Saturday, August 23, 2014

Changes

Yes, I know it's been a while as it always is these days. But there are leaves turning over here so I have an excuse. I'm trying to cut my computer time to a minimum while my kids are awake because who wants to remember their mom with their back to them pasted to a computer screen? I got off Facebook for a whole two months and I actually felt somewhat freed from it all. No more worrying about who is posting what and what I should and shouldn't be responding to. No more getting bombarded by political news stories at the very beginning of my every day. The weirdest thing to be freed from was the strange desire Facebook leaves you with to be checking it all the time for no reason. Even though I'm back on Facebook for the sole purpose of being able to contact a few people who I can otherwise not, I've resolved to spend no more than a few minutes on  a day, if even that. I also had the children watching no kid's shows at home (which was HUGE), until I got pregnant and first trimester fatigue and nausea hit. I HAD to have that nap. Maybe it's something we can go back to in the near future, but I'm still pleased that their time in front of a screen is so much less than it used to be.

Also, from this point forward in this blog my children will be referred to by number. Peanut is our #1, Miss Belle our #2, Jules our #3 and #4 is yet to be seen, but on the way. I figure by being pregnant with #4 it's as good of a time as ever to switch over to the number notation for names. Max and I are still arguing about finding out the sex or not, so that is yet to be seen.

We decided to home school #1 for Kindergarten this year. To be honest, I was pretty scared to start, but all is going well. #1 is a very social, energetic child who needs social interaction, so for now we are taking it one semester at a time. If homeschooling doesn't seem to be working for him in the near future we will figure something else out. After reading about a dozen various education books, reading through many blogs and listening to people converse on the subject I decided there was one main thing I wanted to keep in mind while venturing out into the education of our children. I want to always remember that not every child can or should be schooled the same way. I hate the idea that some people have that if you are a good Catholic, you home school and if you choose to do anything different you are either wrong or just too lazy. The idea floats around everywhere in home schooling circles and it's suffocating. My children deserve the best education that can be found; and while that may be home schooling at the moment, that might not always be the case. I also dislike the idea the public schools are using that all children should be put on an education assembly line where everyone comes out with the same (really bad) education. End rant.

I know I have been away, but this blog is really to look back on our life, and a few month break here and there isn't going to seem like much in the grand scheme of things. That's what keeps me writing. #1 is growing into an amazing boy and his kindness and great sense of humor floor me every day. He is so eager to learn about anything, loves to read and sword fight with pretend bad guys all day long. He is almost six. I can't believe I'm even writing that. 6! #2...as always is hard to put into words. She continues to give her whole heart to whatever she is doing. Most of her day is spent trying to do what #1 is doing even if she is too young or not physically capable. During home schooling she has to be sitting right by us working on her letters, because if her brother is doing school, so is she. She will never get down until he is done. They both love to sit down and be read to and wrestle with each other constantly. #3 is REALLY making up for her calm babyhood. I call her stealth baby. She will be so quiet and calm and I will go to check on her to find she has colored herself from head to toe in my makeup in 30 seconds flat. She unrolls the toilet paper, squeezes out the toothpaste, dips her hands in the toilet and loves Sharpies (actually any marker). My older two seriously NEVER did any of that stuff. I know part of it has to be that I'm busy and can't watch her as closely as a single child, but part of it is her supersonic radar that can sense anything messy that should only be used by grown ups. But, at the end of the day she will grab my face, give me a big kiss and lay her head on my shoulder and it's all worth every single little bit of it. She is too sweet to be mad at for long. She tries very hard to keep up with #1 and #2 but that usually ends in tears. I'm so happy and feel so blessed that she will also have a sibling that is fairly close to her in age.

These days I am feeling so thankful and blessed by the graces, family and amazing children that surround me. I pray that I can be as faithful to Christ as he has always been to me.

I promise #2 really was having a good time. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miss Belle Turns 4!


Dear Miss Belle,
About a week ago you turned 4. Your birthdays always bring so many thoughts to my mind, because no matter how old you turn I can only ever think, "she's always just been Belle." Even when you were a small baby, you were still so strongly yourself, that you didn't seem much like a baby at all.


 Even though we grow to know you more every day, you have always made yourself so well known and your personality shine right through you, that it seems that you have been you forever. You are unwavering and have always known who you are from the minute you were born. You are Annabelle, a child of God first. You are James' sister, Mommy and Daddy's sweetheart, BooBoo's only weakness, Mimi's heart melt and the girl that makes Juliana cry every time you look at her. 


You are the girl who never says what she doesn't mean and never does anything she doesn't want to. You are unfailing in your kindness to others. You will be the first to give a helping hand and gladly take the last place in a line if it makes someone else happy. You are surprisingly the shy girl in a crowd of unknown people, but will give your whole self to the people you know and love. You will venture out on any adventure presented to you as long as you have your brother at your side. Your brother is your best friend and the person you are always fighting with. I don't always understand it, but I know you love him with everything in you. 



You are the girl running around dressed like a queen, because a princess just isn't good enough. You twirl your dresses, brush your hair, play make up, wrestle and get completely dirty all in one day. You laugh hysterically at "potty" jokes with your brother and think pre-school is just about the best thing on this side of heaven.

 You delight in pleasing mommy and daddy and will go great lengths to be a good little helper and earn a "marble". You throw fits occasionally when you don't get to wear an outfit you love and pride yourself very much on your strong and impressive independence in doing things. You value the ideal almost to a fault. If anyone, anywhere is doing something you know to be wrong, you shout it at the rooftops and often say a prayer for that person. You are never tired of giving hugs and kisses and tell me freely everyday how much you love me. 



I have loved every minute of watching you grow into the young lady you are becoming.  Though I will morn the loss of your "baby" years, watching you form into the sweet person we always knew was inside of you is one of the greatest joys in my life. I am truly undeserving to be your mother and hope that you can always forgive me in my shortfalls throughout your life. I love you Miss Belle. Happy 4th Birthday! 

Mommy




Monday, April 14, 2014

Salt

The days are good in my home, but it seems in many of my friends homes, that life is falling apart. There is no doubt in my mind that Satan is very hungry for one thing right now: families. Your family. My family. Some people I know are going through some very very hard times. Harder than I could ever imagine because, to be honest, my life is pretty perfect. It may not always be this way, but that's not today.

This morning while doing dishes I was praying for all these people, one by one, my friends that are each hurting so bad in so many different ways. I was thinking about how much humility it takes to be a Christian. Many of us go to Mass on Sunday, proclaim we love Christ, but can't manage to be kind or loving to the people nearest us. We can sit and pray and read the Bible, but when given an opportunity for humility, to let ourselves be pressed beneath our cross like Christ, we cry out in pride that it's just not fair; that we deserve better. That if X, Y and Z would just change, our lives would be perfect. I was meditating on how if we all lived like we were supposed to, the world would be a different place. As St. Theresa puts it, "When we are who we are called to be, we will set the world ablaze".

Then I started thinking about salt. "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless". (Matthew 5:13)

Too call something too salty is an insult. It's a ruined dish when all one can taste is the salt of it. On the other hand, if there is no salt in a dish, it is considered bland and without flavor. Salt is never the spice anyone comments on in a dish, but is the main ingredient needed to pull all flavors together. It is the necessary ingredient that never gets noticed. Salt is humble. I think we Christians have a spice problem right now. Either we are too salty and overpower the souls of this world by yelling in their face about all that is wrong, or we have lost our flavor all together and lie in our lukewarmness, too scared to be who we were created to be. To be salt takes a lot of humility.

Christ never states that we should seek comfort in this world; that we should make sure we are being treated right by others and getting just recognition for our good works. He never promises happiness in this life. Instead Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow Him; to forget ourselves, to treat others the way we want to be treated not the way we will be treated. If we spend even one moment contemplating the Passion of our Lord, all of life's questions seemed to be answered. We will know instantly how hard it is to truly be Christlike. Not just on Sundays, but in every day to every person we meet, and most importantly to our family. How many of us can get along with everyone around us, but struggle to practice our Christ-likeness to the most special and important people God has placed in our lives? It's me everyday. I proclaim Hallelujah on Sunday and yell at my children on Monday morning. I tell Jesus I want to follow Him and become a saint, but fail to stand up for my faith to an unbeliever. I ask for the virtue of humility, but when given the opportunity to practice it, decide it's easier to "stand up for myself" and make sure I get the recognition that is "due" to me for the work I do. I fall. But our loving God has shown us through his Passion how to get up. In humility, without grumbling and complaining and looking on to the task ahead.

This holy week I pray to be more salt-like. To serve without expecting anything in return. To be the unnoticed one who brings out the best in others and shines the light of Christ through her.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Inga

I'm not really sure when Inga came into our lives, but now it feels like she is part of our family. Inga is Miss Belle's imaginary friend, although to Miss Belle she is quite real. I don't even know where she came up with that name, but she has been around for months now.

Miss Belle plays with her almost every day. She goes to Inga's apartment. Inga is almost always about to have a baby. Miss Belle ALWAYS needs to help when that is happening. Often, Inga gets sick and can't come out to play. In fact, while Max was away, Inga actually died. Her graveyard was our garden. No matter how much I tried to convince Miss Belle that she probably wasn't dead, Miss Belle wouldn't change her mind. But she continued to play around Inga. After her death, her apartment needed to be taken care of and her baby needed a new mommy. Another friend, Ponga, came to help with the whole situation, but we haven't heard from her in weeks now.

I guess Peanut started to miss Inga too, but he "found" a letter she wrote to Miss Belle. The letter stated that she was actually still alive and was coming to see us all! I can't say that I wasn't just a little bit happy that Miss Belle fell for Peanut's little trick. I actually kind of missed Inga. She is definitely a part of Miss Belle's life that I don't want to forget, which is why I'm writing this.

I bet you can't guess what Inga looks like. It kind of shocked me too, but no joke, one day Miss Belle was looking through a magazine that came in the mail and started shouting excitedly, "This is INGA!!!!" When I looked down at the picture, this is what I saw:



This girl is a little crazy...but I love her to death! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Things They Say (10)

Peanut is learning to spell and is constantly sounding things out. He often asks how to spell letters (how do you spell the letter 'L') and I always explain that letters are what we use to spell and they cannot be spelled themselves. One day while riding in the car, Peanut was thinking very hard and said, "Mommy, I know you are lying about not being able to spell letters. I know what the letter 'S' starts with. It starts with an 'E'"

Every morning Max and I say a prayer that mentions keeping a chaste and pure heart. One morning after reciting it, Peanut exclaims, "YEAH! Let's pray that Daddy gets chased by really holy saints!"

Peanut: "Mom? Heaven is like a party for a bunch of dead people, right?!" Yeah, sure kid.

Going to drop food off for a new mommy I was explaining to the kids how they couldn't go into the house because new mommies need lots of rest.
Peanut: "Well, maybe Miss Rachel isn't like you"
Me: "What do you mean?"
Peanut: "Well, maybe when her husband wakes her up she says, HI HONEY!!!!"
Me: "Well, what does your mommy do?"
Peanut: "You're more like, 'I'm sooooo tired!!!!!'"

Kids don't miss a beat...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

1...Already!


Wasn't she just born yesterday? 


This birthday has brought the emotions of that day flooding back into my mind. Her birth continues to amaze me, and I continue to process it even a year later. Jules is a sweet, calm little bundle of joy who already gives her heart and love without reserve. Her smile lights up a room and can turn a bad mood around in a flash. She loves her siblings and tries to keep up with them. She has been our earliest walker (10months) and is now practically running. She never really complains unless she REALLY needs something, and just goes about her day perfectly content. The only sadness in this day is that the one other person that was there for her birth will not celebrate her 1st birthday with us this evening. That seems very strange to me and it makes me miss my husband even more, but it is what it is. Surely, when he arrives home she will great him with that huge smile and flying wave like she always has in the past.

Jules, you are pure joy. You bring a peace and calmness to this family that is so needed and I can't imagine life without you. I don't deserve to be your mother and I only hope that I can raise you the way God intended you to be raised. My wish for you, even in your young age, is that Christ is always at the center of your heart and the reason for all you do. I love you my daughter and can't wait to watch you grow.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Time

My husband is gone to a training school for 8 weeks. It's the life of the military and I try not to complain because I have friends who go a year without seeing their husbands. The anxiety of him leaving was worse than actually being alone. I do miss him terribly. The evenings are long and the weekends (all 2 that I have had so far) are longer. Although I miss my husband, I think there is always something to learn in all experiences in life and this time apart is no different. From the moment my husband left, I felt something change in the dynamic between my children and me. It took me several days to figure out why I felt a peace I haven't felt in a long time, and why I was suddenly more patient with my children than I have been in a long time. Then it hit me. Time; for the first time since we moved to this new city I feel like I have time. Time to clean, time to cook, time to exercise, time to play. There are no projects to be finished, guest to have for dinner, shows that must get seen and really no places to go.  I'm not saying I wouldn't want my husband to come walking through the door right now. I'm just saying that him being gone has really shown me how rushed and busy our life has become. Slowing down has allowed me to come closer to the mother I want to be. The mother I dreamed of being before I even got married. And I think that when my husband comes home, we can implement this lesson I've learned for the better of our family.

Somewhere along the path in life, my husband and I started thinking that if we weren't doing something "productive" we were wasting time. How wrong we are, and how sad that we can't sit and play with our children without thinking about what needs to get done. How much better would our life be if we were willing to "waste" time on each other and on our children? Time spent with the ones we love is really never wasted, even if what we are doing at the moment has no immediate end product.

When my children grow up, they won't remember if the house was remodeled or even all the people that come for dinner. But they will remember if their mother and father spent time with them, were patient with them and truly took interest in who they were at any given age. I don't want to look back on my life and see my children as a side note in the life I'm living. I want them to be the life I'm living. For the first time (maybe ever) I have started saying yes to my children. Yes to the park. Yes to a game of checkers. Yes to playing soccer outside. Yes to helping me do the dishes. Yes to cracking the egg in the pan. Yes to all the things that seemed torturous to me before. And you know what? It's better. Somehow the dishes still get done, the laundry still gets folded (mostly) and the kids feel loved. Which is what matters most. If it took Max leaving for 8 weeks to teach our family this invaluable lesson, then all the long days and lonely nights will be worth it.