/> Raising Angels: January 2006

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Taking In Jesus

This morning at mass my boys were being much more quiet and better behaved than yesterday. It probably helped that my mom was there and came out to the vestibule to sit with us.

Right after the gospel was read, both Aiden and Dawson managed to climb up into my lap. It was nothing short of miraculous and it felt so nice.

The gospel was the one where the disciples are asking Jesus who among them is the greatest. Jesus has them look at the children and tells them that unless they become humble like a child, they will not enter his Kingdom. He then says that whoever takes in one of these little ones, takes him in as well.

My eyes welled up with tears. Wasn't it just yesterday that Aiden again pointed to Jesus on his wrinkled fingers? Aren't I the most blessed woman in the world to have three healthy, beautiful children who help make me more holy?

I actually thought that at that moment everyone without children must have been just a little jealous of the moms who were holding their babies. Motherhood is such a precious gift.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Words of Encouragement

I made it to morning mass with my boys today. Now that Dawson is walking it's even more interesting than before.

They set out chairs in the vestibule and open the doors to the day chapel. I am convinced that they set those chairs up with us in mind.

The boys were being, well, boys. Aiden had gas that was so loud I'm quite certain everyone heard it. Every time he let one go he laughed and said, "Scuze me. Aiden has gas!" The two of them banged their heads on the glass doors and noted how funny their voices sounded when they pressed their faces on the glass.

I tried to pray. I tried to enter in. I tried to remind myself that I come to receive Jesus and the grace He has for me. I come so that my children have a personal experience of the faith early on. Some days are better than others.

After mass, an experienced mom of six came up to me and said, "You're doing a good job with them. I remember when my boys were this age. They were 15 months apart too. You're in the hardest time of your life. Keep up the good work. It does get easier."

I thanked her for the encouragement but what I really wanted to do was to throw my arms around her and give her a kiss. Those simple words meant so much to me. They gave me encouragement for today and hope for the future. I know the two sons she spoke of and they are both strong men of God.

I hope that I remember how this feels one day long from now when my children are all grown (that will happen one day won't it?). I hope that I will say the same thing to another young mother whose children are being children at the feet of Jesus.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Painting the Town Red

Nelson to me on the cell phone, "Hey Doll, where are you?"

"Heading out of Surrey Center towards another destination. We're still looking for the right bridesmaid's dress. It's been a long, crazy search. How are things at home?"

"The kids are fine. Why don't you stay out, grab dinner and see a movie or something."

Truly amazed I questioned, "Are you sure?'

"Yes. Have fun."

"Oh boy," I told my soon to be sister-in-law, "I have the night off."

What did we do you may ask? Try on more dresses, drop her wedding gown off for storage, eat take out at my parents and head back to my house with Brian to watch a movie with Nelson.

Ah, the wild, exciting life of a mom whose wake-up call will come around 6 a.m.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Playing Tag

Patty at Mercy Drops Falling tagged me yesterday and asked me to list my 5 favorite pet peeves. Even though I have no "favorite" pet peeves (after all, that's why they're peeves aren't they?), I thought I'd play along.

1. People going slow in the left lane.
Hello! They don't call it the passing lane for no reason.

2. Going to the store to pick up a gallon of milk only to find that they have none.
Yes, believe it or not this has happened to me. After putting all 3 kids in car seats, taking all 3 out, walking through the whole parking lot, buckling them in the shopping cart and walking all the way back to the store to pick up a staple, I get a little irritated.

3. Changing both the boys' diapers only to take the 2nd child off of the changing table and find that the first one has managed to "stink up the joint".
I guess he prefers a clean start.

4. People who sit at a red light in the right lane when they don't have to turn.
A little consideration of the other drivers on the road is all that is needed.

5. Spending hours cooking a meal only to have a husband work late and kids who, "No like this mama!"
I guess I deserve this one since I think I did this more than once to my own mother.

I'm new in the blog world so the only people I know who have blogs and haven't been tagged yet are Rachel at testosterhome and Holly at happydaydeadfish. Okay girls - tag you're it!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Caught Walking

Dawson turns 15 months old tomorrow and has been on the verge of walking for the last month. All three of my kids have been late crawlers - Mackenzie only scooted and Aiden didn't crawl until we got some physical therapy at 10 months - and late walkers.

Yesterday, I saw Dawson standing in the hall taking a few hesitant steps and decided to get out the video camera to record the progress. As I began filming, I explained on camera that I was merely trying to record him on the verge because I don't consider it walking until they stand up and walk again on their own after a fall.

At that very moment Dawson fell down. Then, to my amazement, he stood on his own and walked all the way down the hall to me. I was so excited you would have thought that I had never seen anyone walk before.

There he was - my walking boy. And, I caught it all on tape.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In Need of Target Practice

"Need to go potty mama," shouted Aiden running into the room. I grabbed his hand and hurried to the bathroom.

Pants down holding himself he said, "Go potty like daddy?"

"Um I don't think so buddy," I tried to reason.

"Pleeaase," he begged. Reluctantly I conceeded. I had no idea such a little guy could project pee so far.

O Mother Most Humble

Mary has always been a part of my life. I have related to her as a fellow female and my heavenly mother but never so closely as I have since I became a mother myself.

Besides a donkey ride to Bethlehem while she was probably in labor and giving birth to the Son of God in a stable, Mary raised Jesus without modern conviences like diapers, wipes, or onesies. We don't hear about it in the Bible, but I assume she had to feed, bathe and dress him as well. Although he was perfect, it was still her God-given responsibility.

One time, she even lost him in a crowded marketplace. Every parent knows what must have been racing through her mind as she searched for him. When she finally did find him, he corrected her: "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Luke 3:49). Talk about a lesson in humility.

That is how she lived out her life - in humble service to the Lord. She never got up on a soap box. She didn't publish her memoirs. She simply stayed at home and took care of Jesus. When he finally moved out after 30 years at home (she probably never looked forward to having an empty nest either), she stayed with him.

When the whole world turned against him, tortured him, and crucified him, she was there. It must have taken every ounce of self control she had not to pull him down off of the cross herself. Again, the humble acceptance of God's will.

She did this from the very beginning. "I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Imagine. She lived her whole life with the knowledge that her son was also her creator.

I pray that I may have the humility of Mary. I pray that I can accept my vocation of motherhood with the grace that she did. I pray that every step of the way I will stay with Jesus. I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me acoording to his will.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Genetic Endowment

Walking into the Y this morning, Aiden was attracting a lot of attention. It was a rainy day so his orange curls were glowing and his Spider Man umbrella was drawing many an eye.

In the hall on the way to the nursery we hopped on each ban of colors calling them out by name and laughing along the way.

Another mother came up behind us, obviously not looking too closely, and asked, "Does everyone ask you where the red hair comes from too?"

I glanced at her redhead and then raised an eyebrow to her. "Oh," she looked at me laughing nervously, "I guess not, since you have red hair too."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pro-Life Rally

Because this weekend is the anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision, I took the kids down to the Pro-Life Rally at our local Planned Parenthood. It was a very peaceful, prayerful demonstration.

To me the issue is so clear. Fetus is just another name for baby. Abortion is just another word for murder. If we can charge someone with a double homicide for killing a pregnant woman, why then is it legal if the woman chooses to kill the baby herself? I can understand how a scared, uneducated teenage girl could consider an abortion. However, I will never be able to understand how the medical personnel who perform and assist in these murders do not think what they're doing is wrong.

Yesterday, while we were singing and praying in front of the clinic, the lady who runs it came out to video tape the rally. Why she was doing that I have no idea; but, what happened next absolutely blew me away.

We were in the process of praying for all of the people who work in the clinic when the rally leader called the administrator by name and asked us all to turn to her. Then he said, "Let's all tell her how we really feel about her."

He asked us to point our hands in her direction and sing these words to her:
We love you with the love of the Lord. Yes, we love you with the love of the Lord. We can see in you the glory of our King and we love you with the love of the Lord.

I have to tell you that it was hard for me to sing that song to her. But I knew Jesus would want us to do it. It's what He did. It's what He does. He died so that sins like hers...like ours, can be forgiven.

God bless that woman, her coworkers and workers like them all over the world. God bless every woman who has had, will consider or help someone else have an abortion. God protect every innocent life from the point of conception until natural death. God bless us all, everyone.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Love Notes & Kitchen Duty

In a rush to get ready for a 7 p.m. meeting I gave Nelson two choices. He opted for kitchen duty over kid duty and explained that he had a business meeting and would do as much as he could.

I returned to an unclean kitchen and looked at it with great disappointment. The kids all got tucked in by 9 and I returned to the kitchen to survey the damage.

On the corner of the table was a note that said the following: Thank you for being such a wonderful mother. I love you! Nelson (Supper was delicious! Just leave the kitchen. I'll get it when I'm home.)

It's so nice to spend your life with someone who loves you so much that they know exactly what you need and when you need it. I was so encouraged that I cleaned the kitchen anyway.

I love you Nelson!

A Poor Choice in Wardrobe

I walked into the kitchen after returning from 7 a.m. Adoration to the squeals of two excited little boys this morning.

After a once over from an observant Mackenzie, "Mom, umm, you're wearing the same thing you wore yesterday."

Laughing at the realization that my 5 year old noticed my own laziness, I merely said, "Yes, I know."

Looking at me with great concern in her baby blues she came over, put her arm around me and whispered, "Did you not get a chance to sleep last night?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Steve and I hanging out. This night we were discussing the vision for my blog. I'm still considering his request for movie rights. Posted by Picasa

The Face of Jesus

In my single years I spent 7 summers working and living with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. Suffice it to say, I spent many an hour on my knees in their chapels. It was like a 7 year spiritual high.

Flash forward 5 years, a husband and 3 kids later. Spirituality, well it's not exactly the same. In fact it's not anywhere close. I really struggle with accepting the fact that my spiritual life is not what it used to be. Things like daily mass, weekly Adoration and summers with the MCs are long gone.

I know God called me to motherhood. I know that this vocation does not lend itself to the contemplative prayer of those holy nuns. I know that God understands this. That doesn't stop me from missing it.

Last night as I pulled Aiden out of the bathtub after a long soak and thorough cleansing, he looked down at his wrinkled fingers. "What's dat mama?" he asked inquisitively.

"Those are wrinkles," I said, answering the 50th question of the day.

"Pringles?" he repeated.

"No, wrinkles," I said again.

Upon closer inspection of his tiny wrinkled fingers he looked at me and announced, "Lookit mama, Jesus!"

"Uh, huh," came my mechanical reply as I dried him off.

"Lookit mama! Right here! Jesus!"

I stopped to examine his fingers and sure enough, in the wrinkles of his index finger, was the face of Jesus. "Wow Aiden! You're right." And I kissed his finger saying, "I love you Jesus." Aiden followed suit.

The verdict is still out on whether or not I have a mystic in my house. However, what I think God was trying to show me is that He will meet me right where I am.

My spiritual life these days is teaching the Our Father and the Hail Mary. It's saying the blessing over hot dogs and peanut butter. It's praying protection over my children as they jump off furniture with wreckless abandon. My spiritual life is seeing the face of Jesus in the hearts and hands of my precious babies.

Monday, January 16, 2006

These are the Days to Remember

This evening, after cleaning the house, lunching at Pizza Hut and playing at the park with my whole family, I went out to the trampoline with Mackenzie and Aiden to expend their remaining energy. We laughed and jumped together until I collapsed.

Mackenzie and Aiden joined right in and there we were - still, quiet and gazing at the darkening sky. "I have an idea mama," piped in Mackenzie. "Let's look at the clouds to see what shapes we can see."

"Good idea," I said and we picked out a few shapes together.

"Now let's just listen to the birds sing," she suggested.

We lay there, the three of us, the sky and the birds. The peace and quiet of the moment enveloped us. It was so perfect, so unexpected. It couldn't have lasted more than a few minutes, but it was pure heaven.

We came back in to eat and get ready for bed. In that hour and a half, the boys managed to destroy the kitchen and flood the bathroom. No one cooperated with the bed time routine. In fact, I can still hear Dawson chattering and he's been in bed for over an hour now. Where did that peace go?

These are the days I want to remember - the good, the bad, the very, very real. The frustration is often, the pain runs deep but the joy is incomprendible to anyone who has never held another's soul in their arms. I know one day I'm going to miss these days. One day I'm going to be the one saying, "Enjoy them while they're little." But one day seems so far away right now.

Today was a good day and one I want to remember for the rest of my life.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Score One for Aiden

Mackenzie running into the room: "Mama, Aiden just hit me!"

Aiden running in behind her: "Peas ahgive me Kenzie." He knows this is the first step to getting out of trouble.

Me: "Aiden, listen to me." His eyes wandered for he knew what was coming. "Look me right in the eyes," I said as I knelt down in front of him.

He met me there, eye to eye as I began, "You don't ever hit anyone, no matter what," I said as I looked past his eyes to his whole face and his orange curls sprouting off the top of his head on either side so that they looked like little horns. "Do you..." laughter erupted from me.

I blew it. I couldn't hold it in. Those blue eyes, big dimples and crazy curls got to me and I lost it. He grinned from ear to ear. "I look in eyes mama."

Score one for Aiden, zero for mom.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Holding on to My Baby

Today I met a friend for lunch and had to pull Dawson out of bed while he was fast asleep. With baby #1 my philosophy was "never wake a sleeping baby". With #3 it has become, "you've just got to go with the flow baby".

As I scooped him out of his crib, his body collapsed into mine. He was perfectly still and drooped over my shoulder. I paused for a minute to enjoy it.

My boys are hardly ever still and rarely like to cuddle. When an opportunity like this arises I seize it. I know it won't be long before he'll be too big to carry, too big for mama's kisses. Today, right in that moment, I was so happy that he's still a little baby. It was only a minute, but I think I could have held him like that all day.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Price of Humility

My house is an official disaster zone these days. We were out of the country for two weeks over Christmas and celebrated again last weekend with the family members who didn't join us on our trip. Needless to say, the tree is still up and the new toys are EVERYWHERE.

In spite of this, last night I made the decision to cook a decent meal. When the preparations began, all three kids appeared in the kitchen. Dawson was under foot tearing into every cabinet and scattering stuff so far that cooking became a literal balancing act for me. Aiden brought all of his new toys into the room with him and then emptied every piece of paper from the printer. Mackenzie sat at the bar drawing, cutting and pasting. It's nothing short of a miracle that we got from the stove to the table with narry a burned hand or a broken ankle, let alone a fully cooked meal.

When we sat down to eat, I was exhausted. My pickiest eater, Mackenzie, said, "Mama, this is really good."

I paused in dismay for it was neither pizza nor hotdogs she was talking about. "Really, mama, I think you should make this meal all of the time."

"Hooray!" my heart shouted. Tonight it was worth all of the mess. And then in walked my husband.

"Honey, you don't mind if a few guys come by in about 20 minutes to play some poker do you?"

"You've got to be kidding me. I mean have you looked around? I would be humiliated for anyone to see the house like this."

"Oh don't worry about it," he said and began to eat.

Sure enough 20 minutes later - dishes still on the counter, kids naked and wet from their baths - in walked the players. To make matters worse, they did not come directly into the kitchen like most guests, but into the front walking through the entire house - Christmas explosion and all.

After the kids were in bed I walked into the game so I could clean up the kitchen. I was too embarrassed to leave the mess alone. When I finished, they invited me to play. I declined. Big games are not a good place to learn the ropes.

They managed to talk me into being the all time dealer. My husband, an experienced player, was impressed. I guess sitting there while he watched the World Series of Poker paid off. To my surprise, by the end of the night I had $60 in tips in my pocket.

It was the first time I can remember that the price of humility was paid in cash.

Rt. 44

There are just some things in life that you expect to always be there for you. For instance, when I go to the store to buy milk, I expect that I will find some. And when I go to a drive in and order, I expect they'll have what I want.

Today I pulled into Sonic for my Thursday Rt. 44 Diet Coke with cherry (I know that probably defeats the purpose but I don't care - it's SO good). I made my order only to find that they were out of Rt. 44 cups.

"What?" I asked in total disbelief. "How can you be out of Rt. 44 cups? That's what you do!"

There was nothing but silence from the speaker so I relented and asked for a large instead. Granted, it's certainly not the end of the world. After all, I did get a Diet Dr. Pepper in a fairly large cup. But there are just some things that should always be there and I guess I thought that Rt. 44 cups were one of them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Separation Anxiety

How oh how does it happen? Today I went for my workout at the Family Y with only Dawson in tow. We entered the nursery and for the first time ever (he's been going since he was 8 weeks old), he looked at me with fear in his eyes, grabbed my shirt, poked out his lip and raised a whimper that melded into a cry.

"What's wrong?" I asked as he turned into me and held on tight. How does it happen that one day he loves it and the next day he looks around in total fear of separation?

I handed him to the helper, waved goodbye and walked away. I had a tinge of guilt - a brief moment of pondering what a terrible mother I must be to leave my crying baby. That quickly passed into what little bit of wisdom I've managed to gain through my five years of child rearing. I knew that he would stop crying before I even made it down the hall. I knew that if he didn't, someone would come and get me. I knew that he's only one and no permanent damage was done.

When I walked in to pick him up he was happily playing away. "Hi Dawson!" His eyes lit up and those endearing dimples appeared. He dropped everything and crawled as fast as he could into my arms. Oh, how I love those hugs!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ordinary Time

I met my husband at 12:15 mass today. Accompaning me were my two sons, Aiden (2) and Dawson (1) - they are 15 months apart. Having been quiet all day, Dawson decided to test out the old vocal chords as we entered the church and saw Daddy.

"Da, da, da," he shouted over and over and over. Realizing the high ceilings paired with the marble floors produced a wonderfully loud echo only encouraged him. I finally gave in and took him into the "Cry Room" where he proceeded to find the wooden changing table which was placed on the same marble floor as in the church, along with the same high ceilings. BANG, BANG, BANG! He gleefully slammed his hand on the wood again and again, laughing hysterically.

I tried desperately to listen to the priest's homily while Dawson was raising his hand in the air yet again. What I was able to catch was something about it being Ordinary Time and how we need to find Jesus in the ordinary, quiet times in our lives since we have more of those than we do events.

I had to laugh. In my house the only quiet times are when all three are asleep at night. Hopefully, I'll be able to find Jesus somewhere in the midst of the noise that is my life.

Monday, January 09, 2006


It is a tradition in my family to give each child a Christmas ornament on Epiphany (the Feast of the Three Kings). Yesterday morning I began by giving one to my husband and then to each child in order of age, explaining why I chose each ornament. Everyone left the room immediately to hang their ornaments on the tree. Mackenzie, my five year old daughter, was the last one back into the room. She was smiling sheepishly and holding both hands behind her. She brought her hands to the front revealing a lavender foam tiara decorated with "jewels" that she had made last year in Pre-K. "Happy Epiphany Mama," she said joyously.

I never thought my heart could be melted by foam and glitter. Nor did I ever think I'd understand the scripture of the one leaper who came back to Jesus as well as I did at that moment. For me it was an epiphany on Epiphany.