/> Raising Angels: October 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Please Pray for Me

Tomorrow morning I am heading to my boys' school to teach the kids about saints. Last year at their party, their teacher (who is Catholic and the school is at our Catholic church) dressed as a witch and scared the living daylights out of Aiden.

I wrote her a letter explaining why his fear was profound and that although I didn't think it was wrong for her to dress-up, a witch was probably not the best witness to the kids. I wrote that I thought they were missing a great opportunity to teach the kids about the true heroes of our faith.

She responded well and asked me to come in and teach the kids. So tomorrow I will have thirty minutes to make the case for our heroic saints to a group of 3 and 4 year olds.

Saint Jude of impossible tasks, help me to get God's message across. St. Anthony please help me find the right things to say at a level they will understand.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Sweet, Sweet Story Time

Tonight, as the cool temperatures from outside crept in through our windows, the kids snuggled around me on the couch for story time. Aiden was under my right arm, Dawson was squished into my left side as Mackenzie huddled under my left arm. The baby, of course, was right in the middle.

It was one of the quietest story times we've had in awhile. I started with one of their favorites, Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom, moved on to The Snowy Day, and finished with my favorite Guess How Much I Love You.

If you have children and have never read this last story, get it now and read it to them ASAP. It is so very, very, very sweet. As I read the final line, "I love you, all the way to the moon and back," in the cozy silence, it was all I could do not to get choked up.

And this, I reminded myself, was why having this new life inside of me is such a good thing. It will help to ensure that moments like these last a little while longer around here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dawson's Party in Pictures

This is the year of the dinosaur for Dawson, but for the cake he picked the dragon. I think it was the wings that did it.

Click the photo and look closely. Everyone told me that I've missed my calling as a cake decorator. Maybe if the Ace of Cakes ever opens a branch in Augusta, I'll give him my resume.

Uncle(Fr.) Aaron was unable to make the party because it was a Sunday. He did however send a gift that Dawson adored.
Our great friend Laurie MADE the kids a box full of dress-up clothes. They, of course, were a huge hit as well. Forget the cake, I'm going to back Laurie in the costume business!

Watch out Uncle Aaron! Aiden may beat you back to Rome.
The boys were two pirates for the remainder of the day. In fact, they chased down poor Dorothy and made her walk the plank.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Dawson!

You are officially the oldest "baby" I've ever had. And, even though I find it hard to believe that you turned three today, I know you already know that your days as the baby of the house are numbered.

You bring such joy everywhere you go with your hearty chuckle, big smile and deep dimples. You were my first child with dark hair and are now my blondest one. You show such a range of emotion in your crystal blue eyes. You can turn on the charm or the tears in the blink of an eye.

I love how affectionate you are. Lately, you are constantly climbing into my lap, patting my arm and showering me with kisses. And I love that my kisses can still work wonders in the healing process...along with some ice.

You are the first one in the house to be enthralled by dinosaurs. You still love Dora and the Backyardigans and anything interactive on TV. You adore playing outside and have managed to get into a multitude of trouble while doing so. Messiness has never been an issue with you.

You and your brother are basically inseparable. For all the times you aggravate each other, there are twice as many when you get along beautifully and get into all kinds of mischief slyly and never, ever admit to doing anything wrong. You will also sit and listen to Mackenzie read to you and often, she is the only one you will allow to give you assistance.

You genuinely enjoy being tickled and I love to listen to you laugh. You were by far my most peaceful baby but you've grown into an active child. You get hurt the most often but you take it like the little man you are.

Dawson, I love you very much. I am so grateful that you are in my life. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sometimes Obedience is not Convenient

I spent an hour this afternoon being one of those backstage mamas while watching Aiden act in his very first commercial. The kids did the acting and pretended to talk but the final cut will have all of them voiced over by adults - a cute concept indeed.

While trying to get Aiden to look like he was speaking in front of the camera, the director said, "Aiden, just look at her and say, 'Blah, blah, blah, blah.'"

Aiden stared at me with a blank look so I repeated the instructions and told him to go ahead. Again he stood still doing nothing.

"I can't say those words," he said with a rather fearful expression on his face.

He had done so well up to this point that I couldn't figure out his hesitation at these instructions. I walked up to him and said, "Aiden, remember how we talked about doing what the director tells you to do? Just say it...please."

"But mama," he reminded me, "I can't say those words. You told us we're not allowed to say that."

Then it dawned on me that in the craziness of the constant teasing stage my kids are in, I have instructed all of them at some point to ignore one of the others. They then started to sarcastically respond to the teasing situations with, "Blah, blah, blah, I can't hear you." Of course, I then had to explain that this is not what I meant by ignoring, that it wasn't kind, AND they weren't allowed to say those words again.

Ah, obedience. I made up some lines for Aiden to say and he did just fine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Signs of the Tummy Times

Dawson was sitting at the chalkboard, contently drawing for some time.

"Look Mama! I drawed you! Come and see," he yelled excitedly.

"Wow," I said admiring the chicken scratches. "Can you tell me what it is?"

"This is you and your REALLY BIG head and your REALLY BIG legs and your REALLY BIG arms."

Last Beach Shots

This is the view where we ate dinner the night Aiden renamed these.
Aiden really got into his sunglasses this trip and wore them everywhere.
This is what swam right under the bridge we were standing on for our gator hunt.
Like mother - like daughter. I included this as proof for all of you who have been so worried about me lately. I really did put my feet up this trip...and so did Mackenzie.
Just for the record, my kids aren't always posed perfectly for the picture. They are, however, always posed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And More...

We also loved hanging out with Uncle(Father)Aaron for a few days,
playing in the tidal pools that were three feet deep in places,
using our outside voices to laugh and our new sunglasses to shade our eyes,
creating an alligator out of sand that mimicked the one we found on our gator hunt,
and building memories together.

More Beach Fun

We spent hours at a time at the beach. We loved the freedom to just run,
the ability to look to the sky and follow our kites dancing,
learning how to ride the waves,
stopping for a moment to have a snack,
and sharing our snacks with the birds.

Two Weeks Ago...

I was in Hilton Head with my folks and the kids. Even though the water was colder, all three preferred the pool to the beach.
However, bringing the kites along allowed me to lure them to the beach for hours at a time. The wind was such that all they had to do was to let the string out and let them fly.
I think out of everyone, the one who enjoyed it the most was Aiden. He flew the kite for 20 minutes at a time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quality Time with Kids - Check!

We spent some time Saturday making these.
They are pumpkin cakes that the kids decorated all on their own.
Their favorite part...eating them!

Twenty Week Sonogram

We didn't get any clear pictures so indulge me as I show off our latest addition. Whoever thought a skeletal, alien-looking image could be so very cute?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm Back!

All you need to do is analyze the sun-kissed glow on my face to know how it went (photo taken on board on day 3 of the cruise). I will fill in with some details and photos after I unpack, catch up on laundry and spend some quality time with my sweet babies.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Something Like That

Last night we ate at our favorite seafood restaurant on the island. The kids were busily coloring on their menus when the waiter arrived with the family-sized bowl of hush puppies.

He set the bowl directly in front of Aiden, who immediately put down his crayon and squealed, "Yum! Huffy Puffies!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

St. Anthony Rocks!

This afternoon we hit the outlets. I had one main objective - to find some sandals on sale for Aiden. Somehow he's managed to lose his other pair and was left with some flip-flops. He has tripped repeatedly this week and skinned his knee several times. Something had to be done.

I went to several stores and found nothing. Well, not nothing, but nothing in his size, at my price. I have to admit, I said a few prayers to God to help me.

I walked into the fourth store while the kids waited in the car with my mom. They were losing patience quickly due to the amount of sun and swimming we've done combined with the lack of sleep they've gotten. I was in a hurry.

I walked to the back wall still praying and finding nothing. "Please, St. Anthony," I finally begged, "help me find a pair of sandals for Aiden."

I literally looked up and found the one and only pair of sandals in the right size. Not only that, but the price had been reduced from $39 (they were Nike after all) to $7!

I've asked to find many things through St. Anthony's intercession before so I don't know why I didn't think to do it sooner, but he never ceases to amaze me with his ability to help.

So thanks to St. Anthony, I have one happy little boy, who is once again running with abandon in his new sandals.

Right You Are

Yesterday we were on our way to the beach when Aiden looked at the baseball cap on his head, pointed to the bill and asked, "Mama, why does this hat have this thing?"

"Well Aiden, that's the bill, it makes shade for your face," I said answering the twentieth question so far that morning.

"Oh," he said rather satisfied with the answer.

Dawson then looked at the cap on his head and asked, "Mama, why does MY hat have this thing?"

"Dawson," I said a bit frustrated, "I just answered your question."

"No you didn't. You answered Aiden's."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Door Dilema

Here in Hilton Head, our condo is on the third floor. Although the door has locks, they are not out of the boys' reach and with the lever handles, they discovered on arrival that they can get out.

Last night I spelled out very clearly, the rules that no one may touch the doors to the outside without an adult's permission. This morning I awoke to the sounds of the door opening and went out into the hall to discover them at the elevator with the button pushed, patiently awaiting its arrival.

After some serious discipline, I once again explained the rules about the door. As my dad left to go to the grocery store, there was Aiden with his hand on the door to follow him.

"Aiden! Don't you remember what I just said?" I said in a loud and serious voice.

"But mama, I didn't go out," he insisted.

"The rule is you may not even touch the handle without asking me first."

"But mama," he said without batting an eye, "you just gonna say no!"

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Oops! I Did It Again

No matter how hard I try, I can not seem to prepare for a trip and get to bed at a descent hour. After laundry and packing four of us for a week at the beach, I packed Mackenzie for 5 nights at a friends and me for 5 nights away on a cruise.

Then Nelson happened to mention that a friend of his is coming into town while we're at the beach. He's staying here for two nights. Yikes! I changed the sheets, cleaned like crazy and swept and vacuumed.

I came out to add a few notes to the calendars of events and schedules of the kids for the people watching them while we're on the cruise. I thought I wasn't doing too bad until I looked at the clock!

Why is it that it takes so much work to relax? My plan for next week is to sit on the beach and dig in the sand with my kids. Then I plan to sit and read to them, play games with them and just be with them. I WILL take it easy. I WILL go slow. I WILL put my feet up more often.

Saturday I'll be rushed to wash everything, repack, get home, get the kids settled and leave town again a few hours later. With bags packed, I will head to Florida with my dear, sweet husband. Sunday I will board a cruise ship where I plan to do absolutely nothing besides sit in a lounge chair, soak up some sun, and catch up on some reading. Oh yeah, and have my meals prepared for me, my bed turned down and a tiny mint placed on my pillow.

Boy that's sounding SO good right now. If my kids were with me on that boat, I might just keep sailing until someone calls to tell me the house is finished and everything is moved.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Best Kept Secrets

Tonight a mother of seven asked me how I was feeling as I was shuffling all three of my kids to the car.

"Okay," I said wanting to be positive and not unload my list of aches and pains. "This one has been a little harder on me," I finished, hoping for some great advice.

"Oh yes," she said with the most sincere empathy in her voice, "it gets harder with each one. You have three kids to keep up with and you're building that house. I'm sure it's tough."

As she walked away I thought about how no one had warned me of this. For some reason, I thought pregnancy would get easier after having gone through it a few times. It's kind of how I felt after I had my first baby and experienced more contractions AFTER she was born. No one warned me about all the after birth stuff either.

I think this is all a part of God's grand plan, these little secrets. Otherwise, there might be a lot fewer children around. Think about your worst pregnancy. If God had mapped out in detail how bad you would feel and for how long, would you have been as willing to be open to life? Okay, I know most of you are probably saying, "Of course! It's totally worth the sacrifice." But if you had already been through one and you knew the next would be even harder, wouldn't you be a little more inclined to say something more like, "Thanks for the heads up God. I think I have enough blessings. I don't really want to do that again."

Thank goodness for the world that women somehow manage to put all the bad memories of pregnancy, the pains of childbirth, and the sleepless nights of infancy out of their minds. With some time and a little distance we see those inconveniences for what they really are - a small price to pay for such a beautiful gift.

I have to admit that I have not done a good job keeping the trials of this pregnancy a secret. And, I don't really plan on forgetting about it after it's over. But, one thing I know for sure is that when I finally hold this sweet little baby in my arms, I will say that it was all worth it in the end and that no price is too high for the ability to be a co creator with God.

Yep. That's definitely what I'll say because that's absolutely what I believe. Only 22 more weeks to go.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Day in the Life

7ish - Up and at 'em. Feed and dress the troops and myself.

8:15 - Prayers and carpool.

8:45 - Back home to finish getting ready and pack the boys' bags.

9:15 - Take the boys to school.

9:40 - Head out on a multitude of errands. I picked up thank you gifts, looked for a kitchen sink and the final tile, ran to the mall to pick up compression hose for my aching legs, returned other things and grabbed a bite to eat on the run.

1:30 - Pick up boys from school and got a call from the paint store on the way home.

1:45 - Turn the car around for a 30 minute drive to the other side of town in heavy traffic.

2:15 - Arrive at store and wait for them to mix the remaining 20 gallons of paint.

3:40 - Pick Mackenzie up and take her home to change clothes then pile everyone back in the car and take them to Catechism class.

4:00 - Pull in the parking lot and realize that class begins at 4:30 not 4:00!

4:05 - Take paint over to house and label half the remaining walls while waiting for someone to help me unload it.

4:25 - Take Mackenzie and Aiden back to class. Head back to house to finish labeling and get paint unloaded.

5:00 - Head back home with Dawson and bake a cake from scratch.

6:00 - Pick up Mackenzie and Aiden.

6:15 - Arrive back home to feed kids dinner and make frosting for cake. Throw cake together and pack up again.

7:00 - Family prayers at a friends. Pray and eat cake (homemade banana cake with caramel frosting and toasted pecans - a big hit).

8:00 - Head home and throw all three in the tub. Brush teeth, pray and put kids to bed.

8:30 - Clean up cake mess in kitchen and pack Mackenzie's lunch for tomorrow.

9:15 - Remember the load of clothes I washed yesterday and put them in the dryer.

9:20 - Blog while waiting for clothes to dry. Sweep kitchen and check calendar for tomorrow.

9:40 - Stress out about having to pack me and the kids for a week at the beach,
my stuff for a cruise the following week, and Mackenzie for a stay at

10:00- Pray like crazy that next week I will be able to recuperate from the
chaos that is my life.

I'm not sure what time I'll get to bed but I'm certain it will be much later than I should. I guess God knew what He was doing when he planned this week at the beach with my folks and the kids. Then He backed that right up to a supposedly celebratory cruise for the completion of the house. Yep, the one that I stomped my foot and said NO ONE is going on this unless my house is FINISHED.

What can I say? It's paid for and right about now, I could really use an excuse to sit around with my feet up and have somebody take care of me and my baby for a change.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Make a Little Sacrifice

Today was a day like many others recently - a day of sacrifice. It was also, however, a day of blessings. And, like always, God decided to share with me a little lesson along the way.

The morning started with my commitment to run morning carpool for Mackenzie and friends. It was followed by my commitment to pray one solid hour for those I love. At times I see this commitment as a blessing, but lately, I pray with a sense of urgency to move on to the next task at hand. It's just so hard to sit still and pray when my mind is racing around the millions of things there are to do.

One thing heavy on my heart was the 20 gallons of paint still missing. The store had to order it and promised it would be here weeks ago. As of yesterday there was still no sign of it and now I was worried about paying a painter who in a few days will be ready for a paint that is not there.

The hour ended and I called Nelson to develop a "what if" strategy for the missing paint. I hung up the phone and not one minute later, the store manager called to tell me the paint will be in tonight or tomorrow! God showed me that the little sacrifice of an hour produced a much bigger blessing.

I spent two hours after school heading up Mackenzie's Little Sisters Group. I was exhausted and my leg was killing me. The girls were giggly, loud and as energetic as ever. I was glad I could serve in this way but I was already wondering how it was going to work the bigger I get.

As I was preparing dinner, Mackenzie asked me when I was going to order my t-shirt. I told her I would probably not get one this year because I didn't want to buy one to fit the big belly and then have to get another one next year after the baby comes. She responded with an exuberant, "You're going to do it again next year?! YES! That will be awesome!" Again, the blessing far outweighed the sacrifice.

Tonight my husband gave me some time off so I went to get a pedicure and waxing. As she was ripping the wax off of my eye area, the thought occurred to me about the sacrifices we women are willing to make in order to appear beautiful. Why do we choose to put ourselves through such torture?

Well, I do it first of all because somehow it makes me feel a little better about myself. It gives me the impression that I somehow look more beautiful. I also do it for the reinforcement I get from other people. Little comments about how big your eyes are or how they love your toes or that your feet are so soft go a long way. I guess I also do it because I am female and I feel that somehow, these types of things are expected of me.

It's much the same in the spiritual world. It takes a lot of little sacrifices and at times a few big ones to grow in holiness. And why do we do it? Why do we serve without pay or notice? Why do we take time out for prayer? Why do we sacrifice?

First and foremost, it's what's expected of us. I can here my mom quoting the old Baltimore Catechism, "We were made to know, love and SERVE the Lord." We also do it out of our love for others. Especially as mothers, we sacrifice a lot to ensure our children grow up to do the same. And, the more we do it, the more we begin to realize that most of the time, the one doing the serving gets just as much out of the service as the one being served.

It feels so good when God reveals the obvious. It's a brief window into His vast plan for our lives. For Him, it's all in a day's work. And today, it was for me too.

Monday, October 01, 2007

All of the Hardwork is Paying Off

This is the dining room ceiling. When Nelson told me to think about a coffered ceiling, I had no idea what that was and I was pretty sure I didn't need one. However, after designing one with the trim guys, I changed my mind. When I walked in and saw this for the first time, I fell in love. Eventually the whole room will be this crimson color. It's the only room I decided to go with a different colored ceiling. Looking at the trim, I'm sure you'll understand why.

This is the family room, which is open to the kitchen. I love that I will be able to see the kids in this room from where I spend the majority of my time. Not only that, but I will also be able to see them if they're playing outside. This is the first design element of the house I made sure made the plans. This room is not painted yet.

Here is the stairway leading to the second level, where all of the kids' rooms are. Yet another example of what a difference trim makes. It's not even stained and the walls aren't painted but it already looks good.
And here is the beginning of my kitchen. The cabinets are in, with only one or two changes that need to be made. I can't wait to see this room put together. It's the first room in the house that I really had a design vision for and I'm anxious to see how it all goes together in the end.

This is the boys' room and I love the color. It will also have a "basketball orange" accent wall because orange is Aiden's favorite color and the ONLY thing he asked for in the new house.
Mackenzie's room is, of course, pink and pink. Look closely, you can see it is two shades because she liked them both. It's bright but the white trim and decor will set that off nicely.

Ah, progress!