Sunday, June 28, 2009

Heavy heart

Today I found out some seriously sad news from two women I know. Both of them could really use your prayers; please, please lift them up.

Baptism Anniversary Gift

Lydia's Godmother, the lovely Katie B., made the following gift in honor of the day Lydia was washed of the stain of original sin and brought into the family of God. This gift is so great, so beautiful and thoughtful that I wanted to share it with everyone.
The box was marked with Lydia's initials. When it's opened you find a small, homemade, trifold card and a little envelope marked "Lydia's Pearls".
The card includes several Bible quotes, along with a note about what it means to be Baptised and loved by God.
The envelope includes 3 pearls, each representing a member of the Holy Trinity. Every year on the anniversary of her Baptism, Katie will give Lydia 3 more pearls until she's 18 and will have enough for a necklace.

Travis and I were both so touched by this gift. We absolutely love it and know that as Lydia grows up she too will cherish the gift and all its symbolism.



trying to learn about "ObamaCare"

That's what I've been doing lately - trying to listen to both sides of the argument when it comes to the federal government's national health care plan. There are some obvious benefits to such a plan, and it is clear that changes need to be made so health care can be available to people who have no benefits or no job.

On the other side, I do worry what the plan might just end up looking like. For example, I hate that my tax money pays for abortions in Mexico and I'll be intensely ticked off if I have to pay for even more abortions in the US under President Obama's health care.

Kate Wicker, the wife of a doctor-in-training, had some interesting points to add in her post here. At this point her concerns seem legitimate, though we won't know until we really see the plan, I suppose.

I'm wondering, do any of you out there have any other good sites I could read to do more research? I know I have "conservative" and "liberal" readers and I honestly would like to get both sides' views and understandings of the situation. However, please keep in mind that any comments shouldn't attack someone else's thoughts, but all comments should be left in a spirit of charity.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quick thoughts before I go on vacation

1. Father's Day was just another reminder of how my husband is a great, great man. I woke up sick so he made a big breakfast and took care of Lydia while I napped through the morning and early afternoon. He helped me make his Father's Day dinner of homemade pizza and then spent the evening playing with Lydia and helping me pack.


2. Things are about to get tough around here. Travis has not been officially accepted into Bradley's Masters in Enviromental Science program, but he received word that he's been "recommended for acceptance" which basically means he's in. This program is aimed at teachers and is in it's first year and is completely funded by grants. That means in 3 years he'll have a masters from BU and we'll only have to cover the financial burden of books and lab fees. However, this program begins in July and we have lost a lot time working on the house because of the rain. And with the baby coming in September, we're looking at a whole new stress (and blessing). It's hard not to get overwhelmed thinking about it all...


3. If you think you have a blood clot in your leg so you need to go to the ER and have it checked out asap, and you have new insurance please check your insurance card to see what hospitals are part of the plan. Don't go to the Catholic hospital just because it's always been covered and it's the best in the area, and you're more concerned about your baby than money. Because you might just end up with a $2000 bill that you have to pay. Suckage!!


4. The day will surely come (won't it?) when my husband's ex-fiance won't intimidate the hell out of me. And surely on that day, when we see each other at a wedding (like what just happened) or some other event she won't pretend like we don't exist but will maybe, just maybe give us a head nod and slight smile as she walks directly past us and a group of people she is friends with. But until that day comes, I'm afraid I'll probably continue to have panic attacks leading up to such events and then have emotional crying bouts for days afterwards.


5. 7 months pregnant + hot, humid summer = Air conditioning and little time outside


6. The cellulite is spreading on my legs like a bad rash.


7. My mom is taking my family (brothers, sisters-in-law, Trav, Lydia and I) on a vacation to Galena, IL this week. I am looking forward to my visit to the spa for a good pre-natal massage.


8. Check out Vitamin String Quartet. It's fun to play Name That Tune.


9. 7 Pounds, the Will Smith movie, is an incredibly emtionally drainng movie. Wowzers.


10. My cousin, Laura, a student at the great Eureka College, was just named an All American Athlete by ESPN the Magazine. She's a tennis player with a 4.0 and she's won the last 16 games she's played over the past 2 seasons. Way to go, Laura!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

adorable babble

My baby girl is learning language really quickly. Signs: change (as in change my diaper), water, milk, more, eat, book, tickle, and she makes it quite clear when she wants to go outside. :) Spoken words: daddy, hi, wow, whoa, tickle, water, yummy, dog, and her latest word that I love the most - mommy!

I should probably state the disclaimer that she is not consistent with her signing but there's a good enough foundation that communication is A LOT easier! I'm so glad we're signing. Thank you, Baby Einstien video!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What we've been doing lately

This is what the house looked like when we bought it.
Travis and a friend ripping off the porch.
My dad ripping off more of the porch and working on the roof. The porch will now be open.

The changes seen here, from the first pic are: open porch, two windows instead of three in the front, electric wiring no longer runs to the front of the house but is underground on the side, roof on the right is now pitched (it was flat starting around the top 2x4) and the dormer now has a pitched roof instead of being a flat sloop.

Working on the back. This dormer was also fixed. You can also see on the side where the top of the roof was flat. Eventually this back door and porch will be taken off.

The following are just cute pictures of Lydia. :)




Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kids at Church

Kate Wicker hit a nerve it seems in this article and this post about bringing kids to church. If you haven't read them yet you should. They were very timely for me, since the more submerged into toddlerhood my daughter becomes the more I wonder about if I'm too slack at Mass. I also wonder if I'll be able to manage daily Mass with Lydia and a newborn.




In general I believe that a 4-5 year old should be able to sit quietly for about an hour, especially if they are being encouraged to participate in the Mass via a children's missal, singing the songs, standing, kneeling and sitting and the family is sitting near the front so the kids can see the action at the altar. I believe that by this age they shouldn't need anything to eat or drink, though they may still need to go to the bathroom. Older kids, though, should be taught that there will be no bathroom breaks during Mass.




I think that for a baby / toddler soft toys and books are completely okay. But I don't think toys, crayons, etc (anything but books) are okay for a small child.




When it comes to Lydia, I allow her to walk around a bit in the pew, as long as she doesn't go out into the aisles. I let her stand on the kneeler and crawl around a bit. Generally books are enough to keep her happy. BUT I'm worried that I'm not laying a good foundation for what I'm going to

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Things I've been thinking about lately

The Difference a Year Can Make
May 2008 I wrote the following:
Because I had the natural knack for mothering, and I feel it's my vocation, I thought this would be so much easier. I was duped. About a week ago, as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, "I don't remember praying for humility." But that is what I've gotten. My pride and dignity have gone out the window time and time again: milk soaking my shirts, poop all over, crying I cannot console, a boob poking out while I'm burping a fussy Lydia, and on top of it all I can't shower or brush my teeth until 11 usually. And when I'm low on sleep the crying is much more likely to not only begin, but continue for hours. (I'm talking about myself crying, not my daughter.) It is amazing how such a tiny person can make me feel so unsure, incapable and frustrated.
What a difference a year can make. I have learned that sleep is vitally important to my ability to mother and that one frustration will take the place of another. I've also learned that my love for my daughter grows every day but that it is not dependent on her personality, achievements or cuteness.


Patience, and My Lack Thereof
While I have gained a great deal of confidence in how I parent, I still run short on patience. Fortunately I know Lydia pretty well now, and with her small vocabulary she is able to communicate some needs/wants to me, and both of these things prevent meltdowns for both of us. However, getting ready in the morning (me) can still be a struggle, as can the mess of meal time. I'm wondering if there's another way to become patient besides nurturing the virtue through experience. I think that hand-in-hand with my impatience is my stubbornness and pride. I am not always the most flexible person and I have such a hard time "letting go" that I hate that expression. So when things don't go my way, or don't turn out well enough, I become frustrated, upset and have no tolerance. I know that in the moments when Lydia is dancing on my last nerve I need to say a prayer and love on her, but feel a sense of entitlement so I don't want to humble myself before my daughter or the Lord. As in, I'm not asking too much to want to shower, dress, brush my teeth, do my hair and make-up and not have Lydia cry, so why should I turn away from myself again. I'm also seeing selfishness here...


Beauty and Where to Find It
I sat down with one of my wedding album a few nights ago and poured over the pictures of showers, the rehearsal, the wedding day and opening gifts the day after. Over and over again I stopped to stare at this woman who was so attractive. One photo was of her and two of my cousins, whom I have always considered to be very pretty. Looking at the three of them I noticed that the one in the middle was incredibly pretty - and it was me. Yet I remember looking at that picture two years ago and feeling so fat and ugly in comparison. Why did I not know? Why did I hate how I looked? Why did I never feel attractive enough?

This realization was even harder to have because of how I look now. I felt so beautiful when I was pregnant with Lydia and I didn't mind having my picture taken - one great big belly shot after another. But now I shy away from cameras and make sure Lydia looks cute when we go out so people notice her and not me.

I worry about how these feelings I have about myself will affect my daughter. No one wants to have an ugly kid (and thankfully I don't) but my greatest hopes for my daughter are that she'll be kind, just, compassionate, generous, welcoming and a faithful, joyful Catholic. To me, this is really what beauty is for everyone else, just not for me.


More on Beauty
I keep thinking about religious sisters, especially the ones in habits and most especially the ones whose habits hide most of their bodies. The sisters I know, the ones I've worked with or are friends with, are all so beautiful, even if they would be fairly average in lay clothes. Any time I'm with a habited sister there is a great sense of peace, joy and love that emulates from her. Her face radiates like Moses' as he came down the mountain.
On the flip side I always feel sad or even embarrassed when I'm around women in revealing clothing. The shorter the skirt or the lower the top the more I feel like there's something lacking. They may look good in one way, but they don't radiate beauty the way I've seen it done. It takes so much more than a pretty face and a hot bod.

I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with these thoughts and where I should go with them from here.


The People I Know
The older I get the more I appreciate the wide spectrum of people I know. I love that in my closest circle of friends I am completely normal: a practicing Catholic with traditional views, a stay at home mom living on a budget. And I am grateful for the women who I am different from but who still hang out with me anyways. Two good examples of these circles:
1 - the version of Theology on Tap that Travis and I are hosting in our house. We invite area Catholics and find a speaker. We eat snacks, drink soda or beer and listen to a priest give a talk while Lydia toddles around.
2 - the La Leche League meetings I go to on a monthly basis. I am the only Catholic and definitely one of the most traditional. I'm probably one of the few who didn't vote for Obama. But I love going to that group and hearing their ideas and opinions.


What have you been thinking about, or what do you think about what I've been thinking about?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stations with the Brothers

The Community of St. John is hosting a really great, prayerful experience on Friday, June 19th: Stations of the Cross procession through downtown Peoria. Here's the announcement I received with more info:

Are you looking for a unique experience of your Catholic Faith? The Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation of Saint John invite you to join them in praying the Stations of the Cross through downtown Peoria! The Brothers of Saint John will preach the stations as we process from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception to Sacred Heart Parish in Peoria. Everyone is welcome! This great event will be held on Friday, June 19th, starting at 7:30 pm at the cathedral and ending at 9:30 pm at Sacred Heart, followed by Eucharistic adoration and confessions. We hope you will join us in taking part in what we hope will become a new Peoria tradition.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Motherhood a year later

May 2008 I wrote the following:






Because I had the natural knack for mothering, and I feel it's my vocation, I thought this would be so much easier. I was duped. About a week ago, as I lay in bed, I thought to myself, "I don't remember praying for humility." But that is what I've gotten. My pride and dignity have gone out the window time and time again: milk soaking my shirts, poop all over, crying I cannot console, a boob poking out while I'm burping a fussy Lydia, and on top of it all I can't shower or brush my teeth until 11 usually. And when I'm low on sleep the crying is much more likely to not only begin, but continue for hours. (I'm talking about myself crying, not my daughter.)






It is amazing how such a tiny person can make me feel so unsure, incapable and frustrated.






What a difference a year can make. I have learned that sleep is vitally important to my ability to mother and that

Spiritual Bouquet

The Cardinal Newman Society asked the faithful to add to a spiritual bouquet for the 83 US Catholic bishops who publicly opposed Notre Dame's honoring of President Obama. The bishops were sent certificates the Friday before Pentecost Sunday; they can be viewed here.


The impressive bouquets include:

Mass Intentions: 116,741
Divine Mercy Chaplets: 74,974
Aspirations: 57,728
General Prayers: 236,615
Eucharistic Holy Hours: 37,125
Holy Rosaries: 146,944
Novenas: 19,877
Days of Fasting: 28,862In addition to these prayers
Catholic priests offered 3,272 Holy Sacrifices of the Mass for the bishops.