Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where Have I Been?



I've been living in a world of softest skin, sweetest smells, and crisply laundered receiving blankets. There have been diaper changes, pajama changes, nursing position changes and a whole lot of holding and cuddling and staring between. There are lots of little squeaky noises and nursling breathy sounds and sneezes preceded by a scream (Does anyone else's newborns scream when they sneeze?). We have wrinkly brow and gassy smiles and a mouth shaped like a little O. Nothing much really happens here according to the standards of the rest of the world, and yet the moment has me trying to hold on to these days that are all a blend and slow time that flies faster than ever before. This is where I have been and there is no place I'd rather be.

Happy 2009, Everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Favorite Christmas Pics


Yule log. Thank you, Grandma.

Baby's first Christmas.
He liked the lights.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!



Thank you, Kristen.



Thank you, Margot.

And a great big thank you to all of you for sharing our joy at the arrival of baby Micah.

May the Nativity of Our Lord bring you joy and peace.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Unto Us, a son is Born





With great joy, we welcomed...

Micah
Benedict Joseph
Temple

on December 19th, 2008
12:34 PM
7.5 lbs, 21 in.

comments open

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Still Here

Everything is done and ready for baby. Of course there are always little things that can still be done and so I've been doing those. I'll run to the library with an overdue book and return it. "There," I think to myself, "THAT was the last thing God wanted me to have done before baby arrives." The next day I'm mailing off a medical payment, "Surely THAT was the last thing that needed to be done." Every day brings a new little chore and the feeling that my having replaced the HVAC filters, sent an email, picked up candy canes, or ordered holiday flavored coffee will somehow bring on real labor. One of these days I will be right. There will be a last chore completed and baby will arrive some day. Until then, I appreciate all your prayers. So many have emailed me to say they are thinking of me and praying for me. I can feel your support and it is so much appreciated. Thank you.

What's the whale picture got to do with any of this? I don't know. Simeon drew that whale and it just spoke to me. I looked at her. She looked at me. We just seemed to understand one another. Not sure why...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Harry Belafonte - Mary's Boy Child

Today, I'm folding laundry and listening to this over and over again.This is one of my top ten favorite Christmas songs ever.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy 8th Birthday, Alexander!


Happy Birthday, Alex. You were such a lovely baby. You were the cuddliest, sweetest, little bundle of love born in the cold of December. I remember snuggling with you through the winter evenings and nights while snow storms blew just outside the window. We loved the blizzards because they were beautiful and we had everything we needed right there at home--we had blankets and books and warm hot chocolate and diapers and flannel pajamas and each other. Let it snow!

Now, you are so grown up and you have become such a help around the house. You like to wash pots and mop floors and load the dishwasher. You draw so well. Without fail, you thank me every night for making dinner (even if all I did was order pizza). You're great at assembling things and you make the coolest stuff out of scrap wood and leftover hardware. It is such a joy to watch you grow!

We love you, Alex. Happy Birthday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Feast of Guadalupe!


Patroness of the Americas
Pray for us.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Outsourcing Labor

Simeon: (hollering down the stairs) Fedex!

Jacob: Oh look! It's a big box. I think it's the baby!

Alex: Jacob, the new baby is not coming by Fedex.

Jacob: I meant his crib.

I Can't Win

Zachary: Do you like my picture, Mama?

Me: Oh yes, Zachary, that's very nice. I do like that.

Zachary: Hmmmm...you seem to like everything.

The Drawbacks to being Adorable

Simeon: Nicholas is trying to give me an angry face, but all he is is cute.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Visions of Sugarplums


Temple Baby's take home outfit: This is the last thing I see when I go to bed at night and the first thing I see when I wake up each morning.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Happy Immaculate Conception!


St Anne expecting the Virgin Mary
Jean Bellegambe

Good St Anne, pray for us.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy St Nicholas Day!

Nicholas on the Eve of St Nicholas enjoying hot chocolate and Candy Cane Joe Joe's (available for a limited time only) around the Advent wreath.

This morning the boys found St Nicholas had left them a fine selection of Dover Christmas coloring and craft books and new art supplies. Everyone has found a corner of the house and is working intently coloring angels, snowflakes and stained glass nativity scenes. All is peaceful.

Happy St Nicholas Day!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

And We Shall be Changed

Motherhood changes you. Motherhood changes you forever in ways you might expect and also in ways you'd never know and could never have anticipated. When a new life is conceived within her, a woman becomes something new-- something she can't fully comprehend in the moment, but that unfolds over time like the petals of a rose in bloom. She becomes a mother. This a beautiful truth and the underlying reality behind a similar, but tragic truth: Abortion changes you.

When my first son was just a few weeks old, I took him to the pediatrician for a routine visit. When the nurse placed him on the scale, we saw that he had gained a considerable amount of weight since his last appointment. He was thriving. "Very good," the nurse said handing my child back to me. He was healthy. It was good. And then suddenly it was something more...

Much to my surprise, I was overcome by a wave of pride that washed through my entire body, this warm and glowing feeling of dizzying accomplishment. I had never before, or since, felt anything like it. I wondered about it on the drive home. Where could such a feeling have come from? What was it about?

The best I could understand it then and even now is that all the concerns of pregnancy and birth and caring for a newborn, the physicality and detail of it all melted away for a moment and I saw for the first time in that tiny medical office how I had changed and who I had become. I had become a source of life and a sustainer of life. A beautiful boy who had not been in the world a few short months before was now here and was thriving. I was a cause of this life, of his growing strength and of his obvious health. Nothing I had ever done up to that point had even come close to being so hugely important, so eternally significant. I had become a mother.

That is why I find stories like these so sad. Mothers who choose abortion are still mothers. Even the pro-choicers talk about the health of the "mother." If she is a mother, then where is her child? Abortion does not take motherhood away. Abortion does not undo motherhood. Women who choose abortion are mothers and they have been changed forever. To their surprise, many come to experience feelings opposite of those feelings of pride and accomplishment that I unexpectedly felt at my young son's doctor's appointment. Many lose a sense of self worth, fall into depression and engage in destructive behaviors. I feel deeply for these women and hope that they find healing this Advent and Christmas season.

As Catholics, and especially during this season of expectation and nativity, we honor the motherhood of Mary. She was the mother not of a "blob of tissue" before His birth and not simply of a human nature after His birth. Mary, the Church affirmed in the early centuries and for the preservation of the true faith, is the mother of a person as all mothers are mothers of persons. Mary is blessed among women and a mother to us all because that person is the second Person of the Divine Trinity, the Word of the Father, the First Born into the resurrection, the God man, Jesus Christ, who saved us all from death and offers us eternal life. And there is the hope. In Him, all can find healing. In Him, all are changed.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It Makes More Sense That Way

Jacob: (singing loudly) Hark the Angels, Harold sings!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Remember?

"Remember what's happening tonight?" Jacob asked full of excitement. This was shortly before a mac and cheese dinner I'd stirred together and considered quite an accomplishment as it required that I stand for a whole twenty minutes to prepare it.

"Oh no," I thought. What did I promise? Had I planned something? Did I say we'd do something? Go somewhere?

"What?" I asked and braced myself for the answer.

"Look," he said, his nose pressed to the window. And there it was.

It was really beautiful. I'm glad he remembered. And I'm glad all it required on my part was to stand there and admire it with him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent: Watching and Waiting

This year, a sixth stocking was hung by the chimney with care in hopes that someone soon will be here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day After Thanksgiving

Any day that starts with pumpkin pie for breakfast is a good day in my book. Hey, it has eggs in it. I spent most of this Black Friday finding chores I could complete while sitting on the couch. Much laundry has been folded today and Nicholas and I perused catalogs while sipping tea. I actually enjoy looking through Christmas catalogs when all the shopping is done. It is so nice to be done before Advent. This Advent is a double preparation and I'm looking forward to every moment.

The boys used wood scraps from a project my husband completed to make these cool vehicles. They painted them and have even constructed garages for them from cardboard.


We saw Venus and Jupiter aligned after sunset and will look again on Dec. 1st when a crescent moon joins them to form a "temporary frowny face in the sky."

Now more cornbread is baking and a game of Monopoly is on downstairs. I hope your day was as unhurried and pleasant as mine.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 1933

I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do set aside and appoint Thursday, the thirtieth day of November 1933, to be a Day of Thanksgiving for all our people.
May we on that day in our churches and in our homes give humble thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us during the year past by Almighty God.

May we recall the courage of those who settled a wilderness, the vision of those who founded the Nation, the steadfastness of those who in every succeeding generation have fought to keep pure the ideal of equality of opportunity and hold clear the goal of mutual help in time of prosperity as in time of adversity.

May we ask guidance in more surely learning the ancient truth that greed and selfishness and striving for undue riches can never bring lasting happiness or good to the individual or to his neighbors.

May we be grateful for the passing of dark days; for the new spirit of dependence one on another; for the closer unity of all parts of our wide land; for the greater friendship between employers and those who toil; for a clearer knowledge by all nations that we seek no conquests and ask only honorable engagements by all peoples to respect the lands and rights of their neighbors; for the brighter day to which we can win through by seeking the help of God in a more unselfish striving for the common bettering of mankind.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.


Done at the City of Washington this twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-three and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fifty-eighth.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don't Forget...

...to pick up your Advent candles this week!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snow, Snow


...with accumulation!


Schoolwork started late so the kids could make these snow/grass balls before the sun melted all the fun away.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

State of the Nest

Wow.

I haven't had any energy these last few weeks. I have felt so overwhelmed by housework that I almost called Molly Maid this morning to come dig us out. I like to clean. It takes a lot to reduce me to the couch dweller I had become but frequent, long, and pinchy Braxton Hicks contractions did the trick. I'd have them in the morning and they'd slow me down. I'd have them during the day and they'd cut my outings short. I'd have them all evening-- triggered by the slightest motion, noise or even change in light-- and they'd make December 20th seem so very, very far away.

Then, at exactly four O'clock this afternoon, nesting hit. There must be a rush of adrenaline that accompanies this sudden burst of energy and desire to clean because the change is so sudden and dramatic. Since four, I have cleaned two bathrooms, vacuumed, tidied and scrubbed anything that dared to cross my path. I laundered a perfectly clean shower curtain and set of towels because I thought I could get them brighter. That red wax mark on the wall by the boys' bedroom that taunted me for the last month? Got it. The one on the ceiling, too. My outlets and switches are streak free, and the toaster shines. I've washed walls, many walls, I still have more walls to wash. Bring 'em on. I don't even feel pregnant anymore, except that there's this thing in the way when I reach under toddler beds and try to squeeze--dust pan in hand-- behind a half pulled out fridge. There's more to be done and thought of it thrills me. I'll get some brushes and touch up paint. I'll get to those closets and unpack the last of the books. I'll winterize the back porch furniture as I've been meaning to, finish up the Christmas shopping, and baking for Thanksgiving. If you're a part of my life, chip in or get out of the way. Should you cross my path and I accidentally comb you, bleach you, or completely reorganize you, I'm sorry. It couldn't be helped and mother nature seems to want it this way.

Appatizing

Zachary: I know now how you will feed the baby. I've seen mice have them. They are lots of small attachments for the baby mice and cows have them, too, but cows just have one really big one. You can milk the cow there, but... hmmm...you should probably have gloves on to do that.

You Couldn't Fool Him

Simeon: Ridiculous! I mean, I could understand a story about the "The Empress' New Clothes," but the Emporer's? A man should never care so much about fashion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving

Cay Gibson shares some beautiful thoughts on Thanksgiving. Do not miss "It is in Forgiving that We Find Thanksgiving." Thanks, Cay.

Snow!



No accumulation, but still.

Inversion Art

I know they've seen these inversion pictures in books they have, but the boys have been drawing their own (producing massive amounts of them, actually). Here are three originals...














This Egyptian turns into an old man.














Amelia Earhart becomes a general with a large mustache.














Help this king find his Granny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Family Portrait in Brown

Sorry for the light posting, but I'm feeling a little s l o w e d down. Does anyone else enjoy weeks of false labor before the real deal? I'll spare you the whining and just share these very first recognizable works of art from our little Nicholas and his explanations...


"This is the father..."

"...and this is the mother..."


"...and this is the baby already borned and wrapped in a blanket."


"And this is me, Nicholas."


And here is the artist playing in the yard with his older brother.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On Blessings

Last Sunday, I waddled up the communion line with a preschooler in each hand. My husband was just behind me managing two other pre-communicants and our oldest was serving at the altar. As we manage so many little ones, I admit that I sometimes feel watched and I worry that some child will mess up, trip or-- worse-- trip somebody else.

After I received the Eucharist, father bent low and carefully blessed the child on my left. Then he bent again and blessed the child on my right. Just as I thought we'd held up the line long enough, I realized the blessings weren't over. Father T, who had just fed my soul on the Bread of Angels and fed my heart with yet another of his beautiful homilies bent yet again and slowly, deliberately blessed the child in my womb. The gesture took me by delightful surprise. Any embarrassment I had felt at being such a "crowd" at the front of the communion line melted into happiness. How blessed we were-- so many blessings upon our many blessings! As I waddled back to my seat to pray in thanksgiving, I could not suppress a smile.

That same smile came to my face when I read about the new blessing service for children in the womb that the bishops have approved. You can read about it at Faith and Family....and who is that headless pregnant lady??

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Science and Religion

The other afternoon when my husband was reading a biology book to the boys that had simple illustrations of babies in utero, Zachary was compelled to add to the conversation,

"Yes, and also babies are a gift from God."

Sweet as it was, I thought his comment indicated that he really wasn't interested in the scientific aspects, but then today when I asked Nicholas to pick something up for me and Nicholas asked why Zachary explained,

"Because, Nicholas, our new baby has his head in a bowl that is made out of Mama's bones and that bowl is called a pelvis and if she bends the baby could hit his head on her bones."

Not accurate exactly, but definitely biological.

Jacob, Still Out of Touch

Jacob: (Standing up suddenly in the back of the van when he spotted a lawn sign) Oh no! Did we vote?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Exactly

What she said. Go read Rebecca Teti's "An Almost Perfect Moment."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hope and Life

We're feeling a bit "blue" today. The weather is dark and cloudy to match our overall mood, but we know the sun is behind those clouds and our thoughts are focused on what won't change...

This beautiful and deeply loved little one is in our prayers today.

We welcome this one into the world with great joy!

We're thanking God for this one whose heart beats strong and...

...many, many others we know within our own family and among many friends.

We're remembering a story from last Sunday's homily. Father received a call from a young woman named "Rosealba" (white rose) whom he had met outside an abortion clinic many months ago. She had given birth to the baby whose life she came to see as a blessing and not a punishment. She was thanking Father for giving her the strength and encouragement to do what was right at a time when she felt so alone and had given up all hope.

We're thinking of the great success of the 40 Days for life campaign,

the way the Bishops of America have spoken out for life these last few months,

and we see hope in the continued thoughts, plans and efforts of the Pro life movement.

We may find new ways to change more hearts when more laws are against us.

The choice for life is the choice that gives hope...

...and I hope and believe that the most radically pro-abortion president in American history was chosen by the people despite his radical stance and not because of it.

Lastly, I find it somewhat ironic that on this day the baby ticker in my sidebar tells me that my little one has just learned to open his eyes when he is awake. May we, in America, learn to do the same.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A House Divided...

We will be praying for this nation of ours beginning this evening and throughout tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thinking Ahead

The infant car seat has been installed in the family van. Zachary is pleased as punch that it is right next to his seat. "What are you going to do though, Zachary, when the baby is crying?" my husband asked.

Zachary: I will sing him lullabies and pat him on the head.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Pair of Pear Trees


...my husband planted in honor of the new baby.
Grow healthy and strong little trees.
I can't wait to see you bloom!

The Great Debaters

Jacob and Zachary have been arguing about everything lately. Oh, I don't mean toys or who gets to be the good guy or bad guy in a game, I mean debates. It seems they are both starting to think about things and form their own opinions and this has led to some very interesting, often heated arguments.

The other night, for example, I heard them in their beds furiously discussing whether skunks are rare or not rare. The argument, it seems, revolved around the definition of rare. Zachary thought rare animals are those which are hardly ever seen. Jacob, on the other hand, thought rare was synonymous with endangered and many animals that are not seen, he argued, are not endangered. The shrew, for example, and barracudas.

And then yesterday Jacob hollered up the stairs, "Moooooooooom!" I stopped what I was doing and carried my aching body down to him to see what was wrong. "Zachary says that thumbs are NOT fingers," he said in a flush when I finally reached him. "They ARE fingers, Zack, because we have ten fingers and that means our thumbs, too." "But they are different," Zachary responded.

"They are different, but they are fingers, Zachary. We have ten fingers." I said in my most confident and knowing-mother tone. That settled it.

But then later, just out of curiosity, I Googled the question and found there is some debate. Some say the thumb is a phalange, a digit and a metacarpal, but not a finger. It differs from fingers in that it is opposable, has two phalanges rather than three, differs in proportion and stubbiness, and is attached to a more mobile metacarpus. Others say the word finger simply means a digit on the hand and so a thumb is different, but still a finger. So, I still think I'm right. It is a finger. Nah-nah, said so.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remember What You Know

Until very recently, we hadn't talked with our children about abortion. We hadn't been especially hiding the topic from them, but neither had they asked and so we really didn't see any need to introduce them to such an ugly reality.

It was inevitable, especially in our circles of concerned pro-life friends, that the topic would come up sooner or later and we'd have to discuss it. I'm actually surprised it didn't happen sooner. I wasn't there when the conversation took place and my son didn't tell me about it later. As it happened, my friend's daughter told her all about it and I received a concerned email.

It seems the topic came up as an important issue in this election. My oldest son asked what the word meant and another child explained it to him. My friend's daughter stepped in to warn that such topics shouldn't be discussed because my son may not know what it is yet. "I do now," my son said. I guess it was too late.

My poor friend was mortified to learn this from her daughter, but I was only pleased to know that the conversation had happened so that I might discuss the topic with my son. I'd rather he learn about this from his pro-life friends and talk about it with us, his parents, rather than piece it together from things he reads in the newspaper, hears occasionally on NPR (I don't always turn the volume down in time) or from other liberal media sources.

That night we sat down with our son and asked him if he had learned something about abortion that he'd like to discuss with us. "No," he stuttered. I think he thought he might be in trouble. "Well... sorta..." he went on uncomfortably. Did someone tell you what it is? I asked. "You tell me what it is," he said, hesitant to show his cards.

"Abortion is when a mother asks a doctor to end her pregnancy. The doctor takes the baby out of the mother's body before it is meant to be born."

"But..." and here's where I saw what must have been on his mind since he first heard about it, "but that's... MURDER." He was certain. There was no doubt in his mind that abortion was the murder of a human being. Along with his certainty was an audible doubt. A doubt about how this could happen in our country. He wondered how, how could this be legal? Why aren't people going to jail? In short, how is it that those who participate in and publicly support abortion are getting away with murder?

"That's right," my husband said, "It is murder. That's why you need to remember what I told you about forming your conscience. You need to remember what you know is right and what you know is wrong. People who warp their conscience to suit themselves wind up believing all sorts of evil things are good and they even convince other people of the same. Don't ever let that happen to you."

And that, I believe, is exactly Fr Corapi's point in his "Eleventh Hour Pre-election Alert"

Remember what you know. Vote your informed conscience this election. Vote for life.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Earn a Boy's Respect

Schoolwork Question: What is your favorite animal and why?

Simeon's answer: A mole, because he eats his own weight in worms every day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

32 Weeks


...and feeling like The Great Pumpkin

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gorilla Boy

Zachary had fun pretending he was the Gorilla on the back of this issue of Ranger Rick. That text reads, "I don't LIKE cheese, I don't WANT cheese, and I'm not gonna say 'cheese,' OK?" We love when a new RR magazine comes in the mail. Thanks, Grandpapa and Grandmaman!