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Friday, April 12, 2013

Life passing by

Where does one year go?  365 days seem to pass in a blink and yet a Monday afternoon can crawl at a snail's pace!  Not quite sure how that works. 

If I could count how many diapers I've changed in the past 52 weeks, my head would probably spin, but it has been 1 year since Jewel #8 has graced our lives.  I spend to much of my life reflecting on how fast it goes by. 

I attended a play by our local high school last night with The Jane Austen Wanna Be and The Clown.  It was called Our Town.  If you have never seen it/read it- it is about the likes of a small town:  the normal on goings of day in and day out.  Marriages, deaths, life passing by and while it seems so important to each individual, it is nothing new really.  I mean that the same things we face:  our children growing, getting older, job changes, etc. are the same things that other "normal" people  in the past have experienced, and that others in the future will experience also. 

Life is a cycle.  There are so many phases that seem to last so long when we are in them- the "This baby will not sleep through the night" phase, the "Bobby is learning to drive- and is driving me crazy" phase.  The "staying up late into the night and sleeping in teenage phase"-  well, you get my point.  The thing is is that these times are just phases.  Now passing through a major phase with The Jane Austen Wanna Be- for she has finished her 12th year of school and now only awaits final grades to be an official high school graduate- I am struck at how quickly these phases really are. 

Funny, I don't remember most of the annoying, younger phases anymore of my oldest.  Maybe that is because I am awe struck at who and what she has become, proud at her accomplishments, excited about her future, blessed to be called her mother and her friend.  Thus, I know, that one day all the rest of the 7 children will too pass through their phases, and more than likely I will forget many of the frustrations I have in going through the phases with them.  They, in turn, will have their own families and their life phases with their own children will begin and I will look at my husband and say "Wasn't it just yesterday when we were concerned about this?" 

I don't like getting old.  I hate change- good or bad.  Once I get used to the change, I'm okay, but I am as stubborn as the day is long reaching that point.  Now some would say that it's quite the wonder that I am able to mother 8 children - not wanting change, but I always felt that the latest one was a renewal of the continuation of the phases that I held on to.  Or, I like to think of it as "job assurance." 

Jewel #8 is working on walking and talking now. The only thing I enjoy more than seeing this is the warm feeling I get in watching her older siblings enjoy it too.  No baby in my family ever lacked a cheering squad when it came time to try new feats. 







I, like the ancestors of old- from Egypt, Rome, and America, will take part in the cycle of life- the phases that make us human.  While there are many variations of themes, there lies a strong, firm on-going pattern that remains.  When I am gone, I wonder what my children will remember of me.  I hope it will entail singing in the morning, reading together for hours each day, loving to spend time around a game board with my loved ones- laughing and being loud in a joyful way, special time that each child got with me as they grew-preparing them for life to come, and I hope they remember my love for the Catholic Faith. 

Certainly they could forget my many shortcomings- short temper, worry times, anger unjustified, selfishness, laziness- well this list could go on and on and on. 

It's time to close this down- possibly for awhile.  It seems that I'm going through a busy phase and keeping up with a blog has become a chore.  Who knows when I'll pop in- just like an unexpected visit from a friend- only better, because you don't have to worry about having a clean house or even feeding me : )

At times, honestly, not surviving myself, but so blessed that God felt my life was worth the effort,
Mary

Friday, March 15, 2013

Celebrate!!

Wow!  We are over 1/2 way through Lent and that is reason for celebration!!  I look forward to spending Easter with my extended family - 3 sisters and their families, along with some of their in-laws, a few friends and my own group of 10 family members.  I LOVE being together-the laughter, smiles, laughter, silliness, fun, and laughter.  But, and I am feeling guilty about this, I am so happy lent is 1/2 over because I am ready to induldge in all that I gave up for Lent.  Now I know that I am not alone on this- there are too many people I know that count off Lent by the Sundays.  Yea for Sundays!!  So, on Monday through Saturday you'll find me sniffing the coffee container and trying it get my caffinee fix from tea- a poor substitiute for coffee.

And, although I could once and awhile enjoy a pop- to help ease the caffinee addiciton, I was guilted into giving that up too, thanks to a priest who suggested I could offer up something more for Lent.  : (

But, as much as I lull though the week- I have to really give credit to The Clown, who gave up drinking everything but water.  Whoa!  She is my hero.  I find little joy in day to day without starting it and ending it with coffee and packing in a Dr. Pepper- but at least I can substitute with tea, flavored water and Sonic slushies.  She is amazing also, becasue she has NOT complained once, like a certain mom I know.  However, this Lent has helped us to bond in "I'm wishing it was Sunday!" cries.

Now- onto another celebration. . . We have a new pope!!  I was just telling my older 3 daughters that I feel really guilty for liking Pope Francis so much already- like I didn't give Pope Benedict enough of my love??  Poor Pope Benedict, he was in the shadow of the great JP2!  That is some big shoes to fill!  I have a love for Pope John Paul 2!  In fact, do you ever get those questions that are something like "If you could spend one day with anyone in the world and in history, who would it be?"  I would pick Pope John Paul the Second hands down.  Now, just know what I have learned about Pope Frances- I find myself falling in love with his character.  I am so excited about his election- so thrilled to be a Catholic.

What about you- are you celebrating anything?  Are you ready for Christ's resurection?  I pray that you are- I also pray that you are having a frutful Lent.  Until Easter though, you'll find me looking for more facts about Pope Frances and sniffing ground coffee :  )

Oh- on another note- my husband my just announced to my family that we will take a family vacation sometime in July.  That, for those of you keeping track, is 4 months away.  Do you KNOW how long 4 months is to 4 kids under the age of 11?  Do you KNOW  how long 4 months will seem to me when I have to hear daily how we need to start packing, buying clothes, and answering shark questions?!?

Yeah, I'll keep you updated on that!

 Surviving myself while celebrating little pleasures in life,
Mary

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lenten Ideas

Where does time go?  Christmas is over and Easter is on the way- which means that Lent is here now too. . . along with the seemingly endless ideas of what one can do for Lent.  In the past our family has given  up T.V. for Lent and tried to do more family oriented activities.  This has been harder on some more than others.  We also try to take something on, maybe as a family or as individuals.  Thinking on this reminded me of the time I've taken on with my kids to what we call "special time."  I know, not a grand and glorious name- but it is what it claims.
 
The reason I bring this up is that I've been asked before what books I use during the special time I spend with the kids and so I thought I'd pass along some titles and challenge others to pick up one or more and share it during this Lent. 

One of the book series I use around 11 to 13 years of age is The Secret Keeper Girls by Dannah Gresh:

Secret Keeper Girl Bible Study: My Best Friend Jesus!   -     
        By: Dannah Gresh
    
     Secret Keeper Girl Kit #2 Diary

These are fun books that reflect on how special the gift of modesty is for girls and how to treasure this gift.  They offer Mom/daughter "dates" to help bring the points home.  The second one also has Bible reflection/studies that are neat to share together. 

As my girls got older, we moved on to "heaver" topics duing our special time- for this I recommend anything by Joshua Harris and Jason Evert:

I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Relationships and Romance     If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships, and Sexual Purity

Theses are for more mature age- around 15/16 and up.  While Joshua Harris isn't Catholic and Jason Evert is, both have excellent information to share on the gift of sexuality.

My list of books could go on and on, and if you want a more complete list, let me know.  Most of them are for girls, but I do have books titles that are geared for boys also. 

I hope whatever you do for you Lent, you will grow closer to our Lord and maybe even to loved ones. 

Surviving myself while I look forward to Lent,
Mary

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The safe spot

Happy Epiphany!  

I am not like those wonderful blogger mom's that celebrate Epiphany with creative little traditions shared with loving kids around a welcoming dinner table, topped with mouth-watering goodness served on a silver platter.  So- if you're looking for that, you are in the wrong place!  Hey, I actually had to go look up how to spell Epiphany correctly for this post!  The only way we celebrate Epiphany is by taking down the Christmas decorations around the house.  Usually this is keeping up holiday ornamentation much longer than any of the neighbors or friends.  However, I noticed that there are many Christmas lights still blinking in the neighborhood and after dropping in at my parents house, I saw their tree still standing tall in the corner.  Ummmm, I'm feeling a little Scroogish.   Maybe everyone one caught a bit of Christmas spirit that is thriving strong while I by passed those sentiments.  I might just be on the retail's schedule and looking towards Valentine's Day. 
All this speculations aside, I did get to celebrate Epiphany in a special way- by attending Mass not once, but twice.
Due to a cough/illness that The Bookworm caught, I was blessed to participate in an evening Mass, since she felt well enough to go later.  Now, if you asked The Boy and The Baby Boy how they felt about celebrating Epiphany this way, they wouldn't see it as a blessing per say.  If you are reading this, you either have young children or have had young children, and you can most likely understand how going to 2 Masses isn't on little ones' top 10 list of things they want to do.  A special Regency dance took the rest of the family away tonight though, so off to church went The Bookworm, Jewel, the 2 boys and myself. 

Here comes the safe spot.  Again, as parents with smaller children, you will know what I'm talking about when attending Mass with a little child in your arms and a small child at your side- there is a spot where the small child standing by you can "hide" under the one in your arms- and you cannot get to them.  Moving the infant in you arms only brings results of the sibling shuffling to keep up with the safe spot, less Mom should get hold of him- which at that point would not be good for them! 

Are you starting to see my Epiphany celebration?  It could have been titled "Jesus might have got frankincense, but if I get hold of you, you'll get a different type of sense!!@!"

Needless to say, we did make it though Mass a second time.  The boys managed to stay hidden in the safe spot, under Jewel.  And only a handful of close parishioners were entertained by the "fighting of the bull" show we put on. 

While I'm sure Jesus didn't complain about his wonderful gifts from the wise men, I too am not going to balk at the sweet little gift I received on Epiphany either.  As I nestled next to the boys tonight while tucking them in, I explained that I was going to show them mercy and not carry out punishment because it was a special day and every once in awhile I too must practice Christ's love. It was then  received that little tug on the heart when praying a forgiveness prayer with the boys.  The Baby Boy's face fell in sadness, knowing that he had hurt Mom's feelings and Jesus' too by his Mass shenanigans.  And his big brown eyes widened even more with sorrow as he looked at me as he said he was sorry.

It wasn't gold, frankincense or myrrh, but to me, it was priceless!  It's little times like this that I understand that God has created safe spots for us all- and you know when you are in them because even if  there is something/someone threatening you, your heart swells knowing that God is close and you are safe- even if it's just until you hear "Mass is ended, go in peace." 


 = PRICELESS!!

Surviving myself and enjoying my own "safe spots,"
Mary  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dog-gone! : (

Hey All,

To those of you who know our family, this post should come as no surprise.  The only surprise is that one of you didn't stop our family on the front side of getting a dog!  Oh I am very convinced that the idea of having a dog is so much more fun than actually having a dog.  In my mind I see the kids camped out on the living room floor and collapsed in the middle of them is a family dog- soaking in the love that the kids radiate.  (Yeah, like my kids radiate love amongst themselves!)  And, in my mind, I see the boys running around the backyard with the dog in tow, romping and frisking.  (Yeah, like when my boys get set loose in the backyard it involves something more like crashing and breaking!)

Sigh, it's so beautiful. . . in my mind! 

Reality check:  we are NOT a dog family. 

Well, okay, this time, with Roxi, we were close.  And I do have to credit the family 2 kids back to enjoying Ruthie- the Boston Terrier.  But, close is not good enough- especially when it was closeness that made us find a new home for Roxi as it was.  

I knew that Jewel #9 is a sweet, sweet little morsel of a baby.  I didn't realize that Roxi thought so too.  Not sure if it was an alpha-female thing, a jealous thing, or what.  But Roxi continually came after little Jewel.   It all started with her toys (who can resist fun, colorful baby toys?!)  then it moved to baby feet.  This wasn't pleasant, but a little adjustment here and there- plus a squirt with a water bottle- and the arrangement was tolerable.  However- 2 nights ago, Roxi decided to put an end to having a baby around- and thank God,  The Clown was on her game.  When dog came after baby aggressively!, The Clown put her foot down- literally.  And stopped the dog from making contact with Jewel. 

So now. . . dog gone. 

I should have listened to The Diva when we brought Roxi home - "Oh wow, a dog- When does it leave?"

Roxi left the house today.  There were 2 ironies in her hitting the road.  Irony #1.  None, and I mean NONE of the kids shed a tear in Roxi leaving.  Now I know, she hadn't been here that long- but you have to know that my kids attach pretty quickly to the come and go pets.  So, they either didn't really care, knew that she would eventually leave, or-and the most likely-  my children's little hearts have grown hardened to the cruel teasing attempts we make in offering a pet for them to enjoy? 

Irony #2.  The new owner of Roxi just happens to be my husband's previous girlfriend- the one he dated just before meeting me.  The one who had to attend an Ozzy concert with her best friend (my husband's sister) and her best friend's brother (my husband- now- then new love) and made me feel like (gulp!) I'd better attend the Ozzy Fest, because it was just a bit threatening to have him go with those 2. If you're an Ozzy fan- I'm sorry.  Really.  I've never had my naive, innocence shocked so quickly!  Good thing there was a quick exit from the concet and I chose not to hold it against him (to much),  

And now- old girlfriend is new owner of groan stick dog. 

It is so funny how quickly my husband forgets things like Ozzy Fest (well, okay, it was near 20 years ago), and dons this innocent face when he answers my  "Was that who I thought it was that just took our dog?" 

Oh well- I'm sitting here typing this on the living room floor while the kids are gathered around watching a Christmas movie- bickering like usual.  But, my baby is rolling on the floor- which she hasn't been able to do with a dog in the house for the past 3 weeks- so I'm happy. 

Audios pooch. 

And please, please those of you who do know me, remind me next time to leave the family dog idea alone!

        Fool Like You!!                                    

                                                                     

Surviving myself minus Ozzy, a former girlfriend, and a dog,
Mary

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drool # 9






     The big "new" at our house this week is a 40 pound, muscle clad, under bite member of our family.  No, it isn't another child- and how terrible that would be if this is how I would describe a little person!
This addition is a English bulldog named Roxi, and I have none other to thank for her being here but The Jane Austen Wanna Be.  I wasn't looking for a dog.  Although, if I were, it would be an English bulldog.  I'm not sure why that is so- but there is some kind of unexplainable "charm" about this breed.  I'm not able to even put it into words myself, especially when I look into the eyes of Roxi and listen to her make a continual sound that I would compare to the sound of a toy called a "groan tube"- the toy that one shakes up and down and it groans with each turn.  As I hear Roxi groaning, I can't help but ask, "What charm did I think you held?"  I am sure that my life was just needing more noise in it- really, 8 kids are not enough, needed to add more noise. 

     Ironically, each time we've had a dog, it has been "mine" by means of it adopting the Mom and following me like an extension of my own shadow.  This time however, Roxi appears to be a guy type of dog, so she doesn't turn on her charm until my husband comes home from work.  At that time, I hear from my husband - "How's my girl?"  and then, as I am ready to answer, realize he is speaking to the dog!  I know, I need to just begin making groan tube sounds and he'll move me back up to being first on his greeting list.

     Another trait bulldogs are known for is drooling.  Here, I am happy to say, Roxi doesn't excel in.  Although there are a few puddles here and there, it isn't any more drool than Jewel #8, so I can't complain about that. 

     I think Roxi is a pretty good fit with the family- which if you knew the track record with our family and dogs, that is making a big statement.  As The Drama Queen asked me when we brought Roxi home, "Wow, we got a dog!  How long before we get rid of it?" 

     I will say, there are some advantages to not having a dog- more than just the lack of the freaky groaning sound that continues in my ears even after it leaves a room.  Days ago, I didn't have to worry about my boys using their "boy brains" to carry out what most most dogs would not put up with. I also didn't have to put away playful baby toys that must be masquerading as dog toys, nor did I have to kennel an animal because vacuums are terrible machines that must be attacked with the force of a charging bull.  And most of all,  I didn't need to even holler "Don't stick your finger there- that is NOT a place to put your finger!"  (This last statement was of course directed to one of the boys, and I'll let you insert your own image of where he thought his finger should go.) 
When we got Roxi, the previous owner asked if we had any other dogs- because Roxi is a one pet to house type of dog.  We don't have another dog, but we do have a guinea pig (just one now- see earlier post).  The pig is in a corner of a room, on a table, in a cage- set out of the way so to speak. 
Guess where Roxi's favorite place in the house is?  Yep, set for launch, ready to eat, smack in front of the pig cage.  Poor pig, I'm guessing it's days are numbered due to the huge dog head that jumps up about 10 times a day to see if it's Hansel snack is ready for eating yet.

     Well, I guess I need more drama in my life- and Roxi was the answer.  I found myself praying for the intercession of St. Francis and St. Martin De Pores in making the decision to get Roxi or not.  I'm guessing there are 2 saints in heaven that are having a good old laugh right about now.






Surviving myself, although my guinea pig, vacuum cleaner and boy's fingers are NOT,
Mary