Sunday, November 28, 2010

a different kind of adventure

i'm supposed to be in st. louis right now. it was just going to be a quick trip-ride out with one of my awesome cousins today, do a little shopping tomorrow morning, then head back home by myself with a car she needs returned to our lovely sunflower state.

but i'm not there because ben and max are sick. max is on the mend from a pretty nasty cold/fever thing and ben got sick during the night last night. because i have an amazing mother-in-law, as of yesterday, she was still willing to keep the boys today, knowing full well that max might be quite unpleasant. and really, she probably would have still kept them, even with both of them sick, because she really is that wonderful.

but i just couldn't do it. i gave up a totally rad road trip with my way cool cousin who i rarely get to see, finally getting to go to trader joe's, as well as what i was dreaming to be a totally enchanting stroll around the st. louis galleria, which apparently is a pretty nice mall. that might sound odd-mary, a mall rat? while i'm not a huge shopper per se, i really enjoy walking around cool stores and people watching. add in a yummy coffee and no kids to chase and it sounded like quite the fantasy. anthropologie, h&m, urban outfitters, restoration hardware-all passed on so i could spend the day as a human kleenex.

so max brightened my morning as he proudly stumbled around in tim's boots. and my daddy brought me stew and freshly baked bread and stayed with my napping boys so i could go to Mass. although i was pretty bummed about not getting to go, receiving that act of love and kindness from my dad and having ben tell me several times that i was his best momma because i take such good care of him, made my very tiring day not so bad after all.

i had been wanting to make advent more meaningful and mindful this year, so i guess this was God's little gift to me to help me slow down.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


after my last post, i feel a need to clarify.

i don't want to sound whiney about motherhood. because i know, sometimes i do. you can almost guarantee that any time i write a post like my last one, we haven't gotten to see tim in awhile. i already knew it before, but this time of tim's work absences reaffirms for me God's design for marriage and parenthood-children need a mother AND a father. the boys behaviour and attitudes really start to change when they haven't had daddy time in awhile. when they get to spend time with my dad or their awesome uncles, i can even see a difference. our society doesn't do men justice-YOU ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS MOMMAS! i know i didn't value tim's role enough and often felt sorry for myself that i had to carry the bulk of the parenting load. of course, when kiddos are nursing babies, this is more true, but as the boys get older, i can see the difference. i also see how much i took tim for granted for myself. i need that teammate that gives me a break from the boys. i need that emotional support. i need that adult companionship.

but getting back to my point-i don't want to be whiney. i know there are bigger, badder things going on in the world than my little problems. lately i've been reading about and praying for a family that will loose their adopted daughter-the only family she has ever known- after a long and frustrating legal battle. i cannot even imagine what that would be like. then, today i received an update from this organization-food for the poor. i cannot fathom going on with life after watching your own babe starve to death. (their gift catalog is a great christmas idea, especially for those hard to shop for people who already have everything. give them a goat!)


but i am also weak and wobbly and sometimes i get really overwhelmed. God knows how weak and wobbly i am and gives me very small crosses, but to me, sometimes they feel very, very heavy. "sparkles and rainbows" is the kind of post that i needed to be able to read myself, and it seemed like it resonated with a few of you as well. a piece about how even blessings can be hard. because when i'm worn out and it feels like i've been on duty all day and all night for the last week, i really start to doubt myself-yes satan, i know that is you. when i see an acquaintance from high school update her fb status about how even when she's home from work sick, it's a wonderful day because it means she gets to be with her toddler, i start to think i am a beast of a mother. why don't i love my boys as much as she loves her kid? it's hard to think clearly when you're exhausted. sleep deprivation is a nasty thing!

sometimes my boys are naughty and sometimes they are polite and generous and everything i have hoped for. sometimes my husband lets me down, but sometimes he is totally amazing. sometimes i am a really great wife and mother. but other times, i would be ashamed if my nastiness were caught on video. most of the time, we all fall somewhere in the middle- we are all human.

as much as weak and wobbly me wants motherhood and life in general to be easy, i know that it will never be that. anyone who projects that image is not giving the whole picture, either intentionally or unintentionally.

some parts of life will always be hard. but as tim said one night as i was on the edge, "it doesn't have to be this hard." so i try to do the things that i can do to make our life "easier": make our home more efficient and tidier so it's a pleasant place to be, reach out to our support network of friends and family, get more sleep (fail!), and the "thing" that i need to improve on the most-PRAYER. pray for strength. for wisdom. for courage. for others in the world who are suffering. and in thanksgiving.'s not that i don't want to be a mother or that I want different kids. it's that i want to be a better mother (and wife and person) and sometimes i don't like what i see. But I know that, with His help, and the intercession of my Mother Mary, i can be better and stronger.

i'll try to lay off the rambly posts for awhile and show some house stuff next time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

sparkles and rainbows

for some women, motherhood seems to come very naturally. for others, it is a bit more challenging. although i never thought i would find complete and total fulfillment in the role of mother, i never expected it to be as hard as it is.

by the time i got married, i had eight nephews and one niece. i had been babysitting on my own since sixth grade and had even watched two of my nephews for a week, by myself at their house, when i was sixteen. so it's not like i had never been around kids, or only been around then in a "fun aunt" kind of role. i thought i knew what it was all about. while i didn't totally love all of my babysitting time, i enjoyed my nephews and loved them deeply and knew that i was a good caregiver.

but OH MY OH ME what a difference there is between being a caregiver for a day or even a week and being a full-time, always in demand, having to figure out what to do when your child is sick, or not napping, or not eating, or screaming for an hour... parent.

to be honest, i really struggle. this last month has been especially hard for me. my boys are totally awesome, but i often feel like i'm not the right mom for them. or for any kid for that matter. i read articles or blog posts of moms who talk about how their kids are like sunshine to their proverbial gardens. i used to beat myself up a lot about those things, and they still get to me, but for the most part, i realize they are either only choosing to focus on the positive or that maybe they have kids who are a little more laid back than my little beasties. i could paint a picture of purely motherly bliss if i wanted to.

"ahh, brotherly love." except that they were actually fighting and jockeying for space in the truck when i took this picture. and then max bit ben because ben kept smushing him.

or this one. a fun snack in the super cool fort that i made for them in the newly cleaned out upstairs. reality: feeling exhausted and knowing that ben would whine about any real dinner i made, i gave them popcorn, cheese, and pears while i laid on the floor and read a magazine. then max ruptured my spleen when he jumped on me because i wasn't paying attention and ben started to complain that he was going to throw up. he recovered, but was again bitten by max because max wanted the lego helmet that ben had. yes, brotherly love indeed.

some moments really are just wonderful and beautiful. but for every wonderful beautiful moment, i would honestly say i have an equal amount of moments where i can feel my blood pressure rising and i shout to myself, "what the frick frack is he doing!?"

i've been trying to remind myself that i'm a mother because it's my vocation and not because i'm looking for a fun filled joy ride of kisses and giggles. our culture is all about doing what you want, when you want, and i feel like children are becoming, for some, more like an accessory than a being with a soul, entrusted to be raised to know, love and serve Him.

but yowzas! this whole raising and teaching gig is hard. for me it is agony and ecstasy and a lot of in between. so much pain (emotional and physical) and frustration and so much beauty.

i'm glad i didn't fully comprehend what i was signing up for when i became a parent. i would certainly have locked my chastity belt, thrown away the key, and ran for the hills. but since there's no turning back, i'll just have to keep taking pictures of my cute boys and trying to block out what was really going on in the picture.

i keep trying to explain to them that unless they tone it down, they will not have any other brothers or sisters. (ben makes frequent requests.) i think max wants to stay the baby of the family because i swear he keeps kicking it up a notch.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


we're just going to ignore the fact that i've been gone for nearly a month. ben says it's okay, and with those smart looking glasses, it's obvious he's the boss. life's been full to say the least. and by the end of most days, my brain has been reduced to a bowl full of mush. (guess what book i read the boys before bed tonight. )

ya know what is good to do when your brain is mush? when really you should just go to bed? watch shows via the interwebs!! the other night i got sucked into an episode of "16 and pregnant". i justify it to myself by clasifying it as research for work. it would make my job so easy to just watch an episode with a class, analyzing it in all it's immature, trainwreck of relationships glory. so next time it's been a month since i've updated and you need to black hole some time, go watch some trashy tv. you will then want to call your parents and thank them for the utopian childhood you had in comparison to some people out there in the universe.

as evidenced by the picture of ben, we have a new camera. it was a painful process for me, but i'm pretty pleased with what we ended up with-a simple little canon powershot. at one point, tim was so sweet and suggested i just get one of the super spiffy, way awesome cameras i lust after. that kind of financial decision might be easier if i wasn't the one who did the budget. no sweetheart-i don't think a camera is a valid reason to dip into the investment account. seriously, i looked at several of the more artistic crafty blog i sometimes browse and saw what kind of cameras they use. as much as i wanted to join the "cool girls with big nikons" club, i wasn't going to drop a grand to get in. i'm still figuring it out, but without reading the manual and maximizing it's capabilities, i'm satisfied. if my pics are just too amature for you, get da heck outta here!

the following series of pictures is proof that i have spacial issues. anytime i try to take a picture by holding the camera out in front of me or above me, it's just not going to work. i was trying to finally take pictures of the huge hail stones that pumeled our house back in september. they have been taking up room in my freezer and although i hated to just let them melt, what do you really do with bowls and bowls of hail stones? save them for all posterity so i can show my grandkids what life was life back in the year 2010?

after the last hand out of the frame picture, i gave up and went and got a dang tangerine to use as a size reference. point proven! the hail was huge. let's not talk about how i very irresponsibly ran out into the storm to collect these. about how i darted from tree to tree to get the really big ones, while thinking, "hmmmm. if one of those hits me, i'm pretty sure it could kill me. and the boys would be alone in the house." but of course i didn't go back out into the storm after having that epiphany. no, that would have been irresponsible.

so that's what you've been waiting an almost month for. cute ben and bad hail pics. i promise, i'll do better next time. i just needed to break the fast.