table, it's one of those pink plastic tables from Ikea.
I was calm in my reaction and didn't even scream.
This will be a valuable lesson for me.  Because if one of my kids had done it, I would have screamed.
Sometimes, accidents happen.

Oh friends.
School is hard huh?
The pace of it is rough, rougher than I ever gave moms credit for.
 The "Out the door by 7:30 am!!!" reality of it all.
The "oh crud, I can't find my kid's picture day shirt, so we have to leave NOW and run to the store with all four kids at 7:00 am" kind of  hard. 
I'm sure it will get easier- but dang.

I know you were waiting in anticipation, so I'll give you the verdict.
We decided not to do flag football this year :(
We had both sets of parents over last Sunday, and every grandparent shot it down in a vote. It was er'body against me, so I waved the white flag in surrender.
Sad, right?
Maybe next year.

Have a great weekend!

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!

Friday, September 2, 2016

7 Quick Takes about pictures and books on race :)

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Well, we survived week one of school.
I know I was a bit dramatic about it on social media. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to apologize ;)
It's a big deal.
Thank God for great teachers.
Praise Jesus for friends who offer their assistance so you can avoid long pick up lines of chaos and show up after the fact with a calm kid.  
Oh, and thank you Lord God for really cute kids.
(I know, right?)

The thing about school though, is my Aarons and Joey have to be out the door by 7:30, which means wake up and get moving at 6:45 am.  My kids have always gotten up early, but that usually translates to lounging around until 8ish and then getting the ball rolling. Not crazy-flurry-of-activity by 7:00 am.  I am not used to this. I do not like this.  It makes for VERY long days and VERY tired kids (mama) by 7:00 pm. I am hoping we will get used to it.  And, as per usual, thank you JESUS for coffee.

I know I wrote about this on facebook/instagram, but you guys... LOOK at what my godson, Shawn made me.  
It's my favorite singer (Adam Duritz) with my favorite song lyrics (Anna Begins).  Can you even with that?
Just so you know he is crazy talented and taking requests.  Any artist/any song.  Or, get this... ANY SAINT WITH ANY QUOTE?  They are hand drawn. I think these are kind of priceless.  What a wonderful gift for yourself or others.  Email me if you would like one, he is attaching a fee, but for a piece of art like these.. um #worthit

Not to keep talking about this, but I'm going to keep talking about this.
He also is in the process of finishing up this drawing in anticipation of Blessed Mother Teresa's canonization.  He has to add words.  
Not the best lighting... but you get the idea
Now, can you imagine having one of these bad boys in your home to commemorate this modern saint?  AND, because he's AWESOME, he is donating 25% of proceeds to the Catholic Action Center in Lexington.  
Teenagers who are awesome give me hope.

I recently bought two books, both are age-appropriate stories about race. I have opinions on why I think racial tension has been flaring up the last couple years (I shall keep them to myself *cough, leadership *cough) but I thought it would be good to be proactive about it with my kids.

The first book is called, "These Hands" by Margaret H. Mason.  I partially read it at the library and bought it right then and there.  It's the story of a grandfather, telling his grandson named Joesph (grace) about his hands.  All the things his hands have done.  BUT, all the things his hands weren't allowed to do.  I was really moved by the first 10 or so pages, and I am just crossing my fingers it didn't take a turn after that.  I though it would be a good way to introduce racial history to my kids.  We tried the African American Museum last year in Detroit, but, um... let's just say the slave ship was a bit too intense for my little guys.  Maybe we will try again in a couple years.

The other book we bought is about the different shades we come in. It's called, "Happy In Our Skin", by Fran Manushkin. I don't lose sleep over it, but I am aware that God has crafted our family together in all different shades.  Each of my children has a different skin tone and I wonder how that's going to play out at school with their peers. Not to mention that Aaron and I don't 'match'.  Hoping the book anticipates some questions from peers at school or whatnot.
Look at me, being all racially proactive.  
Mixed families for the win...

We are going on a couple's date night tonight with our little group of friends.  A few weeks ago we were able to go to dinner with one of our favorite couples, and now this!  I'm pretty much feeling like a social butterfly.  We are hitting up a Spanish Tapas Bar (thanks Amy Wingate for the suggestion last year) in midtown, Detroit called La Feria. I am SO excited but a bit concerned because there will be seven of us, and it is a small place.  But it has the best sangria in the world, and delicious tapas, and it's a night with grown ups.  BRING.IT.

Tomorrow is the day.
The day we wait all year for.
Remember when I told you all about WHY I LOVE MICHIGAN FOOTBALL
I seriously look forward to this day all year.  This year, we decided against buying season tickets.  It was a HUGE time commitment for our family last year, and between the games/babysitters/parking, etc... ended up being a bit more expensive than we anticipated.  Fear not though, the husband promised we will go to one game this year!  Oh, and social media friends, we are going to be looking for four tickets together because we are going to bring the older two boys. If you know of anyone looking to get rid of some... let me know!
In the meantime, football party tomorrow with the kids.... GO BLUE!

Should we start little Aaron in flag football?  It's through his school and I think it would be adorable.  Big Aaron says 'no', I say, 'yes'... 
Let's let you guys decide.

The reading doesn't have to stop here, head on over to http://thisaintthelyceum.org/ to read more quick takes!