Friday, June 29, 2007

Books on Babies

Recently I've had a few sick days, which has allowed me to do a lot of reading. When I wasn't napping that is.

LB gave me a hefty stack of books on pregnancy, birth and motherhood that I've been going through.

Doing so has been a healing process for me. When I found out I was pregnant in May I became so overwhelmed by all the things I suddenly realized I didn't know. By the time I was getting to be happy and excited about the baby I found out I was losing him. I've looked at most of the books, skimming a lot and stopping to really read what is important to where I'm at now. I feel more prepared now that I at least know where to go if I have a question. Of course I wish I still were pregnant, but with the hand that's been dealt I can at least be grateful for the extra preparation time.

This is what I've learned:
Ina May is a bit of a crazy hippie but she has some good birth stories to share. Reading her books was a lot like going to a fundamentalist Bible study - many things impacted me and I agreed with, but there were also some things that I readily filtered out. (Ex: Not celebrating Halloween - fundamentalists, and being telepathic with other people - Ina May's hippies.)

I really, really, really don't want to do a hospital birth. I may not be ready for a home birth, but I think we'll do a birthing center. This opinion was formed after reading Baby Catcher - which is a great memoir by a Bay Area midwife.

Women's bodies are amazing.

I'm still terrified of the thought of such a huge head coming out of such a small hole.

Also, a lot of these books call women "goddesses" when they give birth. I understand what they mean, but I actually think it's even more amazing that we're human, not divine, and we hold life within us and then bring it forth to the world. We are not raised to something higher (divinity) - what we have been made is gorgeously good, awesome and to be revered. So we don't need to ascend. We already are at the top. Right there, co-creating with Almighty God. As humans.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bang that drum

Thursday night found me in the toy aisle of a local store trying to figure out what to buy a 1 year old birthday boy who has a) an older brother and b) generous grandparents.


Luckily there was a mom with her 1 year old in the same aisle and so I asked her. She pointed out a variety of toys that were out of my price range. Then she told me her boy loved his toy drum.


I told her that I'm very good friends with his mother and would like to keep it that way.


"No, it's okay. He'll hit it three times, love it and crawl away. It'll be great. And as long as it's not electronic you're fine."


So I hesitantly bought it. Later I saw that it's for ages 2+, which made me even more upset. And as I wrapped it in newspaper I felt like an unsuccessful loser. (At least I noticed last minute that I was using the obituaries. I got rid of those and used the weather report instead.)


But in the end: triumph.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Travis took the day off working for other people. He is having a day I am partially envious of: watching movies and hanging out at a bookstore.

I say partially, though, because he's going to see a scary movie that would give me nightmares and he's reading books on plumbing and Chevelles.
And one of our student workers brought in an ice cream cake with oreos and heath bars. Who would want to miss that?!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

That's a lotta money

Last night we went to the seller's house (which is the same one we're going to buy) and we all signed the Seller's Agreement. It's legal now. And the ball is not only rolling it's picking up speed. If everything continues to go well we'll be homeowners in July!

This is exciting and terrifying. But our little dump will be beautiful when we're done with it!

Heartlands

Last night Travis and I watched a movie that I love: Heartlands. It's a British film about a man who gets on his motor bike and travels to across England to bring his wife back to him. During his travels he discovers life and he awakens. A lot of the movie is told through facial expressions, the landscapes and colors and the music (much of which was done by Kate Rusby). There are some really tender moments and a lot of good-hearted characters. It is driven by character development. I love it.

Travis was bored throughout most of it. "You have to remember, I was brought up on movies with Arnold, Sylvester and Jean Claude Van Dam." I recently watched Rambo: First Blood. There's not a lot of character development. Just a lot of violence that could have been avoided if they all would have just sat down and talked.

I guess I won't have Travis watch Sense and Sensibility with me.

Home Improvements

It seems that everyone was just waiting for Travis's school year to finish so they could recruit him for handyman jobs. Thus far he's worked for his cousin, my co-worker, Fr. H, my dad and he cleaned up our backyard.

Right now we're living at the Newman Center house at EC's campus. We rent out the upstairs and share the downstairs with the students. It actually has worked out very well.
The backyard of Newman used to have a rotting deck which was ripped out last summer. Some debris was left, though, and it looked horrible. Add to that the weedy, overgrown flower beds and it was an eye-sore. Last week Trav, his bro and I worked at making it pretty. While we're not done, 20 hours of labor made a HUGE improvement.
*I would like to add that I spent most of my time using a hatchet and an axe. :)

Our poor neighbors had to look at this every day.



This is the cistern we found while cleaning. They bashed it in upon itself. We also found a few colonies of ants, who in their fury of having their homes destroyed have invaded our kitchen. They die by glass cleaner, dish soap or my thumb.

Tilling Travis

The finished product, seeded and sown.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pro

This is fantastic. It's about Miguel Pro:


The churches were closed and priests went into hiding.

Miguel spent the rest of his life in a secret ministry to the sturdy Mexican Catholics.

In addition to fulfilling their spiritual needs, he also carried out the works of mercy by assisting the poor in Mexico City with their temporal needs. He adopted many interesting disguises in carrying out his secret mininstry. He would come in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar to baptize infants, bless marriages and celebrate Mass. He would appear in jail dressed as a police officer to bring Holy Viaticum to condemned Catholics. When going to fashionable neighboorhoods to procure for the poor, he would show up at the doorstep dressed as a fashionable businessmam with a fresh flower on his lapel. His many exploits could rival those of the most daring spies. In all that he did, however, Fr. Pro remained obedient to his superiors and was filled with the joy of serving Christ, his King.

Falsely accused in the bombing attempt on a former Mexican president, Miguel became a wanted man. Betrayed to the police, he was sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.

On the day of his execution, Fr. Pro forgave his executtioners, prayed, bravely refused the blindfold and died proclaiming, "Viva Cristo Rey", "Long live Christ the King!"

Friday, June 15, 2007

This is a pretty funny post. Read it; you'll like it.

Special Needs

Here at the college we have a program where our deposited kids come to enroll in their fall classes.

Earlier one of my deposited students, S, came with her parents and autistic brother. At lunch I went over to S's table and introduced myself to her parents and chatted with her. I didn't say anything to her brother, nor did I ask about him. Later, I was talking with S and her brother was right at her side. However I never shook his hand or asked his name. I never acknowledged that he was there. I didn't really realize I had done this - basically ignored his presence - until I was reflecting on it later. I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't do anything. (I would have with any other sibling.) But, frankly, I was a little afraid to.

Then I had another family come, this one for an individual visit where I would need to walk them around so the girl, M, could get enrolled, etc. She too has an autistic brother and I vowed that I would not ignore him the way I had S's brother. I found myself waiting with M's brother often as M took care of business. At one point we waited for 50 minutes and M's brother talked to me the whole time.

It was exhausting. He changed topics in a snap and spoke with great detail about helicopters, politicians and dates. I knew little of what he was talking about but I tried to follow despite his slurred speech and the speed at which he spoke. He had incredible energy, a loud voice and got closer and closer to me as he talked. He stared at my chest the whole time. By the time I was done walking them around I was so drained and overwhelmed I almost broke down when I got back to the office.

Both of these experiences have left me wondering about the families of those with autistic children. A Catholic man I studied under once said that having an autistic son has made everyone in his family better people, he is a better father, his wife a better mother and his other children better siblings, but that he would never wish it upon anyone.
I was drained after 2.5 hours with one and overlooked another. I have often thought that I am not a strong enough woman to handle having a special needs child, but after these encounters I wonder if anyone really is when it happens to them. You either get strong or die trying.

Happy Feast Day to You!

Today is the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We celebrate the depths of God's love for us and His great mercy.



There is a Litany to the Sacred Heart. My favorite titles are: "glowing furnace of charity," "victim of our sins," "salvation of those who hope in Thee" and "formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother's womb." That last one strikes at something freshly revealed in me.



Anyone who loves language, I think, would like a good Catholic Litany. To some they may seem over the top but to me, they are so beautiful and on the mark.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

While looking for the 100 Acre Wood...

...we found this instead.
Last night being Wii bowling league for the guys, I was alone and working on wedding presents. When I "craft" I usually like to have a movie in. So last night the choice pick was Sliding Doors. This is an older Gwenyth Paltrow movie. She might have been dating Brad Pitt at the time - that's how old.


I used to really like it. But when I watched it last night it was just a little better than okay.

Infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, malipulation, dishonesty and miscarriages that are treated as a convient end. It's a little harder at this point in my life to invest in characters like that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cookies and Roses

Today in the office we discussed how nice it is (would be) to get flowers from the men in our lives.
Perhaps I shouldn't complain. Travis is a great, great man and a super good husband. Everyday I thank God for him and I wonder if all the women in the world know that they should be jealous of me. (I'm serious, I really do think that.)

But he doesn't give me flowers. I know he just doesn't think about it, and he does think about other things - like emptying the dishwasher, which might matter more.
But he also doesn't really see a point, so even if he did think of it he still might not buy me any.

One of our student workers quoted her boyfriend, "Why do you want flowers, they just Die."
Travis would totally agree with that.

My response, however, was that I make Travis chocolate chip cookie dough because he likes it. And in the end he just poops it out, so why is it any different?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Check it

There is an interesting post on RCM about mothering, the Church and NFP. I haven't experienced or felt some of what she has, but maybe you have. Please note however that the object of her post is to be pro-active, not just to complain. It's cross-posted here, and the comments are very good.
I have had some questions arise through my own NFPing but in the end that was due to a lack of understanding on my part. At issue here could be the fact that some items are not covered as well as they should be, or are not presented clearly enough.

When no one's around

Friday night Travis was playing Wii with Michael and Charlie for Guys' Weekend. If they were a bunch of girls it would have been called a sleep over or slumber party. But they're manly men and they have Guys' Weekend. Whatever - I was alone and didn't really like it but I made the best of it.

How?

~ cranberry juice + coconut rum
~ Mary Kay pedicure kit
~ pillows lined up on the bed which I could snuggle up to and pretend they were my husband

Friday, June 8, 2007

This will be another full weekend.

The good:
- Dinner with Sr. MN's family. They're Lebanese and it will be a full meal of goodness. This is especially exciting for me as I tried making hummus a few weeks ago but my tahini had gone bad and it was horrible.
- Dinner with my parents for an early Father's Day for my dad.
- Ocean's 13! We are big fans of the first two and I'm way excited for this third. I love the dialogue in these films more than anything else, especially the way they all pick on each other.
- We're greeting at Mass Sunday morning. We've never done this before and we don't know most of the parishioners since we're still knew - but what the heck!? What's really funny is that while we've only been attending since January and we still haven't officially registered with the parish I lector, we're greeters, Trav was nominated for pres of the Men's Club, we were asked to (and will be) leading the youth group in the fall and I was just hired as the parish secretary.

The bad:
- This is Guy's Weekend which means Travis is already gone and will be spending the night with a couple of the guys. This is good for them, but I hate it when he's gone.
- The Chevelle was sold and will be picked up by its new owner tomorrow morning. This is very sad. And even more sad because Trav and the Chevelle are gone right now so he can't take me out for one last drive.
- I have to dust the house. I hate dusting but the thick layer that currently covers everything has become shameful.


Also, on another note, there was a priest and three deacons who were killed earlier this week right after Mass in Iraq. If you want to read more about it you could check out this blog. I hadn't considered it before, but it seems that Christian persecution is pretty bad right now.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Catholic Comfort

In the past few weeks there have been a few things I've pondered and mostly they surround the Almighty God and what part He played in my miscarriage.

When I first began to feel like something was WRONG I called a friend who is a pediatric nurse. "Stop doing whatever you're doing. Get off your feet and put them up. Call your doctor or the ED. And pray to Mother Mary!" was her advice.
I did all of these things. And I prayed and prayed to the Blessed Virgin. Surely she would understand how horrible it would be to fear for the life of your child. Surely she would intercede for me to her Son and things would happen. Surely.
And I called on my old friend St. Elizabeth, my confirmation saint and mother of John the Baptist. She too would understand my fear of losing a child and having an empty womb.
And at adoration that night I implored our Eucharistic Lord to give me my child, to not take him from me, to not do this to me. And I hoped that, like Hannah, God would hear my prayer and would give me a child. I had seen Him do it before; surely He would do it again.
And surely He did not.
I am not mad at my Lord. Nor am I all the saints and angels I called on to pray for me. I do not feel forsaken by the Almighty, nor bitter towards Him. My guess is that while I was praying for a life, everyone else was praying for strength and grace.

A few other things:

I read recently from C.S. Lewis this: "You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body."
This is another reassuring reminder of our Creed. My child is not dead. And just like all the saints, he is living life fully.

Throughout this I have often felt scared and unsure. Unprepared, alone, misunderstood and lost. And I wonder if this is how Joan of Arc felt. Going before the king, leading the French army in battle and being tried and condemned for being a heretic are not the same as suffering a miscarriage, but I do think the feelings may have been the same.

I also wonder if Elizabeth, who did not have John until she was an old woman, had miscarried herself. I wonder if now she is surrounded by a family, much bigger than she ever knew. And I wonder if she would have grieved for the child she thought she could never have. I feel that she, Mary and Joan have given me much strength these weeks.

And finally, the other night while driving I suddenly remembered something a priest told me once. Mother Teresa had said this to him many years ago in a letter: "Jesus must really love you, because you will suffer." For the first time in the 4 years since he said that to me I finally understand and appreciate it. It brings me comfort and I feel closer to Heaven than I ever have before.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Check it

I've never experience love at first sight in a romantic way, but with my friend LB, the first time I saw her our freshman year of high school I knew we would be friends.

Therefore it is with much pride and excitement that I share with you her new adventures:
beautiful, handmade, one-of-a-kind crafts to buy
and
her latest blog talking about them. Both are great and I encourage you to check them out.

LB embroidered a beautiful wedding gift (below) for Trav and I and I've just hired her to shadowbox one of the souvenier spoons we bought to make our PBJ's with while in Scotland.


Wisconsin!

Travis and I spent the weekend in good ole Wisconsin. Friday night was spent with the wonderful Gregg, Eileen, Madeline and Daniel. Gregg is my grandpa's first cousin, but is actually just a few years older than my mom. His two kids are in 7th and 3rd grade and I love them all.
Saturday we headed over to Trav's cousin's home. He graduated from high school and we celebrated by having a shrimp boil. (Oh my goodness!)

Pics

This is Maddie with her crossword puzzles. Trav, Maddie and I watched her brother's soccer game. They won!

Daniel's the one just standing there.
And only in Wisconsin...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Urgent Update

Urgent update:

We now have enough hangers.

The beauty of gift cards is that you can buy things you don't really need but would be handy and nice to have around, or you can buy things you do need at a price you wouldn't pay if it was coming out of your wallet.
So the Linens and Things gift card bought us a candy therometer, a dish drying rack, a lid rack, a pancake flipper and HANGERS.