/> Raising Angels: August 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Eight Whole Years!

Where do I begin?

I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. I think I always will. It is the day that changed my life. It is the day that began forming me into the mother you made me.

Being the oldest in the family is an honor, but also a challenge. I know that all too well. We depend on you. We have high expectations of you. We require a lot from you.

Time and time again, you have been such a help to us. You have exceeded all our expectations. You work hard to meet each requirement.

You continue to surprise us with your thoughtfulness, sweet nature, enthusiasm, friendliness and spirituality. Just today you brought me breakfast in bed because you wanted to do something nice for me. Tonight you offered to clean the kitchen so you could be a help to me. You have indeed brought an amazing grace into this family.

I am proud of you for who you are. I feel so blessed that you are mine. I can’t wait to see the young lady you are becoming.

Happy Birthday! I love you.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


I was awakened today by my 7 year old, who made me breakfast and brought it to me in bed. I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese and we had the joint to ourselves. Tonight Max went to sleep a little better and Mackenzie begged to clean up the kitchen.

As I was putting clothes away tonight I stopped a moment to stare at my two sleeping boys. I was almost brought to tears. Sleeping kids always helps put things in perspective.

Motherhood is hard, but I love it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Real Life

There are some days when you go to bed thinking that everything will be better in the morning, after a good night's sleep.

There are some mornings when you wake up so tired that the first thing you do is try to see a break in your busy schedule.

There are some weeks...even months, when this morning follows this night over and over again.

I know it's a season. I know they grow up fast. Some days just seem less fast than others.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom

I'm finally beginning to understand you...really understand you. And, although I feel that I've always appreciated the big things you've done for me throughout my life, I now truly appreciate the little things as well.

Thank you for all the clean clothes, car rides, school help, meals, packing, playing and just being there you did. More than the big things, it's the millions of little things you always did that made me the mother I am today.

Here's hoping that this year provides you the opportunity to do a million little things for yourself.

I love you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Six Months

Dearest Maximilian,

In the last six months I've realized that there are a few things I've forgotten about having a baby.

Like how going out is similar to working next to a time bomb. You wake up. I feed you and then it's a race to get out the door and do the errand before it's nap time again.

Like how it doesn't matter how prepared I think I am, you will manage to explode out of your diaper when we're out it public, there's no changing table, I have no diapers and I'm down to my last wipe.

Like how hard it is to hold a 21 pound weight for long periods of time, and how that weight sends my arms into spasms and gets my back out of whack.

However, there are a few other things that you have helped me to remember.

Like how sweet it is to peek over the edge of the crib only to be greeted by the biggest smile on the planet and to have that smile start the legs kicking and the arms waving in total joy.

Like how much I love feeding you before bed at night while your little hand clutches my finger and your big baby blues stare at me in total contentment.

Like how much I love holding you while you are sleeping - always just a few minutes longer - because the feeling of you totally relaxed while snuggled into my body is a feeling that I'm sure exists in heaven.

Like how everything is brand new for you and every effort is a major achievement worthy of praise from everyone around you.

Don't you ever think for one second that you are any less a part of this family or any less loved than anyone else. If anything, feel blessed that you have more love because you're surrounded by even more people who love you almost as much as I do (because you know that no one can love you more than me). You were born to parents who are a little wiser, a bit more relaxed and a lot more together than we were the first time around.

And, Mr. Max, we are like that because God gave you to us and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Little Boys and Their Toys

The boys have been spending hours lately playing with these. It's amazing all the things they've found to do with them.

This afternoon they were sitting on the floor rolling the little balls around and I overheard the following conversation.

"Aiden, guess what I have in my pants!" Aiden paid no attention to Dawson so he asked him again. "AIDEN...guess what I have in my pants!"

Still busy playing with the set himself he replied, "I don't know."

Dawson reached his hand inside the leg of his shorts and said, "Look! It's really, really magical! I have balls inside my pants!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Okay...I have a confession to make...I watch American Idol. There - I said it. And really, I don't just watch it; I'm whole-heartedly devoted to it. I've watched it since the very first season and I'm pretty sure I've never missed an episode.

I've never really told anyone this before because, truthfully, I am a little embarrassed by my indulgent habit. I have spoken to the occasional baby-sitter about it out of necessity (like, "PLEASE don't change the channel if we're recording American Idol!), but other than that, it's been a very quiet addiction.

It was quiet and secret until Monday night when I went to this and I realized that I am not the only person in the world who watches this show. I am also not the oldest one. I am, however, one of the few females who did not feel the need to shriek over the two Davids, who, by the way, TOTALLY ROCKED!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

40 Years!

I spent this weekend with my entire family. I am fortunate to have a family that lives close enough to do this on a fairly regular basis. Even though I get to see my family members a lot, I still miss them when they are gone and I always look forward to spending time with them.

Like any family, we have had our ups and downs. As young kids we had our fights like most siblings. We didn’t always listen to our parents or obey them. There have been times when we haven’t liked each other much. However, we have always, no matter what, loved each other. And now…we truly enjoy each other.

That happened because of my parents’ hard work and strong example. I heard, more than a few times while growing up, “You will be together whether you like it or not!” Family dinners were never optional. Family prayers were not a choice. When one of us had a game or a performance, the rest of us were there, no questions asked.

I guess you could say the same about my parents’ marriage. It too has had its ups and downs. It too has taken a lot of hard work. There have been times, I’m guessing, when they haven’t always like each other much. However, they have always loved each other.

Today they celebrate 40 years of marriage. They celebrated by having their marriage blessed by their son, who said the mass. They celebrated by donating flowers to the church to thank God for keeping them together. They celebrated by taking us out for brunch. They celebrated by surrounding themselves with their hard work and a few of their blessings.

Mom and Dad, we are who we are because of you. You have demonstrated to us the truest form of I Corinthians love.

I am thankful for the 40 years you’ve spent together. I am thankful that so many of those years have been spent sacrificing for us. I am thankful that you still love each other. I hope you have the opportunity to love each other for many years to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The One They Left in the Mine

Overheard from Aiden while watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves:

Mackenzie, which one is that? Stinky?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Effort vs. Execution

Tonight I was in the bathroom getting ready for an evening out with the girls. From our closet I heard the happy shrills of Aiden and some "yays!" and clapping from Nelson.

Aiden came tearing into the bathroom. "He's doing it! He's doing it Mama! Max is sitting up!" He ran back out and I followed.

There on the floor of the closet was Max, surrounded by the Baby Bop pillow, sitting -albeit like the leaning Tower of Pisa. He sat and then toppled. Cheers ensued.

Soon Mackenzie and Dawson joined the group. I went back to getting ready listening to the sounds of squeals, laughter and genuine cheers. It was really cute how excited everyone got for Max.

He wasn't sitting perfectly, but he was trying. They weren't rejoicing over the execution as much as the effort. Then I thought about how much happier I could be if I looked at my life in the same way.

In the grand scheme of things, it's rarely about perfection. In fact, most of the learning we do comes through our mistakes. Instead of kicking myself for missing that goal of perfection, I should be rejoicing in how far I've come - in how hard I've worked to get here.

Of course, having my own cheering section wouldn't hurt!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

Yesterday, while we were all out, I had Nelson drop me off so I could just dash into a store and dash out.

When I came out, he and the kids pulled up to get me. I walked around the car and reached for the door handle. Just as I did, Nelson pulled the car forward.

I could see him laughing. I smiled and reached for the handle again. He pulled forward again. Now I felt a little stupid and stood still a minute deciding if I would think it was funny if he did it again.

I reached the third time and finally got in the car. "Ha, ha, very funny," I said with the slightest hint of sarcasm in my voice - you know, the honor thy husband when all the kids are in the car listening kind of response.

"Well the kids thought it was pretty funny," laughed Nelson.

"Yeah," I heard in a genuine whisper from Aiden in the back, "that was TOTALLY funny!"

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Got Milk?

Tonight we hit our neighborhood's newest restaurant for dinner. The waitress came to our table immediately and took our drink orders.

After at least 15 minutes of waiting for the drinks with no sign of her, the manager came over and asked if our drink orders had been taken. "Yes," I said, "a really long time ago. I'm not sure what happened to our waitress."

The manager said she'd check on it and left us. After another few minutes, our waitress finally returned with our drinks. "I'm sorry these took so long," she apologized. She went on to explain, "You see, we have to make our chocolate milk here."

I looked at her in a state of awe and then asked in all seriousness, "Did you have to milk the cow?"

Friday, August 08, 2008

Seems I'm Not the Only One Who Thinks So

Today I was at the pool bobbing up and down with little (or really, not so little) Max. He was clad in his swim shirt, trunks down to his shins and a sun hat.

There was a small boy swimming towards us and I was trying to get out of his way as he did not look to be an expert swimmer. He popped his goggle-masked face out of the water and in a gasp for air, looked our way and spurted, "That's one cute baby!"

Thursday, August 07, 2008

At Least He's Paying Attention on Sundays

Today, at Aiden's 5 year check-up, I was trying to point out the positives about the two shots and finger prick he was about to receive.

"When she sticks your finger, it will hurt for a second but then she's going to squeeze it and you'll get to see your blood come out," I offered in my 'this will be so cool' voice. From the look on his face, I could tell he was not impressed.

However, when the nurse came in with the tray, he relayed the very same thought to her.

"Oh," she said, "so you like blood?"

"Yes," he replied in his silly tone. "I like to drink blood."

"What are you, a vampire?" she joked back.

"We don't drink blood," I said so as to try to convince her that we really aren’t vampires or just plain strange.

"Yes we do!" Dawson jumped in excitedly. "You and Daddy drink blood EVERY time at church!"

Yeah, so much for the not-so-strange cover.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

State Bird Sighting

Standing in the kitchen this afternoon the kids were in awe at a giant swarm of gnats outside the window.

"Eww," Aiden acknowledged. "If we went outside right now, we'd get all gnatsy!"

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Good Friend.

If you want to see what kind of creative, dedicated, wonderful moms I know check this out. I must say, I was so impressed by her idea and the boys and I had so much fun "helping” out. Can't you just see it in our disguised eyes? Great job Dianna!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Check This Out!

We haven't won anything, but the photo I entered in a contest is being used to advertise the contest on The Catholic Company's website. How cool is that?

Building the Church

Last week I ventured out into territory relatively new to me. I had to go to the mall to make a few exchanges and I had all 4 of the kids with me. Crazy, I know.

We spent the morning shooting a commercial and I told the kids if they were on their best behavior, I would take them to lunch at the mall. The commercial went relatively well and so after a nap for Max, we all piled in the car.

On the way there it started to rain and I had a brief moment of panic. What am I doing? Do I really think this is going to go well to shop, eat lunch and make exchanges with all of them? Unfortunately, I did not ask these questions until we could see the mall from the expressway and it was too late to turn back.

The first stop was for school shoes for Mackenzie and Aiden. Max was happy. Dawson didn't get lost. Mackenzie and Aiden both found shoes that we all liked. One errand down.

Next stop was lunch. The line was HUGE but they all had coupons for free meals so we waited. Max must have still been smiling because everyone we passed cooed at him lovingly. We got our food and found a table without too much problem.

I noticed a lot of eyes watching my gang. Among my group of friends, four kids is nothing. Out in the world at large, four kids in 7 years is apparently, quite a sight. I am aware of this and make a conscious effort to look like things are going well in public. Mostly, I feel like this is the best opportunity I have to witness to the sanctity of life - the value of family. Sometimes I think I do alright and other times, I think me and my little ones are the best form of birth control out there.

We no sooner started to eat than Dawson announced he had to go to the bathroom. We rushed through eating while Max managed to have a major blow-out...on my nice white pants. (On a positive note, the spot on my pants matched my yellow shirt perfectly). Thank heavens, we finished the meal without Dawson having an accident and managed to find a family bathroom where we could take care of business together.

A new outfit for Max and a giant wet spot on my pants later, we headed off for the next errand. Amazingly enough, Max was still flirting with passersby, Dawson held the stroller with me and Mackenzie and Aiden walked next to us. Everyone was happy.

We made the next exchange, walked to the opposite end of the mall, stopped at an outdoor fountain to throw in some coins. The last stop was more of a boutique than a store. Nonetheless, I marched forward.

Unfortunately, they did not have the same dress in the size I needed, which meant I actually had to shop, which meant I had to try on, which meant I had to enter a dressing room with a stroller, baby and three kids.

While in that dressing room, not only did I have several items to try, I had a baby in the beginning of a melt down that I had to sit and feed. The big kids entertained themselves relatively quietly and without one complaint.

When we walked out of that store I realized no one had to be disciplined, no one broke anything, nobody was crying, and not one kid was whining. It was nothing short of miraculous. When we got outside I grabbed the children and planted a big kiss on each cheek. I gushed with praise. I wanted them to know just how good they had been. I was amazed.

I walked back through the mall and noticed all the eyes we caught. Instead of looks of irritation or disbelief, there were smiles and oohs and ahs. I returned every smile and walked with a spring in my step.

That day, we had successfully been the living church. We had shown a small portion of the world that having a family can be fun and lots of little kids can be very well-behaved. I felt as if we had preached the Gospel louder than any preacher in any pulpit that day.

Every day is not like this. But every day is an opportunity to be a good witness. There are days as a stay at home mom that I feel like I’m not doing anything for God. And then there are days like this one when He reminds me that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and that’s enough.