/> Raising Angels: May 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And So It Begins...Again

Since the Glory Run I have gotten back to running again. Yes, I’ve done it since the big race but it’s been mostly on the treadmill or at the pace of my 8 year old outside. The half was such a positive experience for me last year; I decided to give it another shot, with great hopes that I can do it better this time around.

Looking back on my blog, I realized that I failed to share a lot about what God said to me and did for me during my training period and the race itself. I think a large part of that was my attempt to keep my training a secret except for family members because I wasn’t convinced I could really do it. I do not like failing at anything, especially publicly.

In fact, that’s a big reason that I’ve never gotten into running. I’m terrible at it. Runners to me are people who look graceful in their stride, people who make running look effortless, and the people I regularly stare at the backs of when I’m making my own meek attempts out on the trails. I am not a runner.

The crazy thing is that I do it anyway. And last year, after a few mental adjustments, I not only completed a half marathon, I had fun doing it. So this year, I’m going to record it so that I can celebrate the fact that the girl who hates running, not only did it, but she’s going to do it twice!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Little Prayers and Lots of Fun

Yesterday was the Kindergarten swim party - a VERY big day in the life of one little red-headed Kindergartener who lives in this house. He was up, dressed and tapping my shoulder at 6:15. "Mama today is my swim party. Do I need to get in the car now?" I assured him it was a bit too early for that. When I did get up I opened the shades to see a very unpleasant picture; the sky was dark, the ground was wet and the clouds were thick.

"Oh Aiden," I whispered, "I think we need to pray." We checked the weather online and went ahead with the morning. We slathered on the sunscreen even though there was not one single ray of sun. I added a long sleeve shirt to his bag thinking of the frigid water temp with no sunshine to warm him when he got out of the pool.
On the way to school it started to drizzle. "And Jesus," I added to our morning prayers, "please bring the sunshine out for Aiden's swim party and let him have even better weather than Mackenzie did yesterday." That prayer, by the way, did not make Mackenzie feel great but it did comfort a slightly worried Aiden.
On the way home a friend called and I begged her to pray for those little Kindergarteners. Just a little window of sun, I begged God. The party was only from 10 to 1 anyway. At 10 things did not look good. It wasn’t raining, but it did not look good.

And then, right around 10:15 the sun peeked through the clouds and things started looking a little better. By the time I got to the party Aiden was blue but having the time of his life. I slathered on some more sunscreen and then put the long sleeve shirt on his shivering body. He was so cute with his wet, red curls and blue lips.

Later in my prayer group I was sharing with the other mothers how much fun Aiden had at the party. I shared with them how God's answer to this little inconsequential prayer made me feel so very loved. I mean really, in the grand scheme of things, it didn't matter if it rained or not. I'm certain that God had a lot more important things to do than to make the sun shine on that little party.

That being said, God did let the sun shine. He loves Aiden (and me) so much that he answers little prayers like these just to remind us. Doesn’t that make you feel loved?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Musings Under the Influence of the Sun

Today I got to chaperone Mackenzie's end of the year swim party. I've been lucky enough to do this for her every year. Well, except for last year when Max was an infant, which for some reason they thought I might be a little distracted. Anyway, today I got back on track and had a really good time.

It's been fun watching them grow and grow. It's fun to speculate how their relationships will change over the years - to wonder about the grown people they will become.

All those thoughts may be the result of the ending of another school year. That or too many hours in the sun and not enough water:).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Life is Good!

I am currently sitting on my back porch with my feet up and the computer in my lap. The wind is blowing ever so gently through the trees. The baby is still napping. I'm listening to the happy squeals of my two older sons as they compete in a neighborhood wide water gun war. Every once in awhile they come sloshing back for some strategy help. Mackenzie has a friend over and they are upstairs playing together. My lasagna is in the oven. And, I am really wondering if it can get any better than this. My life is good!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


It was just days ago we were doing this and then Tuesday he really started to move. It was slow and laborious. It was amazing and miraculous.

The first time everyone was home when he did it we literally had the whole family in the bathroom cheering for him so loud I think we scared him but we really just couldn't help ourselves.

Maximilian, we are so proud of you!

P.S. I'm a tad embarrassed by my cheesy, overly proud mama voice and comments. But hey, if a mama can't be like this who can?

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lost Letter

“A is for airplane,” Dawson said this afternoon reviewing the ABC’s on his placemat. “B is for baseball,” he continued going across the mat. As he neared the end he said, “Y is for yo-yo. Where’s the N?” he asked looking at me.

I pointed back up to the middle of the mat where he had already reviewed this letter.

“But where’s the N?” he asked again.

Now I was curious because he has an N in his name and I know he knows all the letters. “Dawson, I just showed you where the N is.”

“Not that one Mama, the other one.”

“What other one?”

“You know, W, X, Y, N, Z.”

Game On!

“How was your day?” I asked Aiden this afternoon as he came in the door from school.

“Good!” he said with enthusiasm. “We celebrated X’s birthday today.”

"What did his mom bring for the snack?” I asked knowing that the class will be celebrating Aiden’s summer birthday on Wednesday.

“Brownies with nuts,” he answered adding, “his mom is the bestest baker in the class.”

“She is?” I said with a little tone of fake hurt in my voice.

“Yes! Those brownies were my favorite thing ever!”

I eyed the ingredients for the chocolate chip cookies he had requested, thinking that this could be very bad.

“You really think she’s a better baker than me?” I tested.

Suddenly, he realized where this was heading. “Well I mean she’s the bestest in the class besides you. I wasn’t counting you,” he said ever so wisely.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Movin' On Up!

It's late and I'm tired but I cannot go to bed without recording an actual miracle I witnessed today.

My baby, my Max, my almost 15 month old actually CRAWLED for the FIRST TIME today!

Granted, he did not go across the room, nor did he move at remarkable speed. He did get himself on all fours. He got his foot unstuck from under his leg and then stayed on all fours instead of collapsing on the ground. He then rocked for a minute and moved both hands...and then...he moved his knee! He did! He moved two hands, two knees and then repeated moving both hands followed by both knees.

There may be those of you out there who actually have babies that do everything by the books. You may think I'm slightly out of my mind (and I have to say there are many moments I might agree with you). But I have never had a baby crawling by 6 months. In fact only one of my four has crawled like a regular baby without some kind of physical therapy.

Consequently, I appreciate physical movement of the very normal kind. I find it nothing short of miraculous to find Max sitting up in his bed in the morning instead of flat on his back. I find it simply amazing that he can hold himself in the crawling position without any assistance from me. And I find it worthy of real celebration when he begins to put two and two together and actually moves his body from point A to point B.

I know it's a small step. I know we have a long way to go. I also know that this is progress. I know that what I witnessed today was a miracle. I know that watching the next step will be even more fun.

We're on our way!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Getting the Hang of Things

Today as I headed to the car with Max in my arms I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was Dawson's last day of school and I was on my way to see his little performance.

I've had kids in this Mother's Day Out program for the last 5 years. This year Dawson was in the "big kids" class and the only one in the program. It was his day.

How did this happen? How did my baby get in the big class? Never mind that I have another baby in my arms - how did Dawson get here?

And really, why am I not nervous about the summer? Why all of a sudden am I looking forward to a few months of making our own schedule?

I think, maybe...just maybe, I may be getting the hang of this parenting thing after all.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mercy Me

This morning, half way to school I heard a gasp from the back of the car. "Mama!" said the devastated voice, "I forgot my Show and Tell!"

"Well bud," I said, "we can't turn back now, we'll be late. You can just bring the stuff to school next week."

That was an unacceptable answer and it was followed by lobbying, rationalizing and genuine tears. By the time I pulled into the carpool line, he was really upset. I had already brought forgotten things to school twice this week. I had to get home, dress and feed Max, get Dawson to school and get back for Max' therapy. I wasn't convinced that this was an instance that necessitated another trip. Besides, what kind of lesson would that teach?

He was beside himself, not only with sadness about the forgotten item but also the humiliation that came along with joining the school line after he had been crying. "They will see that my eyes are red Mama." We stood and talked for several minutes. I was trying desperately to explain to him that this was not the end of the world and that he could go to school and would be just fine. He was absolutely not convinced of this and didn't join the line until the first bell sounded.

I drove away feeling a mix of emotions. I was proud that I had stood my ground under difficult circumstances. I was sad that I had to leave my baby wiping tears from his face. By the time I got home I was feeling really bad and totally doubting my decision. I kept going back to the line in the parenting book I'm reading that says that kids are honestly forgetful.

Then I started thinking about what Jesus would do and the only word that came to mind was "mercy". Aiden is only a kindergartener after all and he experienced plenty of suffering before school even started. There are days (lots of them) when I feel like I am so hard on him. His school is right on my way home from Dawson's school and I had a few moments to spare.

I wondered if I wanted him to remember how bad he felt when he forgot something so that he would never do it again. Or, did I want him to remember how much I loved him when I came to the rescue? How many times has God bailed me out? How much of His mercy have I received totally undeservedly? How could I not pass this on?

There are many choices in parenting. Being human, I don’t, haven’t and won’t always make the right one. Today, however, I think I did.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Wondering...

if some of the things scheduled for May could possibly be moved to April or June. Really I'm just talking about maybe moving a Mother's Day, wedding, baby shower, recital, field day, field trips, class parties, and the like. Nobody would notice would they?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This morning I got breakfast in bed served by 5 smiling faces. When I finished and brought my plate to the kitchen it was clean. I went to mass and received a special blessing and a flower. I went to lunch with my mother-in-law and then I cooked dinner for my mother.

And now I am going to bed feeling truly, truly blessed.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Piano Debut

Mackenzie has been practicing this song every day for weeks now. She knows it by heart. Today I made her play it again and again and again. Every time she played it, she made a mistake. The good thing was the mistakes didn't upset her. She played through them every time. She wasn't nervous or upset at all.

This is not a trait she gets from me. From the time I was her age, if not earlier, I was a perfectionist to a fault. I simply could not let myself fail. I could never accept less than perfect. It made me crazy. The older I've gotten the more I see that this is a ridiculous standard to uphold.

It made me so proud to watch her practice - to know that somehow I have not passed this weakness onto her. It's not that she doesn't want to do her best, because she absolutely does. It's that she doesn't let mistakes get her down. She doesn't make herself mad trying to be perfect.

Tonight, at her recital she walked up to the piano, sat down and played her piece without any hesitation or nervousness. She played it without any music to follow. And, she played it without one, single mistake.

Great job Mackenzie!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

When the Pigs Flew

I come from a very athletic family. My dad was an athletic director and coach and I grew up on the soccer field, basketball court and hockey rink. Nelson grew up playing football. Since we had Aiden this difference has come up quite often.
Nelson tells me that our sons will never play soccer because it's a wimpy sport. Then I tell him that if he wants our kids to fit in around here, they will play soccer. It's what they do in the backyard, at recess and after school. He has been adamant that this would not be the case.
And then there was today when Nelson came to watch his son play soccer and ended up filling in for his absent coach. Not only did he coach the game, but he also led the team to a tie (the first non-loss of the season) as well as the team's first goal.

Thank God I had the camera.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Merry Month of May

I used to get a little agitated in May. I mean here I was with all these babies and only one month before a long summer. One month to get everything done without all the kids with me. Ironically, most of May is spent at activities at school with the kids; which means my only time without them, I ended up spending with them. Not that I dislike being with my kids, it just kind of defeated the purpose for me.

Now, a few kids later and a few years wiser, I just chalk May up for loss. I know it is a busy month with a million activities (like Muffins for Mom today). Now I find that I'm actually looking forward to a summer without having to be somewhere every morning, picking up someone every afternoon and feel hurried every day.

I plan to take it easy. I plan to spend some quality time with my kiddos. It's going to be fun and it's going to go by fast. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Saturday I took Aiden to a Greenjackets game because he earned himself a free ticket by reading a number of books. The deal was that those who participated in the reading program got a ticket to the game at which they would be invited onto the field to run the bases and then say their name and school into a microphone at home plate. Aiden was VERY excited!
What actually happened is that the kids were quickly ushered onto the field where they walked from one gate, behind home plate to another gate on the other side - no bases, no microphone, not even so much as a "Congratulations!" from the rather lame attendant who passively handed them a certificate.

It was so sad to see them stand there, certificates in hand, waiting for their big moment that never came. Aiden was DISAPPOINTED to say the least. Just look at his face.
Well after picking a front row seat for the game and having a hotdog in hand, he settled into the game and forgot all about that. I really expected him to watch the first three innings and be ready to go. Nine innings, one rain delay and three hours later he was still loving every single minute.

It was the perfect date – a mom and her son at the ball game. It was so rare to have just Aiden with me. It allowed me the opportunity to answer every question, laugh at every joke, offer a totally dedicated lap to sit on. We sang every song, stomped for every good play and even busted out the German Chicken Dance. To top it all off our team came back from a 6 run deficit to win 9 to 7, including one homerun. It was a grand night.

I'm not sure if Aiden will remember this night years from now, but I will never forget it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Checking In

Man, where has the time gone? Can it be that I have left this blog so lonely this week? How did I let that happen? Hmm...

Well, Wednesday we were still recovering a bit from the surgery. I had some MAJOR shopping trips to make (think Sam's club and actually NEEDING Dawson to help push the cart). I made dinner for two other families and took the family to my brother Brian's team's state tournament soccer game.

Thursday I spent preparing the food for Nelson's birthday dinner. I had lunch with my brother Aaron, who was in town. We went to Aiden's soccer game and dinner at my mom's with the family.

Friday was Nelson's birthday, which I failed to mention here since I was busy cleaning the house, cooking dinner, having therapy with Max, having both families to eat and then hosting a bigger party for Nelson.

Saturday's highlight was a nap to recuperate from the late night the night before, which, I discovered I am way too old for but still not ready to admit it yet. It also included a Mommy date with Aiden at a baseball game.

Today we went to a baptism, the reception and ended the day with an impromptu picnic in the backyard.

Not an entry so to speak as much as a reminder to myself about where I've been this week. When I get around to posting some pictures from the above events, I'll share some thought on all of it. As for now, I feel the need for some more recovery sleep!