Friday, June 16, 2017

7 QT Fancy galas, adorable kids, and the weirdness of postpartum bodies

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?

Aaron and I celebrated 7 years on Monday.  
and I still like him a whole heck of a lot. 
Every day I feel blessed to have him, and my resolution and prayer is to be a better wife. 
Tonight, we are going to a fancy Gala the Archdiocese of Detroit hosts as a fundraiser for seminarians.
Then we are spending the night at my favorite local hotel while my parents watch the kids.
It's an anniversary celebration/babymoon/I REALLY need a good night of sleep adventure.
I am excited.

I got my hair did.
I get my hair did about once a year at the same salon.
It's embarrassingly pricey, but such a lovely experience.  It takes 3 hours!  WHAT?!?!?  But that includes a hair wash/scalp massage experience that I live for.
It's the best.
I took off five inches and lightened it.  Enough change to make me feel a bit refreshed, not too much that I get scared of maintaining it.

I will never stop living for little kids in overalls.

This picture kind of freaked me out.
Because he's going to be a teenager before I know it.
Like, a young man.
And then a man.
He's so proud of his muscles.

Wanna know what happened to us on Monday?
We went grocery shopping as a family around lunch time. The kids were kind of well behaved.
We go to this cute little market.
As we were leaving, a woman walked up to our family and gave my husband $20.  She said, 'please take your adorable family to lunch, on me'.

You guys. people say nice things to us and about us all the time.
I've thought about this all week, because a few weeks ago, a relative stranger, in an environment of faith, told me (not asked me) that I should get my tubes tied.
It was a horribly awkward conversation.  Probably the most awkward I've had. And it's rolled around in my head and enraged me ever since.

But comments like that come like MAYBE once or twice a year.

People are saying nice things about my family, complimenting my boys, trying to get my girl with RCF (resting cranky face) to smile, etc...ALL THE TIME.

People are really really awesome in real life aren't they?
I'm learning to let the sting of rare
mean comments fly away, in favor of cherishing the constant comments of affirmation from strangers/family and friends.

Oh gosh.  
Personal Take Warning
I shared this video on facebook. If you didn't watch it, or missed it, you should watch it right now.
(it says bull sh@#$)

When I was telling Aaron about it, I started crying.
The changes to my body after having four c-sections and five pregnancies in such a short time have been really hard for me.
The issues she describes in this video are my exact issues.
The concept of how crazy it is to try to achieve a pre-baby body after one has had babies, was really powerful for me. 
Aaron constantly affirms how attractive he finds me, both in word and action... but I'm finding it challenging to believe it for the first time. 
which is kind of craziness. 
This video has helped me frame some of my feelings about my body lately... and I am grateful for it.

Happy Father's Day to all you good daddies out there (even to the okay-ish ones).
We will be doing some celebrating this weekend.
Aaron's gonna go on a man-date with the three boys to see Cars 3.
I have a couple surprises planned (or at least will by Sunday).
It should be a fantastic weekend!

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

7QT no sleep, hurt feelings and DISNEY edition

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?

Being a parent is amazing. 
I still cannot believe what has happened to my sleep.
Two nights ago, I slept through the whole night, with the exception of getting up every 1.5 hours to use the restroom (#pregnancyproblems)

It felt like a dream
And I still got up 5 times during the night.

Let's just say the other days this week, in between getting up every 1.5 hours to use the restroom, I was also up pretty much every hour tending to one of my four children.

...I can't find my blanket
...I can't find my pillow
...I wanted to have a midnight party for 2 hours
...I need snuggles
...I had a bad dream, I don't want to talk about it, but I don't want to be in my room.

It has been A WEEK.

Ugh. Gestational Diabetes be workin' my nerves.
And my fingers hurt from all the pokes.  So.many.pokes.
For those of you in the know, I have the trigger on the lowest setting, but it's still kind of really hurting.
I already do it on the side of my fingers.
I even resorted to watching youtube videos to make it less painful.
It's all worth it... but man, four more weeks, four times a day?

(for the record, Jesus just mentally slapped me and reminded me people deal with this much longer than 4 weeks, some, for a life time and I should probably just ut-shay up-hay).

I have a kid who likes to take off her pants and diaper... all the time.
This is becoming a real problem for a lot of reasons (I will leave it to the imagination).
I have already found her without her diaper twice today.

How shall I deal with this?
Besides buying onsies and having her wear one always?

I like to get personal occasionally up in here.

In the last year, I have really been trying to work on my emotional reactions to situations.
(I have a tendency to be WAY too reactive)

a) Locating the correct emotion (i.e. anger is easy, but often a distraction)
b) analyzing where the emotion came from
c) determining what, if anything, I can do about the situation causing the emotion
d) If I can't do anything, wrapping a boundary around the situation until I can properly respond emotionally.

That's what my process has looked like.

I've had my feelings hurt a couple times this week, pretty intensely.
I have worked my system.
It's been good.

That is all.

I had some plans this week.
I've had to cancel them.
Between doctor appointments, being a kick butt summer mom (because, I kind of have been) and exhaustion, I just don't have energy for anything but the daily grind.
I need to remember once I get near full term, the energy I've got is reserved for my kids and pretty much nothing more.  I hate canceling plans, so I need to not make them, or I end up canceling them.
From this point until August, no plans shall be made, as much as I might want to make all the plans.

Scenes of an awesome summer mom

Our favorite Detroit City park

A safety town we got to bring our bikes to!

Joey and Malia at the'fire station'

My adventure crew...we've decided to name our van 'the adventurer' in case you were wondering

And, the best news from this week...
We booked Disney!
Disney at Christmas time, here we come.
Art of Animation.
Six Nights.
And I get to make dining reservations today!!!
Woot woot.

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

Friday, June 2, 2017

7QT- It's summer, ya'll

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Summer is here, summer is here! #PTL (that means Praise the Lord).
We are quickly approaching full term status in this pregnancy, and it's been more and more difficult to manage everything that comes with two kids in school at different times, along with two kids at home.  Not to mention wake ups, quick breakfasts, making lunches, remembering forms (So.many.forms), etc...
I am so excited about the freedom summer brings us.

We made a summer bucket list.  We kept it VERY realistic (ten items and one bonus item).
We would like to go to 3 splash pads.
one family picnic
family movie nights with pizza
sprinkler twice a week
Greenfield village/Henry Ford once every two weeks
And maybe, as a bonus, legoland.

A few other things round out our list, but I do so love how simple my kids wishes are!

My number one list item...
Have a baby.

We also are putting together a chore chart for the oldest two. Keeping it very realistic. My sister Theresa had the best idea.
If the kids do their chore every day without being asked, at the end of the week they get a certain number of American dollars for allowance.
If the kids need to be reminded, they get less.
If the kids complain, they get even less (in our case, if they complain, they won't get the 'sticker' for the chore, so they will get nada, and still have have to do the chore).
Isn't that a cool idea?

I am keeping the chores very realistic.

Little A will have to 'watch' his brothers/sister downstairs for fifteen minutes, twice a day.
Wipe down the table and sweep the floor at the end of the night
#gross job
and something else...

Joey will empty the bathroom garbage in the morning.
Clean the toys that creeped up into the family room at night
and something else

Gosh, Malia has been hard for me lately.
I love her so much.
But two things.
Not only is she clingy, but she is climby.  If you would have told me prior to having kids, how hard it would be to have a kid who needs to climb on you 24/7, I would have said you were CRAZY.
But it's very hard.
And it's very hard when they insist on climbing on your stomach.

She is a sassy little character, and acts so naughty, or 'strong willed'.
Someone reminded me, she needs to be tough to handle all these boys... but omlowercase g, it might end me.

)gushy take to follow
Today is the 8th anniversary of Aaron and I's first date. This day is really important to me because it changed the course of my life.  I sometimes still can't believe where I'm at in life and how God's hand in it all is crystal clear. 
I've told you this before, but I've really married the best.
Two of our nephews and one of our nieces are being Confirmed today.
Aaron and I get to be Confirmation Sponsors for these two fine young men.
And they really are fine young men.
A couple of weeks ago, we got to take them out to dinner.
Frankly, it's so hard to spend time with our older nieces/nephews because we are usually trying to manage our own crew.  It was so nice to spend time with them.
Please say some prayers for Ralph, Warren and Adeline receiving the fullness of the spirit tonight.
It is 9:16 am and no one is dressed. All of my kids are in diapers or underwear. It's time for me to get a move on and bust out of this joint for a bit, so that at 3:16 pm, I don't want to hide in a corner and cry!
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, May 12, 2017

7 QT Marriage Debate, Clean ups and kid sports...

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Marriage debate...
And I know you guys are going to be on my side.
This morning, I said to Aaron, 'they live in our neighborhood', I was talking about people from the school my son goes to.
He HOTLY debated me.
He says our neighborhood is only our street and MAYBE 1 or 2 streets away from us.

I say our neighborhood is all the houses in a 1 mile square.  So, east to west (1 mile) and north to south (1 mile).  If you're familiar with Redford, we are in one of those very square areas, all the houses are right next to each other, no land in between.  

Who is right?

This is my last week of work until the baby comes, and I am going out in style.
1 Confirmation Evening of Reflection tonight.
2 back to back school retreats next week.
1 Confirmation Retreat next Saturday...
And then... maternity leave.
The break will be nice, I have no talks/retreats or workshops scheduled until September 23rd. Plenty of time for cocooning leading up to the birth, and recovery after the birth :)
And so it begins... Sports.
I gotta tell you moms of older kids, I don't know how you do it. I am so nervous about the addition of sports in our lives.  Not this year (obviously) it's only once, maybe twice a week, for five weeks.  But we had a practice till 7:00 pm on a school night, and I had to bring all the kids because Aaron was at a meeting. And we didn't get home till 7:30 pm, then we needed showers, and everyone was muddy.

I had a moment of almost panic, realizing, if we are going to have our kids in school, this is going to be our lives.
Aaron was excited playing football.  Seeing him so happy, made us so completely happy.  He was 'nervous in my stomach' (his quote) happy.

For mother's day, Aaron is cleaning out and organizing our laundry room.
You would be appalled at the shape it's in.
It's bad.
Real bad.
like, can't even really walk in it bad, cobwebs, spiders and gross stuff bad.
I will do a before and after, you will freak out.
Once the laundry room is done, we will only have one more room (the work room) in our basement to totally clean and our whole house will be whipped into shape.
So Excited.

Speaking of Mother's day.
I went to my first, 'mother's day breakfast' this morning with Little Aaron.
He was quite excited to take me.
They made muffins, sang songs, and made each mom a super thoughtful gift.
I cried because I am pregnant.
Aaron gets really concerned when I am crying.  It makes him cry too, which would be disastrous for this kindergarten young man.
So I quickly wiped my tears away and told him pregnancy does weird thing to you, like make you cry when you are happy..
And we moved on.
set to go to breakfast
love my little guy
The muffins he made and the coffee he promised me :)
All my boys are in big boy beds. John Paul made his official transition last night.
He loves his new bed.
It's crazy how quickly they are growing.
It's also crazy how much bigger a twin bed is than a toddler bed.
Let's just say the boys room is about filled to capacity.

I started Iron Infusions this week.
And I only have one thing to say about that...
GOSH do I love hospital crushed ice.
Nothin' like it. Where can I buy it? Besides Sonic and the Hospital?

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

7 Quick Takes with all the outrage...

...just kidding outrage about dumb stuff is silly and I'm over it.

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
 Aaron's sixth birthday was great fun.
I once again went with the semi-homemade cake reality.  I bought a frosted cake and made it into a dinosaur landscape as per the kid's request.  The only problem was some people thought the boulders were dino droppings... what are you gonna do?

I've been thinking a LOT about how the culture of outrage is changing us as a society.
I could give you nine million examples, but you are smart enough to know what I am talking about.
I am very much over the hysterics of headlines and people who play into them.  VERY.MUCH.OVER.IT.
Especially when real issues get ignored.
That is all.

Remember how I was all like, 'this pregnancy has been so awesome, zero problems'.
This pregnancy is awesome.
But I did find out I once again have Gestational Diabetes
and once again, I am severely anemic...
So, it's back to 2-5 appointments a week starting in next week.  This should be fun.
  Good thing we don't have three different school drop offs/pick ups daily to content with when arranging appointments/sitters/etc...

That said, my gosh, I am getting excited for the kid part.  We can't wait to welcome our fifth.
I find myself day dreaming about the quiet hospital stay.
Although it's a bummer to use most of my husband's vacation right out of the gate, I am so excited to have two weeks at home as a family adjusting to a life of seven people.
I can't wait for the bassinet to be right next to my bed, glancing over at a sleeping newborn in the middle of the night.
I find myself day dreaming about all of these things and more.
I'm nervous about going back to the work of a newborn, but gosh, I am excited for those first few weeks.

I've told you about the minimalism challenge right?  This week our family room and the boy's room got the 'deep clean'. I took EIGHT TRASH BAGS TO GOOD WILL.  Can you even imagine how much stuff we had that we don't need? 
While I was cleaning the boys room, deep in the corner of a closet, wrapped in a tube of cardboard I found this.
Our dear friend, and Aaron's godfather, gave us an Apostolic Blessing for our wedding day.  Right after we received the gift, in the chaos of getting married, we lost it.  It's bugged me since, because I want to frame it and hang it above the bed in our room.
For our anniversary this year, I will get it framed and hang it up.  What a blessing this gift is.

If you follow me on any type of social media, you know we had our first kid's first sport's practice this week. Little Aaron is starting flag-football and the whole house is excited for it.
But, just as we were about to leave for the practice and jersey pick up, I realized Aaron took the wrong van, and left me the wrong keys, so I couldn't take his.
We were stranded at home and had to miss the practice and jersey pick up.
Is this the saddest picture ever?
That's the kids, looking out the front door, willing daddy to come back with the van so we could leave, complete with football in hand.

The good news is, we will get his jersey before his first game on Sunday...
... and the practice was canceled apparently
... and it's kindergarten flag football, so it's not like all his dreams are crushed.

Yesterday, was Star Wars day at a local public library.
I thought it was at the Redford Library, because the internets said it was at the Redford Library.
So, being the kick a$$ mom that I am, I dragged all the kids out in the rain and we went to our library.
After running through the rain, soaking wet we entered the library, we realized there was no Star Wars happenings...
I pulled out my phone and realized the event was at a Detroit Public Library, Redford Branch (wth).
Discovering it wasn't that far, the kids and I ran through the rain and drove to the Detroit Public Library (which is VERY hard to find, so I circled around several times) Redford Branch.
Running through the rain to get into the second library, and soaking wet, it appeared this library also had nothing for Star Wars day.
Epic fail.
Right before we left, I thought to ask at the front desk.
She told me Star Wars Day was in a conference room.  Whew, there was something.
Turns out the something was two crafts my kids couldn't do (too complicated)
a bucket of broken crayons and coloring sheets
and a game of tic tac toe.

the library workers (maybe librarians) were awesome and dressed up.
Even though I promised the kids snacks, books, games, and other surprises...
They were totally content with the storm trooper.


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

Friday, April 28, 2017

7QT about lyfe this week

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Tomorrow is Aaron Christopher Wilkerson II's 6th birthday.
I've decided it's all down hill from here.
5 was awesome.  As I told the pre-k teacher yesterday, 'they can wipe their own butts, dress themselves, put on their own shoes, it's awesome'.
But from this point on, he just begins the process of leaving me :/ #dramaticmuch

Why, hello 3rd trimester.
I am officially in the 3rd trimester.  Woot woot.
And, check it out...
...as of today I do not have gestational diabetes.
...for the first pregnancy ever, I do not throw up every day
...I have only gained 7 pounds
I know it's about to get rough, as only the 3rd trimester of pregnancy can, but for right now, I'll take it.
I know you've all been on the edge of your seat wondering what we are going to do for vacation next year.
After the feedback I got from those who read this blog, we decided against Europe. It's just not time yet.  The kids are entirely too young.  Five more years.  I can wait.
We've also decided against the Disney cruise.  It's an incredible amount of money and two of our kids won't even be able to use the pools- we are going to wait a couple years on that too.
It's back to Disney for the Wilkersons.  This time during the Christmas Season.  It's just the perfect place to go when one has five children who will be six and under.  The whole darn place is directed towards children, and right now for us, that's priceless.
We are excited!

Yesterday, Aaron started talking to me about Catholic High Schools and if they are on the table for us.
You guys, it will be such an incredible amount of money $$$$ and all at once, because our kids are so close in age.
But in six years, our little house will be paid for, so, in theory, if we stay here, we could do it.
And so, we will start planning for it now.

I told you a few weeks ago about the Minimalism Game I am a part of.
On day one, you get rid of 1 thing.
On day two, you get rid of 2 things.
On day three, you get rid of 3 things.
It's changing my life.
I have donated bags and bags of stuff to goodwill.  If we haven't used it in a year, we get rid of it.
Wanna see something embarrassing?
Here's the before and after of our bathroom sink drawer.  I seriously don't think I've emptied it since we moved in #gross.
The whole house is being whipped into shape and I love it.

Let me know if you want me to add you to the group on facebook for May. I promise, if your home needs organization, or just has too much 'stuff', you will LOVE it.

 Part of this challenge is helping me deep clean our bedrooms for the first time in a long time.
I leave the rooms to the weekend. Aaron has taken the kids out of the house, and I have busted butt to clean.  I have our room sparkling and Malia's room sparkling.
This weekend, the boys room is on tap.
The boys room is disgusting.
There has been sightings of at least 6 ants.
I hate ants.
But I'm gonna put on my big girl pants and get 'er did.

Malia is old enough to reach into our kitchen drawers.
And do things like empty them.
And take out markers and write all over things.
And run around the house with scissors when I'm not looking.

We've never had to child proof the drawers.  I, intentionally, do very little child proofing in our house, and usually it involves duct tape vs. the fancy gadgets meant to keep kids out.  That said, I might just have to, because it is SO annoying.

That's all I got for this week.
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, April 21, 2017

7QTakes give me your play advice and travel advice

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
The kids have been on break all week.
I seriously can't decide if I am the mom who loves the kids on break, or prefers the kids in school :)
I am somewhere in the middle.  Probably more of the loving the kids on break type though.
Our van is in the shop. Which means we are grounded at home today.  Someone give me some suggestions of fun things to do to pass the day?  Not complicated or messy ones either. k? Thanks!

For some reason, I keep thinking 5 is going to be SO MUCH HARDER than 4 kids.
Not in practicality or our day to day tasks... I think we kind of have life figured out in that way.
But definitely in going places.
I don't know if it will be, but i keep thinking it will be.
And I figured out why.
You know how when someone has three kids, the joke is they are outnumbered?
I realized last night, at five, we will be hand out numbered.  We only have enough hands to hand hold four kids... and we are going to have five.  I think it's going to make travel tricky.

Speaking of travel... I am all starry eye'd thinking about travel in 2018.
To review.
We live in a small house (for 2017 standards) and we do so intentionally.  It allows us to do things we want to do, like travel and send our kids to Catholic schools.
Our travel budget is bigger than most families, but our house is smaller than most families... so don't judge :)
Okay, I feel better writing that.
Back to the starry eye'd planning.
We were saving this year to, in theory, take a 6 days Disney cruise as a family.  It seems like it would be so fun, and almost even relaxing, which is quite impossible with our kid's ages.
But Disney Cruises are CRAZY expensive, because we would need two rooms.
like, crazy expensive.
We realized, we could actually go to Europe for LESS THAN what we would pay for a Disney Cruise.
So then we started thinking, maybe we should bite the bullet and take our first European trip (on the list, Rome, Fatima, Ireland, Spain).
BUT THEN, we were thinking we could also go to Hawaii.
OR, we could do two pretty major USA vacations (several things on the table).

So we are trying to decide what to do. And it's so fun.  What would you do?
Aaron (husband) quote this morning...
"Don't start off cranky, you get one cranky day a week, and that was yesterday, so no cranky today"

We are late the party.  But Designated Survivor????  SO FREAKING GOOD.
It's got me thinking all kinds of 'what would I do?' type of things. HIGHLY recommend.
(by the way, we are only 7 episodes in, so if it ends up being a flop I will be seriously sad).

 This girl. God has been so good to our family.

If you're not familiar with the Rosary, it's a meditative prayer that helps the faithful move through the mysteries of faith using the intercession of the Blessed Mother.  No, it's not praying, 'to her' that would be silly, it's asking her to pray with with you.  And we ask people to pray with us all the time, and I think, sometimes, we specifically ask people of faith to pray with us.  So it makes total sense to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray with us right?!?!  SUCH an amazing prayer.
You guys.
I've believe with my whole heart praying the Rosary is a crazy tool of protection for the family.
I believe it.
I know it.
And yet, the Rosary with my crew?  Um. No
I know some people who do it with little people (shout out Rakhi), but there was just no way I was going to attempt a 15-20 minute memorized prayer experience with my kids.
They'd be bonkers
I'd be yelling.
I just kept waiting for the 'right' time.
My friend Erin created this...
Now, here's the thing.  I've seen the concept before, but never geared towards children.  The 'Easter Bunny' brought one for the kids and this week we completed our first family ROSARY!  AND it was completely painless.  The kids enjoyed praying and moving the beads, and it's something we are easily able to add to our bedtime routine (just a decade, I ain't crazy)!

Check it, you need you to get you one.  Seriously.  First communion gifts, baptism gifts, family gifts... it's perfect. I HIGHLY recommend it and not just because Erin is my friend, but because I can't believe how awesome it was to pray the Rosary with my crew.
Comment on this or in social media if you want Erin to message you info on it!

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miracle in the Holy Land

At 'da club' Aaron on my right, the now Father Steve on my left
8 years ago today, I left for a 10 day-ish trip to the Holy Land.  The night before we left, I went out to see a show called, 'Mega 80s' at a club in Ferndale, Michigan. I invited my new friend Aaron along.  I had been crushing on him for awhile, but a week before, he told me he had a 'lady friend' destroying my 'he's a potential' dream... however he was super cool. So I wanted to hang out with him.  Our friend in the the seminary, Steve Mateja came too.  He swears, that night, at the club, he said a prayer Aaron and I would somehow end up together.

I got up in the morning, packed last minute things, and left for the Holy Land full of anticipation, joy and nerves.  I was attending the trip a little broken.  Life just seemed really hard, as it does sometimes when one is 28, single, living in their parents house, and working a ministry job.  My little sister was getting married, and I was so excited for her.  But, I was having to have the 'Oh, is it weird to you that your little sister is getting married before you?' conversation, more often than I would have liked. I wasn't sure where my life was headed, I knew I wanted to be married, but I wasn't. I knew I needed to move out of my parent's home, but I couldn't figure out finances... I felt a little stuck.

I've told this story before, but I decided, during the pilgrimage, my main intention would be praying about my future, and being specific. I asked God to bring me a spouse.  BUT, I also told Him, at the very least, if marriage wasn't in the cards for me, to somehow make my heart peaceful with that reality.  I prayed it everywhere we went. I lit candles, I conversed with God about it.  In the place of the Wedding Feast of Cana, I asked the Lord to please bring some clarity for this area of my life.  It was different than when I had prayed before for my future spouse (did you know people did that?  They do!).  I was praying with a sense of trust, I would either meet someone or I would know the single life was going to be my reality and I would start to embrace it.

On one of the last nights, we were eating a dinner in a hotel restaurant.  A priest, not with our group, walked right up our table.  He saw I was wearing a Franciscan University sweatshirt. I will never forget the conversation.

"Did you go to Franciscan?"- he said.

"I did"- I answered

"It's a great school!  Are you married?"- he kind of asked this question a little out of nowhere.

"Nope" I said, used to this conversation, "Still waiting for my prince charming"

"Just so you know... prayers in the Holy Land are always answered"

He walked away.  I didn't tell him my prayer was to find a spouse. It was such an odd experience, I wrote about it in my prayer journal.

at my sister's wedding
Three weeks after I got home from this amazing trip, Aaron asked me on our first date.  3 weeks after that, he bought a one way ticket to Lexington, Kentucky to attend my little sister's wedding with me. It had to be one way, because he only had 1 night, the next day he was leaving for mission trip from Detroit.  When I was driving home from my sister's wedding, I thought to myself, 'Oh my gosh, Lord, I could see myself marrying him'.  We dated for six month, and then before the Blessed Sacrament and on a picture of the Big House's 50 yard line, he asked me to be his wife.  We were married six months later, 10 days after our first date.
Prayers in the Holy Land, for me, were answered.

Guys, he drives me crazy.  On Tuesday he came home late, without calling and then acted surprised I would be upset about it.  There's a box on our kitchen floor I've asked him to move downstairs every day for almost a week.  Marriage is hard.  It's rare we have a week without some type of drama, squabble, fight or tension.

However, last night he rubbed my back till I fell asleep. He does this almost every night because sleep is so hard for me when I am pregnant.   This morning, he got up with the kids, while I slept in bed. He changed their diapers, took up and down the laundry, and ran to the store to grab some last minute groceries... all before 8:30 am.  As he left for work, he gave me a kiss and I said a little prayer for him, in thanksgiving.

Because 8 years ago today, I set out on a pilgrimage journey that would change my life.  And now, 5 kids and a tiny house in Redford, Michigan later, I know I received a miracle.

I don't get why some prayers are answered and why some aren't.  I do believe in miracles, and Aaron is the greatest miracle of my life.

Friday, April 7, 2017

7 Quick Takes with daily happenings

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum   to give you this week's quick takes.  Are you ready?
Om lower case g. Our Malia Paul had a rough week.  She is our first kid who I can remember tumbling down ALL the stairs (from the very top, to the very bottom).  Poor girl had rug burn all over her face.  She went from that to getting hit with teething and allergies.  On Tuesday, she was so miserable and congested, nap wasn't happening.  She came out on the couch and snuggled under the covers, reading beside me.  She's pretty much a teenager.

 I have begun a much needed three week break from ministry.  Praise you Jesus, the downtime will be good.  Of course, I'm filling it with entirely too many things, but good things- so Imma take it as a win.

Minimalism Game
I've joined a facebook group I am loving. For one month, I am going to donate/clear/trash the clutter in my life. On day 1, you start with 1 item;  day 2, 2 items;  etc... etc... by the end of 30 days, you have de-cluttered 500 items.
How depressing is it that 500 items wouldn't begin to declutter my home?
Here's a few pictures of some of the things I've gotten rid of so far.
old shoes
medicine cabinet stuff
all size 3t clothing
People have been entirely too kind to our family this week.  It's been a CRAZY week with appointments, sick kids, a husband who was very busy at nighttime and packing to go out of town.
A school family, the Wingates, have brought little Aaron home three afternoons this week. That's a game changer, because this week buses aren't running, so pick up is a mess.  It's been so nice to not have to wake the kids up from nap to go get him.
My sweet cousin came over to watch the kids while I ran to the store.  She brought wonderful goodies for each of my children, including THREE PAIRS OF MATCHING PAJAMAS.  And you know how I feel about matching pajamas.  Here are my power rangers...

We leave tomorrow for Niagara Falls for 2.5 days.  Still SO much to do to make it happen.  But I'm sitting here blogging instead.  What is wrong with me!?!?!?

If you follow me on the instagram or the facebook, you know I got to be little Aaron's 'Mystery Reader' this week.  The mystery reader gives the teacher five clues, they are read to the class, and then the mystery reader appears to read a few books to the boys and girls.
You guys.
The joy on my son's face was amazing. He jumped right up and into my arms.  I told that part on already on social media.  What I didn't tell you is what he said after school.
When he got in the car, he said,
"Mom thank you so much for being the mystery reader.  When the clues were being read, I was so nervous my stomach hurt and I could barely breathe, because I wanted it to be you so badly. I think if it wasn't you, I would have cried"
Here's why God is good my friends.
When he asked about me coming for mystery reader about a month ago, I could tell it was something he really wanted me to to do. I could hear it in his voice.  But, to be honest, things like that are such a pain in the butt logistically (to run up to the school for ten minutes, sibling free).  However, I felt a real prompting in my heart that this was important to him, and I should make it happen.
Praise God that I did.
I mean, his stomach hurt and he could barely breathe, after all.
(no, he does not get his dramatics from me...or maybe he totally does).

It's like I don't have the words.  And I don't understand the complexities of the situation.  I try to understand, I try to read and discern through party lines.  But it's so hard. Children, so many children are dying, and we have video of it.  People were sharing video on facebook yesterday of victims of a chemical warfare and Syria.  I scrolled past every single one. I couldn't watch. I can't watch. It's like I have to turn off the situation in my head or it will be too maddening to even cope with.  But that's awful isn't it?  What do we do with that awful. I don't know.  How are you coping with it?  How are you responding as a Christian/Catholic?  What are we suppose to do?  The only thing I've seen concretely is people gathering items for refugees.  Though important, is that enough, is that really addressing the situation?
The song below has been running in my head all morning...

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Triduum With Toddlers

As most of you know, I am not a 'pinterest' mom.  Crafting, creativity, etc... just aren't my gifts. It's not something I mourn, as God has been very good to to me and I have great people in my life who help create a magical childhood for my children... BUT...

Last year, the Holy Spirit (and other mom blogs) completely inspired me and our family had an awesome, age appropriate Triduum experience.  I wrote our plans here, but today I am going to write about what we actually did and how it worked out.

For those of you who don't know, the Triduum, is the 3 day, day.  The days between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday, where we observed the greatest mystery of our faith, the reality we have a God who loved us enough to die for us in a painful, horrific, lonely way,  but then, just when all hope was lost... HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD.  The awesomeness is hard to understand for grown ups, but to help little ones move through it is a challenge in itself.  Last year's 'Three Day, Day' went so well, I wanted to write about it and maybe if you have little ones (or big ones) you can incorporate some of the ideas.  The Catholic Church has beautiful liturgies for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.  BUT, for our family of four (five) children under the age of six, these liturgies just don't work (we've tried). They are beautiful, but they are long. The symbolism is lost on my children and the few times we have attempted to attend, I end up acting REALLY un-Christian trying to manage my little weirdos.  So, we began our very own tradition to get us through this season of littles...  I'm also going to add pictures, because pictures are super fun.

 After school we begin to set up for our Jesus meal.  Apparently, mimicking Seder meals is frowned upon, but that's not what we are trying to accomplish.  Our goal for this night is to eat as Jesus ate and to practice our very own foot washing.  We laid big blankets on the floor of the family room with pillows underneath them.  The boys dress in long t-shirts, tied at the waist with burlap ribbon. Last year, I wrapped malia in scarf around her head.  We all sit on the floor, and say our prayers and then eat a simple meal of delicious 'Jesus Bread' ('Iraqi bread' from the most wonderful bakery- called Ishtar in West Bloomfield for you locals), hummus, sliced apples and cucumbers.  We put all the food on big platters, and the boys got a huge kick out of eating with their hands right off the center platters.  After dinner, I read a simple story of the foot washing, and each child washes the feet of their siblings/mom/dad.  Last year, Little Aaron did not want to get his feet washed at first, and that was a-ok, this night is about calmly and peacefully giving our kids an insight into the mystery of Christ.  By the end of the footwashing, Aaron was game, so we all washed each other's feet.  The cutest by far was watching Malia excitedly get her feet washed by her brothers.  We use VERY little water, because I am mom who doesn't like messes... feel free to do you if you don't mind the mess.  

The kids still talk about this night and our looking forward to it this year... here are some pictures...
ready to go
super excited

the disciples ready for their meal

mama participates too

this kid eats nothing, but he loves him some hummus

messy faces are worth it


love her face in this one.  She totally got into it.

washing their tiny feet

Malia getting her feet washed by her brothers

lol, not sure she understood she wasn't just being spoiled

Aaron allowed us at the end to wash his feet
We wake up in the morning on Good Friday and watch 'the LEGO JESUS STORY'
You guys. My friend Jaime from MOPS wrote about this on facebook a few years ago and we randomly watched it. My boys ask for it all.the.time.  I think it's a great way to tell the story of Christ in a way that makes sense to three little boys (remember, they are very little).  The boys are captivated by it, and I am telling you, like it or not a 2, 3 and 4 year old REALLY can better grasp the mystery of Good Friday by watching it played out in legos. I promise.

After watching, during the morning, we made Jesus 'thank you cards'.  Cards that thank Him for His cross.  We knew last year we wanted to bring them to a Church, to an altar to drop them off.  We didn't anticipate so many churches would be closed in the morning. BUT, it ended up being the best happy accident.  Our Archdiocesan Cathedral, Blessed Sacrament was open.  It will be our tradition to go there every year. We put our Thank You cards before the tabernacle and spent some time (a short bit of time) in prayer.  The kids, my little little kids, honestly had a sense of sorrow and thanks moving through it in this way.  If you are local and want to meet down there this year, we ended up there around 10:30-11:00 am.  We'd love to meet up with you and your thank you cards.

When we got home, we took the time to 'shroud' all the holy images in our house. This includes statues, pictures, crucifixes, etc.. We placed small pieces of fabric (I mean, let's not lie, it's me, so I think we even used old t-shirts and scarves).  The kids took naps and we ate a  meatless dinner. 
Here are some pictures.

John Paul in front of his namesake's chair

I didn't think to take a picture, but a dear friend was at the cathedral later and saw the cards and snapped a picture for me.
As a child, we always participated in the Polish Tradition of the Blessing of the Baskets.  But, since I don't really cook, I didn't think I had enough to 'fill' the baskets with. Last year, though, I decided Jesus wouldn't mind if our baskets didn't have a lot of stuff in them.  The Blessing of the Baskets is an awesome tradition, you can read up on it here.  Basically, it's the seeking of God's blessing for the material goods we will enjoy on Easter.  We began by coloring eggs, and then filling our baskets with the eggs and Easter Candy. And I think some string cheese... because... toddlers.  The service is short (thank you Jesus) and the boys enjoyed carrying their little baskets.
Coloring Eggs

John Paul loved it.
loading up the baskets

adding the special touches

It looks like John Paul's basket legit has crust in it.  It's okay, Jesus doesn't mind.
YAY, we've made it to Easter.  For Easter, each of our kids gets a special 'new ish' outfit.  Oh my gosh, how fun is it buying Easter dresses for little girls?!??!?  Seriously.  
During the night, I took the 'shrouds' off all of our Religious articles, and replaced them with fresh flowers.  Last year, we had one shared basket (we will probably do the same this year), that the Easter Bunny hides.

Speaking of the Easter Bunny... we ain't got no problem with him.  You'll see in the pictures below, our Easter Bunny (and Santa Clause) work to celebrate Jesus.  These imaginative wonders help to bring alive the mysteries we share with our children about our faith.  It's all good.

Our Easter basket is simple.  Usually each boy gets one of those$1-2 religious books (although last year we did a big expensive book called, 'Letters to Pope Francis' which they loved), 1 small toy (Imaginext super heroes last year) and candy.  It's the perfect way to celebrate.  
The last few years, we've gone to breakfast with my inlaws at a delicious pancake house. After, we attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  After Mass, I hide 15-20 eggs full of one candy each around the yard- I do this while the family is the car getting ready to go to breakfast.   The boys (and this year, girl) really enjoy finding them, so it's a tradition I will probably stick with.  
We go home, nap and then head to my parents for Easter Dinner.
Here's some pictures...

the basket

The Easter Bunny working for Jesus

Fresh flowers

Papa and Malia at Mass

Easter egg hunt

This part is so fun for them

he couldn't wait to begin the tasting
The crew at Mass
And that my friends is how the Wilkersons live the mystery of the Triduum in a special, holy and age appropriate way.  Maybe this helped to give you some ideas?!?!?!  Get 'er done.