Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy All Hallows Eve

I like to keep this holiday Holy, as in not celebrate the pagan traditions.  In an ideal world we would dress up as saints and learn about them.  Since the baby was born, I have been a little pressed for time.  So we cannot dress as saints, because I don’t have time to make costumes and they don’t sell saint costumes in the store.  We can still spend a little extra time learning about saints.  I do not want my family being a part of anything ghoulish or evil.  I know that some people do nothing special to acknowledge the Holy day other than going to church.  However, if we eliminated all traditions that stemmed from pagan origins we would be without a lot of our Christian traditions (likewise a lot of everyday things have Christian origins).  I only recently learned that the Advent wreath has pagan origins.  Therefore, I think if we keep our traditions holy, then it is reasonable for us to celebrate the Holy day.

So now for the fun.  I decided we were going to trunk or treat at our church.  We decorate the trunks and dress up and hand out candy.  Again, ideally we would dress as saints, but I bought some cute (non-evil) costumes the kids love and they have been wearing them for days.  Alex and I painted a big poster of the “Ladder of Divine Ascent” for our trunk decoration.  We only had an hour to do it while Kristiana napped, so we could not paint all the people.  Alex painted Hell and the people in Hell and the people falling off the ladder.  We did this as a home school lesson and he learned about Heaven and Hell.  I thought it was a fitting reminder of how we become saints.

ladder of divine ascent ladder_of_divine_ascent 100_3053100_3057100_3054  Our Littlest AngelAnnie 1month

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amish Autumn

Amish Buggy Ride

Yesterday, we were without power for 21 hours.  The power went out at midnight and then was on low surge until the morning when, after six calls, the power company came out and turned off the power completely and informed me we had a big problem. 

When the power went out, my husband, who was up, came to wake me, because he was concerned about the surge.  I was immediately indignant.  “Why are you waking me, and I’m hot (just a half hour after the A/C went down).  I’m going to sleep downstairs where it’s cooler.”  My husband thought I was being irrational, but he doesn’t have to sleep next to the little ten pound space heater named Annie.

After a night of tossing and turning on the sofa and a reasonable amount of sleep, we still had a low surge.  I made coffee and breakfast and then talked to the power man.  He told me that the power line had burned up on one side of the breaker.  He had to turn off the power and not six units of townhouses were without power.  He said that I needed to have the landlord fix it and it was going to take some time, so I needed to get on it right away and stay on it.

When the power went out, I was immediately grateful and counting my blessings.  I had had time to make coffee (very important)!  It was a reasonably cool, autumn day (only 80 degrees by the end of the day) and there was a strong breeze.  My friend was able to afford me a some space in her refrigerator, so my food would not spoil.  The fire in the power box did not burn down building.  My husband had called the power company right away in the middle of the night and I was home to talk to the repairman, so we were getting this taken care of sooner rather than later.  There was a lot to be thankful for and as soon as I was done talking to the power man and maintenance, the kids and I were formally praying our gratitude.  Okay to be honest, with all the excitement, I had lost the kids’ attention, but they knew what I was doing.

Alex was sort of funny, because he asked every repairman who came through, “Hey! Why you turn off my watchin’?”  He was in the middle of his morning cartoons.  Yes, I was a little embarrassed.  But, our day went on mostly as normal, except I did not have to wash the laundry.  We went to the park and karate, ate a cool lunch and snacks, we did our home school lesson by the window.  Then in the late afternoon we played outside in the parking lot with bikes and talked to the repairmen outside.  Then we went out for dinner.  We could have gone old-timey and spread some peanut butter on some bread and called it a night, but we had a gift certificate so we felt obliged to eat out.

Most of the late afternoon and early evening we stood outside talking with our neighbors.  No one wanted to sit inside in the heat and sickening blackness.  There were solar security lights outside and we were enjoying getting to know each other better.  We all stood out there watching the kids play (our kids went to bed at a normal hour) and talking until 10:00 p.m. when the power company finally came to turn the power back on.

It was all fixed around 4:30 p.m., but the city inspection still had to be reported to the power company.  From the time of the report to the time the power company came out to turn on the power was five hours. Oh dread.  But again, we had to count our blessings, the landlord pointed out because we lived in a small town suburb we were able to get the inspector out quickly instead of days like the greater surrounding area.

When the power was finally on, all the neighbors rushed back into their homes. “See y’all in the parking lot as I rush off to work, or whatever. I have power now, so we don’t really need to talk again anytime soon.”  Yeah, it was a little surreal.  Neighbors used to talk and know each other (before I was born).  I meandered into my home, rocking the infant I had had in my arms all this time.  Inside, everything was lit up like a magnificent, golden palace and a the cool breezy air conditioner was humming.  I washed out my refrigerator, because it was conveniently empty.  I felt grateful. 

It is amazing how a day without power can change your perspectives.  I realized how little power we actually need.  I am super grateful for every kilowatt we get to use.  I realized there are real people living twenty feet away from me.  There are a lot of good people doing their jobs.  My husband is still a boy scout and a leader (he sort of rallied the neighbors as we stood outside our homes).  There is a lot of time to be had when you do not have electronics to distract you.  There is always time to count your blessings.

All praise be to God.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Prayer for Sasha


          Alex melted my heart yesterday afternoon.  We now have morning prayer back on our schedule.  We also officially have an hour of Adoration, and a friend has convinced us to go to Friday morning Mass with the local Catholic school.  So Alex (and the rest of us) is getting a lot of face to face time with the Lord. 

          So back to the reason Alex melted my heart yesterday.  He was going to spend the night at his friend’s house.  He packed his own bag.  He picked out his clothing and stuffed it in his bag and then while I was occupied with folding laundry he was digging into the toys.  Or so I thought, our prayer area is next to the toys (I know, it’s a wonder they pray at all with the distraction, but I figure it gives them ownership of the area ;-).  He came back to me and said, “Mommy, I want to take Beary Bear and my prayer book to share with Andrew.”

Aaaawwwe.  Seriously? All the praying with the kids paid off and now he could not imagine an evening without praying with his friend.  I just thought it was a special moment when I realized that praying is a priority on this four-year-old’s do list.  “Glory be to You, Our God, Glory be to you.  May our children love You always and grow to be holy in your eyes.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

She Looks A Lot Like…


100_3023 That’s my Annie

Saturday, October 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes: In Between Here and There

1.  I have not posted, because not much noteworthy has been going on. Time is just flying by with the kids—I cannot believe Anne is already three weeks old. Yet, Annie seems older to me.  She’s had to mature quicker than the other kids to have a fighting chance around here.

2. I have not taken any new pictures except for a ladies’ night out, because with three kids, one being a newborn, I am lucky I get dressed before noon each day.

100_30133. Then around 1:30 pm, I feel like crawling back into bed for a nap.  Annie is always happy to  come take a nap too.  Since her birth, I have only gone two days without a nap.  Oh how I wish it were possible everyday.  Some naps have been accidental…Alex working on a puzzle, “I’m just going to lay my head on the table for a couple minutes…” Twenty minutes later, Alex wakes me,

          “Mommy, I hear baby crying.”

4. But I have been trying to get back to life as we know it.  I have been getting up at our usual time and have tried to get a shower and get dressed before the kids wake up!  I am mostly back in the habit of cooking dinner and hand washing dishes afterward.  I ran out of disposable diapers for Kristiana, so she is back into cloth (and I totally prefer cloth—weird, I know).

5.  I took the kids to Eucharistic Adoration two weeks in a row.  Both times the same old lady was there praying the rosary.  The first week I could just hear her inner stew bubbling as Kristiana ran circles around the room, and as I disciplined Alex to sit quietly. This week the lady exited into the main sanctuary to finish her rosary.  I need to sign up for my own hour, so I do not disturb others.

6.  Hmm, the house is a little messy.  I don’t think I am really going to care about that one for another couple of weeks.  My mother-in-law just left and she kept my house picked up for the five full days she was here.  I gave things a good cleaning in between Anne’s visit and M-I-L visit.  It’ll be a few more days before I get squeamish about the mess and a couple of weeks for the dirt and grime. (Now that I have written about, I am sure I will be pulling out the mop bucket this afternoon.)

7.  And finally, since I have been fighting to keep a schedule, I have been struggling to keep “all things Holy.”  It’s hard to get up and pray by myself.  The kids seem to get up either before me or right after me.  It’s hard to get the kids in order, pause and pray morning prayers with them.  I cannot think about reading scripture or my book study…yet, we seem to be able to make it to regularly scheduled outings: karate, the library, MOPS and play dates.  Seems like my priorities are off.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sassy Girl

Sister This is a post all about my sassy little girl. 

          Last night we served the children fish sticks and corn.  The adults had plans to eat a gourmet meal of smothered scallops, asparagus and saffron rice.  I sat with the children as they ate their dinner while my husband worked on the scallops.  Kristiana loves corn but she was only picking at it and she would not touch the fish stick.  Great, another picky eater.  Anyhow, I dismissed her from the table.  Then the adult meal was set on the table and we sat down with our guest.  Kristiana came toddling along, peered up over the table, put her hand on her hip, pointed at the table and in a sassy little manner said, “I want thum.”  (Translation: I want some.) She sat down and helped herself to a big helping of asparagus and a little helping of scallops and rice.  Don’t serve Kristiana the cheap, imitation, kiddie meal.  She wants to be invited to the adults’ table.

          Kristiana has a big personality.  She is not quite 2 years old, but has all the characteristics of a 2 year old.  These days she throws pretty big fits anytime she does not get what she wants.  She likes to pick her own clothes and if we do not put on the clothes she picks, then she throws herself down and starts screaming. 

          She is the only little sister I know who picks on her older brother.  She walks over to him, steals his toys and then runs away giggling hoping he will chase her.  This morning she sat down behind him threw her arms around his waist and tried to drag him over and tackle him.  She tries to pick up her baby sister and walk away with her.  She tries to pick up mommy too.  When Alex goes to karate class, Kristiana runs out on the floor and lines up on a mark just like the other students.

          After bath time, she runs around naked and won’t get dressed.  Daddy tells her if she doesn’t get dressed, she never gets dressed, he will spank her.  She then runs around slapping her bum exclaiming very seriously, “No pank! No pank!”  Which is hilarious and hard to want to spank her.

Mostly, she walks about the house making sassy little exasperations about everything.

(Photo by renidemus)


Friday, October 1, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Mother of Three

Three 1.  Before birth I read stories of “Churching” in which women in the old Church lay-low and stay in, do not go to church or anywhere for 40 days after birth.  They just bond with their baby.  Then after 40 days the baby is baptized and the mother is blessed and life begins again.  So I had visions of taking it really easy the first week after child birth.  I was hoping it would be filled with a lot of sitting and drinking water, eating soup—like I had the flu.  I thought I would not cook or do dishes or any household chores.  Of course, women of the old church had family in close proximity.

2. Reality is that on the day I came home from hospital life was just waiting there for me.  My son’s asthma deserved a trip to the doctor and I was the only one who could take him that day.  My daughter really needed some cuddling.  And somehow, dinner had to happen.  The next day laundry had to be done.  Wednesday the kids were begging to get out of the house.  Fortunately, I have had help from my dear friend, Anne (does that name sound familiar?). I have been afforded a nap each day.  But life does not cease because I want it to, and I have quickly realized that my visions of taking it easy for 40 days are unrealistic.  The Queen of the house cannot afford a vacation at present.  Her responsibilities are too great.  (I love it.  I wouldn’t change it.)

3. Actually, I am grateful that I have been able to carry on so well.  I have been tired and sore, but doing well.  I even forced myself to get up at my usual time for the past couple of days to help habituate myself back my life and schedule.  And of course, other friends have made generous offers of their time and resources.

4. My Angels have all been demanding of my love and attention.  That has been the hardest part of this all.  Kristiana in particular wants me to carry her around the house and that really hurts my body.  I am not supposed to be carrying her.  But she gets really hurt when I will not pick her up.  I offer to sit down with her, but she does not want that.  So I have carried her at least a few times a day.  That’s what they make pain reliever for, right?

5.  Family helpers – Alex and Kristiana are not at all jealous of the new baby.  They LOVE her.  They love to hug and kiss her.  They bring her clean diapers and throw away the dirty ones.  Kristiana loves to pick up the baby, carry around and tackle her, which is impressive because Annie is a little under half her weight. She does not quite understand how to be gentle.

6. All by myself – Next week I will mostly be all by myself with our three little ones.  I anticipate it will be hard.  I hope we can find peace and rhythm.  I am sure I will be praying for grace and patience again throughout my days.  Say a little prayer for me and all mommies with little ones.

7. So far, so good – Annie is a perfect baby.  She does not cry or fuss.  She has not had bad gas.  She is a champion at nursing.  She sleeps in long stints giving me a chance to rest and care for the other children.  She does not tax my resources.  Hopefully she is my laid back child.