/> Raising Angels: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Not the Only One Who Appreciates My Plight

Today the three boys and I made a trip to the hospital to visit a parishioner of my brother's who had her hip replaced. Imagine the three of us on the second story of the parking garage, me pushing Max in the stroller while trying desperately to hold onto the other two boys so they wouldn't run into the oncoming traffic.

It was quite a hike to the hospital from where we were. By the second elevator ride the boys were a little rambunctious. We struggled to get off the elevator before it closed its doors while not running too far away from it so as not to hit the traffic again.

The lady who held the door for us said with a laugh, "It must be fun to have every outing be such an adventure!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Passing on the Faith,

Last night I attended a First Communion parents' night with Mackenzie. Before we began, I reminded Mackenzie to spit out her gum. Another mother gave her son the eye that said, "Time to be quiet" and the other spoke to her son probably telling him the same thing. Each of us was performing the tedious job of training up young souls.

I realized that these other two mothers and I, along with one of the catechists, had all spent time with the Missionaries of Charity. I was remembering what it felt like to be on my knees with these women on those hardwood floors praying the Rosary with those holy sisters.

On more than one occasion, I had gotten a case of the giggles at an inappropriate time and had to be reminded to keep quiet by the gentle look and finger to the lips from one of the sisters. Many of my hours on my knees in those chapels were spent praying to be right where I was tonight - a wife, a mother, a trainer of souls.

Even though I'm pretty sure that the other mothers had similar prayers to mine, I'm certain that none of us had any idea what our answered prayers would look like. It's impossible to know as young, single girls what ten plus years and four or five children in our own families would be like. None of us knew then the challenges we would face or how different our spiritual journeys would be from those sisters.

Last night as I watched each mom watch her child lead their decade, I thought back to those silent little chapels and those radiant nuns. I wish just once we could all bring our children back there with us. I know it would be crazy, I know it would be hard, but I also know that those sisters would be so proud to see us doing what they trained us to do - the difficult work of passing on the faith.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Back to My Old Tricks

Today I got up, got the kids ready, and took everyone to school. I ran a secret errand, then hit Target; Bed, Bath and Beyond; and Kroger. I made my way back home, fed Max and grabbed lunch. I then rushed off to Lowe's and to pick up the boys.

I sanded and painted a set of cabinets for the wet bar, fed my kids plus one dinner, made mini mascarpone cakes for a tea tomorrow and baked a carrot cake from scratch for a dinner we're hosting tomorrow evening.

In the morning we have the Glory Run. In the afternoon there's the Ladies' Tea, and tomorrow evening we have a dinner party here.

And to think I was feeling guilty about not heading back to the gym yet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You See This Cute, Smiling Face?

This is not the face I paid good money to have captured professionally yesterday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Murphy's Law

Today I took Dawson for his big 3 year old portrait and thought I'd do a mother and baby picture of me and Max while I was there. Needless to say I spent the morning running around trying to get the three of us ready while getting Mackenzie off to school and Aiden to a friend's.

I was impressed by my ability to get us off in plenty of time. After dropping Aiden off I realized the car was beyond empty. Oh well, I thought, I have time to stop and fill up.

When we arrived at the studio Max woke up ready to eat. No problem, I thought, I'll feed him while Dawson gets his pictures taken.

Max finished eating and was smiling and cooing away. Then he filled his diaper. No problem, I'll just change him...except I had NO diapers. Oh well, I'll just change into the white pants I ironed...that I left at home on the ironing board. Oh well, we'll just take the pictures from the waist up. Then Max started to fuss. He continued to fuss through the whole picture taking process.

When we got out to the car, he looked at me and smiled the cutest, picture ready smile ever. Oh well, maybe next time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

One Line of Reasoning

This morning Aiden was talking to Max as I got ready. "Eww!" I heard from Aiden along with the thuds of his feet coming towards me. "Mama, Max stinks."

"I need to change his diaper," I explained.

"Oh, I just felt his huge diaper and thought he was growing bigger."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

When You're Hungry, It's All Good

After church today we headed to Waffle House. All six of us squeezed into one booth. The three big kids on one side and Nelson, Max and I on the other.

As the waitress began to bring the food to the table, she brought my food first and then Nelson's. Dawson looked on in anticipation. "Hey," he wondered out loud, "where's my toast?"

"It's coming," we assured him as Mackenzie's food was placed in front of her. Next came Aiden's food and suddenly Dawson was literally surrounded by food with none of his own.

He looked around with amazing patience as everyone dug into their food. Suddenly his eyes got big and he exclaimed, "Something smells goo-ood!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Domestic Monastery

Last night the whole family attended the weekly prayer meeting that we had been missing for quite some time between Nelson being gone all the time and me having a rough pregnancy. It was very exciting to sit there with my whole family and I thanked God for this new season in my life. And then...

The boys spent almost the entire "quiet" time arguing about the crayons they were supposed to be sharing. When I wasn't monitoring the fight, I was answering the constant questions about the random words they heard in the songs or scriptures. Then...

I remembered why I hadn't missed these meetings too much. I rarely hear anything that's said and almost never get a moment to be quiet and meditate. I don't mind answering the constant spiritual questions because, as I was reminded at the baptism, Nelson and I are the primary teachers of the faith, but it's exhausting and hardly meditative for me. But then...

The woman sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder. Now this was no ordinary woman. She is the mother of 11 children and I believe an angel, at least for the moment. You see, when she tapped me on the shoulder, instead of giving me advice about how to control my children or chastising me for their behavior she asked me a question.

"Have you ever heard of the domestic monastery?"

"No," I answered, curious as to where this was going and wondering if it was a place for mothers of young children to escape their lives for awhile.

"It talks about how mothers of young children live a monastic life of sorts because every moment of every day they answer the call of Jesus by answering the questions of their children. It is Jesus in the voice of the youngest humans." Then she smiled a reassuring smile, patted me on the back and returned to her prayers. And suddenly...

I remembered why even though it's hard to get there, and even though I often feel less holy when I leave than when I arrived, and more than occasionally question why I bother going at all, God spoke to me once again and put my focus right where it needed to be.

I am a mother, not a nun. My life is full of diapers, peanut butter, and sticky floors. I spend my early mornings running around like crazy trying to get everyone ready, the afternoons trying to reign the kids in and make sure they aren't breaking their or anyone else's bones. I spend the evenings cooking dinner, bathing dirty kids, and cleaning up after them. When I finally sit down, I usually fall asleep.

However, I know I am right where God wants me. My life's work is forming these blessed souls and right now that involves a lot of hard work and little time for quiet reflection. What it does involve is a lot of laughter, more than a few tears and loads and loads of love. And…

I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who Needs Sleep When You Can Do This?

Thoughts from the Soccer Field

Last night we attended a soccer game. The varsity high school team my brother coaches made it to the region finals and the game was in town. Even though we had a prior engagement for dinner and knew we'd be running late, we went because between the house, pregnancy and bed rest, and newborn, I've yet to make it to one this season.

By the time we arrived it was the beginning of the second half and the score was tied. His team looked a little slow. At one point his team had the opportunity to score on a penalty kick which the goalie stopped. This fired the other team up. They came back down the field and, within minutes, scored.

My brother's team looked defeated and outplayed. Their opponents scored once more minutes before the buzzer and that was the end. “Well”, we thought, “the better team won.”

After the game the kids rushed the field to give Uncle Brian hugs and, well, to run around on the field. Upon talking to Brian, Nelson discovered that the first half of the game held an entirely different story. His team had scored two additional goals which had been wrongly taken back. It took the air out of them.

I was thinking about the whole game this morning and feeling a bit sad for my brother, who has worked many long hours with his team. Then God showed me something. My opinion of the game was formed after seeing only the second half. I made judgments about the skill of his players and come to conclusions that were almost entirely untrue.

Sometimes, in life I do the same thing. I meet people or run into situations and immediately judge. More times than not, I don't know the whole story. I didn't see the first half of the game.

It was a reminder to me that the only one who does know the whole story is God. My opinion would have been totally different if instead of forming it from the little part of the game I saw, I would have taken into account what might have occurred during the part of the game I missed.

And all this from half of a high school soccer game. I'm so glad I went.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Surprise Visit from Father Aaron

Okay...when did I become old enough to have 4 kids?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Baptism

Two weeks ago today my son, Maximilian Aaron, was baptized. Max is named after a great saint and my brother (surely a saint in the making).
He was born on the Feast of the Chair of Peter and baptized on Mercy Sunday with three priests present.
He was wearing the baptismal outfit that my other two sons have worn, which was first worn by the uncle who baptized him.
How awesome is that?

Toddler Theology

Today in church Aiden was working on the Easter sticker book he got in his basket. He was carefully placing each sticker in its place. After working on it some time, he proudly began to show me some of the pages. He turned to the one Jesus praying in the garden.

Pointing to the sleeping disciples he asked, "What's wrong with these men Mama?"

"Nothing's wrong with them Aiden, they're sleeping. They fell asleep in the garden while Jesus was praying."

He looked at the picture intently and then at me. "Who does Jesus pray to?"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Parent's Prayer...Edited

This evening Max was experiencing some tummy trouble. As I was changing his diaper tonight, I wiggled his legs a little to try to let the gas out. I suddenly realized that my diaper supply has dwindled to just a few and Max was currently filling his up.

"Okay Max," I cooed, "are you quite finished now?" I began to put a new diaper on and said, "Why don't you try to keep it in for the rest of the night so we don't run out of diapers." Of course this immediately brought to mind that the reason he had been so fussy this evening was that he HAD been keeping it all in.

I changed my tune quickly. "Oh Max, you can let it all out. You just do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel good."

Again the brain fired off. "Um, I hope you realize that the previous statement will only be good for the first few months of your life. At that point we'll talk again."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Coo Coo Cachoo

I can't believe I have a six week old and have only posted maybe that many pictures of him. Please forgive my total cheesiness, but I had to put this up for the family members who are complaining about no pictures of Max.

It doesn't matter how many children you have, each one is special and every accomplishment miraculous. This may be a bit too long but I was just sure that if I kept the camera rolling long enough, he might sit up or walk or start reading or something. Thankfully I turned it off when I did because just as the camera stopped, he started making sounds of a whole other kind.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Prayers of a Different Kind

Sunday, at mass, Max was awake almost the entire time. I marveled at his cute little face and calm demeanor. He is such a gift.

We came back from communion and I was holding my now sleeping baby and feeling quite in tune with God. Bursting into this peaceful scene was my ever questioning Aiden.

"Aiden, I'll answer that after mass. I'm trying to pray. Please be quiet."

Amazingly enough, he was quiet. I closed my eyes and promptly burped. Not a loud disgusting one, but a quiet, had my mouth closed and no one but Aiden, who was next to me, heard.

Immediately the questions began again. "Why did you burp to pray? Is that how you talk to God Mama? Does He like that?"

Harder than answering those questions, was stifling my laughter.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Tiny Bit of Accomplishment

I finally returned the last of the borrowed maternity clothes and dishes from meals brought to us weeks ago, wrote the last thank you note, and ironed the final summer shirt brought out of storage. I feel pretty accomplished.

Now if I can just put together those birth announcements before Max starts walking...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Virus Gone and Back Online

Okay, the computer has been in the shop for a week. Talk about withdrawal. It has helped me to get a few more things put away but I've missed being able to record the antics of my greatest blessings.

Right now I'm making dinner for some friends and trying desperately to get my husband to actually put the towel rings and toilet paper holders on the walls. Four weeks of wet towels lying around is driving me crazy!

Hopefully, I'll finally get some Baptism pictures up sometime soon.