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.