Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings to you and yours for a thankful day! May we see clearly all that God has given, and rejoice!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Blessing

I don't know what to call the people with whom I attend church. Fellow congregants is way too cold and formal. Parishioners works, but again, very impersonal. Friends? It works, but is a little to one dimensional, really. This morning I was thinking of our day yesterday, and just how much our church community really means to us and why.

Of course the obvious intimacy of a church community is that we share the Feast of Faith, the Diving Liturgy, come together in community to receive Communion by partaking in the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. You can't really get more united than that. But then, after that communion, the circles of community continue to spread, like a body of water with a little stone tossed into it.

My church day began with my husband taking the top 7 children to religious education class. I joined them with Melanie shortly before Liturgy began. As I walked into the basement, I saw the room full of children, teachers, two priests and some parents, all working, learning, discussing. There were also the ladies setting up for coffee hour after church. Melanie received many compliments, hugs and kisses, as usual. The bells begin to ring, and the room clears as everyone heads upstairs for Liturgy.

I encounter a family just coming into the building. This family just buried their husband/father this week after a long illness. The wife is my age, the children in junior high and high school. They were immediately embraced, consoled, encircled, if you will. I know everyone was thinking of them during all our prayers. Shortly after Liturgy began, another family came in, one that just had a new baby girl. Again, encircling, embracing, but this time rejoicing instead of consoling.

The families join in prayer and worship and Communion during Liturgy, and then for community and the work of life and relationships in coffee hour afterward. The teens all meld together and so do the smaller children. Babies are passed around, the newest baby in the church is admired and many a mother's eyes mist up at the memory of their own sweet little newborns.

At some point in the afternoon, clean up begins, and the families return to their lives.

I am not expressing this well enough, I know. I was just so struck by the role of a church community, both in our regular practice of worship, and in the aspects of surrounding and consoling when a family is overshadowed by death, or in surrounding and rejoicing when a family is gifted with new life. The encouragement we share when someone is struggling with finances, job loss or illness. We encourage, console, rejoice, share our burdens and our joys. In a world where people are becoming increasingly isolated, it is truly a blessing to have this community in our family's life!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Now that is much better

Just a quick sleep update: 2 weeks of very little sleep can be reversed by just one full 9 hour night of sleep. I know, because I got that last night, and today it as if I have been reborn. To add to the gift of sleep, we got the gift of a gorgeous, sunny day today, and I spent it outside planting 150 more bulbs and soaking up as much Vitamin D as I could get. Tonight is our church's turkey raffle, and we are very much looking forward to that. The kids got the house nice and clean today, and got to have some friend time at the mall. All and all, very good, restorative day. Much to be thankful for today!
(some sister love. Baby has food all over her little face, but it is still cute)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alrighty, then

Okay. I am still so. very. tired.

Can't. get. moving.

If I drink any more coffee, I'll have a panic attack.

Desperate, I turned to my favorite prayer, didn't have the energy to say the entire thing, but repeated this part over and over:

Bestow on me, O Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day and to bear my part in its events.



The other day I happened to view and enjoy this post, about a cute wee one having his first cereal and loving it. A darling series of photos, don't you think? So I realized that my little one is older than the aforementioned baby in this post, so I went and bought some cereal, post haste. I unpacked my pump, for I intended to be the perfect mother who only lets her little one eat cereal with breast milk (never before have I done this. Until now, I either skipped cereal all together, or mixed it with juice or cows milk). I bought the cute spoons, I put on the cute bib. I mixed the cereal with freshly expressed milk so it would be the most favorable temperature. And I took pictures (Melanie turned eight months old yesterday. I know. Impossible).

Ignore the cluttered counter top. Nothing to see here. Move along.
"Hmm. What is this rather lame attempt at amusement. If you insist, I'll deign to give it a taste."
Mildly concerned. Check out her eyebrows.

"Am I supposed to be impressed?"

As you can see, she had to do it herself, wouldn't let anyone feed her. She gave it a test taste, and spit it right out. No thank you. My meager offering was rejected.

Verdict: Her Royal Highness was not impressed.

Back to my lazy parenting ways of nursing until she can feed herself. I am all about finger food. Until then, you can find my in my recliner nursing the baby.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Wow. Baby is better now, but is suffering from post sickness clingies. My, oh, my. She has apparently decided she likes only sleeping on my chest, with me in a recliner.

Picture quiet, dark house at 1:00am, a sound asleep, floppy baby, placed ever so gently in her crib, becoming suddenly and violently awake. She is practically FURIOUS that I would dare consider putting her down. I give it a few minutes to see if she settles, but alas, FURIOUS doesn't settle back down. So it is back to the recliner, to start all over. Rinse and repeat 4 or 5 times, and then the alarms start going off in the various bedrooms, signaling to me night has ended, and a new day has begun. Wearily, I get out of the recliner, and place the sweetie in her crib. Does she awaken? Is she furious? No. She snuggles in, lets out a deep, contented sigh, and sleeps for 2 hours. I, of course, am up, slugging coffee (reminiscent of post all-nighters in my college days), shuttling my eldest to school and getting everyone ready for another day. I am tempted to wake her up with a furious scream of my own, but that would make me pretty immature, don't you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Oh, this bug has made the rounds, and just when I thought baby had escaped it's grip, down she went. We have spent the last 3 nights sleeping sitting up in a recliner. Last night she coughed less, but still pretty violently. Right now she is sleeping in her crib for the first time in a few days, and I got to brush my teeth and check the blogs. And drink a hot cup of coffee. Simple pleasures. Now I just hope she continues to improve and we can say goodbye to this nasty, nasty virus. I had forgotten the worry that goes along with a sick baby. I'll just be so glad when we can see the little sparkle in her eye again!

I have managed to stay on top of school with the other kids, and have been very pleased with their progress. Laundry is another story all together, and I predict a folding party later today (either that or a large donation to Goodwill, and far fewer clothes in this house). It is nice that the dirty clothes are getting clean, but when they sit in the basket, crumpled and neglected it doesn't give me any mental relief of a job well done. So, on tap for today, hold and nurse and soothe baby, direct many other hands to fold and put away laundry, and run through the reading and math lessons with the kids (at least). If I can accomplish these things, I will be satisfied.

Til later...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ah, now that is refreshing!

We are finally getting the October we didn't have this year. The weather has been fabulous. It seems a bit odd, though, to be experiencing this lovely weather with the trees completely bare, and no color of fall at all. Not to quibble, though, because I'll take this weather whenever it comes.

Saturday our entire family worked outside to finish all the little projects we couldn't get to in October: cleaning out the gutters, finishing the last bit of sealing the driveway, one last mulching mow over the leaves, cleaning up the gardens for spring, and planting bulbs. Then 5 of the kids and I played catch, with a baseball, which I haven't done in years. My younger kids call playing catch, "Toss the ball", since they have never heard it referred to as playing catch. Way back when, I used to play softball. I was on the Varsity team, and through the years, became a pretty competent. I didn't play in college, so since then, baseball or softball for me has been pretty spotty.

Saturday, my seven year old son got hit in the mouth with the ball when his five year old sister threw the ball to him. He came running up to my husband and I, and was disinclined to toss the ball any more. Out I went, to teach him how to protect his face. Soon, the 11 year old, the 9 year old, the 13 year old and the five year old joined us, and I was throwing the ball to each of them in order, and catching a wide variety of return balls. I haven't stretched and run and jumped and moved so quickly since I can remember. My oh my, what a blast.

I was amazed how even after so many years, my body's memory of how to catch wayward balls, how to throw accurately and hard, how to field an errant bouncing ground ball came right back. I was awesome. I impressed my kids, I know that. I was also amazed how quickly the kids improved their throwing and fielding ability with just a few pointers.

Now for the big question. Yes, I was (and still am) pretty sore. But not as badly as I would have guessed, and since the weather is still quite temperate, we'll be back outside this week, playing and laughing in a way that makes me feel much younger than I have in years.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


So, today, I went through all the newborn clothes that I had used for Melanie. All the little t-shirts, the gowns, the swaddling blankets, the tiny dresses and diaper covers. I sighed and remembered as I folded each one, dividing the bounty between two bags. One bag goes to my sister in law, Heidi (regular commenter here =)., who is about to have her 12th baby. The other goes to a friend at church, who just had her first daughter. Admittedly, I reserved a few pieces just too precious to pass on, but I was strict with myself, because I have no need to save all these baby girl clothes. Even if I need them again, I can get them back or get more. There is never a shortage of cute baby girl newborn clothes!

Melanie was sitting on the floor by me, playing with some toys, clapping, cooing, babbling. I enjoyed telling her about her newborn days, and realized with a great deal of satisfaction that my pregnancy with her, her birth and newborn days were truly some of the most glorious of my life. I treasure all the memories of my babies, of course, but there was something truly different about her birth, and I think it was my appreciation of the miracle and gift that new life is. You would think that would have happened before, but I wasn't as receptive to the notion of "gift" as I am now. Life has a way of doing that, doesn't it?

Now that she is the ripe old age of 7 months, I do feel some of the "magical" quality of the past year fading away. The appreciation I have for the gift of Melanie isn't slipping away, just the crystalline, extraordinary sense of unexpected joy. She is settling in to the comfortable joy of the entirety of my life now, and her smoothing in is a good thing. But my, oh my, do I treasure those early days.


It has been increasingly difficult to hold Melanie on my lap while trying to do anything on the computer. She is very intrigued with the keyboard, and wants to pound and pound on it. This has led to a few deleted blogs posts, closed tabs, and other minor mishaps. So today, after a futile attempt to distract her while on my lap, while I was trying to watch a netflix movie on the computer, I had a brainstorm.

We have lots of spare computer parts around here, so my son grabbed an old keyboard, and set it on the floor. Let the pounding begin!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

a very good day

Yesterday, I went for a long walk, first time since Melanie was born. It was a beautiful fall day, mid '50's, sunny, light breeze. I got the baby to sleep, swiped my husband's iPod (mine was lost, but I found it later in the day), donned my new walking shoes, fleece jacket, and new-to-me coral colored wool/hemp knit hat, and off I went. I estimate I walked about 4 miles. Loved every step. I am so refreshed, that I know I MUST make this more of a priority. I got to think through many thoughts that are interrupted at home. I think that is what is so refreshing about a good long walk, aside from the obvious physical effects. Uninterrupted lines of thought.

After returning, I busied through the rest of our day, and at dinner time my husband called from the train to invite me out to dinner. LOVELY! I thought, and the plan was to go to a little hole in the wall bar that has the best burgers. About 15 minute before he was to arrive, he called and suggested I meet him at a much nicer, much better restaurant by the train station.

So, I got ready to go, and realized that my walking clothes and tennies were fine for the hole in the wall place, but for this other place I would need to tidy myself up a bit.

I had a new pair of dressy trousers, a black turtle neck sweater, a black wrap, turquoise jewelry and my new-to-me coral colored wool/hemp knitted hat. It came together so quickly, looked so good, and was SO fun to dress up to go out. The dinners was delicious, I loved spending time with my hubby, and then was happy to go home again.

Overall, a refreshing day, restorative day, and a day I am grateful for.

Here's to more of those!!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween '09

Our little Princess
Our Little Lamb with her handsome dad.

Our own Mr. Baggins

Elizabeth from "Pirates of the Caribbean"

Our Ice Queen, plus her cousin as ??

Our slightly creepy rag doll

Our little Lamb

Our Knight in Shining Armor