Sunday, March 28, 2010

taking a break

I think I need to take a break from blogging, as in all blogging - reading and writing.

So if you're going to announce you're pregnant or getting married please email me. I am taking a break from Facebook, too, so really, I mean it, email me.

I will definitely be gone for Holy Week, but maybe longer.

I need to figure out how closely the junk I'm feeling is linked to how much of myself I "put out there" and how easily I can compare myself to other Catholic SAHMs who share thier lives through similar venues. I don't know if I'm simply more honest, but I'm tired of feeling like the fat, mediocre one.

I wish you a prayerful and fruitful Holy Week. God bless.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

the amazing Bennet

I'm sure to most of you there is nothing amazing about this video. It's a kid, sitting and putting things in his mouth while his mother talks like an idiot.

But what you're not catching is that this little boy, just 6 months and 3 weeks ago did nothing but sleep, eat, cry and soil his diaper. It is amazing to watch a newborn grow and develop. First he learned he could hold things, then that he could switch those things hand to hand. He learned to push his chest off the ground while on his tummy. Now he slightly rocks on his knees and scootches backwards. And one day, after weeks of propping him up, sitting him in his baby chair and pointing out other babies who could sit by themselves, he could just do it. All by himself, he could sit and play. Amazing.

It's a reminder to me that the littlest victories are still significant and to be celebrated. And that I should be grateful everyday for my babes, my healthy babes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Travis!

This girl:


and this guy

want to wish you a very happy birthday.
You are so loved.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

pride comes before the fall

In the middle of the night Bennet had a super soggy diaper that needed changing.

Without turning on a light I got the pjs off, threw the old diaper away and put the clean one on. 

I can even change a diaper in the dark, I'm so good, I thought to myself.

And then, as I lifted him by his legs and grasped for the onesie snaps I picked up a big, warm turd.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today looked like a great day. 

I remembered to turn the tv on in time for Super Readers.

I had my blood drawn for the pregnancy lab work.

I vacuumed the carpets, swept the fake hard wood, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, and hand-washed the big pots and pans.

Bennet took 2 successful naps.

Lydia took 1 successful nap.

We went for a long walk, the kids and I.

Lydia and I baked banana bread.

Bennet, Lydia and I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3.

I had supper cooking when Trav came home from work.

We went to the gym and I worked out again.

I even had time to blog!

Instead of having the tv on throughout the afternoon the kids and I sang songs, read books and played with puzzles.


But I feel so crumby.  I want to be super mom so badly and yet on a day when it should look like I succeeded I feel so empty.  In fact, I feel overwhelmed.  Not overwhelmed because of all the things we did, just anxious and like I'm not going to be able to do this.  (Whatever "this" is...)

It's 8pm.  The kids are in bed.  I should brush my teeth, drink some water, read my Bible, pray in thanksgiving and get some sleep.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  It is the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

my favorite game

It might seem silly, but right now one of my favorite ways to relax is by playing this game with the Melissa & Doug wooden blocks.
It goes like this:
Have toddler put blocks back in their box in non-alphabetical order.

Like so

Begin to arrange the blocks in alpha order by moving them around, but without picking them up.

Glory in your brilliance.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

you rascally rabbit

For those of you who read the What to do about the Easter Bunny post, I thought I'd offer a follow up.

Dear, dear Easter Bunny... 

I did a little research into your past (like Em suggested - good idea, Em!) and discovered you most likely come from Germany and that back in the day your coming was more quiet, and definitely less commercial. 

In fact, what I read sounded a lot like what my Grandpa W shared about his memories of you, Easter Bunny.  He has the sweetest memories about being a boy and making a little nest in a corner of his house.  Every day of Easter, since Catholics celebrate Easter for a full week, he'd come home and find a single egg or sweet in the nest.  Grandpa encouraged me to not turn my back on you when I told him I didn't know what to do.

When asking my mom her opinion she told me about her Great Grandma D.  I guess my great-great grandma loved you just as much as my grandpa.  She even would swear that rabbit eggs were better than chicken eggs.  She so looked forward to the little treats you would leave for her.

Now, the fondness of my grandparents' memories was pretty convicting.

 But I noticed one HUGE difference between their Easters and the Easters of my childhood and today.  Grandpa and Great Great Grandma each received small gifts, treats, or tokens.  This is a  f a r  cry from the Easter baskets of today, which look a little more like the image on the right. 

Margaret pointed out on my post that it's the commercialism that threatens to overshadow the Resurrected Christ, and not you, EB.  I agree with her, but the thing is, that's all you do:  you bring baskets filled with sidewalk chalk, stuffed toys, bubbles, and lots of candy.  (I wonder what you bring older kids?  CD's?  itunes gift cards?  DVDs?  Video games?  hmmmm... I only have a 2 year old, so I'm not sure.)

It's not that I'm against the gifts or the baskets. 

But, just like Santa, I feel like you make kids excited not because you're a neat character they can believe in, like Ariel or Super Wy.  No, they're excited about you because you bring things.  Neat things.  Nice things.  Sweet things.  And in doing so you, the great bearer of baskets, become glorified.
I should know, that's why I was excited about you when I was a kid.  And I'll be honest, you overshadowed Jesus when I was a little kid.  Let me be abundantly clear, when I was a kid, Easter was primarily about you and the Paschal Mystery was a HUGE afterthought.  (don't feel bad, Mom.  You tried, I was just greedy.)

At school we would all talk about what the Easter Bunny brought us, comparing each other's baskets to see who had the best gifts and most sweets.  This just reinforced that Easter wasn't really about Easter, it was about the baskets and you, EB.

Now, some people seem to think that by not teaching my kids about you I will be ruining a part of their childhood.  Maybe there is a morsel of truth to that.  My hope, though, is that my husband and I will be able to create enough tradtions and fun on our own, centered around Holy Week and Easter, that they will be compensated. 

I feel like I should admit at this point that my children will still receive Easter baskets with goodies inside.  But these baskets will come from their parents and grandparents, not you.  Because, believe me, us normal folk will not become glorified.  It's been proven.  (okay, we will become glorified at Christ's second coming... but that's not what I'm talking about here!)

Really, this is nothing personal.  I don't think you, Easter Bunny, are a horrible bunny.  I don't think parents who invite you into their homes are horrible parents.

But I do feel that since no one told me how they keep Christ the joyful center of Easter while keeping you a supporting character, I am unaware of how to do that myself without asking you to completely bow out of the picture. 

Please know, this isn't about you.  This is about me.  It is a personal parenting choice, made by my husband and I. 

And really, for me it came down to two reasons:

First, commercialism and secularism.  I want my family's Easters to look very different from the Easters of my atheist, agnostic and nominally Christian friends.  Maybe that sounds snooty, but I think they should be different.  A real joy, rooted in a personal relationship with the Risen Lord, should be the focus of our Easter, not a celebration of nice things, like warm weather, longer days and procreating animals.

Second, I feel I will not do a good enough job of keeping Jesus the focus if I have you in the picture.  I want my kids to grow up loving the Holy Trinity, and I wholeheartedly believe that my vocation is to get my husband, kids and self to Heaven.  If not having you come to our home every Spring helps me make that happen, then that's what I'm going to have to do.  I hope you can support me in this choice, even if you don't agree with me.

Most sincerely,
Bonnie E.

Monday, March 15, 2010

my plans for St. Patrick's Day


We'll be celebrating with an Irish Brinner.  (That's breakfast for dinner.) 

Sausage, 2 eggs, fried tomato slices, Irish soda bread, and Irish boxty.

What will you be doing to celebrate the great St. Patrick?



Image from sacredmint.com

Sunday, March 14, 2010

you know what this means

4 months today.

September 13th

Good job to those who caught the news when I slipped it into the "good day" post. :)

We are so blessed!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

a really good dream

Last night I dreamt that Trav and I were out and about and happened upon a small group of friends. His ex was also there, as in the girl he was engaged to just 3 months before we had our own wedding date picked out. (God's hand and his timing! Believe me, we were all surprised.) I'll call her Sarah.

Now, in the past, in real life, Sarah hasn't really wanted much to do with us. A few years ago we tried contacting her to apologize for the way everything went down and she made it pretty clear that when we'd be thrown together at weddings or parties the appropriate behavior would be to pretend like she didn't exist to us and we didn't exist to her.

So in the dream I spoke to the group but never looked in her direction (except for nervous glances when she wasn't watching. I'll be honest, she intimidates the crap out of me!). But then, all of a sudden, Sarah started laughing at a joke I'd made. She even started commenting and asking questions. She was being more than civil - she was being nice! It was clear that whatever wounds there had been were now healed and she harbored no ill-will.

And because Travis and I were so excited about this mended relationship we decided to throw a BBQ / pool party. Everyone came - all our mutual Newman friends, and even Kate Wicker who brought copies of her new book that had a waterproof jacket.

I'm not sure what made me dream this dream, but I'll be completely honest and tell you that it was really nice. Even in the dream we knew that the three of us would not be friends. We wouldn't make plans to visit or chat on the phone. But we were all glad to be in a place where we could be happy for one another and quickly catch up when we bumped into each other.

What to do about the Easter Bunny?

I'm trying to find my position on this, and I just can't.

You probably know how I feel about Santa Claus.  The fat elf doesn't come on Christmas Eve, but St. Nicholas fills our stockings on the eve of his feast day.

So clearly we have no problem lying to our kids about who's amazingly leaving gifts at our house.  But we want Christian holidays to be about Christ and I feel like I'll do a much better job of that if we remove Santa from the 25th.  But that still leaves the magic and excitement that all kids feel when they believe in Santa.

Back to the Easter Bunny.

We still do Easter baskets, and they're filled with candy and trinkets and fun things.  They are there to help us celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, of course.  And I can explain why we use plastic eggs (new life) and pretty colors (pinks, greens, blues and yellows remind us of the Earth beautifully coming back to life).

But do I tell the kids that the Easter Bunny is some devout Catholic rabbit who loves Jesus so much he spreads his excitement by bringing eggs?  (Whaaaat?  That sounds crazy!)  Or does it not even need an explanation?  Or should they just come from us and no mention of the EB?

Honestly, I am not making any judgements (and I hope you're not either!) - I want to know how you moms and dads out there explain the Easter Bunny to your kids and keep Christ the focus of Easter.  Also, if you don't do the Easter Bunny, what do you do?

Lent is coming to an end!  Help, please. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

I told you I liked Kate Nash

You may need to pause it and let it load.

If you liked this song, you might also like Foundations, Skeleton Song, Mouthwash and Pumpkin Song.

I'll admit, I haven't really listened super carefully to the lyrics, but if Regina doesn't bother you, neither will Kate. :)

lessons, affirmations and convictions

- When I become tired I become a worse version of myself.  Spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically I suffer.  I become mean, short-fused, and I walk around angry, easily resenting my husband and blaming my children for my inability to deal with life. 
It's a good thing I have a husband who sees my descent and makes plans to take the kids to his parents' home for a night.  He's such a good man.  In fact, he stands among the best of men.

- Getting nice gifts is, well, quite nice.  The heroic generosity of others astounds me and makes me feel very blessed to know such virtuous people.  It's also a quite humbling experience.
And that seems to be the beauty of being poor.
I am much more receptive to graciousness, kindness and selflessness.  I see it, recognize it, appreciate it.

- I cannot negate your frustration or pain because it contradicts my own.  For example, it may suck that you don't have a job, but that doesn't change the fact that it sucks that my boss is a belittling liar.  We should be able to sympathize with one another and support each other's personalized crosses.
This point was so wonderfully verbalized by V, who was quoting A's mom, I believe.

- Stories like this one, on a psychiatrist reported exorcism, make me so glad I'm not just a Christian, but Catholic.  I've heard stories from people who have scary supernatural issues.  When these people are not Catholic, and they consult their own pastors or rabbis they are often told, "Call a priest.  Catholics deal with that."  The true story that The Exorcist is based on started that very way. 
Interestingly enough, the boy, it was a boy in the 1940's not a girl in the 1970's, was finally taken to a hospital run by religous brothers.  One night a brother put a statue of St. Michael by the boy's bedside.  The next morning the boy awoke and said he had dreamt of an angel who battled demons and threw them over a cliff.   After that he was fine.  Now, I don't know about you, but one of our bedtime prayers with the kids is the prayer to St. Michael.
Jen at Conversion Diary pointed out the above link on her blog.  It was one of the things that led her from atheism to Christianity.

- This isn't the strongest opinion I've ever had, but I like Kate Nash

- Here's a cool story about standing up for what you believe in. 
And I will publicly admit that when I read the word "guerillas" my first thought was of "gorillas."  It wasn't until they had guns that I realized we weren't talking about the chest-thumping primates that Lydia and I imitate. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

today was a very good day

This morning the kids and I headed to B/N for a brunch celebrating the pregnant women in the Friday morning moms' group.  There was yummy food, well over 20 small children and each mom received a spiritual bouquet from the other women.  The moms who arranged it even invited a priest over to bless the four of us who are expecting.  It was chaotic, fun and beautiful. 

* This leads me to a tangent.  I am hugely blessed to be a part of the Friday morning group of Catholic moms.  I am an intruder and outsider - the rest lives in B/N and belongs to the same parish - yet they have welcomed me and my children.  The women are such role models to me and I am edified by the different virtues and strengths I see in all of them.  Seriously. 

The day got better after a stressful naptime when Travis came home.  The whole family went for a walk, Lydia helping to push the stroller or riding on her dad's shoulders.  On our way home we bumped into MVV, who was also out enjoying the weather.  He walked home with us and played with Lydia while Trav grilled venison brats and pork chops. 

Yes, we had our first family walk, and broke out the grill today.  It was great

Bring on Spring!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Prayers for Chile - especially Tatjana!

Hello friends.

My friend Tatjana (the German I met in San Francisco) is currently living in Chile.  I just got a message from her cousin that Tatjana and her boyfriend are not hurt but they are very scared.  It seems that there is a lot of shooting, looting and violence going on in her town but she cannot leave, no one can.  It's unsure how much clean water and food they have.  When Tatjana spoke to her parents she told them that it felt like a war zone and asked for prayers.

So please, please, please pray for all the people affected by the earthquake and especially pray for my friend Tatjana!

Thank you and God bless!

Monday, March 1, 2010

the sports van

Part 1
Travis and I looked at our growing family and decided we needed a minivan.  He looked online, stopped by a couple dealerships, and did some research and number crunching.  We needed a $5,000-$6,000 van in fairly good condition.  We prayed that God would provide us with the right van.

Part 2
While looking online, we found a van that fit our needs.  So we headed over to the dealership and Trav took it for a test drive, during which the breaks began to smoke.  When he and the salesman returned we all sat down and talked about money, and the dealer sent the car to the garage to be fixed right away.  While talking with the salesman Travis told him, "We won't be buying today; we need a night or two to think about it."  "Okay," the salesman said, and then he asked us to sign some paper so he could figure out monthly payments. 

Part 3
We continued to discuss numbers and then the salesman got out paperwork, asking us to sign a form stating no extras were promised.  "Ummm... we're not buying the car today."  "You're not?!"  "No, my husband told you that and you said 'okay.'"  "Oh.... ummmm..."  He then got the sales manager came over to reassure us that the breaks were being fixed since legally they can't sell us a car that has something wrong with it.  I responded, "I hope you wouldn't ethically either."  This dealership didn't need 3 strikes, 2 was enough and we were done.

Part 4
That night we talked about things some more and decided that right now, with just two kids we didn't need to buy anything.  Why tighten our belt even more to take on a new monthly payment.  We basked in our wisdom. 

Part 5
My father-in-law found a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan with 117,000 miles at small dealership in a small town near his home.  He talked to the dealer and if we traded in our Cavalier it would cost us $5,450 - taxes, license and everything included.

Part 6
The next day the transmission died in the Cavalier.  I love when God makes things obvious.

Part 7
We took the Cavalier to the dealership, the dealer test drove it, guaranteed $5,450 and told us to talk to our bank.  That was on a Saturday.  On Monday, during his lunch hour, Travis called Cefcu, got a loan and drove to the dealership.  We bought a van. 

Part 8
Buying the van was kinda painful for me.  Here I am, two small kids, too fat to dress well, and driving a minivan.  It's kinda depressing.  It's the official turning in of my "cool card."  But then my wonderful husband pointed out that the title read sports van not mini van.  So the pill wasn't so bitter after all.  :)