Friday, December 21, 2012

Miss Belle

She may be trying to kill us as well as herself. I have to write these stories so I don't forget them. In November, my husband and I went back to visit Oklahoma. To make the trip easier we stayed in a hotel on our way home so we wouldn't have to drive so far in one day. Once the kids saw the indoor pool, we knew we wouldn't hear the end of it until they had a chance to swim. Silly mommy forgot the swimsuit so it's off to Target we go. Just so you know, Target does not sell swimsuits in November. So we made do, knowing we would be the semi odd looking people at the pool and bought the kids small gym shorts and a t-shirt to swim in. They seemed content with that.

So there we go to the pool, already filled with many laughing children. Seven month pregnant Andrea does not swim so Max was on his own with both kids. Peanut decided he wanted a ride on his Daddy's back so Max sat Miss Belle on the steps and instructed her to watch. This is something we have done many times in the past and never had a problem with. I watched from a distance as Miss Belle sat on the steps and Peanut laughed as his dad swam across the pool. And then I saw it: that look in Miss Belle's eyes. A look of determination and confidence. As she stood up on the steps I knew what was going to happen and sure enough it did. Without a second thought about it, Miss Belle decided she knew how to swim and dove with great confidence into the water. As I stood and shouted for Max to grab her, another woman sitting by ran to the edge of the water in a panic. The pool was small so I had no doubts that Max would make it to her in plenty of time. As I neared the edge of the pool I looked to Max wondering why he hadn't picked her up out of the water yet and suddenly realizing that he couldn't swim very fast at all since he had Peanut in  his arms and he can't swim either. As I watched Miss Belle roll and tumble in desperation under the water my mommy instinct kicked in. So seventh month pregnant Andrea jumped into the water fully clothed just as the other woman standing by did as well. Two fully clothed women, in the pool, reaching for Miss Belle. She coughed a few times and cried a little, but within minutes wanted to swim more. I, on the other hand, was quite humiliated having to walk all around the hotel back to our room soaking wet.

Fast forward two weeks. Target again (we like Target...a lot). I'm looking at cleaning supplies, Max has the cart one isle over and I hear the noise of a head hitting the tile. Before I even hear Miss Belle cry I hear several women standing by gasp and make sounds of shock and disbelief. I'm so glad I didn't actually see the fall, as I think it may have been a little traumatic for me. Miss Belle cried for quite some time, then calmed down. And by calmed down, I mean wanted to do nothing but sleep; which of course scared us. My husband and I aren't quick to go to the ER or urgent care so we decided to call a nurse line first to see what we should do. They told us to go to urgent care, so we didn't feel like we were over reacting to the situation when we took her in. After waiting two hours Miss Belle was finally seen and was starting to wake up a bit. The doctor said that she had a minor concussion, but as long as after about 4 hours she showed signs of improvement, she would be fine. Why the nurse line couldn't have told us about the four hour rule I have no idea.

Miss Belle, we love you and would really like to see you grow and mature over the years. While I appreciate your feisty spirit and "all in" attitude, a few less incidences would really save mommy's heart. I love you sweet daughter.

Monday, December 17, 2012

This Time...

Despite my extreme lack of blogging lately, I refuse to give this blog up. Even if it becomes an occasional writing, it will still be a good history of our life at this time. And a good outlet for me when needed.

I'm usually the happy pregnant woman. The one with no morning sickness, who hardly gains any weight and who's babies aren't terribly large. The aches and pains of pregnancy that some women tend to feel for months in pregnancy, I can only scarcely remember towards delivery day. Except this time...

God has challenged and humbled me in so many different ways this pregnancy. To start, it took almost a year to even conceive this child. God tried my patience and trust in His plan when, for the first time in my life, it didn't match my plan at all. After the joy of finding out we were pregnant came morning sickness for 12 solid weeks with two small children staring at me as I tried to shew them from the toilet while I puked. Feeling sick and tired all the time made me miss my old self and I wished so badly that I could just force myself to be in a good productive mood. In all my pregnancies I have had to take progesterone injections twice a week, and while I am used to this, it is still a hard and mentally agonizing thing to have your husband give you shots twice a week for nearly 35 weeks.  Through all this, I knew that the morning sickness had an end in sight and the second trimester brought a renewal of spirit and some much needed energy.

Then came the 26 weeks mark, when all of the sudden I couldn't roll over in bed or move my legs certain ways without extreme pain in my pelvis. With a little research and confirmation from my midwife, I was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. It's a nice long term that means the cartilage that holds one's pubic bone together in the front has softened too much, and my pelvis has become misaligned causing extreme pain when I move certain ways. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but have never been in such constant agonizing pain. The kind of pain where it's all you can think about and all you want to talk about. The kind where I had to think about EVERY step I took or movement I made to make sure it didn't cause an extreme sudden rush of pain. I cried every night at the thought of laying in bed, as this was (and still sometimes is) the most uncomfortable place to be, and rolling over is the hardest and most painful movement to make (if you have ever been pregnant you know how many times a night you need to roll over). It was humbling to watch my children try so hard to help me by bending over for me or offering to "rub my back". I had to sit on the couch and think about all the stuff around the house that needed to be done while not being able to do a thing about it. It was mentally agonizing and extremely humbling. Through all this, I had to learn to depend on my husband in a way I never really have had to do before. He did all the work at his office and all the work at home. His constant acts of service made me fall in love with him all over again and showed through action he really did mean "in good times and in bad."

The most dreadful thing about the pelvic problems was the lack of hope. Everything I read on the Internet said to rest and that the issue would resolve after the baby was born. That at best, I may be able to still walk by the end of this pregnancy but that crutches and wheelchairs were common with this condition. And just when I was at the end of my rope, there came hope. A simple book written by a Physical Therapist that my dear friend just happened to have. To make an already long story shorter, the book gave me hope beyond belief and a regimen for eventual healing. If I stick to a pelvic exercise routine every day, twice a day and continue to pay attention to my movements, I am about 90% pain free most days (minus common pregnancy pains).

There are still nine weeks to go and I pray that I can enjoy them the way I did my other two pregnancies. And while I don't know if this baby is a boy or a girl, I can steal feel his/her tiny kicks and wiggles, reminding me that at the end of all of this is a sweet little soul to hold and nourish in God's love.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Big News!

Yes, I'm alive despite the scarce blogging these days. I figured it is due time to announce that after what seemed like a long wait...

BABY NUMBER 3 IS IN THE OVEN! Due to arrive mid February 2013!

We couldn't be more excited. Your prayers for a healthy pregnancy and birth would be greatly appreciated.

Peanut is sure it's a boy and wants to name him David Goliath. Bipolar at it's finest. Miss Belle is sure it's a girl and wants to name her something that I don't understand in her two year old language. Somehow my husband has convinced me to wait and find out the sex of this baby until birth day. (There were some serious negotiations involved), so we shall see! Thanks for the prayers!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Gift of Compassion

Today I drove by a homeless man. It happens often, but today was different. This man, to the depths of his soul looked so...sad. His sign read, "Hungry, Homeless". I thought about how I have never had a moment in my life when I didn't know where my next meal was coming from. How I have never really experienced true hunger. I tried to stop to give him one of the bags I keep in my car for homeless people, but traffic was too rushed... always rushed. I waved and tried to smile, thinking at least I could give him that, but still sadness filled his face. And my heart ached for him. I looked around my car. Me driving in my nearly new mini-van, air conditioning blowing, music playing, kids laughing, hot burritos to fill their bellies, and amazing sushi for mine. Me who just came from a store to pick a two hundred dollar counter topper for our newly remodeled bathroom. And I didn't stop.

What is Christianity without action? What is love without giving of yourself? How will I teach these children compassion if I myself show none in my actions? And so I turned the car around and drove back to that place where the man with no home stood. I found a spot to park close by and gathered the food in my car and a bag full of hygiene products and snacks and made my way towards him. As he grabbed the things that filled my hands, he said,  "thank you kindly" and turned back to his corner. But not before giving me a quick smile, which is more than I could ask for.

I know many people pass by homeless people without a second glance because, "they got themselves there" or "they will spend the money on liquor". But this man's story is not for me to judge, and when I give of my money or possessions it should be with a free heart. A heart that thanks God for all the gifts he has given me and begs to never become immune to those in need.

"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise" -Mother Theresa

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Things They Say (8)

Riding in the car Miss Belle wouldn't stop saying "no" to every little thing Peanut asked her. It was frustrating him. Finally I told him to just leave her alone and not ask her any more questions since all she would answer was no.

Peanut: "Mommy, how do we make her stop doing that?"
Me: "I don't really know. But just leave her alone for a while"
Peanut: "Maybe we could just cut her head off..."

*he got the cutting the head off idea from David and Goliath, not from his parents, just FYI

Peanut: "Mommy how do band-aids work?"
Me: LONG explanation about how band-aids work. Pressure, blood absorption etc.
Peanut: "Then why didn't Jesus get a band-aid when he was on the cross for us?"

This story was told by my mom:
Peanut: "What's the 'toy section'?"
My mom: Explains what the toy section is
Peanut: "Oh, yeah! Sometimes we go to Target and I ask my daddy if we can go in the toy section and he says, 'no not today'.
My mom: "And does your mommy ever take you to the toy section?"
Peanut: "Well...sometimes when my mommy says 'no, not today' I say, 'PLEEEEEASE can we go to the toy section?' and she says, 'Ok just for a minute!"

I guess he has us pretty figured out at a young age.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Miss Belle is TWO!!!

Last weekend, Miss Belle turned two years old! When my husband and I went to bed that night, talking about what a blessing she is to us, we both said we didn't really know how to describe her. After a moment of silence, my husband hit the nail on the head. Everything Miss Belle does she does with every cell in her body. There is no in between with her. If she is loving you, she is loving with everything she has in her. If she is playing with you, she is only paying attention to you. If she wants something, she uses all her energy to get it and contrastingly, if she doesn't want something, every cell in her body will let you know (which is where it can sometimes get ugly). She is one of the most passionate, sweet and joyful kids I have ever seen. She also has one of the strongest wills I have ever seen. We plan with everything in us, to turn this will to Christ, which will put her in good company with other strong-willed saints like St. Paul. I am so excited to watch her grow, and seeing the girl she is becoming is such a joy.

Some things I want to remember about her at this age:

She asks "Why?" ALL the time (really pronounced 'aiy') She also uses the word "Aiy" for "yes" which  makes it really entertaining to watch people respond to her.

Every morning when she wakes, the first thing she does is find a pair of shoes to put on. She LOVES shoes. Particularly other peoples shoes. If she sees me put on a pretty pair she smiles with excitement and says, "OOOOOOO!!!!!!!" and laughs with joy. I have no idea where the shoe fetish lies in the gene pool (I don't have one), but she got it.

Miss Belle also loves purses. She carries one everywhere. When people come to our house they know to put their purse on top of fridge or the little purse snatcher will take it and carry it around for the evening.

She is one of the toughest kids I have ever seen (thanks to her brother). From the day she was brought home she has been rolled on, pushed and played with as if she was much older than she is.  If there were some kind of baby wrestling match I would put money on her.

She loves to give, what we call, "nose kisses". If you ask her for a kiss, she will grab your face, say "nose" and kiss you on the nose. It's rare to get a kiss anywhere else.

She idolizes her brother. Everything he does, she copies. The two can hardly stand to be separated and will always stand up for one another in a group of children.  

One of my favorite qualities about Miss Belle, is how she follows me everywhere. She doesn't care what I'm doing, it's enough to be at my side doing it. She is NOT entertained by television in the least bit! She could care less if that purple dinosaur is dancing and singing, she would rather be doing something hands on. I don't think she has ever sat through a television show...maybe not even five minutes of one.

Miss Belle, your birth was only a foreshadowing of the joy you have brought and are bringing every day to this family. I love you and am so proud to be your mother! Happy 2nd Birthday!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Things They Say (7)

Peanut had a little school play and apparently during rehearsal he grabbed the microphone out of his teachers' hand and announced, "I'm spider man and I love Jesus!!!!"

Peanut has been making up words lately and one that has stuck is "panacas" (pronounced just like it's spelled). He started calling his rear his "panacas". Randomly the other night he told me, "Mommy, do you know why I made up the word panacas?" No... "Because I don't want to say the word butt because it's gross and that's where poop comes from." Ok then!

Peanut talking to Henry (our dog): "Henry, you always need to listen to mommy and daddy"
Me: "Thank you, peanut, but I'm not Henry's mommy. Henry can just call me Andrea"
Peanut: "Mommy, that's really silly. Dogs can't talk."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mercy and Our True Measure

This excerpt from the Magnificat hit me so hard that I had to share. If I could only perfect these few paragraphs...

"If you wish always to press forward on the path of virtue without stopping, you should pay great attention to things which may serve as chances for acquiring virtue, and never let them slip out of your hands. Therefore those are ill-advised who do everything in their power to avoid any kind of obstacle in the path of virtue, in spite of the fact that these might have helped you towards success in their progress. For example, if you wish to gain the habit of patience, you should not avoid the people, things or circumstances which particularly try your patience. Meet them with a good will and the resolve to submit to their unpleasant effect on you, but at the same time prepare yourself to suffer them with unshakeable calmness of spirit. If you do not act thus, you will never learn patience.

You should adopt the same attitude towards any work which displeases you, either in itself or because it is imposed on you by a man you dislike, or because it interferes with the work you do like. In other words, you must not avoid it but, on the contrary, must undertake it without digging in your toes, and must do and finish it through, as though it were the most welcome work, never letting your heart be troubled by it, especially by the thought that, were it not for this business, you would be completely at peace. Otherwise you will never learn to bear the afflictions you will meet; nor will you find the true peace you seek by running away from such things, obviously through self-indulgence; for peace does not dwell in self-indulgent hearts. 

I advise you to do the same in relation to thoughts, which at times invade you and trouble your  mind with memories of human injustices and other inappropriate things. Do not stifle them or drive them away, but let them leave you of their own accord, not through your opposition, but through the patience with which you endure them."   - Father Lorenzo Scupoli

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Humility In Lent

This has been a great Lent so far. And by "great" I mean pretty hard. I set out this lent giving up some of the same old things that are really hard for me and some new things as well. If I had to pick a virtue that summed up my sacrifices it would probably be temperance. Did you hear that God? I said temperance. But no, God has a different virtue for me this lent, a hard virtue, humility.

It took me a few rounds of prideful backlash to realize what God was doing. If it wasn't for The Litany of Humility, I don't think I would have ever recognized how God was trying to work in me. My first response when something humbling is said to me or about me is to do nothing. Then, for the next day or even week sometimes, I replay the instance in my head thinking of what I should have said or I complain to my husband about the horrible injustice done to me. Even if it's small, my pride feeds on feeling sorry for myself in these humbling situations. I'm not going to go into detail about any of the specific events or things that were said because...well, that wouldn't be humble. That would be me, as mentioned above, feeling sorry for myself. Anyways, suffice it to say that through several events I have been humbled and often times thought of as much less than I think of myself. The thing God is trying to show me is how to react to these situations. Why does it bother me so much when I am trampled on or pushed to the side? Should I not desire to be with Christ near the cross being spat on and shoved? The thing I often forget about when trying to grow in a particular virtue is that sometimes it hurts to grow.

When I first went into labor with Miss Belle I remember thinking, "Why did I think I was going to enjoy this?!?!?" That is kind of how I have felt this Lent. Somehow I always go into lent thinking it will be this grace filled ride with painless fasting and effortless spiritual growth. As stupid as it sounds I forget about the literal pain of the cross. When I pick up my tiny little cross which is stamped this season with many opportunities for humility, I forget that sometimes it literally has to hurt to gain the reward at the end. When pain strikes and my pride is hurt, my first reaction is to put up a defense and protect myself. This response is so habitual that I often don't even see the opportunity for growth sitting right in front of me. God has graced me this season to step back and evaluate the way I handle situations in which I am humbled. To see them not as an attack on me, but as an opportunity to grow, to stop complaining, to stop dwelling on how I was wronged and to try and think of myself as I really should: as nothing without Him. He is helping me to stifle my desires for human love and approval and depend on Him for all.

Christ doesn't promise a painless cross, but He does promise strength for the journey and grace to persevere.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


After 10 months of work and some very long nights, I am officially a certified doula through DONA International!!! YAY!!! Happy happy day! Thank you to all the mommies who gave me the privilege of attending their births! The most thanks goes to my husband. Without his UNFAILING support, I would never have been able to do this. There have been many times he has taken off work and stayed with the children for over 24 hours while I am at a birth. He has never once complained and is always so encouraging and supportive. Thank you honey!

Andrea CD(DONA)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Day to Remember

This post deserves a picture. When I tried to take one the batteries had been removed from the camera and we were already running late. This was our first
"real" day in our new lives here in New Mexico. The move went smoothly and was a lot of really hard work. Last week was spent unpacking and getting settled. Today was my husband's first day at his new assignment and Peanut's first day of pre-school. Big day.

Let me back up. When we visited here in November a good friend of mine told me about a newly opened Catholic school that has a pre-K class for three year olds. I had been wanting to put Peanut in a mother's day out program in Oklahoma but was refused because he is not fully vaccinated. Surely the Catholics would understand me not using vaccines with aborted fetal cell tissue. So we looked into it, visited the classroom and fell in love with it all. Our intention is still to home school when our children get older, but this seemed like a good way for Peanut to socialize and learn how to behave in a structured environment. A bonus is that we love his teacher.

So anyways, today was his first day. He was so cute with his little backpack all ready to go. The only problem was Miss Belle thought she was going with him. This entire week, every time the word "school" is mentioned she yells, "ME!!!!" and points to her chest. This morning she got her back pack all ready, because anything Peanut does, she follows. When we dropped him off at school he exclaimed, "I want to stay here at school!" so Miss Belle and I said our goodbyes and ventured back to the car. She was not happy at all. She must have really thought all the "ME!!!"s were going to land her a place in pre-school next to her brother. She cried the whole way home. It was really the first time my children have done something apart from each other that I can remember.

I haven't heard an update on my how my husband's first day is going, but I assume it's going well. Life is starting to feel "normal" here as we settle into a routine. Thank you to everyone who prayed for a safe move and smooth transition.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oklahoma: The Things I Don't Want to Forget

I will admit first hand that for many of you this post will be boring and possibly not worth reading. It is mostly for myself as I come closer and closer to leaving this place I call home.

The Bad:

Lawn Mowing Mondays: Pretty self explanatory. While it's great that other people mow our front lawn for us every week, it ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS happens right at nap time. Change naps time you say? Tried that. It doesn't matter when I put them down for naps. Whether it's twelve or two, the mow men come to our yard at that time. And in case you don't know, for a three year old boy, riding lawn mowers are about the most exciting thing ever. Riding lawn mowers can also make the worst come out of mommy when they come at nap time. I would be embarrassed to tell you the many horrid things I have thought of doing to those mowers when they wake my sleeping children...

The Obesity: This is good and bad. Never in my life have I seen so many obese people as I have in Oklahoma. About a year after living here I figured out why there seems to be an obesity epidemic's because they have awesome fried chicken and the weather always sucks so bad you can't go outside to exercise. The upside is, I'm ten pounds overweight and I look like an anorexic compared to most around here.

The Weather: Sometimes exciting, but mostly sucky. Nothing like locking yourself in a closet while tornado sirens sound and the creepy computer weather voice keeps telling you to take shelter. By the way, a closet does not make you feel safe in the midst of a tornado. It's ridiculously hot and humid in the summer (and I'm from the desert, so I know hot) and the winter is filled with a strong wind so cold it literally takes your breath away. Ice storms knock out power for days, and as mentioned before, the spring brings tornadoes. When speaking of the weather in Oklahoma, my husband always says, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change".

The Good:

The Drive to The Farm: About once every two weeks the kids and I take a drive out to a local farm and buy fresh milk straight from the cow. No pasteurization or homogenization, just real whole milk. This milk was my life saver about a year ago, when Peanut was still showing signs of a dairy intolerance and wasn't gaining weight. After almost two years of worrying about his size and calorie intake, this farm came into our lives and relieved so much stress. It's a drive I always look forward to, knowing that I am going to get my children real, healthy and nutritious food from people who work very hard at what they do. A bonus blessing is that the drive itself is beautiful. Tree lined country paved roads all the way, with friendly people who always wave. It's the kind of lifestyle you see in movies but didn't think existed anymore; it does in Oklahoma. This is probably the number one thing I will miss about Oklahoma (besides the people).

The Grounding Tree: There is tree in my backyard, just beyond the fence. It is large and gorgeous and changes with the seasons. When looking out my dining room window, my eyes are automatically drawn to this tree. I can't tell you exactly why, but no matter how bad of a day I am having, looking at this tree always makes it better. It grounds me in a way. I guess in some way it reminds me that life is a long process and it takes many hard years to grow such beautiful branches with fruitful leaves. The flowers are fleeting and die with a simple freeze, but this tree always stands firm.

Living on an Air Force base: As much as I hated the idea almost four years ago, I have come to absolutely love the security and fellowship that comes with living on a military base.

The 5 O'Clock National Anthem: Not many people know this, but every day and 5pm on every military base across the U.S., the National Anthem is played. For the few minutes it is playing, life stops on base. Runners stop running, kids stop playing at the park and cars stop at green lights. Military men and women stand at an attentive salutes and civilians are found with their hands patriotically placed on their hearts. The sight can still bring tears to my eyes. It's a sight that reminds you that maybe their is hope for this country, and maybe there are people out their who love the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The General Conservative Mindset: Never in my life have I seen so many pro-life generally conservative bumper stickers as in Oklahoma. In New Mexico your car is sure to get egged once or twice if you place a conservative bumper sticker on your car. It is so refreshing to see people united in keeping America from becoming socialist and knowing that these people genuinely love this nation. Plus, it keeps mommies road rage waaaay down when I don't have to get angry about a ridiculous Obama "change" bumper sticker in front of me. Oklahoma may seriously be "the reddest state on the map" as they claim.

When we first learned we were moving to Oklahoma neither of us were thrilled. It was not on our "wish list". But, through the months and years we have come to love this place and will genuinely miss it when we leave. I'm sure there is much more I will miss but there is packing to do and no more time to write.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stopping to Smell The Flowers

I had to go to Wal-Mart tonight. I hate Wal-Mart. So does my husband. One of the many reasons I love him. Five minutes in that store can leave me exhausted and over-stimulated. But I must admit, they often have things I can't find anywhere else which is why I "had" to go this evening.

Peanut loves Wal-Mart. Maybe it's the insane amount of stuff there is to look at, or the 10 percent chance that he will come out with a balloon, but every time we pass one, he asks to go in. I knew today would be no different. As we pulled up, he begged to run in with me and I easily obliged. It's rare I get to take him somewhere alone, even if it's for a five minute walk in a store. So we walked, hand in hand towards that entrance to American consumerism at it's finest.

As I hurriedly walked around, knowing exactly what I needed and grabbing it as fast as I could, we made a pit stop to the party isle to prove to Peanut that, yes, they really were out of Spider-Man balloons. We had one more stop to the cleaning isle then we were out. After grabbing my bottle of bleach and nearly jogging to the checkout I noticed that Peanut wasn't right by my side. As I glanced back to find him, I didn't see him right away. Then I heard his tiny voice, "Mmmmm! Dese mell weally good!" (these smell really good).

There he was in the midst of the chaos that is Wal-Mart. In the midst of food and toys and balloons and everything eye appealing, he stopped to smell the flowers. My first reaction was to grab his little arm, and tell him we needed to hurry (why? I don't know). But as I pulled myself back for a second I thought, "how neat is that?". Out of all the stuff there was in that store, he found God's creation and stopped to appreciate it. To look and smell and feel the flowers. How often do we do that? When do we lose our child sight?

We stood there for a minute smelling the flowers together. "Mommy, I want to buy these flowers for you", he said. Knowing full well that he had no money in his piggy bank and that I would actually be buying flowers for myself, I eagerly agreed, "Yes! I would love if you bought me flowers, son".

We walked hand in hand out of that chaotic store with a special moment to share and a half dozen red roses to smell and admire for days to come. And I walked out the door knowing that God was teaching me to stop and smell the flowers even in the midst of chaos.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Things They Say (6)

Me: Please stop flipping the light on and off.
Peanut: Why Mommy?
Me: Because it hurts and bugs my eyes
Peanut: Oh...A bug flies in your eye and hurts it mommy?

It's funny how literally kids take things. :)

Peanut was laying in bed drinking his cup of milk before nap time when he matter of factly told me:
"Mommy, I can't drink too much milk or I will puke"
Me: "Do you not want your milk then?"
Peanut: "NO, NO! The point is, mommy, I can't have too much."

Neither my husband nor I know where he learned the phrase "the point is", but apparently one of us says it.

Peanut came up to me this morning with diaper rash cream covering his entire face. When I asked him why he did that he responded, "Mommy, I needed it so I could look so so handsome!"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Forgotten Mother

I am a cradle Catholic. Throughout the years, I have had many people ask questions about my faith, often times accusing me of believing something that I really do not. I have been forced by this questioning to find theological reasoning behind what the Church teaches, to wrestle with different viewpoints and to finally come to know that the faith I was raised in is truly my own. Throughout the years, the most common accusation I hear is, "Catholic's worship Mary", or something right along those lines. Now, there are many many theologins out there to argue the Catholic case for Mary, but I am not hear to do that today.

Today, I am here as a mother, just like she was. Today I am here wondering why so many protestants have forgotten how special a calling it must have been to be the mother of Jesus; the mother of God. So often I have asked protestants, "what if, at the annunciation, Mary said no?" to which they generally respond that God would have chosen someone else to be the mother of Christ. This logic, to me, speaks of a selfish God who merely uses the body of a woman to bring forth His divine plan. Not of a loving God who chose Mary specifically before all time to be HIS mother (imagine, creating your own mother...I bet she would be pretty perfect, huh?). God didn't just go around saying, eny meenyminey mo, ok she'll do. He created Mary for the specific purpose of being Christ mother. Just like He created you and I for a specific vocation. And just like Mary, we can say no to Christ. He gives us that free will. And if we do say no, he can't just give our vocation to someone else, because it is ours. The whole world's salvation waited on the "yes" of Mary that day. 

And still, if the protestants believe what I have said above, they seem to think that Christ was done with Mary the day He was born. That her job was finished in Bethlehem. But any mother knows this is surely not the case. Have we forgotten that Jesus spent 30 years in her home before beginning his ministry? Mary didn't just birth Jesus, feed him some food to grow and then send him on his way. She mothered him. She watched him smile for the first time, fed him milk from her breast, and held his tiny fingers as he learned to walk. She picked him up when he fell, kissed his owies and taught him how to hold his hands when he prayed to his Father. She nurtured him, cuddled him and kept him warm on cold winter nights.

All of these things seem like small, normal things all of us mothers do, and they are. But we must remember that Jesus wasn't just any child. He was the son of God. Mary taught and nurtured the Son of God! Tell me that isn't incredible! She felt the greatest love for her child than any woman has ever felt or will ever feel. And 33 years after his birth she walked behind Him to Calvary and stood silently as they crucified her child she kissed on the forehead all those nights.

We may not agree that Mary was sinless or that Jesus was her only son, but surely with a little reflection on her life and the 30 years Jesus spent in the home of the holy family, we can agree that she is a very very special mother and a woman deserving our honor.

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaide. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Luke 1:46-49 (emphasis mine)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The House That Became a Home

It's getting closer. Four weeks until my family ventures on to our next Air Force assignment. Two months ago I was anxiously excited to move and have a bigger house (we are living in 1150 sq. ft now with no garage). Now that I am actually starting to pack our things and clean things out, I am more nostalgic than anything. I'm sad to be leaving such great friends, sad to be leaving our first home and sad to be leaving this house that I complain so much about. And while I have complained about being cramped, the smallness of this house has taught me what we can live without and forced me to stay somewhat organized. I will always be thankful for that.

I always forget I don't like change. I'm that girl who sees the giant roller coaster and says, "Yeah let's ride!" and then when I get to the top say, "What was I thinking?!?!" Of course I get on, because who wants to walk all the way back down, but until the last big drop off is finished, I'm questioning why I ever got on.

As stated, our house is small. And old. Very old. There is a sixty year old layer of filth covering it that no amount of elbow grease can scrub clean. In the winter, the windows feel like they are open when they are surely closed. Our furniture doesn't go against the wall because the house is settling so bad that the wall is slanted in. There are huge cracks in the walls and in the living room you can actually see the roof starting to sink in. It's never where I pictured myself living, but over the years, this house has become our home. As much as I have complained about it's problems, it has done so much good for us.

This house is where we learned to be our own family. Where we argued and laughed our way through the first years of marriage. It's where I brought both my little children home for the first time and it's the only home they have known in their short little lives. It's where I cried from being home sick and rejoiced in the fact that we were our own. It's where my children took their first steps, where they learned to be siblings and where they said "mama" for the first time. It's where, on countless nights, my husband and I woke up to sick children and had to laugh at each other or else we would cry. It's where I learned to be a wife and a mother. It has kept us warm in the winter, cool in the summer and the merciless weather of Oklahoma off of our heads. It has been a good home.

This is one of the harder things about being in the military. Making new homes only to leave them a few years later. Always having the thought in the back of your mind that "this is not permanent". That you will have to repaint those walls and take down those pictures in a few short years. Never getting too attached to one place because you know you have to leave. And while I believe that a home can be made anywhere, there is something about the house that makes the home.  And the house is always changing. I guess this is also one of the arts of being a military wife; learning to create a new home in new places over and over again for many many years. Making your children feel that, although they aren't walking in the same door, they are coming home. They are coming home because that's where their family lives.

Four weeks and all boxes will be packed. Four weeks and we will say goodbye to the only home this family has known. Four weeks until we begin this new chapter in our lives.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Really Bugs Me

In general, I'm a pretty laid back person, but like anybody, I have certain things that really bug me. One of these annoyances seems to be happening quite often to me and it's driving me nuts. It happens when I take my kids out grocery shopping or to Target and someone (who I know or don't know) starts chatting with me. The scenario goes something like this:

Person X: "Hey! I haven't seen you in forever! How are you?"
Me: "Really great! Just busy trying to get shopping done with the kids. You?"

At this point I expect a "Yeah we are great too, see you later" response, but that's not always what happens. Sometimes what happens is Person X decides to tell me their whole life story for the past ten years which involves two divorces, a pet dying and an unexpected pregnancy. Whenever this happens, Person X seems to be COMPLETELY oblivious to my children, who are in fact, sick of waiting in a basket while mommy talks and going crazy. It's as if they think I don't have children with me and I can just talk all day. It happens with strangers and acquaintances alike.

After about three minutes of chit-chat my kids are in full blown impatient mode, or worse yet, self entertainment mode. Miss Belle is usually trying to actually join the conversation and Peanut is usually trying to push Miss Belle out of the cart in some way. All the while, I am not able to really listen to what the person is saying but am instead thinking, "Can you hear them? They are yelling and poking me. My son just fed my daughter a cockroach off the floor. My daughter just did that flip thing she does to get from one part of the cart to the other. She almost cracked her head open. Do you not see this? How is this conversation enjoyable to you?"

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy friendly conversation and my kids are actually pretty well behaved in stores (as long as they are not left in one place for too long), but trying to have a drawn out adult conversations for an extended period of time in the grocery store just isn't going to happen at this point.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

25 Things I Love About You

Today is my husband's and my 4th wedding anniversary. Every once and a while, those we love need to hear a few of the reasons behind our love. (This idea was totally stolen from the Mom.)

1. Your smile that brightens even the gloomiest days.
2. The amazing father you are to our children.
3. The way you love to wrestle with Peanut
4. How often you tell Miss Belle she is beautiful
5. How easily you cry when we talk about our kids growing up
6. Your ability to turn a broken flat screen TV into 30 bucks...even though I didn't believe in you
7. How you have taken me out of my comfort zone and made me a more outgoing and charitable person.
8. Your ability to talk to anyone, anywhere
9. How often you tell me I'm pretty
10. Your love for everything "manly" (i.e hunting, shooting, guns etc.)
11. Your spiritual leadership of this family
12. How you know something about almost anything I bring up
13. Your unconditional and constant support for me in my work as a doula
14. Your love for learning, even if it means stopping at those stupid landmark signs on the side of the road.
15. How when I'm frustrated and unkind you know that what I really need is a great big hug
16. How willingly you tell people that you cried like a baby when I made you watch The Notebook
17. How wonderful of a support you were at the births of each of our children
18. Your passion and willingness to fight for the unborn, always in love and charity
19. How you try and sneak up on me to scare me when you come home from work
20. How much you LOVE LOVE LOVE babies. Everyone tells me you are the most baby crazy man they know.
21. How open you are to new life in our marriage. A hard to find trait in today's society.
22. How you still find me as attractive as you did when we were dating, although I know much has changed (stretch marks anyone?)
23. Your strong and undeniable desire to marry me
24. How you donated plasma so you could pay for my engagement ring (aka, my blood diamond)
25. How you looked at me as I came down the isle to start our lives together four years ago today.

Happy anniversary sweetheart. I look forward to these new and exciting times in our lives and to growing old with you in years to come. You are my heart and my path to heaven. I love you.

P.S. Did you notice that, "bugging me intentionally till I loose it" did not make the list? Oh well, maybe next year.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The World's Worst Blogger

Yeah, I know that's me lately. I feel pathetic for even having a blog I so scarcely use, but I am determined not to quit writing. Thank you for staying along on the journey.

Peanut and Miss Belle are growing way too fast. Peanut talks more and more every day (and more and more and more and more). He is friends with anyone he meets and constantly wants to play hide and seek or tag. Most times I find him playing by himself he is creating some battle scene and making creatures fight each other. Growing up in a house full of girls, this always strikes me as odd and everything in me wants to make him "play nice". But, my husband assures me this is in a boy's nature and, as long as he isn't hurting anyone, I have to let him play the way boys play. Peanut constantly asks about Jesus, how he died on the cross for us, why people die, when will he die, how is God His father and most of all, when will he be big enough to take communion at church. Any circular object he finds he holds above his head and says the words of the consecration. I love how focused his little mind is at such a young age on the important things. Peanut has one of the most compassionate and caring hearts of any child I have seen. Although he is quick to push his sister at times, he also has an extreme awareness and concern for those around him. In public situations we often find him sitting back from the crowd by himself just staring at others and taking every thing in. Later he will ask us about every situation he witnessed. He loves stories and still has memories from when he was very young. He asks me to recount these stories often and never gets tired of hearing the same story over and over.

Miss Belle lost her baby look a few months ago and is now a little girl. Sometimes I look at her and think, "when did you grow up?" because I'm sure yesterday I was carrying her in my sling chasing Peanut around. It's sad how quickly that passed. She runs as fast as her brother, but trips a little more often. She is a girl with no fear and consequently seems to get hurt more often because of it. She snuggles and hugs often, but gets down from my lap as quickly as she got up. She has just started playing with dolls in the past two days, something I have been looking forward to seeing since she was born. She goes around strolling her baby, nursing her baby and patting her baby's back. She also screams when her brother takes her baby; a common response when she is upset that I hope she soon gives up. She has one of the strongest yet sweetest personalities in a child I have ever witnessed. You would just have to know her to know what I mean by that.

My husband and I will celebrate our 4 year anniversary tomorrow. Four years, two children and more blessings than I could ever imagine. I'm so glad God has chosen this life for me. I just hope I can be pleasing to Him in living it.