Saturday, October 25

The Exhibit that Brought Me Back

When I was in high school, 16 years old, my parents did something crazy.  They let me go to Rome.  With a wild group of girlfriends.  Practically alone.

Okay not practically alone, but looking back I do think they were sort of crazy to let me go like that.  I was escorted by a consecrated lay member of Regnum Christi, and I was with a group of girlfriends- yes, we were wild!  What seemed like a non-stop whirlwind behind-the-scenes adventure lasted only a few nights, but at 16 years old I was pretty sure I could do it all!

I remember the boxed lunches, sleeping on the floor of a school room, feeling like the bus driver could have cared a little more for his driving skills, singing and chanting JOHN PAUL TWO, WE LOVE YOU and squeezing our way into St. Peter's Square to wind up being only inches away from him as he drove by in his pope mobile!  Pentecost '98, mass and confirmations at St. Paul Outside the Walls, the Trevi Fountain, gelato, so many basilicas, wearing skirts the entire trip, and the COLD showers!  Talking to the Swiss guards, the bright green grass at a seminary we visited, relics and incorruptible bodies, and the Pieta at St. Peter's.

I remember popping into a convenient store for some Tylenol and just thinking- so this is what it would be like to live in Rome.

That was 16 years ago but I remember the sights and feelings and the emotions like it was yesterday.

I'm so happy my parents put me on that plane.  So grateful they trusted an amazing woman, a woman who changed my life, to take care of me for a few days, halfway across the world.

Pope Saint John Paul II will always have a special place in my heart!  John Paul the Great, Pray for Us!

Friday, October 24

The Busy Season is Here

I've always joked that October is the start to my "busy season" in our household.  To a certain extent, it's true; between October - January we now have three birthdays, several major holidays, Advent, and preparation for all of the little holidays that I wish could be so much more grandiose.  I always imagine that things could be so much bigger, so much grander.  If only I had more time or energy.  If only I was able to sew their own costumes or plan ahead for the major liturgical holidays.  Those are so important to me, but I can't even get those little things done!

I was flipping through my Kindle while waiting to have the oil changed on my van a couple of weeks ago, and I re-read a few pages from a book I read earlier this year.  It was about how we have to accept the current state of life we are in, or we are missing the whole point.  I think I've read multiple variations of that theme over the years of motherhood, but sometimes things just hit you in a new way every now and then.

I've found myself forgetting that THIS is the point of it all.  Handling the day-to-day tasks with joy, embracing my cross.  I have no real cross to complain of right now, my hardships are relatively little.  It's just the typical busy-ness of life- but I think that's what God's demanding of me right now.  Prioritizing- because I'm totally failing at that in this moment.  I've been despairing in a way- what's the point in folding clothes when they're just going to toss them on the floor anyways?  Why bother putting the toys away when they're going to be strewn across the floor in a matter of fifteen minutes of them waking up?  So I've been lazy.  Like, really lazy.  And I know someone might tell me that I need to cut myself some slack, but it's one of those things where you just know yourself and what you're capable of.  And I'm capable of more and I can assuredly tell you, I've been lazy.

I enjoy my moments of playing with the baby on the floor instead of doing dishes, because those moments are fleeting and she won't be a baby forever.  That's not what this is about though.  I've spent plenty of time on the floor and now I can accept that certain things just don't get done.  Now,  I'm talking about giving God the better part of me, giving my family everything else, and taking pride and joy in those little moments when no one else is looking. 

A new realization for me is that I'm so preoccupied with planning for the future that I'm missing some of the now.  The opportunities for sanctification by actually doing my work without giving up or cutting corners.  The chances to offer it up in prayer for family and friends who need my prayer, instead of being so flippant.

Yes. I'm overwhelmed most days, but good grief, who isn't?  You know?  We're all busy! I just have nothing I can complain about right now,.  Lots of things to pray and think about, but nothing bad or totally life-changing.  I guess I'm just now realizing I've been feeling a little sorry for myself, and it's painful to realize how long it's taken me a couple of months to figure this out!  

I'm going to re-commit myself to taking pride in my homemaking and realizing that these moments are the ones that count.  Not the moments in a month or two, but starting tomorrow.  I will take into consideration all of the things on our schedule and be realistic, but be present in the moments and stop fretting about the future.

Will you pray for me?

Thursday, October 23

Luke is Six!

Today is my Luke's sixth birthday.  I thought it would make me feel older, but somehow I missed that feeling this time around!  (Maybe I'm finally getting used to all of the birthdays?)  But, six does seem way older than five.  Five is pretty much an older four-year-old, but six... That's like going on 10.  Am I the only one who thinks that?!

I wanted to do a birthday interview with him today but my poor love was sick.  Yesterday he had a 102 degree fever in the evening, but it was gone by morning.  Classic Luke.  Several times a year he'll get a high-ish fever for only about 8 hours, then he's up and going again!  I'm not sure why his body works that way but I always feel confident he'll bounce back soon.  Today was no different- well, his fever was gone, but his voice got hoarser as the day progressed and I could tell by dinner time that he was wiped out.  So we fast-tracked through his special hamburger, beans, and salad dinner (his choice!), sang and ate brownies, and opened a few gifts.  This year we gave him a boat that he saw at a consignment store and just HAD to have- I stuck it in the closet for two weeks and gave it to him this morning. :-)

The boat was $40 at the store, and being in the crazed state I was in while shopping with the children, I didn't double-check the price on Amazon like I usually do.  I knew he'd be super happy with it and I thought $40 seemed like a good price for a birthday gift... Well, today I got curious and checked out the original price- $150!  Holy cow!  He and Jack played together with it for several hours.  I'd say it was worth it!  He also got a nice crucifix and a box of jacks from us.  And I think he was pretty excited about the $10 from his great-grandma too. :-)

We talked today about what he expects from the upcoming year.  He hopes to lose his first tooth- very important stuff for a 6-year-old, I think. He still wants to be a worker man when he grows up; he wants to operate the crane and build a bridge or a tall building.  I'm expecting him to grow another couple of shoe sizes and several inches... He'll probably be taller than me by the time he's seven! The boy is all legs, imagine that!  He's still so proud when people tell him that Caeli looks like him, and he's also proud when I tell him that certain things he does are like me or Daddy.  He's a hard worker and a great artist, I'm anticipating an engineering degree from Texas A&M!  He also told me he wants to marry me when he grows up. When I explained that I'm already married to Daddy, he said he wants to marry Caeli because she's so beautiful.  Such a sweet guy!

 Happy birthday buddy, Daddy and I love you!

Wednesday, October 15

A Happy Morning

We don't always look so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the mornings!  But we managed to get this nice picture before co-op a couple of weeks ago.  I love their navy polos and khaki bottoms.  They love their teachers and I love that they love their teachers.  They learn so much and get to see friends every week.  I feel so blessed to have our co-op!

Thursday, October 9

9 Months Old

Caeli is 9 months old now.  Crawling on knees and on feet, pulling up on chairs and trying to climb the stairs, eating everything in sight with the aide of her two new teeth, and keeping up with her bigger siblings. She still has the biggest brown eyes you've ever seen, and she still (mostly) sleeps amazingly well at nights.  I just LOVE her to death- we all do- and I just can't believe she's mine!

Saturday, October 4

Park Day

 People say to me all the time, "I don't know how you do it!"  What I wish I could tell them is that I truly believe is that practically anyone can do it.  It's filled with sacrifice but look what else it's filled with! 

I could do anything if I had that little smile cheering me on!  And I do.  Every day!  Four faces worth of smiles.  Smiling and chatting and wondering and asking.  And occasionally it's loud.  And occasionally it's frustrating.  But that's not all it is, and when you remember these smiles and these happy days, gratitude swells in your heart so much that there's no room left for worry or doubt or anything else.  Only love.

And you occasionally forget about these moments.  You start to wonder if there will be enough money or enough time or enough sanity.  Or ask yourself if they're ever going to just grow up already!

But... you look back and realize... They do grow upThey have grown upThey still are growing up.  And it makes you sad that you wished those days away.

I know, for me, there were days when I had to just get by.  I've written about that before.  But, what a difference having older children makes.  And SLEEP.  What a difference sleep makes!

So if you worry that you "can't do it," then maybe you're just in a place right now.  I know that place.  I have been there!  I've been to several places, actually.  But mine grew up (and yours will too)- and we learn and hopefully we grow up a little bit too- and everything is the same, but suddenly you see it through different eyes.  Because it's not about the clean house and the play dates and looking good.  Those things are nice... But really, it's about this:

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