Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Could I ask a favor, please?

Last night I just couldn't sleep. I kept having this nagging feeling that my kids are growing up, and I am missing it. I believe this is hitting me because in the last few months my two littlest turned 3 and 1 respectively. The 3 year old has because talking up a storm, and the one year old is walking everywhere. Just a few months ago I had lots of crawling and baby talk. Now it's over. Then I realize all my other children have passed through these stages, and now what do I document about them? They have their teeth, they have done all their firsts, but they still are doing and thinking interesting things. I just don't always notice. I am always busy around here, and not paying attention to many of the details individual to each child. In other words, if I am not careful, I lump them all together. Therefore, I am asking for your help.

I have an idea; I would like to interview my children, one by one, and get some individual information about each of them. I would ask that you help me by giving me some questions I might ask them. I have a 12 yo boy,10 year old girl, 9 year old girl, 7 year old boy, 5 year old girl, three year old boy, and 1 year old girl. Of course the one year old won't answer any questions, but the rest will. I will then give each of them an individual post with their interview. I could come up with some questions myself, of course, but some from sources other than mom might be taken more seriously. I will print off their interviews, and put them in each of their baby books.

I would greatly appreciate anything you could offer to this project, as I am really looking forward to delving into each one of my kiddos. Thanks in advance!

Monday, June 27, 2005

The gang, and to video, or not to video, that is the question

So, now that I can do photos, I will inundate my blog with photos of my children. This was taken last fall, just before it got cold for good. So, this is the whole gang. Add an inch or two to them all, and that's about what they look like now.

This brings me to a new contemplation. To take video, or not. I have some videos of the older kids when they were little. But the middle kids don't have any. Now with the little kids, I have been feeling the urge to video them, to record their sweet voices, their little chubby arms and legs, their uncertain toddle. I guess I feel the years sneaking up on me, and realize I won't have a baby in the house forever.

But then, when I watch the older kid's videos, I just feel so sad. Is it possible that time has gone that quickly? Where are those little darlings? Those children are gone, as if they walked out into the woods, and didn't come back. The children they have become are a treasure and lovely blessing, and I almost hate feeling so sad that the babies are grown. I think I would appreciate my NOW more, if I didn't spend much time looking back at the early years.

I love spending time with the kiddos, and don't want to miss appreciating the NOW by mourning the past. But will I be able to soak enough in, so that I can remember them in their innocent, chubby sweetness? Well, I do love photos. They don't tear my heart as much as videos. What do you all think??

Little Sweetie

Little sweetie on her first birthday. Today, I haven't seen her crawl once. *sigh* .

Ephesians 5:21-33

From Kate at Heart Speaks to Heart.

After reading this from Ephesians:

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."[c] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband

Answer these questions:

1. Why do you think this passage is such a incendiary one for women and men? In order for this exhortation to work, both parties have to dedicate their lives to this principle. If one of the two lessens his or her committment to it, the other one takes it in the gut. I think this is a prickly subject because everyone has seen cases where only one spouse lives by this principle, and gets sucker punched. Then they personalize it and say, " I will not allow that to happen to me. Just the word submit gets me in fight or flight mode."

1 1/2. Was it ever that way for you? If so, how was your heart changed?
It has definately been like this for me. I started out marriage with the whole hearted commitment to this principle. However, shortly into the marriage, my resolution was crushed by the heavy weight of disappointment. Dh was absolutley not living up to his end of the exhortation, and my spirit was so wounded. He wasn't doing anything evil, just putting himself first in most daily activities and decisions. I was being used, and it was hardening my heart. What made my heart change? I am still working on this. We are on 13 years, and much of the pain in the early days was never addressed. We just got busier, and more independent lives, and I got callused. We always pray for each other, and for a better marriage, and it seems to me our hearts are both changing. Whereas dh used to laugh when we would recount some of the stupidly selfish things we did as newlyweds, now he apologizes for them. My dh has told me he has held back in our marriage, afraid to "give himself up for her". This has caused a chain of events that has nearly unraveled our marriage entirely. The fact that he recognized this holding back, and is trying to do better is allowing me to respect my husband. I am not blaming the whold thing on him, though. I should not have callused up, or given up, but kept living up to my end. I wasn't strong enough to do so. This is what I am praying for, the ability to stay constant even through disappointment. With God, all things are possible, eh?

2. What is God trying to tell us through St. Paul in this scripture reading? Die to self, and you will live. It's that same old contradiction thing again, he who loses his life, saves it.

3. How does a misunderstanding or lack of understanding of God's plan for marriage revealed through this scripture damage marriages?
When married people put their needs first in the marriage, it is damaged. When one spouse leads with selfishness, the other may follow. When one spouse is an emotional taker only, the other may become empty and bitter. God's plan is for us to die to self, and become one with our spouse. If selfishness gets in the way, it just can not happen.

4. How can men and women come to understand it better?

I wish I knew the answer to that. So far I rely on prayer, sacraments, and reading books and speaking with people I respect. That's all I've got. Always looking for help in that regard.

These are not as well thought out as I wanted. I am afraid it puts too much blame on my dh, and betrays my residual bitterness. Wanted to say more about who "has to go first" in the dying to self. How can the wife submit if there is nothing of substance to submit to? How can the man be the head if he has to wrestle the title away from a bitter, controlling wife? Who goes first?? Does this start during the courtship, engagment, or even as children, observing their parents? I want answers!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Yet another update

While I have a few moments for a break, I thought I would update. The framing has begun on the new addition, and the new garage is almost entirely framed in.

The demolition on the inside of the house will take place next week. This entails the linen closet and the current master bathroom. So, I have to relocate all the stuff in both places, and then we will all be using one bathroom.

So, today, my project is to clean up outside, and haul all the debris lying around out of the way, because tomorrow we are having our annual Nativity of St. John the Baptist bonfire and smore-fest. I have mowed down a new path back to the fire-pit, since the old way is blocked by a huge load of lumber and a large dumpster. Then, I used our tractor and chain to haul away small evergreens that were pulled out during the excavation and put them on the burn pile for tomorrow. I just finished this up and came in to take one of the last showers in my current bathroom, and lo! no water. Turns out an outside pipe broke, and we will be without water a bit more of the day.

It hasn't rained here for a loooonnnggg time, and everything is wilted and brown. The dust is horrendous. Of course if it rains now, the back yard will be somehat of a muck pit, since all the grass is long since ruined. BUT, we do have AC, so we are quite compfy.

I will post later about our St. John the Baptist party, and include the blessing of fire that Fr. does. We are also having our foundation blessed, and all the lumber that will be used. When the bricks get here, he'll come back and bless those.

Anyway, baby girl took 5 steps in a row today, so I predict by next week, I'll see her on her feet more often than not. She is delighted with herself, and this is bittersweet for me. So cute, gone in a flash. Blink, and it's gone. *Sigh*

Monday, June 20, 2005

Always Come Back to the Solid Place

I haven't been blogging much, as I have been tending to the family, my husband in particular. We have been under much strain lately, and realized that if we don't spend more intentional time together we are headed for living parallel lives. As a wise women once told me, "It's impossible to be soulmates when you live parallel lives." Amen, sister!

Below is from The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. This is my spiritual imperative for today.

You must belive in the yes that comes back when you ask, "Do you love me?" You must choose this yes even when you do not experience it.

You feel overwhelmed by distraction, fantasies, the disturbing disire to throw yourself into the world of pleasure. But you know already that you will not find there an answer to your deepest questions. Nor does the answer lie in rehashing old events, or in guilt or shame. All of that makes you dissipate yourself and leave the rock on which your house is built.

You have to trust the place that is solid, the place where you can say yes to God's love even when you do not feel it. Right now you feel nothing except emptiness and the lack of stregth to choose. But keep saying, "God loves me, and God's love is enough." You have to choose the solid place over and over again and return to it after every failure.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Much to report

These last 6 days have been just packed, although it appears I forgot to pack enough sleep. I was dizzy tired yesterday, but after a good night's sleep, I feel good as new.

Our air-conditioning was reattached on Thursday. Heat + humidity = me in a puddle. I kept being mistaken for the wicked witch of the west because of the constant refrain, "I'm meellting, I'm meellting!!!". So just before company arrived Thursday afternoon, we were able to cool off and dry out, and I got my rear in gear and cleaned the house.

We had a couple visiting over the weekend, which was terrific fun. We are both homeschooling families, with more than a few children, same age, same beliefs regarding the reason we exist. I couldn't believe how quickly we skipped small talk, and went straight to matters of the heart. A real soul refresher, I tell you.

Unfortunately, we stayed up waaaaaay too late every night, and then had a progress-indicitive wake up call of the concrete workers at about 5:30 a.m. It has been fascinating to see how buildings are constructed. The forms for the basement walls were set on Friday, and they were filled yesterday. This meant we saw a portable crane, to move the forms, 3 cement trucks, a dump truck, a back hoe, and a bob cat. My three year old has been positively glued to window, pointing and gasping in awe and wonder. After the workers left, dh and I attempted to put a St. Benedict medal into the cement, but it was already hard. So we put it on the gravel in the corner of the floor, along with a Miraculous medal, and concrete will encase them in the floor. This will be our "cornersone", and is directly below our new bedroom. The priest from our church will be coming out this week to bless the foundation. I love blessings!!

Sunday was a day full of reminders of our many blessings. First, we went to church early to help set up for coffee hour. Our deacon and his wife provide the church with a regular feast every Sunday. They feel social interaction helps glue the parish together, and I have to agree. They make sure there is more than just sweets, and provide meat and cheese, friut and veggies. This way the moms get to go home after church with everyone full, and truly get to rest. Liturgy was inspiring as usual, but for some reason the congregation was singing together better than ever. It gave me goose-bumps, praising Our Lord with the ancient and beautiful Liturgy, the notes pouring out of the faithful in harmony and unity. After church we went to our Catholic Homeschool group's year end picnic. This is a terffic wrap up to the school year. Our group is only 12 or so families, and it is very much like extended family. More that once I heard the comparison of the picnic to a family reunion. There were races, tug of war, water baloon catapults, capture the flag, fishing, and playing catch. The weather was lovely, with relief from the humidity, and everyone brought delicious food to share. After that, we went to my mom's house, where my whole family had gathered to celebrate my brother's birthday. I delighted in watching my children with their cousins, and seeing the true affection between them. We also watched video of the fishing trip my husband and father and brothers went on recently. We went home tired but happy, after a full day of enjoying God's bountiful blessings in our life.

My little baby girl is almost taking steps. She is walking aroung furniture, eyeing the goal across a gap. She stands still, stares at the desired destination, sways side to side, with the concentration of an Olympic athlete. Finally, she ventures out, feet wide and arms reaching for the goal. One foot goes out, she wavers, and drops to her hands and knees with a giggle and lightening speed crawling. It won't be long and she'll be running with the big kids.

Well, I can't think of anything profound, so I will let it go at an information report only. I will hopefully be inspired sometime soon with meaningful reflections, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A new day, a new begining!

At the moment, I am not sweating, although it is supposed to be just as hot today as yesterday. I am thinking we will go to Treader Joe's today, and then to Old Navy, and then to lunch. Then to my mom's. Yeah, I am a wimp, and wilt, then melt when it is in the upper 90's with 78% humidity. So we'll find free air conditioning somewhere.

Last night our tree guy came over, and gave our BIG TREE a 10 percent chance of survival. This was done after surveying the dig, and the damage it did to the tree. Last night it seemed like we had to figure out how to cut it down IMMEDIATELY, but now we realize this isn't a crisis. It's a huge tree, and it will not die overnight. We can have it cut down after the addition is framed in, or even next spring, for that matter. It is sad. This is a gorgeous tall pin oak, that gives shade to our house and patio. On 3 acres of woods, it is the only pin oak we have. It will be missed. We designed the entire addition around this tree. We had to cut down 5 other tree for this addition, so we have great fire wood, and lots of it. Locust, hickory, ash, oak. Now more oak. Maybe we should start a new business!!

We also pulled all the old bushes from around our home, so there truly is dirt every where. My lovely sister in law came over yesterday to plan our new landscaping. She helped me draw a plan, short term and long term, for my yard. This simple activity did assist me in seeing past the current upheaval, and have a vision for the future. I bought a rotisserie chicken, so I wouldn't heat up the house, and we had it with stawberries and salad, and French Lemonade from Trader Joe's. It really was quite lovely. After lunch we walked around the yard, and identified places of refuge from the disuption around the addition. So I will move the badminton set there today, and our picnic table, and a kiddie pool. Our own little park.

I feel bad how negative I seemed last night, after all, this is a blessing to add on to our home. I see how tenuous my emotions are, and a little heat, noise, and disruption really changes my view of the world. I'm guessing this addition will be good practice for me to "Let it ride" and relax, be more constant. It's either that, or it will push me over the edge completely. HMMMM, I choose the former over the latter. That will be my prayer!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

So far, so bad

Wow, I had no idea how MESSY a house addition is. We have a HUGE hole in our yard, numerous HUGE piles of dirt, a "road" through the backyard, and a HUGE pin oak tree that more than likely will die because of the dig. I have HUGE amounts of sweat pouring from everyplace, as the AC was disconnected. The weather promptly cooperated by turning hot and humid. With any luck it will get reconnected on Friday, but the weather is supposed to continue hot, with a chance of thunderstorms every day for a week. The kids love climbing in the dirt, and so I have HUGE amounts of dirt in the house, and it is so hot in here I can not bear to clean as much as I need to. The kids are in bed, sleeping in their lightest pj's, with fans blowing on them. There is absolutely no breeze to speak of. This has been two days of high anxiety, noise, and too few deep breaths. I am going to go take another shower now, and sleep on the couch, under a ceiling fan, because even my husband's body heat would be more than I could bear right now. YUK. I hope this experience improves, or I am going to a hotel.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Check this out if you have cleaned up any barf this past winter.

This is really funny, and true (Scroll down to A Mother's Prayer)

Anyone dealing with constant sickness this winter will get a kick out of this!!

One Adventure complete, another begins

Well, the shopping trip went well; we got everything we needed, and Father got a little idea of my life. A dose of domestic reality is always an eye opener for a monk/priest. I can only imagine what went through a few people's minds seeing a priest, a woman and seven children with two baskets of food.

The kiddos were very well behaved, helpful, and the little 4 were slightly in awe, as they had never been to Sam's Club before. It reminded a few of them of "Madam Blueberry", with the infamous STUFFMART.

So tomorrow is our last day before dh returns, and I wonder if it's normal that I really didn't miss him. I don't dread him returning or anything, but the break from his nervous energy did me some good. I guess, as I am discovering about so many areas of my life, I have idealistic vision of myself as a wife and mother, and it doesn't resemble the actuality all that much.

On another front, our addition should break ground on Monday. This is gonna be another grand adventure. Hang on for the ride!!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Peace and ....

The floor is clean now, so let the spills begin. Today I was insistant that the kiddos spend more time independently entertaining themselves, as I really needed some quiet time. I cleaned my room, read a book, and read some blogs. Ahh, now they are watching the Apple Dumpling Gang, then they will go to bed. So, all in all a quiet, nice day.

One snag. I am supposed to go to the store tomorrow to get supplies for 80 sack lunches that we will be making for the area homeless shelter. I had a sitter lined up, but now it isn't going to work. So, I have to go with all the kiddos (breaking number 4 on this list). I was supposed to go with our parish priest because the church is financing this endeavor, and I am supplying the labor. I don't think he will really enjoy this little field trip, so I don't know what to do. These have to be made by Sunday, so I can't delay. This is an interesting development. Stay tuned!