Thursday, February 26, 2009

Small Successes

So it's Thursday again. Let me see what I can come up with:

1. The piles that were taunting me last week have been delivered to Goodwill.
2. Most of the laundry is caught up on, although I have my mother to thank for that. But I did ask her to help me, so there's that.
3. I have St. Mark's Gospel next to my bed, marked and accessible, so I don't forget to read it every day. And, if I only get to read a little, that is fine. I do not feel compelled to read x number of pages to fulfill my commitment to read St. Mark this Lent.

Some others: Good dentist appointment this week. The house is reasonably tidy. We are back on track with school after a few weeks of hit and miss due to illness. And I didn't mention being pregnant once in this post ~ oops!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lenten Soup Recipe

Here is the link to the Veggie Soup I always make and consume during Lent. It is a favorite. Joyously, I ate some yesterday and today, and I didn't even have to make it. I was gifted a huge container of this soup from a friend of mine who was taking pity on my huge self. May her generosity be returned a hundred fold. I feel so well nourished! Anyway, if you have seen this recipe here before, and want it this year as well, here it is.

What I am NOT giving up for Lent

This year, as opposed to past years, I am not giving up blogging or closing comments. Mostly, my decreasing stats and comments over the past year has helped me detach from this place anyway, and what communication I have left with folks is very beneficial to me.

I am not giving up meat, either, even though our Eastern Catholic fast calls for it. Being pregnant and soon caring for a newborn, I am exempt from that fast (I need the protein). Nor am I giving up dairy. However, I am going to be making vegan meals for dinner, and get my meat and dairy for breakfast and lunch. That way our family is not ignoring the Great Fast all together.

I am not giving up T.V. The pregnancy insomnia, soon to be followed by many sleep deprived nights, have in the past given me such anxiety. Having an old sitcom to watch, or a news re-run mightily reduces my panic about not sleeping.

I am not giving up sweets either, or coffee. I have no rationalization for this, either. I just am not going to.

So where does that leave me? I have that last few weeks of pregnancy to go, then birth, then the treacherous post-partum period. Plenty of suffering and deprivation there, and mightily fruitful if I orient myself properly. Offering my body, and my blood, my sleep and my comfort for the good of the other. Letting Love conquer fear, and accepting both the blessings and sacrifices offered me by being open to new life. Relinquishing my plans and my control for the reality that, what will happen will happen, and I can not be in charge here. I have given birth many times before, twice before during Lent. There is something quite spiritually rich about joining in the Lenten Offerings with birth giving. A true gift for me to be allowed to do so.

I am also reading and meditating on the Gospel of St. Mark. Unfortunately, I won't be participating in many of the extra services at church, as our priest has taken ill and is the hospital. Prayer for his health and salvation would be much appreciated. So I will be having more time at home to do my Duties of the Moment, to love and to offer myself to my family, and sometimes that is the most difficult thing for me to do willingly and well.

So, there you have it. May it be a fruitful Lent!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Small successes

1. I showered today.
2. I made it to my midwife appointment on time today.
3. Everyone in my house has eaten 3 meals a day all week.

Small enough for you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And the saga continues...

So, here I am, waiting for the nesting to come back. So far I have managed to empty a few closets and bookshelves, and have stacks of things on my bedroom floor. And then the energy left. And the piles are still there, taunting me, mocking me, daring me to complete the purging process and actually take them to the car, then to Goodwill. And all I want to do is go to bed and read or watch T.V.

And my eldest daughter is sick again, this time stomach flu or food poisoning, we'll know by tomorrow if it is making the rounds or stops with her. And my son got whacked in the mouth by his brother's knee, and has a loose permanent tooth. And 3rd daughter has a toothache in a baby tooth that isn't even loose yet, so it won't probably fall out before it needs a filling. And my fingers and ankles are puffy and irritating, and in an effort to reduce the swelling, I am drinking lots of water, therefore spending great amounts of time in the bathroom. I successfully unclogged a stuck toilet, cleaned up the mess, scrubbed the toilette, and now, want to go to bed. And the piles mock me.

BUT, I am still listening to R.E.M., the kids HAVE done the required school work today, except the sick one, which is okay. And I have done a few loads of laundry. Now, I need a kick in the kiester to get these PILES out of my room. And it is cloudy, hazy, sleepy outside today. I'll have to turn on every light in the house to get me moving, I think.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good Stuff

I have been whining quite a bit lately about things like not being able to breathe, not being able to sleep, not being able to pick things up off the floor and things like that. So today I thought I would like some awesome things that have happened around crazyacres lately. At least awesome to me:

My eight year old daughter has made a commitment, for only $1 a week, to make my bed every day. She has been diligent, and I have had a nice looking bed. Totally worth a dollar.

A neighbor girl offered to baby sit for me on the one evening a week my older girls have choir. Now I don't have to get everyone fed and in the car by 5:45, then entertain them, then get home at 9:15, then feed them again, then finally get them to bed by 10:00.

My husband helped me disassemble my icon studio this week, and then reassemble a nursery. It is very cute. My icon things are now in the basement where I actually hold my icon workshops, so I still have access to those things. My eldest daughter is going to do the last thing we need, and that is painting a terrific thrift store find bookcase. It is brown, and will be white.

I love, love, love the name we chose for the baby. I met a new saint in the process (the one we are naming her after, although really not new, as she lived in the 400's).

I purged painlessly in my room. All sorts of stuff I was collecting to define my space, make it a reflection of me, and now, I don't need stuff to reflect me. Progress, in my mind.

I got some R.E.M. songs on my iPod, and realized how much I still like that music, even after all these years.

So far, the thought of going through labor and delivery isn't terrifying yet. I have been re-reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and feel a sense of anticipation to be able to partake in that powerful process once again. Realistically, I expect to get a few butterflies when the first "real" contraction hits (or "rush" as Ina May calls it).

I had a delightful dinner this weekend with my husband and a couple that we have been friends with for 16 years. We have been through so much together, and yet now rarely have time to see each other. The four of us talked like it was a speed race, and got much accomplished. I want to do it again!

I have purged many, many books. What a relief. So many I probably would never read, and now I don't have to. So many duplicates I didn't even know I had.

I have some truly dear friends that have kept my spirits high and my energy up during this pregnancy. It has been so much fun being able to share this time with them~

I have mostly finished my Visitation icon. I love it. I will have it in the nursery after I do finish it this week.

I can feel spring coming. I the sense of anticipation for warmth, my flowers, dirt, the return of all my birds, the aroma of new life. I can barely stand it! True, tangible, through and though HOPE!

Lent will be different for me this year, but I anticipate the paring down with great joy. I will pare down the extraneous things in my life, and leave room to be filled with the Eternal. Starting with a new baby. Again, true, tangible, through and through HOPE!

I went to Trader Joe's this week and got some delicious coffee, dark chocolate covered mixed nuts, and English Cheddar with Caramelized Onion. The nuts are spectacular, the mix of salt and chocolate is amazing. The cheese I am saving for Sunday, Cheesefare Sunday, and I am drinking the coffee right now. YUM!

That's it for now, although if I sat here longer, I am certain I could think of more. But, if I sat here longer, my day would get uncomfortably behind, so I am off to get the kids started on school.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meatfare Sunday

SO yesterday was Meatfare Sunday. This means, we Eastern Christians are preparing for Lent by making yesterday our last day of consuming meat. Next Sunday is Cheesefare Sunday, making that the last day of eating dairy. Then it is vegan til Easter. For me, being 9 months pregnant (check out my ticker on the side bar), and then after that nursing, I am not bound by this Lenten fast. Nor are our smaller children. I will probably prepare meat and dairy for those of us whose dietary needs require it for lunch and breakfast, then stick to a vegan dinner.

Anyway, my point was in relaying what our family did for Meatfare Sunday. Usually I make some feast of many different kinds of meat. I wasn't up to it this year. Really wasn't up to it. So we went to Portillo's. I got a Maxwell Street Sausage, my hubby got a Maxwell Street/Italian beef combo (all on one bun. WOW!). The kids all got cheese dogs, and we all shared a chopped salad (with chicken) and a side of ribs. Whew. Meat city. Portillo's has a very fun decor (the one we went to was '30's Prohibition), and a revolving door, and between the two, our younger kids were very entertained. It was quite a bit of fun, very filling, and a nice way to say goodbye to meat for a while. I am still full, by the way. Yum!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

"Little Skunk," said Cat, "I have a kiss for Little Bear. It is from his grandmother. Take it to him like a good little skunk."

Little Skunk was glad to do that. But then he saw another little skunk.

She was very pretty. He gave the kiss to her.

And she gave it back.

And he gave it back.

And then Hen came along. "Too much kissing," she said.
"But this is Little Bear's kiss, from his grandmother," said Little Skunk.
"Indeed!" said Hen. "Who has it now."
Little Skunk had it. Hen got it back. She ran to Little Bear, and she gave him the kiss.

The skunks decided to get married. They had a lovely wedding. Everyone came.

(From "A Kiss for Little Bear" by Else Holmelund Minarik)

This is my traditional post on Valentine's Day. At crazyacres we have chocolate, flowers, and spaghetti, as well as a nice evening out with some friends. SO give a kiss to someone, and get one back. Have a lovely day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

It is Friday, once again. Let's see what I can come up with ~


About the woman with 14 children. Because I am expecting my eighth child, lots of people ask my opinion about this, as if I have much in common with her. My explanation goes something like this:

~I respect her for valuing the lives of all her children.
~I think her case points out some of the flaws in IVF.
~I think people should stop getting so concerned about how much all this is going to cost. These are PEOPLE, and infinitely more valuable than money. Of all the problems with this case, money is the least of my concerns.
~I think the ability to turn people into commodities became so much easier because of such happenings, and the lack of respect for the individual people involved is one of the most concerning parts about this situation.
~There is no easy solution to this problem, and like so many times when technology has moved beyond the acceptable ethics of our time, we have a mess all the way around.
~I place most the blame on the doctor who performed these procedures on her. Just another way to exploit vulnerable, distressed women by a money making industry (similar to the abortion industry in my mind).


I have encountered similar attitudes regarding my large family, all of whom have been conceived the old fashioned way, and in a two parent, wage earning family. Some people just plain old don't like children. I VERY OFTEN have to justify my children's existance by being asked to explain how we are going to send them all to college, or questioned about how many resources we use (frankly, fewer than most families of "average size"). My ability to raise them is often raised to me by strangers, and my sanity and state of mind have been openly questioned too many times to count.


My eldest daughter is feeling much better, and should get her stitches out tomorrow. Thank you for all your prayers.


I lost .5 pounds in the last two weeks. My midwife thought that was a problem. I didn't. Last appointment, I gained 4 pounds in two weeks. My midwife thought that was a problem. I didn't. See a pattern here?


I bought my son knock-off Air Hogs for Christmas (remote control helicopters). They broke in 20 minutes. I bought him some replacement, real, honest to goodness Air Hogs, and they also broke in 20 minutes. I am angry, to say the least!


We finally came up with a name for our little, soon to be born girl. And is isn't any of the ones we had floated before. I'll let you all know after she is born. I love it. Also, I am on an Ella Fitzgerald kick. I always have music going during my labors, and I think this time it will be Ella, Diana Krall, and Melody Gardot.


As I expected, the robins have arrived. I can not believe what a difference it makes to me in the morning, when I wake up to the sound of birds. What a hopeful, beautiful sound!!

As usual, go check out Jen for more Quick Take 7 Friday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A true Gem

As many of you probably know, Amy Welborn lost her husband Micheal last week. I don't know either of them personally, but have been following their blogs for years. The suddenness of this death shook me to my core; reading about a wife living through my greatest fear brought me to tears a number of times.

Today, Amy has the most beautiful post about the Consolation of Christ at times such as these. I highly recommend reading it, because we all need consoling, for a million different reasons. To see Christ's promises being realized through the tragedy in another family is helping me grow in faith, trust, and love. For Amy to use her talent so beautifully at a time like this is such a gift to all who read her. The post is titled "Euthus".

Here is a short excerpt. Truly, go read the rest!

Without thinking much about it, I told her to start reading from the Gospel of Mark. Why? There was a consciousness about it - both Michael and I love the Gospel of Mark. We liked talking about it. He was fascinated by what it reveals about Jesus and his disciples, especially in contrast to the popular view that what we have in the Twelve and the Master is a merry band of fellows completely in sync at all times. Well, when you read the Gospel of Mark, you see how false that image is. The apostles, besides being generally clueless, were also generally confused and intimidated by Jesus most of the time.

So I had her read aloud and after a couple of chapters, I stopped her, to see if she was paying attention to what she was reading.

“What word,” I asked, “are you reading over and over?”

She thought about it, and studied the pages.



Euthus. The Gospel of Mark is infused with a sense of urgency. Immediately he got up. Immediately they went out. Immediately.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Prayers, please

Well, another trip to the ER for crazyacres! Saturday my 14 year old daughter fell off her rip stick and landed chin first on the asphalt. Split her chin, needing 8 stitches, and now, 3 days later, her jaw is very sore, as is her face and neck. The poor thing is miserable.

So if you could pray for her speedy recovery, I would appreciate it. And a great job opportunity has opened up for my husband. A few prayers for a good outcome on that front would also be much appreciated. Oh, while you're at it, a safe delivery for me and baby. There, that should cover it.

Thank you!!

Friday, February 06, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

It is Friday again! More at Conversion Diary.

Quick takes again! Here goes:


Some lovely ladies at church threw a surprise baby shower for me last Saturday. What fun, and what a dose of reality. It is right around the corner, isn't it? I received many needed items, as I had gotten rid of most of my baby things. I even got a home made Mai Tai baby carrier, which I have never used but seen and wanted.


I want to attack my bedroom so badly. It would take days to get it right, but I am going to spend today on it, and see what kind of difference I can make. I need to PURGE!


My older two girls are going to see Coraline today. They are so excited and because they have to finish their work before they can go, the house is almost clean already. They are both Tim Burton fans. Where did I go wrong?


I have multiple bunches of daffodils blooming in vases in various rooms of my house. Totally cheerful. I am going to get more this weekend, because these are starting to fade (after a week).


I heard a robin calling outside this morning. The first one so far. He is probably a scout, so within the week, we should be seeing robins. Hope for spring!


During Liturgy, I get chills every time we are at the Consecration, "This is my body". I feel so connected to Christ right now, having my body being given to assist in creation. Birth is coming, the sacrifice that will be given to bring my baby into new life. I know how much I love my new baby, and therefore can rest so completely in the love that Christ has for me, given His sacrifice of love to bring ME to new life. It is all so amazingly, mystically beautiful!


I began reading St. Faustina's Diary this week. The book was a gift from a friend, and we will share reflections and thoughts as we go through it. I have to admit, this kind of thing is a bit outside of my comfort zone, but I am going to give it a go and see what kind of fruit is born.

There we go. Short and sweet, to match my very short attention span these days. I have loved being pregnant, as I have written many times, but I will be glad to have my brain back when this is over. I have missed it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It is true

I just noticed my pregnancy ticker says, "the baby may drop into your pelvis." I received an urgent notice from my bladder that yes, in fact, the baby has dropped into my pelvis. That, and the feeling that the baby is resting on my thighs most of the day. But I can breathe better, so that's good. I am still praying for a petite baby, but it already looks too late for that.

Small Successes is a weekly feature I have seen around lately. It is hosted by Faith and Family Live. Between this and Quick Takes Friday, maybe I can have a bit more regularity on the blog here.

So, here goes:

1. I was able to get the middle 5 of my children ready to go sledding, with boots, snow pants, coats, ski gloves, hats and scarves, in 10 minutes. Now this is momentous because usually, no one knows where there stuff is, or the older ones who don't play outside as much don't have anything to fit them. But I had reserved some larger snow pants for a time such as this, knew right where they were, and they fit. Nothing makes me feel more on top of things than being able to put my hands on something I am looking for with little delay.

2. I finally bought 4 cleaning caddies so I can put all the cleaning supplies together in the proper areas of the house. Our cleaning routing gets slowed down something fierce when everyone is wandering around looking for the window cleaner or tub foam.

3. I Cleaned The Stove. I mean really cleaned it. Scoured, soaked, scrubbed, even crevices cleaned out with a tooth pick. It is so clean, I do not want to cook on it. Oh, I cleaned out the microwave and the fridge. Scrubbed, again, used a toothpick in the crevices. Ahhh, much better.

4. One extra ~ I got some Dreft and washed the baby clothes. We are in the home stretch now, and I have a packed February, so it really isn't too early. Next, I need to clean out my icon studio, move most of it down to the icon workshop room, and begin to transform it into a baby room. I'll need every day I have left to get this done. Maybe that will be next week's small success!