Thursday, May 27, 2010

it's been a while

Sorry for the lag in my posting.  I seem to have all these ideas for blog topics but can't seem to find the time to delve into any of them, and if I don't have time, then lately I don't have the energy.  Not valid excuses, I know, but true nonetheless.

Tonight we're all heading up to the suburbs until Sunday evening.  It's shaping up to be a busy yet hopefully enjoyable weekend.  Thomas will experience his first overnight at my parents' house, and Drake and I will experience sleeping in for the first time in over a year.  We've got a day planned in Chicago and some nice meals out that we're looking forward to.  We'll also be looking at a few apartments, spending time with some friends, and celebrating the marriage of two good friends from college.
I plan on being intentional about taking pictures this weekend, so check back for those early next week!  Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

a (temporary) farewell

This weekend our family is headed up to the suburbs to spend some time with my brother, Adam, who's headed to Kenya for 10 weeks as part of a student trip.  He'll be doing organic farming in an HIV/AIDS community among many other things (of which I cannot remember!).  My parents, despite their apprehensions, are supportive - and that inspires me.  He'll be back in mid-August, though he's hoping to spend some time on Skype and maybe even keep a blog...yeah! 

Adam, we love you, and we're so proud of the work that you do to give of your time and talents to a world in desperate need of them.  We wish you safe travels, fond memories, and ease in your transition to a somewhat foreign way of life.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

and we have a walker!

So jolly


Yippee! (Pretty sure he's much more impressed by his walking than by the knock-knock jokes)

Thomas soon started taking laps around the apartment - several laps, in fact!  That will make for a better video, so we'll get that up soon.  Stay tuned!

recent peace

We live in a university town, and with that comes, of course, bi-annual graduation ceremonies.  This past weekend, several of my MSW classmates walked across the stage to receive a diploma for years of intensive academic work.  This pursuit was something I began and then ended after one semester as God blessed us with a pregnancy.  A few of my classmates had posted photos on Facebook, and I saw another at Mass yesterday.  It got me thinking about how drastically different my life is in relation to theirs.

And then I realized something.  I wouldn't trade what I have for any sort of diploma and "job" in the workforce.  I was overwhelmed with the peace I felt about that.  I looked at Thomas thumbing through a Missalette and felt small movements from the baby in my womb; I knew that, for me, an MSW and job search would not be fulfilling.  I simply know it's not my calling right now, and God has made that so abundantly clear to me.  I could not be more thankful for this peace...a peace that has existed for quite some time but that I never gave much thought. 

This peace has enabled me to support my husband 100% in the journey toward his doctoral degree; it's allowed for my full attention to our children and doing exactly what they need (anything from reading to Thomas to resting for the baby's sake); I can, without hesitation, be excited for my colleagues, harboring no resentment whatsoever; and, I can honestly tell people that I have no current desire to complete the degree when they ask, thus affirming my vocation even more.

Congratulations, graduates!  And thank you, sweet Lord, for your gift of peace! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

an honest look at to-do's

I had a really important conversation with my husband tonight in the midst of much inner turmoil and confusion, and this blog post is a result of my final thoughts on the matter.  Long story short, life is throwing many challenges at me, causing a a great deal of distress.  And the (unhealthy) way that I deal with it all is to internalize it, take on more tasks, and take less time to relax and rejuvenate.  Sound like a recipe for disaster?  Why, it is!

There's a lot of guilt that goes along with wife/motherhood territory.  For me that entails guilt about tasks not being completed, guilt that I'm not spending enough time with my husband, guilt that I'm not spending enough time with Thomas...and some of the most difficult guilt for me is taking time for myself.  In that area, I'm a slow learner.  It's easy for me to say that I need to take some time, and it's even easier for me to advise others who are struggling in that regard.  But taking time for myself?  Ha!  That only means that the dirty dishes will still be piled high, we'll be running low on diapers due to my neglect, and our bedroom will remain the sea of paperwork and random-things-that-there's-no-room-for-in-the-apartment that it has been for months.  How in the world can I justify taking time for myself when there's all that (and so much more) to attend to?

Here's the justification. (Note: this is written for myself, not as some sort of lecture or homily on the matter to any of my blog readers).

This week I've been having emotional breakdowns; and while I realize that some of this is hormonally-driven due to my current pregnancy, I also know that all emotions are magnified due to the stress of upcoming life changes in our family.  And after some tactful honesty from my husband, I realized that it's easy for me to see the to-do list as an end rather than a means to an end.  As a mom, I have to be five steps ahead all the time - but I struggle to be able to also live in the present moment and relish in it because I'm so busy doing.  When I'm washing dishes, I'm thinking about finishing up that nursing cover; when I'm stuffing diapers, I'm thinking about getting a head start on dinner; you get the picture (and I'm guessing some of you moms are nodding your heads in least I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way, oh, say, constantly?).

So that leads me to my point.  Because I have not yet developed the ability to bi-locate, I have not grown extra appendages enabling me to do more things at once, and I feel pushed into the ground even already with one toddler and one in the oven, I have to make an active change.  And for me that starts with giving myself permission to rest - encouraging myself to take some rejuvenation time (despite how many things are or are not crossed off on the list) and reminding myself that my whole family will benefit.  But they'll benefit in a much more important way than they will from having the carpets vacuumed or the toys in some semblance of order.  They'll see a relaxed mom who is able to be present to them, give of herself to them in a real way, and who desires to be with them more than she desires a spotless home or perfectly cooked dinner.  This is true "doing."  Doing what it takes to get my family and, God willing, myself to Heaven - and when it's my turn to leave this earthly life, I'm hopeful that our Lord is not taking into account any dirty dishes I may have left behind or the stove that hasn't been cleaned in months.  I'm not a betting woman, but that's a gamble I'm willing to take.         

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

homemade cleaners

I'm looking into making some household cleaners - we have so much baking soda, vinegar, etc. lying around that we only use in small amounts, and I can't help but think that there have to be other uses for them.  Have you ever made any cleaners?  Any recipe/concoction work particularly well?  I'll take whatever ideas you've got - bath tub, kitchen, floors...

Thanks in advance! 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

a favorite activity

If you've been over to our apartment during the day in the last few months, I'm sure you've witnessed Thomas' obsession with looking out of our big windows.  With most kids, the TV really "sucks" them in...but not with Thomas.  Oh no, he'd much prefer to look out the window, watch the cars (and preferably trucks!) roll by, and squeal with excitement over the whole ordeal.

Why yes, my sweet red hair is shimmering!  Thanks for noticing!  

I hear one coming!

Kinda busy here, Mom.


Now he's working on saying the words, "car," "truck," and "bus."  But sometimes he's so mesmerized by them that he can't help but shriek and bounce around.  And I must say, it's quite a sight to behold!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Life is stressful around here on so many levels.  And yet, as I held my sweet firstborn this afternoon as he sipped (okay, more like inhaled) his milk-filled sippy cup, all was right in the world.  I felt my whole body relax as I held him close to me, thanking God for the miracle sitting in my lap and the other growing within me.  And at that moment, I knew God was keeping my family close to Him, just as I held dear Thomas close to me.  We'll get through all of this...and I think it's going to mean a lot more intentional taking time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, even if it's simply during milk time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why God Made Moms

The following was forwarded to me by a friend, and I found many of them quite endearing.  Enjoy!

Answers given by second grade school children to the following questions: 

Why did God make mothers?
1.  She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2.  Mostly to clean the house.
3.  To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1.  He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2.  Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3.  God made my mom just the same like he made me.  He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1.  God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2.  They had to get their start from men's bones.  Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1.  We're related.
2.  God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mom like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?
1.  My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2.  I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3.  They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1.  His last name.
2.  She had to know his background.  Like is he a crook?  Does he get drunk on beer?
3.  Does he make at least $800 a year?  Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1.  My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world.  And my mom eats a lot
2.  She got too old to do anything else with him.
3.  My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1.  Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2.  Mom.  You can tell by room inspection.  She sees the stuff under the bed.
3.  I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
1.  Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2.  Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3.  Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
4.  Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1.  Mothers don't do spare time.
2.  To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1.  On the inside she's already perfect.  Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2.  Diet.  You know, her hair.  I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1.  She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean.  I'd get rid of that.
2.  I'd make my mom smarter.  Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.
3.  I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.