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January 31, 2012

The Grace of Mid-Night Cuddles

I hear a baby grunt.  Then a groan.  Soon enough, the baby cries follow and I am made aware through my sleepiness that this is not the type of baby stirring that will go away on its own.  I open my eyes and I see the clock.  Sometimes it's 2:30 a.m.  Sometimes it's 1:15.  Some nights it is only 12:45 a.m. and I am horrified as I realize I have only gotten about 2 hours of sleep in before the call to get the baby.

Tonight it is 1:30 or so when I hear Vincent stirring.  

I stumble over Dominic, who has made a little bed out of the floor on the side of my bed, and make my way down the stairs and into the baby's room.  I pick  him up and put him on the changing table and he cries out...this is unusual, but I decide at the early hour, it is probably not critical to have a diaper change.  I make my way to the kitchen, flip on the light and start the water flowing to warm up to make a bottle.  As I do all of this, I steal little kisses on Vincent's cheeks to which he smiles and giggles in return...and now I wonder if these middle-of-the-night visits are purposeful ways of getting one-on-one time with Mommy.

We sit down and in the 15 seconds it takes for me to get situated for a good hold and a view of my iPhone (to catch up on blogs or something while feeding) Vincent gets impatient and cries out and shakes his head as if to say, "I need that bottle NOW, Mommy!"

As he drinks his midnight cocktail (as I have called it before), I read some facebook but cannot determine the result of the basketball game I was watching as I fell asleep.  Oh well, I make my plays on Hanging with Friends and Words with Friends.  And soon enough, Vincent is finished.

I put the phone down, I put the empty bottle down and I work Vincent into his cuddle position and we sit in the dark.  I feel him burp and then nestle into the crook of my neck and his hand finds its familiar place on the inside of my shirt just above my breast area.  And I hear him breathe contentedly.

And now, I realize that I don't really hate getting up in the middle of the night with my baby boy.  It's my chance to smell him and take in all his baby goodness.  It is in these quiet moments that we are building our relationship -- he is learning to trust that I will be there, even in the pit of darkness -- to give him what he needs, whether it be nourishment or cuddles or safety.  
It is at these times that I remember that this isn't the first time I was required this much at night.  Sarah was a baby that didn't sleep through consistently for probably a good 18-20 months of her life.  I had forgotten.  Of course, that was 10 years ago, and I didn't have the maturity to appreciate the quiet solitude the middle of the night brings then.  I was too engrossed in my annoyance that I had to rise at that hour at all.  It is at these times that I realize how spoiled I was with the next three babies who slept through consistently very early on and it was only one in maybe 20 nights that I was awakened from my slumber, if at all.

So tonight, I decide to close my eyes and just listen to Vincent breathing on me.  Tonight, I think about the fact that this could be the last time I get this opportunity, so I will make the most of it.  I think about earlier in the night when I made him giggle by playing peek-a-boo while he lay on his changing table.  His laugh is like my own personal version of catnip.  I would do anything to hear it for eternity.  I think about his infectious grin.  I think about the cups of saliva that spill out of his mouth all day.  I think of his big brown eyes that give me looks like I am the only woman for him.  I think about how he grabs my hair and continues to pull and play gently until it hurts me.  I think about him bouncing with joy in his "exer-saucer" and how much he has learned in the last month.

The first year of a baby's life flies so quickly.  But what is so odd is how parts of it feel like they drag on forever.  Vincent is now 7 months old.  He is barreling down the road to his 1st birthday.  Time is not my friend this time.  My age and experience reminds me that this might be my last trip down this road.  And because it is my 5th time, I know how quickly the trip can pass me by if I don't pay attention.

After some time of just sitting there, being with Vincent, holding his 18 pounds, feeling his breath on my neck, kissing his soft head, I walk him back to his crib and place him softly for his remaining nightly slumber.  I stumble back up the stairs.  I step around Dominic, sleeping soundly in his makeshift bed (I suppose I should learn to find the grace in that situation, too) and I crawl back into bed.  

As I drift back to sleep, I realize that I'm not all that annoyed that I spent the last 35-40 minutes taking care of Vincent.  

As a matter of fact, I realize that I will actually miss these days at some point.

January 30, 2012

Shoved to Them: A Call to Arms, My Brothers!

Excellent post over at Shoved to Them. Go read it and then help out by calling your Senators and Representatives, call the HHS and Call the White House. What they are attempting to do is unconstitutional and they need to know that we are not fooled.

Shoved to Them: A Call to Arms, My Brothers!: Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant. Then they came for me and there was no one left t...

January 29, 2012

Uncharacteristic Rant By Me

I'm going to take a deep breath <in> and exhale slowly <out> and then hit...Publish.

Oh. My. Goodness.  I just read a comment on another blog that has my blood boiling.

First of all, I read this great post at More Like Mary~More Like Me.  I tweeted it.  I posted it to Facebook.  I think her analogy is spot on.
Typically, I try to stay out of comboxes on posts like this.  And here's why:

Anonymous comments like this:
Crazy... I do what the great majority of my Catholic friends around me do... Go to Church, Kneel, Pray, Take the Eucharist, Go home, pop a birth control pill with the blessing of my Catholic husband and his entire Catholic family. Get up the next Monday and drive my 2 kids to Catholic School and meet the other Moms of that School and talk about their two (at the most three )kids. Get Real Catholics ...Vatican 3 is necessary and birth control should be embraced.
This drives me crazy.  This is what George Weigel wrote about in his book, The Courage to Be Catholic.  The Catholic Church in America has an illness.  It is an illness of fidelity.  And this lack of fidelity is throughout the ranks, and some of the most vocal and blatant and unapologetic are the laity, many like Anonymous.

This lack of fidelity is evident in the amount of Catholics okay with divorce, okay with artificial contraception, okay with legal abortion, okay with IVF, okay with same-sex "marriage".  This lack of fidelity was perpetuated while I was growing up with Catholic schools that failed in their mission to educate children in the Catholic faith.  This lack of fidelity was blessed by parents too concerned with sexual freedom and selfish pursuit of endless youth and happiness who dropped off their kids at Catholic school thinking that was their only duty as Catholic parents.  

It's so very sad that the "great majority" of her "Catholic" friends do as she writes.  It's very telling that she uses the words "take the Eucharist" because with her attitude about the Catholic church and Church teachings, that is the only way she could get the Eucharist is to "take" it.  She surely wouldn't humble herself to be in a position to merely receive it.

Some of us Catholics try to present ourselves to receive our Lord, most likely combing our consciences for anything that might make us unworthy and might cause us to refrain until we've received absolution in the confessional.  Some of us try to actually refrain from receiving when we know we need to get to Confession. 

Abstaining from receiving the Eucharist is HARD to do.  But we MUST, lest we pile mortal sin on top of mortal sin!

Going to confession is HARD to do.  It is humbling.  I rarely get in and out of there without needing my kleenex.

Which brings me to another telling point of her comment:  NOWHERE in her comment about what she and the "great majority" of her "Catholic" friends do, does she mention CONFESSION.  The attitude expressed through her words drips with PRIDE and lacks HUMILITY. 

The complete lack of humility and utter lack of respect for the Catholic church and what the Church teaches that is evident in this comment burns me to my core.  

And it does so because I love The Catholic Church.  

I love her teachings.  

No, I didn't always know Catholic Church teaching.  No, even when I suspected what it was, I didn't always follow it.  I still fall into sin now!  But the Church need NOT conform Her teachings to accept MY sinfulness!

I'm still not perfect, but it is I who is imperfect, NOT Holy Mother Church.

Yes, it's inconvenient, difficult at times, to live my life according to the teachings of Christ.  Doing the right thing is rarely the easy thing. But it's also SUCH A BLESSING!  The Grace rains down on me, on my husband, on my family.  We could NEVER do it without that Grace!

The recent disregard for the Catholic Church, my religious beliefs, by the current administration was NOT unexpected (sorry, I've been pretty pessimistic from the start), but it is still very sad.  

I agree with Kaitlyn's statement at the end of her posts wholeheartedly:  

What matters is that the government is infringing on our religious liberty in a big, big way.

What makes you think your beliefs aren't next?
Indeed.  What DOES make anyone believe that this is the end?  It is just the beginning.  This infringement of religious liberty, if successful, will signal that other freedoms are up for grabs and the government will take them all, left unchecked.

But alas, perhaps I should continue believing that probably anyone who isn't Catholic needn't worry about it.  Because when the Catholic Church is persecuted, and should our leaders all be fined, imprisoned, whatever the case might be...there will be few left to stand up for others and little else left to fight for anyway.

January 27, 2012

Quick Takes (17)

--- 1 ---

Vincent hit the 6 month mark at the end of December.  Finally, a week before he hit the 7 month mark, we got his pictures taken.  It's funny, when Sarah was a baby, we got her portrait done every month of her first year.  Ha!  We wised up after that and we document our babies' growth by getting portraits done at 3-months, 6-months, 9-months and then at 1-year.  We also go to Portrait Innovations and get their $10 deal (you get a bunch of pictures...but of only 1 pose).  Anyway, here is my baby boy:

--- 2 ---

And because I know you just can't get enough of my sweet boy, here is a picture I got of him at home about a week ago, just sitting.  He has been sitting up for about 2 or 3 weeks now.  He occasionally will fall over still, but for the most part, can sit and play without problems.

And if you think he looks like he is having too much fun...well, he is!  :)
--- 3 ---

A couple of weeks ago, I got this picture of Dominic playing with Vincent.  It warms my heart.  Of course, Vincent looks at Dominic like he is the greatest thing ever.  (Well, okay...maybe not quite the greatest, because that would be how he looks at me, but Dominic gets a look like he's the 2nd-greatest.)  I can't wait to see how these two develop and grow together.

--- 4 ---

I was disappointed that I didn't get anything up on the blog this week.  It's a very important week.  The March for Life took place this past Monday.  Someday, I'm gonna get the days off and I'm gonna go.  I really want to go the first time Sarah goes.  And I know she's going to go at some point. 

But for now, I have to live vicariously through Bad Catholic's blog, among others.  And although I was slow, I did finally get something up about it today.  THIS POST was the whole week in the making.  I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to say necessarily, but I felt called to write something.
--- 5 ---

I made it to Spin Class again last night.  I guess I keep wanting to tell you all that because at least then I get to report something!  I have been unsuccessful in getting to do anything else.  It partly makes me want to pay for another session so I will at least continue going to this.  I also have the thought to see if there are any other evening group exercise classes I might be interested in at the Community Center.  The kids actually do pretty well.  The boys go to Child Watch, the girls have stayed home for an hour, but I think I could even let Sarah and Dani shoot baskets or something while I work out now.  Anyway...three more weeks of Spin Classes...so I really need to figure something out. 

Any ideas from you all about how I could get more exercise in?  I can't seem to get my butt out of bed in the mornings (thank you, Vincent, for your still sporadic 3 a.m. wake up calls), I'm most likely not going to do any exercises you read about doing in your living room.  Oh well, I am sure something will work out eventually.
--- 6 ---

THAT is the new Crucifix hanging in our parish church.  It's beautiful.  It's a piece of art, really.  It's handmade by a parishioner and get this:  there are 8 third-class relics incorporated into the cross, all donated.  When Father told us about it last week at Mass, I learned that a relic is first-class until it's been handled, and then it becomes third-class.  All of the relics in the Crucifix are bone fragments from the Saints represented.  I also learned that the only way we could display it here is if he had all the authentication stuff to prove it was what he said it was.  Several were donated recently, one was donated a while ago and forgotten, then found.  It's really incredible.  See QT#7 for a list of the relics.

--- 7 ---
First of all, see the little circular object above the INRI part of the Crucifix?  That is where a relic of St. Andrew the Apostle is located.  St. Andrew the Apostle is the Patron Saint of our parish.

Next, see that cross at the bottom of the Crucifix?  That is where the other 7 are located.  First, at the top of that cross is a relic of St. Francis of Assisi.  Then there is a row of 3 relics:  On the left is a relic of St. Ann, mother of Mary; then in the middle is a relic of St. Marie-Rose Durocher (pronounced DU - ROW - SHAY); then to the right is a relic of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine.  Then there are three more below that on the remaining portion of the vertical part of the cross.  There is a relic of St. John Neumann (of Philadelphia), then a relic of St. Cecilia and finally a relic of St. Maria Goretti.

We are so blessed with this new addition to our parish.  I made the picture of it my wallpaper on my iPhone.  I love that I can look at it so often that way.
Have a great weekend everyone!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


This week, the blogosphere was filled with posts recognizing the passing of the 39th year of legalized abortion in our country.  I often think about abortion.  And many times I wish I could put into words how I feel about it.

I have always been against abortion, to some degree.  When I was younger, I often took the "non-judgmental-it's-not-for-me" approach.  I had an experience when I was 23 that parked me firmly in the "abortion is evil" camp.  (I'm not at liberty to share that experience, but rest assured, I believe through that experience I stood face-to-face with Satan himself...and lost...that day.)  When I began having children, the proof and reality of the evil that wrought abortion was made clear to me through the intimate relationship I formed with my children from the earliest moments of pregnancy.  The awe, wonder and amazement I felt as I was made aware of the power of God by simply "peeing on a stick" and seeing a positive result was breathtaking.  It's been breathtaking every single time.  And it has strengthened my resolve every single time.  Abortion stops a beating heart.  A child, in what is supposed to be its safest environment is mangled, separated and killed in the procedure.

I often think of myself as an abortion survivor.  I was born into a world where my mother could have killed me if she'd wanted to.  There is nothing that made the scourge more evident to me than when I did a study on Generations during my MBA program some years ago.  The "Baby Boom" generation was huge.  Millions on top of millions of babies were born between 1946 and 1964 (the general time period attributed to the birth of baby boomers).  There were waves of births as many baby boomers were born into larger families (on average) than we see today.

My generation - Generation X they call us - is much smaller than the generation preceding us.  Most papers on the subject of Generations notes that the Baby Boomer generation is roughly 76 million and the Millenial generation is roughly 73 million, but my generation is 49 million.   This shrinkage is due to many factors, not the least of which is the fact that many of my generational brothers and sisters were aborted out of existence, legally.  Some other contributing factors were contraceptive use, sterilization, and divorce.  However, over 50 million of babies have been legally aborted since the legalization of abortion in our country.  That is 50 with six zeroes following it and we're not talking about something abstract, like dollars or units in a production line...we're talking about human beings in their earliest and most vulnerable state.

I am sad when I think of all the people who never got a chance at life...still never get a chance.  

I saw a cartoon (probably on facebook) this week.

I guess I feel like Abortion, Contraception, Sterilization...and all the things that surround these are proof of Spiritual Warfare...Lucifer himself, in our midst, beckoning the weak, scared, ignorant and powerless to the pits of hell.  I know there are other examples, we live in a society filled with many ills.  But probably right now, at this time in my life, nothing hits me harder than Abortion, Contraception, Sterilization, Anti-life and Anti-Child attitudes. 

I spent most of my time this week writing, re-writing, editing, pondering over this post.  I feel like I should have more to say.  I just don't think I have  what it takes to write a truly powerful, moving post on this topic.  At least anything that would move anyone else.  But THIS POST at IGNITUM TODAY encompassed many of my thoughts and feelings.

I need to go and write up my 7 Quick Takes because Rae hinted that she'd like some recent photos of Vincent, so I plan to oblige.  :)

January 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes (16)

--- 1 ---

I never got around to taking a picture of Dominic eating his chocolate cake.  But I DID get around to taking him to get his 3-year-old pictures taken.  I know some of you are friends on FB, so you've already seen.  But you'll just have to bear with me and be understanding that I can NOT avoid posting here on the ol' blog.  :)

Here is the pose I bought that hangs on the wall:

And here is a good little pose showing off his Angry Birds shirt and what a laid back boy he is:

And here he is with his Angry Birds figures from the game the kids got at Christmas:

And here is my little ham of a boy:

--- 2 ---

I dragged myself kicking and screaming to my spin class last night.  You see, it works out this time around that I had to pay $35 to take this 7-week session of classes.  Because...I was really tempted not to go last night.  I was tired.  I wanted to get everyone in bed at a decent time.  I didn't want to leave the girls at home.  There were all kinds of reasons I didn't feel like going.  BUT!  I changed my clothes, got all the kids together and took all 5 of them to the Child Watch and went to my class.  In the end...I was glad I went.  I left immediately when it was over, grabbed the kids, got home and told them all to get in PJ's while I took my shower, then I was able to feed the baby and get the kids (all! including the baby!) in bed by 8:30. 

Miracle of miracles:  Dominic slept all night in his bed and Vincent slept all night.  And me?  Well...I slept like a rock.  :)

--- 3 ---

Danielle received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time Wednesday night!  There is nothing quite like preparing your child for this sacrament only to realize that you yourself don't do a very good job of it.  It was so fun to watch the kids walk back to their seats.  There is nothing quite like the bouyancy that comes with being freed from our sins.  I find that even though I have to go back regularly, because I'm a sinner and all, that my heart is so light afterwards.  But there is nothing quite like that child-like sense of awe and wonder at the whole thing.   

--- 4 ---

Danielle's basketball team plays at 8:30 tomorrow morning.  Nothing like having to rise and shine early on a Saturday!  But it's so much fun to watch her class play basketball.  They are at this age, where they are aware if they have already scored a basket or two....they look around for the other girls who haven't made a basket yet and try to pass them the ball so they can shoot.  It's very cute.  Dani drives the lane pretty good, but she gets too far under most of the time.  I told her to just keep shooting, the shots will fall eventually.  I'm just happy to see her being aggressive!

--- 5 ---

I have been trying hard to eat healthy and get active and lose this weight.  I lost all my pregnancy weight pretty quickly as I have been back to pre-Vincent pregnancy weight for about 2 or 3 months.  The problem is I still needed to lose about 25 pounds when I got pregnant with him.  So, I am on a mission.  I was really happy to get into a certain size of jeans this morning without having to squeeze myself.  Progress!

--- 6 ---

I got some primo vacation time this year and I'm pretty excited about it!  I get to be off over Thanksgiving (and then some) and I think this year, I'm going to try and take the family up north (my Dad lives north of Chicago) and have a Poliquin Thanksgiving.  It would be great for my kids to experience Thanksgiving Dinner at my dad's house and then I have a brother and his family who live south of Chicago and another slew of relatives that live in Milwaukee.  Now to hold out some hope that Craig can work it to be off, too, so we can all go together!

--- 7 ---

My Jayhawks did a great job Monday night and beat the Baylor Bears at Allen Fieldhouse!  So happy!!!  Tomorrow, they go on the road to Texas to play.  Hope they can keep their winning streak going! 


Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

January 19, 2012

Thankful Thursdays (9)

Today, I am thankful for the little glimpses of perfection God allows us through his Sacraments.  Last night Danielle received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time with her class.  There is nothing more exhilarating than watching children emerge from the confessional with looks of pure joy on their faces knowing they are free from sin in that moment.  Thank you, Lord.

Today, I am thankful that my dear friend, Rebecca, is recovering from surgery and that surgery, by initial accounts seems to have been successful and perhaps given her the hope she so desired.  Thank you, Lord.

Today, I am thankful for a women so much braver, smarter and more eloquent than I who were able to put into words the struggles of motherhood and touch my heart and lift my soul.  Thank you, Lord.

January 18, 2012

Pondering the Unknowable Future

When I set out to work in my field, I had every intention of working my way to the top as quickly as possible.  Craig and I hadn't intended to have any children (I'm sure God has slapped His knee and had a hearty laugh over that one!) so we would give everything to our respective jobs to make as much money as possible so we could have lots of fun vacations and cool toys.

Having more than two children...depending on where in your timeline you have them...limits options in the professional realm.  When it comes to the industry I am in, there's a decision to pursue advancement or have a family that seems to take place all the time.  I have accepted the fact that I made the decision to be open to a larger family and that has limited my professional opportunities.  As a matter of fact, I have retreated and sometimes simply side-stepped in my "career" (for lack of a better term) in order to ensure I can balance my family commitments and work commitments in such a way that I can be fairly happy with both.

I feel like I make that decision to pursue professional opportunities or pursue my family over and over again.  The more children I have, the more the decision has been in favor of family.  

There is a part of me that wonders if I might have ever reached the professional heights I started out seeking had I never married and had children.  -----Because, you know, I might have had a wreck of a career anyway.

I feel like I go in phases with where my thinking leads on this stuff.  Sometimes I am jealous of those folks who have their one or two or three kids and say, "Enough!  I have had enough children!  I am going to move forward and know that I am DONE!"  (DONE referring to the having children thing)  Other times, I am bewildered by those folks.  Internally, I ask, "how can you KNOW?  I mean, for sure.  Like even when you know....how do you know you're right about that?"  

There is this part of me that wonders if I will ever feel the finality of childbearing...before the physical reality of menopause hits.  -----Because, you know, I might not ever be ready to be done.  What then?

I guess what I do know is this:  Having children changed what I valued.  Over the years, baby smiles, First Communions, Christmas mornings, days at the park, sharing books, and ball games and practices have all proved to be greater than a spot in the board room, overtime and networking.  

Over time, and through my reversion and the precedence my relationship with God has taken in my life, I have come to value gifts from God in the form of eternal, irresistable, goodness (those irresistable souls of my children!) over money, prestige and material importance.

Further, the idea of being done receiving eternal souls entrusted to us by our Heavenly Father, continues to feel elusive.  There are times I pray that I could receive such a sense of surety about the matter.  And others, where I believe I will feel sad to receive that surety.  Because let's face it:  the day will come when I am no longer able to conceive, carry and bear a child -- God, in His infinite goodness and mercy, worked it out that way.  

Sometimes I feel like the one-who-is-opposed-to-everything-God (Satan, himself) knows how to prey on my weaknesses; my insecurities.  The devil points to my house or to our van and he says, "See, you don't have any room.  Would you make all your girls share a room again?!?  And...you'd have to buy a new car if you had another baby."  

And the devil points to my lack of savings and says, "See, you don't have any money saved.  You can't afford another baby."  

And the devil points to my hectic schedule and says, "See, you don't have enough time for the children you have now...why do you think you could ever handle another?"

But then I wonder...why do these ideas have to be the bad ones? Just because I feel weak?

But then I try to view these things through the heart of Jesus.  And I think Jesus might say, "Yes, you might need a different vehicle, but would it really kill you if you had to drive two vehicles to Grandma's house?"  Or even, "If you need a different vehicle, it will happen, just maybe not in the form that you thought it would."  

Jesus might look at my lack of savings and remind me, "Blessed are the poor."  And Jesus might point out that our bills are paid, and no we're not rolling in money, but we have what we need.  

As for my schedule, instead of pointing out what I think I may not be able to do for my children, Jesus might point out that my children benefit from having both parents involved as much as we are.  They get to see their father after school and before he goes off to work and then have their mother to tuck them into bed.  Jesus might point out that I have time to coach volleyball and read with my children.  And Jesus might also point out that as siblings, my children obtain benefits I cannot measure as their mother.  I can pull from my own sibling relationships to see there is value in those that cannot be found in the parental relationships.

But then I wonder...why do I think these are the good thoughts and not the evil ones? You see, sometimes I wonder if I am ordering my thoughts to MY wishes and desires instead of truly seeking what God wants.

A wise man once gave me the advice that should Craig and I ever feel that we are "done" having children, as the world views it, we should take that feeling with us into prayer, in front of the blessed sacrament and also have a talk with a good priest about the issue.  

I'm experienced enough to know that whatever I am feeling right now about this topic is really not to be trusted as I am in the throes of new-babydom since Vincent is just over 6 months old.  It's a tricky time to be deciding anything for sure.  

But yet, there's the pressure to decide.  Sometimes, the rewards of the eternal are difficult to embrace in the face of the immediate, material sacrifices.

And so I continue to pray that at the very least, my husband and I can stay close to the same page with regards to the future and to what blessings we remain open.  

And I pray for the wisdom to recognize God's call - whether it be to postpone or pursue His Supreme Blessings.  

And I even pray for the grace to understand and the courage to accept that God's call may be to proceed indefinitely as we are - with the trust that we are complete - a family of seven.

Would you please pray for me through this process?

January 16, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 18

I am trying my hand using this Blogpress app again. We will see if it works. This is a Birthday Edition of the Mumbles. Go visit TOOJE for more Mumbles.

1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DOMINIC!!!! He turns 3 today!! Oh, my!!

2. Poor baby though, was sick most of the weekend with some sort of intestinal bug. No. Fun.

3. He already requested dinner at Cici's. Little bugger.

4. He is getting a chocolate cake. I think he is pretty excited about that.

5. Since I am on my iPad....no pic today. But rest assured, Dominic is one cute just-turned-3-year-old!

6. Seeing as it is Martin Luther King, Jr. day, I also have the day off work. BONUS! So, I am taking Dominic and Vincent to the doctor for well-check visits...Dom for his 3-year and Vincent for his 6-month.

7. And I really hope KU makes the day perfect by beating Baylor on Big Monday tonight. ROCK CHALK, JAYHAWK! GO KU!

Okay, that is all I got! Have a great Monday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

January 9, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 17

Have you gotten back into a routine yet after the "end" of the holidays?  We have, for the most part.  So, mumble on Monday, I will!  Go visit TOOJE for more Mumbles.

1.  Epiphany was this weekend.  Friday to be exact, though we celebrated it liturgically on Sunday.  That means Christmas came down at our house.  We brought out the kings for the Creche on Friday morning and they were there for two days before everything got all packed up.  I wish I could say my house was clean.

2.  No, along with packing up Christmas, the mountain of laundry from our house was completed on Sunday.  Usually, the grown-up laundry gets completed sometime during the week, but that didn't happen last week.  So, I threw the whole fam damily's laundry together and from about 8:45 a.m. until 9:45 p.m., our washer and dryer were hopping.  Dang, 7 people is a lot of people to keep clean!

3.  Last night, Dominic was trying to sleep in his sister's bed again.  I had bribed him before bed with extra strawberries and he had promised to sleep in his own bed.  Well, while I was trying to get Vincent to sleep, he went into Sarah's room.  Sarah proceeded to tell me that Dominic said there were monsters and ghosts in his room.  There was a "Patchy" ghost (Spongebob show) and a Caillou ghost, too.  So, I told him to show me the monsters and ghosts and he went into his room and pointed in various directions.  So, I grabbed the extra night light out of the bathroom and asked him if we could put it in his bedroom, that it might keep the ghosts from coming.  He agreed and he fell asleep in his own bed soon thereafter.  We'll see if a night light was all he needed, long term.

4.  Dani played her first two basketball games this weekend.  Her team is GOOD!!!  There's one little girl who could dribble down and make layups and she did so regularly!  Dani didn't actually make the baskets, but she drove the lane quite well several times.  It's only a matter of time until she makes those shots she is taking (she kept getting just a bit too far under the hoop/backboard).  It was fun to watch!  Her league doesn't keep official score, but I'm pretty sure our girls won...by a lot.  :)

5.  I did a swim workout Sunday.  I swam 2000 yards in 45 minutes, which I think is pretty good, given I am not really in the shape I'd like to be in.  I decided to do a 500 yd time trial to establish a baseline for improvement.  I was surprised at how well I did.  I swam that 500 yd in 9:05.  It was my third 500 of the workout, as I did my warm up first, then some stroke swimming before it.  I would think that as I get in better shape, that should improve.  

6.  I was going to go in for a workout with the Master's Swim Team on Saturday morning, but there was a swim meet for the high schools, so they didn't hold practice.  But I think I'll head out there Saturday morning and work out.  They have a couple of really good coaches and I hope to get some help on my stroke technique.

7.  I am getting excited for my next nephew to be born.  My sister, who lives in SC, is due with baby #5 in February.  It's getting close!!  Her son makes grandchild #18 for my parents.  And with this boy, it brings the Girl-Boy tally closer to even as it will be 10-8.  We were so girl-heavy at first, but the last few waves have brought mostly boys.

8.  I was trying to figure out the things we needed to be saving for right now and one of the top things is registration fees for the kids for school next year.  *sigh*  We'll have three in the grade school and one in the preschool.  Works out to about $1000 just to get them enrolled/registered.  It's worth it, but my bank account says "ouch!"

9.  I was at Sam's club getting formula the other day and I thought a Rotisserie chicken sounded/smelled really good.  So I made my way over there only to see a bunch of people standing around an empty case.  I have noticed this almost every time I have been to Sam's recently...there are NEVER any Rotisserie chickens actually in the case and people are just hovering there.  Very strange.  so, I went and picked up formula and then grabbed some steaks and at that point it looked like they were going to get the chickens out and put them in the case.  I got one, but barely.  Man, people are crazy!

10.  Vincent is absolutely adorable.  That is all.

Have a great Monday!!

January 8, 2012

The Saturday Evening Blog Post (3)

I started thinking about which post from December I would post for this month's Saturday Evening Blog Post, hosted by Elizabeth Esther, on Friday.  I had a couple I thought I could have used.  I wrote a little about what I called the "Gateway to Adolescence", the tween years.  I reflected on my life with a dear person in it, my Aunt Bea, who passed away on Christmas day.  But probably the one post I thought I'd like to get more views and see if I got any more reaction was my post reflecting on one of our pastor's Advent homilies, Thy Will Be...

Please visit Elizabeth Esther to meet new bloggers and their best post of December 2011.

January 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes (15)

--- 1 ---

Work has gotten so much less interesting since I have been back from maternity leave--in a good way.  My management situation is drastically improved, and I hope others in the group feel the same way.  He has made some changes and we all know how painful change is for some folks.  But overall, 4th quarter was peaceful on that front.

--- 2 ---

Dominic is a stinker.  Does anyone have any tips on how I can convince him to sleep in his own bed again?  He was doing just fine and then about two weeks before his surgery he started making his way to my bed  in the middle of the night.  That morphed into the whole night when he had his surgery.  Then, we geared up and said, "on SUNDAY night, you have to start sleeping in your own bed again" and he did...for about 2 nights.  We rewarded him and praised him and everything.  But over the holiday break, he kept going into Sarah's bed.  Then, when I said he couldn't do that (she only has a twin and it was affecting her ability to get some sleep) he started sharing Helen's bed.  Helen has a "double" bed on the bottom bunk, so there's room for him there, but she kicked him out last night and he ended up in my bed again.  *sigh*  I really want him to WANT to sleep in his own bed and I really don't want to have a fight about it.  Any cool ideas for motivation out there?

--- 3 ---

I signed up for a 7-week session of Spin Class on Thursday nights.  It started last night.  Remember, I went to a complimentary class back in December.  You know, to sort of try-it-out and all.  But, this instructor was a bit tougher I guess.  I wasn't all that sore after the other class, but I was sore almost immediately last night and today I am definitely feeling it. And I know this is good...at least I continue to remind myself.
--- 4 ---
I started reading The Bible this week along with Catholic Mutt.  She wrote some thoughts on Job the other day.  I was behind her in the reading so I hadn't read it yet, but when I did, I was surprised that my impression of what was written was so different from hers.  I didn't read that anyone told Job that if he had more faith he wouldn't have the suffering he was having.  Did I miss something?  I guess I should re-read it, because it seemed like the three friends came and were sorry to see their friend suffering, but they didn't seem to say anything to them (I am reading New American Translation...given to my by my Benedictine Nun Aunt...do I have a weird translation?)  I got the impression that the friends were like so many friends of people who suffer...at a loss because there was nothing they could do to ease the suffering.  Where am I off, friends?
--- 5 ---

Sarah got an iPod Touch for Christmas.  I have to admit, I hemmed and hawed and toiled over this decision.  I kept wondering what I was doing spending that kind of money and giving that kind of technology over to a 10-year-old?  She's asked for one for a couple of years and before this year, I was pretty quick to dismiss it and never felt bad about it.  This year was different though.  I won't write too much about my process at this point because these ARE supposed to be QUICK takes.  But I will say this...one pleasant effect of her having an iPod Touch is the ability to be in touch with her through the iMessage feature (I have an iPhone) and her ability to catch video and pictures of the other kids that Craig and I are not able to catch.  She got a very cute video of Dominic saying his ABC's and some really sweet photos of Helen and Dominic together.

--- 6 ---

Dani got a guitar for Christmas.  No, not a toy one.  A real one.  One we expect her to learn how to play.  One she wants to learn how to play.  After Basketball is over.
--- 7 ---

Speaking of Basketball, Dani has her first games tomorrow!   So excited to see how the girls do!  Dani played rec league last year and learned a lot.  This year, her class gets to play in the parochial school development league.  She is in a class with 18 girls (!!!) and 16 of them went out for basketball (double !!!) so they have two teams of 8 girls. 

oh yeah and also speaking of basketball...Jayhawks played a great game the other night!  Well, mostly a great game.  They won which is nice...especially since we are in conference play now.  Jayhawks have won the last 7 conference championships, so here's to hoping they get #8!!

Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

January 5, 2012

Thankful Thursdays (8)

It's Thursday and I am thankful.  :)

This week, I am thankful for:
  • A KU Conference Basketball win over in-state Rival Kansas State.
  • Facebook and Twitter
  • A baby boy who lights up when I walk in the door from work and bounces like crazy in his saucer until I pick him up
  • Time to read with my kids

What are you thankful for?  Rebecca at The Road Home hosts every week, be sure to visit her blog and say hello!

January 3, 2012

THE talk. And The Talks.

A couple of months before Vincent was conceived, Sarah and I had a talk.  No, not just A talk.  THE talk.  You know...my parents called it "The Birds and The Bees" talk.  I don't know what I want to call it.

It wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.  I figured I'd just shoot straight.  Sarah had always been keen on the subject anyway.  I mean, she was 5 when she said to me, "Ok Mom...I know GOD puts the baby in your tummy...what I really want to know is HOW God puts the baby in your tummy."  While pregnant with Helen we had referred lovingly to God putting babies in mommy's tummies (my sisters and one of my brother's wives were all expecting babies within a year of Helen's birth...so Sarah saw lots of pregnant women).  Back then, I had simply told her that Mommy and Daddy have a special hug and when they are done, God sometimes blesses them with a baby to grow in Mommy's tummy.  I figured that was as graphic as I ought to get with a 5-year-old.

Earlier in the summer, I had brought home women's sanitary supplies from the store and asked Sarah to put them in the bathroom.  Later, I noticed the boxes had been opened.  So I had asked Sarah if she'd looked in the boxes and she admitted she had.  I asked her if she had any questions, but she'd declined.  Sarah was entering 4th grade, and while she wasn't really close to the physical changes she needed to know about for girls, some of the girls in her class might be and the last thing I wanted was for her to get information from classmates instead of from me or her father.  So, I decided to see if she had any questions again...this time, she just asked what "that stuff" was for.

And THE talk began.  We talked about physical changes in her body that would be forthcoming, we talked about deodorant and showers and the necessity of combing or brushing her hair.  Ultimately, we got to the part about how babies come about and we talked about that, too.  She had some funny statements that I'll keep private in case she'd ever read this...I don't want to embarrass her (publicly anyway :)  )

THE talk actually went quite well.  She seemed a little put off by the logistics of the act (duh...she's 10!...well she was 9 at the time), but quite comfortable with the idea of it being something saved for marriage and for one person.  It did make it easier to explain things since she had a brother.  Wow, I have no idea how I'd explain it if she hadn't seen her baby brother and known how he was different from girls. Of course, I also was aure to tell her other kids really ought to talk to their parents and if kids start to talk about this stuff, she ought to say "I think you are supposed to talk to your mom about that." 

The thing is, that talk wasn't really all that hard to have.  But it's spurred all these other talks in my brain that haven't happened yet.  

You know, the talk when she's 12-14 and the physical changes come to life for her and I need to reassure her she's beautiful, this is normal and everything is going to be just fine.  

And maybe the talk when she's 11-14 or 16 trying to explain why certain physical changes haven't come  yet and reassure her that she's just fine, that it happens eventually.

Or the talk that might happen around age 12-14 spurred by the fact that her sister who is 2 years younger than she is might be going through the exact physical changes at the same time she is (Dani seems to develop physically on a little faster pace than Sarah)...that one might be interesting. 

And maybe the talk when she's 12-14 trying to console her when her younger sister beats her to the physical changes.  As she grows, I am getting a little less convinced that Dani will beat Sarah to these changes (Sarah is almost 80 pounds now, that surprised me the other day!)  But it's still a possibility as Dani is only about 7 pounds lighter than Sarah.  They may be hitting that 105 pound mark together or very close.

Then there's that talk I've been having with her when I'm alone in my car...the one I'm prepping for when she's 16 or 17 and perhaps interested in going on dates with boys.  She's not going to want to go on dates is she?  Can I just push that talk to the back of my brain and pray the opportunity never presents itself?

Yes, I think we need this to become a regular in Craig's active wardrobe:

But, I know the day will come when she's ready.  

Whether I am ready or not, she will need to spread her wings.  She most likely will go off to college and do a lot of growing up away from me.  She may come home on her first semester break a completely different girl than the one I sent off at the beginning of the semester.  Through all of that, she'll need to discern her vocation, and if that happens to be marriage and family, she'll need to discern her spouse.  She'll have to spend time alone with a boy/man.  She'll have to make decisions and live with consequences.  Regardless, I need to be prepared to be there for her--whether to counsel support or let her cry on my shoulder while her heart breaks.

I often remind myself that even though my road to where I am wasn't what I would wish for my daughters (at all!!!) God still found a way to lead me here.  

My experiences made me who I am today.  I have scars.  I have my own stupidity to look back on.  But I also have this graceful emergence to where I am now. 

My children-turned-adults will have their own experiences, they may end up with scars and may have their own stupidity to look back on.  I can pray the bad is limited and the good and right shines through.

I'm reminded what I have been told many times.  As a parent, you do the best you can to raise your children right...and then you pray like the dickens.

So, I'm doing the best I can and I'm praying like the dickens.

January 2, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 16

Happy First Monday of 2012!  I'm glad you've joined me.  I don't have to work, but I am still going to mumble.  TOOJE got me started on it, and my week doesn't really feel like it's begun unless I've done this post.  :)

1.  I am old.  And I'm no fun.  You see, my kids and I went to bed around 10:30 Saturday night instead of staying up to ring in the new year at midnight.  A couple of kids started fussing and I decided that if we can't all be up and be happy...then we have to go to bed.  

2.  I walked into Great Clips Saturday around 12:35 p.m. with my entire family.  Lo and behold there was NO ONE waiting and we placed Craig and four kids' names on the list and almost immediately a whole crowd of people came in!  We were in and out in about 35 minutes, though.  That was pretty cool.

3.  I went and got a new swimsuit so I could do some swim workouts.  See, I have a suit, but I kept trying to finish losing enough weight to fit in it, but that was just taking too long.  So, I decided to bite the bullet and go buy a workout suit that was one size bigger.  Harumph.  Oh well, I'm going to swim in the morning!  I can't wait!

4.  Craig had to work entirely too much on New Year's Eve...10+ hours is too much, I think.  But what do I know?

5.  I cannot get Dominic to go back to sleeping in his own bed since his Tonsillectomy a few weeks ago.  I don't know what will motivate him.  But he keeps crawling in bed with Sarah and she only has a twin bed and it was affecting her ability to sleep.  So...I let him share Helen's bed.  She has the bottom bunk and it's about the size of a double bed.  At least if he's gonna impose, there is enough room for him to do it.  I am hoping this is just a phase he needs to work through.  And I hope it doesn't last too long.

6.  When I logged into Blogger to write this, I saw this blogpost in my reader by Catholic Mutt.  In it, she mentions that she'll post the plan for reading the Catholic Bible chronologically week by week here.  And I saw that she had Week 1 up and ready.  So...I started last night.  I have wanted to read the Bible for years...now, perhaps I will stick with this since there is a plan.  :)

7.  Vincent turned 6 months this weekend.  Wow.  He is almost sitting up on his own for good.  He is able to lean forward and focus on something and stay seated without face planting.  He's been eating cereal for a few weeks...we've moved on to the Oatmeal.  And we started foods...he had squash last week and this week we'll try sweet potatoes.  He really prefers the bottle for the most part, so we have to take advantage when he's in a good mood to try the foods.  For example on Sunday afternoon, he fussed and cried and wouldn't take the cereal-mixed-with-squash from Craig.  But Sunday evening, he ate straight Oatmeal before finishing his bottle.  I can't believe how big he's getting.  You'll have to forgive me, but I am too tired at this time to edit and upload a pic.  Maybe later.

8.  My brother has a blog.  If you're interested in reading about math...all kinds of math...and looks like some education and curriculum theory or ideas or essays, you might want to follow.  He promises a post every day in 2012...so at the very least you'll have something to read every day if you need it.  :)

9.  I found out my brother has a blog via Twitter.  Yes, I tweet.  My  handle is @MichellePHughes.  Some days I am more active than others.  My blog is loaded on Networked Blogs and so it auto-posts to Facebook and Twitter.  I have some people who have found me on Twitter who have come to my blog.  I have some people on my blog who follow me on Twitter.  I probably post more to Facebook than I do Twitter and I haven't gotten the hang of Tweetdeck or any other app that helps me post the same thing to both.  Do you Tweet?  Leave your handle in the comments and I might just follow you!

10.  Aunt Bea's Mass of Christian Funeral was beautiful on Friday.  We celebrated a life well-lived by a woman loved by all who knew her.  I thought about her a lot on Saturday as that was her birthday.  I also thought a lot about the fact that I no longer have any grandparents here on Earth.  That's kind of a weird feeling, for some reason.

If you like to read random thoughts on Mondays, go visit TOOJE.  Hers are usually quite entertaining.