Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tiddilly bump

I've been thinking about this quote by C.S. Lewis that I saw the other day:

“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” - taken from the Screwtape Letters

It's making me think that perhaps I need to listen more and shout less. At times, I feel like perhaps we want to be know, hello social media, and for me I like to be right a lot. But maybe its okay not to be.

I just finished a biography on Pope Francis, and I like him as a pope, I mean I did before this book, but I think I understand him more now. I do think he's a bit crazy in perhaps his ways of doing things, because he doesn't want to be in the spotlight, but he's in a position where he is all the time, and I think he forgets that often.  But perhaps, its good for us to remember that he's a person too.  In the biography that I read, it said that he was who he was because of the mercy of God.  He has always had a huge heart for the poor and being that he's from a country that had a lot of upheaval and really crazy things happen under their governments it makes more and more sense. He saw daily how much people were marginalized and not seen as humans and just murdered senselessly. Think of Syria now, and that was a lot of what happened. 

Anyway, I think you either love or hate this current pope of ours, or perhaps you are indifferent. But I kind of like him. I think his heart is there. I think he's reforming some things that need to be reformed for the church to be a better version of itself.  I think he's teaching us that we aren't better than our neighbor. Perhaps the pope's maybe not making sense to us all the time, but I hope that God's grace will shine through it all. God's got this, so lets be his instruments. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A baby that likes to be held

I've had one of these before. A baby that likes to be held constantly. That will only sleep when touching you. I know this brand of baby. Sometimes I'm bitter about it, sometimes it tries my patience and I need to leave the house by myself. Thankfully, my husband can and will accommodate this. We love her this baby, and I know she won't need me like this forever. For now, we are here.

I think that actually having this type of baby helps me to see that my worth doesn't depend on my productivity. Because if it did, I would be goner right now. I am stuck when she naps and I am stuck when she goes down for the night. So I sit and I knit or I read or I read to the kids. But I can't clean the house and I can't do a lot of active things.  Sometimes, if she needs a nap in the afternoon I will strap her to my back and we will walk around the neighborhood. And it is okay.

My intention is not to complain about this sweet girl of mine, but just to say how she is. She reminds me of her older brother who wanted to be carried until he was almost 4. He is still probably the best smuggler I know. Well, except for maybe this sweet girl.  But I think it definitely has taken time to adjust to her being this variety of baby. My last, I think, just needed me differently, so its an adjustment for sure.

She is amazingly sweet and I love that she is at the stage that me drinking something while she is held is of utmost excitement to her. Me grabbing a snack, well, to her that's an invitation to share.  And if I did by chance put her down and have her be content, for sure she will crawl to find me and call, "ma, ma, ma, ma" until I respond.

Sometimes I will put her down and she will then find my pant leg and she will pull herself up on it and then I am left being stationary from the waist down but trying to move the upper half of me around the kitchen to prepare food for the family. It's actually quite entertaining. And if I'm in the right mood, it makes me laugh.

Babies don't keep and soon enough she will be like her second eldest brother so very independent, who once was like her in her neediness. And so I am writing this to remember her and to try my best to love and enjoy her as a gift from God.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Resolutions

The year ends and a new one begins. Its time for resolutions. We went to a friend's party this evening as a family and on the way home I told the kids that usually when a new year begins people make resolutions. So here is what the kids came up with:

Stella - the big kids agreed that she is to learn to walk and talk in the new year.

Helena - she said she would get her own cereal bowl in the mornings

Ephraim - that he would get his own cereal bowl and spoon in the mornings,

Ben - To say Helena correctly.

And for the adults:

Keith: Read 20 books, blog 15 times

Kiera : journal or blog at least weekly. Read 20 books. Celebrate the little things more as I got the word Toast as my word of the year. I think this is a really good word for me as I need to work on thanksgiving more and this feels like it is in that realm. I also got the Saint Wenceslaus as my saint for the year so I am hoping to learn from him and to invoke his intercession often.

The kids love saints and so I think tomorrow I will generate a Saint for the year for each of them too. For those of you interested in a Saint name for the year or an inspirational word head here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I'm just going to write.

I originally wanted to keep this blog as a record for my daughters to look at and not feel alone in their motherhood when or if the time arrives.  At least perhaps in their adulthood, God willing. I have been having a lot of ideas pop into my head and then I would drop the ball when I got to writing. I even set a day and time to write and that just fell through.  But I want to write.  So I think for 2018, I will make it a goal to write at least twice a month. It can be about the day or what life is having me thinking about. A lot of times, what I wanted to write about I couldn't share on the internet so much because it was too new and well it involved loved ones so I didn't feel right.

So here goes, Christmas at home with the kids has been enjoyable. If I have any advice it's to have good inlaws. But seeing that you don't get to choose your inlaws, only your spouse. Well I pray that you have the grace of having some family or friends that surround you in love somehow. And that is what my inlaws are to me. I think its taken time and that the relationship has had its bits of strife but I think we are growing to understand one another in a way that its okay that we are different in how we carry out things but we still can be ourselves and laugh and love together.  Its good, and it makes for enjoyable Christmases and holidays all around.

And then today, today was a pajama day. The chaos of the outside world just didn't come into the house and instead we built with legos and played DDR and finished a movie and colored and just were. We made a cake for Jesus and Helena and Keith made cake pops with her cake pop maker and it was good. I think sometimes its really hard for me not to think of all the things to do in a day to keep a well oiled machine of a family going but today we just were in each other's presence and we all needed it. It was good.

I think that is all for now. If I try for more it won't get published, so here goes. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A few attempts at mini podcasts

About 10 years ago,  we podcasted under the name, The Contranauts, this is our attempt at a revamp in a different style.  There's less equipment needed these days and we are dull learning the ropes of it all.  So polished we are not.  But its fun so I think we will keep it up. 
Here's our first two official 5 minute segments.
"On why this podcast is called Squall and Lucy" on Anchor:

"Where we recommend the book The Secret Horses of Briar Hill" on Anchor:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Post holiday visit

I keep starting posts but never finishing them. So here's to hoping this one actually gets completed. I went to my childhood home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hadn't been there fore 2 years. That isn't a huge amount of time in the realm of life, but at the same time, that's a good chunk of time. I needed the break and I'm glad I took it and can now come to things returning to the place of my childhood with a new perspective.  I don't need things from there that I once thought I did and that helps a lot. It just took a long time to get there, but I think I needed that as well.

My oldest child is such a dynamic child. He can be intense and he can drive one crazy quickly if you aren't up for all he has to give. However, at the same time he has the absolute biggest heart and just does everything to the fullest. He is unabashedly himself and I give him props for being so. When it came to this holiday, he was stoked about the whole thing. He would have time with cousins, he would get gifts, he would have time with his aunts and uncles and grandparents.  He would have free reign of a large yard in the country, something we don't have in the city so much.

He ate every single minute of it up when we were visiting despite having a terrible lingering cough that just would not go away. He did have a few setbacks when he didn't get what he was wanting in his Christmas at Thanksgiving gifts until very late in the gift giving, but still I cheered him on.  I knew that he had inherited my terrible gift recipient trait, darn extreme honesty and wearing our heart on the sleeve bites us in the butt here.

On the last night there, he was pretty quiet on the car ride back to our hotel we were staying at due to overcrowding in my parents house and my middle guy's severe allergies to dust mites and pets. I asked him if he was okay. He said he was having a lot of feelings at the moment. He then said he didn't think it was worth it to come all this way to just have to go home again and that he was just so sad about doing so. I said it was okay to be sad and that this sadness comes from your love for these people. And that's actually a very big thing. I gave him a hug and he was just sad for a little while, but like the sanguine he was he was able to go to bed happy and it didn't dampen breakfast the next morning with his relatives either.

It's interesting watching your child grow from being thing oriented to caring about spending time with others. I know he's still little, only being 7, but sometimes I feel like he's got a bit of an old soul and its interesting how it comes out in things like this. It makes me realize that its such a gift of grace to have him be part of my life. That maybe I could learn a bit more from him if I stopped and pondered who God made and is making him to be. Perhaps I could use a little more enthusiasm like him instead of my cynicism, and perhaps my heart could just be a little bigger and see more of the good in people like he does. I am truly thankful for this opportunity to be his mom.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Baby struggles

I think sometimes I am more high strung than I give off being. I guess its because I have a lot of balls to juggle and really mostly by the grace of God I do okay. But I am currently struggling. And I know in the realm of things its a minor struggle, so I'm not saying that its tragic, but instead its simply where I am at.  I remember when I starting this blog I wanted to be more candid about things, but then I realized that people were reading and I became self conscious. But I want to be authentic, so here goes.

You would think that by baby number four that I would have this baby thing down. But most days I don't feel that way. I will factor it under the each child is different and they really are. I want to say that this little lady is like Ephraim, but then she's not. She's completely herself.  I've been frustrated lately with her not being able to go along with the big kid chaos that surrounds her. Any time I take her out of the house, she refuses to nurse. So I can't be gone long and the big kids kind of require being out longer than a few hours sometimes. She also refuses to nap solo yet, so teaching some days is tricky. And if I take her out to an event that has a lot of people, well she kind of freaks out.  Sometimes she will simply pass out amongst the chaos when she's just had enough. Church is probably the one place that she likes because its rhythmical and methodical, so if she gets fussy in the pew as long as I'm standing with her in the back she's usually okay with it.

And the thing is that I love this baby girl so very much. She is sweet and is the best cuddler, I guess what I am saying is that I am struggling to figure out how I can best serve her needs and also everyone else's needs. Some things we have learned to be creative about, she seems to love (or at least not mind) to hear stories being read and so we read or listen to audio books a lot, and this goes over well with the big kids too. Recently she has transitioned to being back carried and if out will take a nap for me if she is on my back. She won't nurse when out, but we make sure we nurse as soon as we return. As for getting out, outside things or people's houses work best.

Today's homily was talking about humility and children have definitely helped me with humility. I know pride runs deep in me, I want to prove that I can do it and be who I need to be in any situation. But kids, they are helping me to see that it isn't me who is in charge. Most everything and everyone is out of my control. I don't get to say if I will have an easy baby or a more challenging one. I can't predict if everyone will be in a good mood or a bad mood that day or if we will have lots of joy or lots of tears. I can't know that my child is going to blurt out about someone being pregnant that is not one bit pregnant or if someone is fat or thin or short or tall.

Honestly, I am glad I am not in control because I am an awful manager. I feel like the only way my kids learn anything is by the grace of God or that it was innately in them. I am their guide and I am trying to get them to heaven, but wow do I suck at it on my own. On my own me is mean and yells and get frustrated easily. On my own me wants to give up when its hard.

So I surrender that this baby is going to be who I want her to be and instead be who she is meant to be. Somehow I am learning and growing into God wants me to be being her mama.  I know she is an amazing child of God and that she is growing well in her own way despite me and my failures. I know she won't always be so needy and I'll miss it. I am praying for the grace to be the best mom I can be for her and to have joy in doing it. I've been grumpy for too long trying to fit her into a square peg when she is definitely a star. And that star peg is beautiful, I pray I don't miss the chance to really see it.