/> Raising Angels: May 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Some Final Moments

I'm so glad that I'm a little distracted these days, otherwise I would have spent yesterday in tears. A mere nine months ago I took this picture. I was pregnant, in a different house with a smaller child.
Friday I rolled over a little before 6 a.m. to find a fully dressed 2nd grader wide eyed and bushy-tailed in bed with me. "Mama, is it time to go to school yet?" I assuredly told her no and secretly smiled. Although she's getting older; she's still my little girl.
After her awards ceremony I jetted over to the old house. I had to see it one last time before it was no longer ours. I'm happy, so happy that it sold, but sad, so sad to see it go.

This is the house we bought before we got married. The house with the threshold Nelson carried me over. The house I brought my four babies home to. Paint parties, Christmas parties and birthday parties happened here, along with our first Christmas, Easter, and Fourth of July. We were in that house for ten years together...that's a lot of really great memories.

We made that house our home. We poured ourselves into it. We loved this house. It was just too small for our growing family. I know that we'll make even more memories in our awesome, beautiful, amazing new house.

But yesterday, I let myself be just a little sad about leaving.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All Too Soon

This morning as Mackenzie and I were sitting at the table waiting for her ride to school and going over the morning checklist, we got to chatting.

"Mama, did you know that today is the 5th graders’ last recess for the rest of their lives! I mean they never, ever get another recess for as long as they live!"

"Wow!" I responded to appease her. Then I got to thinking. "Mackenzie do you realize that after tomorrow, you are half way through elementary school? Three years down and three to go."

"Oh my gosh," she said as her eyes widened and her mouth opened. Her ride came and she was out the door in the blink of an eye. "Bye mom. I love you."

"I love you too. Have a great day!" Then she was gone.

At the end of the school year I tend to get hesitant about what I'm going to do all summer. I have so many ideas, many of which are too old, big or ambitious for the kids just yet. I find myself wishing they were older...wishing they were more independent. And then a moment like this morning happens and I realize that Mackenzie is already well on her way. She's going to be plenty big and independent all too soon.

It's moments like these that make me pause to appreciate my little family right where we are. Moments that make me choke up when I sing to Max and hold his sleepy body in my arms.

It's going to be a tough summer. It's going to be a great summer. It's going to be a crazy summer. And...it's going to be over before I know it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Even in Australia

We went to Valdosta, GA to visit my brother on Friday and didn't return until the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Saturday both Aiden and Dawson came down with high fevers which they kept until this morning. My mind is trying to wrap around the idea of summer time with the kids and an infant in arms. My body is crying for sleep, but my sweet baby is sleeping like a dream. I'm really too tired to even make sense and yet I've spent the last several hours working on a very important project. I hope it makes more sense than this little entry. I just couldn't believe it's been almost an entire week with absolutely nothing recorded. Some weeks are just like that I guess...even in Australia (you have to read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to get that last reference).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Greatest Gift

I know it's not customary to give others gifts on your big day but today Max slept until 10:15 a.m. and then took a three hour nap this afternoon. Max! How I love you!

Happy 3 Months Max

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Love Letter

My Dearest Maximilian,

Tomorrow you will have been with us for three months. The more I get to know you, the more I fall in love with you. I am so thankful for you for many reasons. I am thankful for your toothless grin and deep dimples that light up your face in the morning when I come in to get you. I am thankful for your peaceful and content spirit. I am thankful that you started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old. I am thankful for your willingness to go with the flow around here.

I am thankful for all of these things, but tonight as I sat to feed you I was most thankful that every day at least once every three hours, you force me to sit down for a few minutes. Some days those are the only minutes I sit. And tonight as I sat in the rocking chair it felt so good to do just that. Twenty whole minutes to just sit - me and you.

You always fall asleep and I always hold you for a little longer even though I know I should put you in your crib. However, I also know that these days are quickly slipping away. I feel that somehow if I hold you a little longer, maybe I can freeze you in this moment - your plump body, your sweet smell and your peaceful sounds.

Max, you are such a sweet baby and I thank God for you every day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Someone to Watch Over Me

This afternoon we went with my parents out to cemetery to put flowers on the graves of my grandparents. When we returned, we stopped at my mom's to drop her off and she gave each of the kids a blessing and a kiss.

After doing this she asked Dawson, "Can you give Bama a blessing now?"

After some instruction he obliged and she got out of the car. She was just about to shut the door when he yelled, "Hey wait a minute! Don't you like Mama? You didn't give her a blessing."

Thankfully, she leaned in, said a prayer and made the Sign of the Cross on my forehead too.

Monday, May 19, 2008

He Knows Exactly Where He Stands

From the back of the car today Dawson asked, "Mama, can we listen to I Am Your Sunshine again?"

The Truth About Tresses

Last night, as I was holding Max, Mackenzie noticed the new bald spot on the back of his head. "Mama," she asked, "what happened to Max's hair?"

"Well, Max always sleeps in the same position and so his hair has just rubbed off in that place."

"Oh," she said in a kind of epiphany. "Is that what happened to Dampa's hair too?"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Good Old Days

I'm finding these days that I do not have it all together. Not only that but I can't even put the facade on any more.

I pulled up the old blog today to find that it's been three days since I've even glanced at the computer. There have been lots of things going on worthy of noting. Only problem is that I've been too tired to write about them...too tired to even read about them in the lives of other bloggers.

After having the ironing board out for a week, I finally caught up today. Then Nelson came home and unloaded his suitcase into the hamper and I actually wanted to scream. I will never be caught up.

Every floor cleaned has juice spilled on it hours later. The days I actually decide to cook something nice, no one eats it. There's still a suitcase (I'll be it, emptied) from our trip last weekend on the floor in my bedroom. At the end of the day the person who gets most cranky, impatient, and accident-prone is me.

There are moments, many of them recently, that I can't seem to find that light that I know is at the end of this tunnel. And yet, as per my last entry so many moons ago, I know this is the exhaustion and hormones talking. I know that these days are fleeting. I know a lot of things...I just don't feel it today.

But even on days like today when the emotions take over, the facts are still there. My right bicep is in spasms from holding my sweet, precious Max who laughed at me for the first time today. There is seldom a time when I pick him up that I don't actually say out loud, "I don't know what I did to deserve such a wonderful baby, but I'm sure glad I had you."

This morning for breakfast, I actually made banana pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse. The kids noticed them excitedly before they demolished them. I agreed to let Mackenzie spend the night with her cousin as well as take all the kids to my niece's soccer game. This decision yielded excitedly squeals from all three big kids.

This afternoon, as I looked out the window at Aiden and Dawson jumping on the trampoline, I stopped what I was doing and went outside and jumped with them. We jumped so long and so hard that Aiden actually threw up (not so fun but much easier to clean off a trampoline with a hose than get out of a carpet) and then begged me to jump some more.

One day, years from now, when I think back to this time as the “good old days”, I’m going to read this entry to remind myself that although life was precious and good, it was also very hard. Then no matter what is going on at the time, I’ll know that I can get through it. I’ll realize how quickly time goes by. I may even laugh.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Little Perspective

Today was my last day to run errands without the boys for the next three months. It was just me and Max hopping from store to store to pick up teacher gifts and groceries. Everywhere we went people stopped to admire Max, who would always gleefully smile in response to their coos.

It reminded me of the days when it was just me and Mackenzie. Back then I thought I was so very busy. Somehow I couldn't keep up with the housework or get anywhere on time. I had a baby for goodness sake.

Seven years and three children later I have so much more to do and yet, I don't feel quite as overwhelmed or busy. Perhaps that's because I'm so tired most of the time that I don't know what day it is, but I think it's because I've gained a little perspective.

I no longer assume that I'm the busiest one around. I know there are people who do more than I do...people who have more children...people who manage to keep it together much better.

I realize I don't know as much as I thought I did way back then. However I have gained some knowledge along the way. I know how fast my kids are growing up. I know the baby is not trying to make my life more difficult when he is screaming. I know I don't have all the answers or the cleanest house. And this bit of perspective is why I think that Max is the happiest, most content baby I've ever had.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sweet Nothings

This afternoon we had the last outing with Mackenzie's Little Sisters' Group. The last time we got together we focused on good manners. Today we took them to a cute little dessert shop so they could practice.

As we were parking, I reminded the girls, "Let's all use this time to practice the best manners we have. Okay girls?"

One sweet little darling asked me from the backseat, "If I need to burp should I do it now?"

"Well," I said, a little afraid to respond at all, "I guess that would be better than doing it at the table."

She then proceeded to burp the alphabet.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

On the road to Athens this weekend we passed many a McDonald's. A restaurant that is a favorite among the younger members of this family. A restaurant that we no longer patronize because of its stand on gay marriage.

Every time we pass one, we have to explain to the kiddos why we aren't eating there. Up until this weekend we had talked about it in very vague terms but Friday night we had a lot of time in the car and the question came up again.

We took the opportunity to talk to the kids briefly about their stance and what the Bible teaches us. To help explain it further, Nelson offered, "Even when people do bad things, we still love them. Jesus wants us to love everyone no matter what. Do you understand?"

From the very back we heard Mackenzie's sweet and innocent voice. "I really love McDonald's."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Only a mom can spend the one day of the year set aside for her children to honor her, throwing a party for her son who graduated from college. It wasn't exactly the way you would have planned it but you took it in stride because you're a mom and that's what you do. Thanks for being such a good example! I love you!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Congratulations Kevin!

Today my baby brother graduated from the University of Georgia. He spent the last four years FULLY living the college life. He worked in the athletic department with the basketball team, he ran freshman orientations, and he was a member of the LEAD program and the Arch Society. He pledged with Delta Tau Delta, won national sales competitions and organized the masses at the Catholic Student Center. He was on a first name basis with the Dean of his school as well as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. He was honored and awarded many times.

I could not be more proud of you Kevin. You went away to school as an energetic teen and came home a zealous young man. You scored a top position in your dream company and even when lured by some major signing bonuses stuck to your commitment and desires. You chose your friends wisely and stood up to your professors valiantly. You have finished the race, but more importantly, you have kept the faith.

I am just a little sad that you now have to leave all that behind and begin your life in the real world. You'll find that people out here are not as quick to pat you on the back for a job well done, nor are they as optimistic about the world as you are. Out here you will certainly face more temptations than the worst night in the frat house. You will be challenged in your faith even more than before.

However, I am also excited for you and for the world you now enter. I pray that you hang on to your zeal and enthusiasm because I know that if you do, you might actually be able to make some changes. Voted most likely to sell ice to an Eskimo, I hope that what you sell beyond your product is a love for Jesus and the Catholic faith. I hope that you demonstrate a strong work ethic as well as a heart to serve.

Kevin, you made a name for yourself at UGA – now go out and do it in the world. I am so very, very proud of you and I can’t wait to see what you do next.

I love you,

Dawson Proves He is Indeed Bilingual

Today after my little brother's college graduation I was walking with Aiden holding one hand and Dawson holding the other. One of the graduates approached us wearing his cap and gown. He was also wearing an eye patch.

As he waked by, Dawson looked up, closed one eye, and yelled in his best pirate voice, "ARRR Matey!"

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Muffins for Mom

I was reminiscing in the car this morning as I took the boys to school. Can it be that this was my third time at Muffins for Mom? Can it be that next year I will have two children in "real" school? Where has the time gone? Where did these three little boys come from? The first year they were both at school, they were little more than babies. Last year we had come such a long way. No one was in diapers, no one used a sippy cup and no one held still for a picture.

What follows are the pictures we took today. They are a simple reminder to me that time is flying by and they are growing like weeds...and we've added to our numbers. It is also a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.Dawson was a total ham the first time.
So I talked to him and asked him for just one nice picture.

And instead I got this. But, if I've learned anything over the past almost eight years of motherhood, I've learned that "this" is where I am. I've become better at not just accepting it, but thoroughly enjoying it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Memories from Mackenzie's Second "First" Communion

Monday, May 05, 2008

It Seems to Reason...

That the first night your 10 week old sleeps all the way through the night, is the very same one that your 7 year old spends up every hour throwing up.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Case of the Mixed-Up Babies

Tonight our realtor came over to present an offer on our old house. She brought her 6 month old son with her. As she and Nelson mulled over the offer, he began to fuss so I offered to take him in the other room and entertain him for awhile.

My three kids went crazy over him. "Mama," asked Aiden, "what's this baby's name?"

"It's Max. Isn't that funny that he has the same name as our baby?"

Without missing a beat he responded, "How are we going to know which baby is ours?"

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Look of Love

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Big Day

Today is a banner day in the Parris household. It marks the day my wonderful husband came into this world (many thanks Rich and Nancy!), as well as the day my brother will say the first mass in our new home and give my angel daughter her first Communion.

It will be a busy day for sure, but one full of many blessings. I have a thousand things to do but I wanted to reflect a minute. In the wee hours of the night while feeding Max I was already in prayer for two of the loves of my life. It has been constant every waking moment since.

I want the dinner to be delicious, the house to be immaculate and the boys to be on their very best behavior. However, these are not the things that have filled my prayers. Instead, I have been praying that my husband be honored and know how very much I love him. I have been praying that God will bless him abundantly and guide him on the perfect path for his life.

I have been praying that like the priest who said mass at her retreat last night, this will be the happiest day of Mackenzie's life. I pray that she will have a divine understanding of the sacrament she is preparing to take part in and that this will be the beginning of a love affair between her and Jesus.

It will be a busy day indeed but I wanted to pause for a minute to focus on the real reason for the work I'll do today. Perfection won't matter. What will matter is that my daughter will receive Jesus and that my husband be truly honored and loved.

Ah...okay, now back to work.