Wednesday, December 4, 2013

on writing

tonight, i originally started a post titled, "THAT kind of mood". i kept writing and erasing. this paragraph is as far as i got.

today was rough. i still feel, some days, like, "oh yah! *this* is what life with a baby was like." but not all days are this hard. i try to remind myself this. i try to offer my frustrations and annoyances up for people who are struggling with much bigger, heavier things. i keep my guardian angel busy finishing Hail Marys because i often get distracted after the first couple words or am too tired to finish them. i often fail. exhaustion colors my world dark very quickly.

i want to write here. i like to tell stories. i like to make people laugh. and sometimes it's a good outlet for my frustrations. or to hash out the rolling arounds of my brain. but man. to find that sweet spot of time and energy. so elusive. and like i said in that attempted post, exhaustion colors my world dark very quickly, so i'm trying to ween myself of computer late nights.

i always feel a little bit of relief when i find a blog that just drops off into time and no where. a few that i follow(ed) have closed up shop, even letting go of sponsors, because they needed to direct their energy elsewhere.

so i ask, when do you write? all at once, or in bits and pieces?

Monday, November 11, 2013

asian lady beetle maze

i need to dust off these cob webs. i feel stagnant and uncreative and as much as i keep telling myself, "instead of spending time on the computer, i should work on projects in the evening" but then i waste two hours TWO HOURS on the computer with nothing creative to show for it and a heart full of envy. blah.

tonight, as i tried to settle johnny (yes, we call him johnny. but when he's being manly or professional, we call him john p. peppercorn among many other ridiculous things) in for the seventh time, i laid down in our bed to nurse him. with the glow of the night light behind me, i started to make shadow puppets on the wall and ceiling to entertain myself, as i often do. you'd think i'd be good at shadow puppets by now, but i'm not.

then i noticed an asian lady beetle on the ceiling, trying to navigate the maze that is popcorn ceiling texture. this too amused me. after a lot of slow travel, it seemed to say, "eff this!" and flew to the wall.

the other day, when the sun was gloriously shining, i put a blanket down for the babe and i to rest on. max walked around doing max things, stopping every few minutes to ask if something was on his back. the south side of our house/our sunning spot was covered in the beetles, which max named "bare lady bugs". but until he explained his reasoning for the name, i thought "bear" lady bugs. that max, he says interesting things.

so, as you can see, my life is wild and crazy these days.

insert pictures of shadow puppets and happy sunny things.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

johnny all clean

i don't want to spend forever perfecting this post, i just want to get my thoughts down so i don't forget a very good night.

last saturday evening, my little john paul was finally baptized!!! it drove me crazy to wait so long to get him all cleaned up, but it was nice to get to celebrate with our family in a way that we wouldn't have if we had done it sooner. because...

on satuday night, we also had a surprise anniversary party for my parents. we had the gathering at st. anthony's in garden plain, and began the evening with the regularly scheduled evening mass. the pastor, fr. sam pinkerton, an old friend of our family, let my cousin, fr. chad, who was there to do a special blessing for my parents afterwards and also to baptize my bug, read the gospel and preached the homily.

let me set the scene: st. anthony's is a beautiful, traditional style church with elaborate stained glass, statues, stations of the cross, painting embellishments-beautiful and lots to look at. we sat in the row with tim's parents and the boys were down by them, too far from me to feel like i needed to watch. when i glanced down at them, they were snuggled up to grandma or gazing around at all the new sights of the church. (our church is pretty plain.) tim was next to me and snuggling john paul and soaking up all the baby goodness he could from our sleeping boy. when i looked around the church, i could see family and dear family friends mixed in with the regular congregation, there to celebrate my parents. so much beauty. my heart was full.

and then fr. chad read the gospel-Christ gives us the Our Father, and had a homily that i felt couldn't possibly have been a better fit for the day of john paul's baptism. it was such a gift to hear fr. preach. i've heard him give talks and say daily mass, but i can't remember any other time i've had the pleasure of hearing him preach, and let me say, the man can preach. (i'm not biased one bit.) nothing he said was anything we hadn't heard before, in fact, he talked about pretty simple concepts: trust, prayer as a conversation with God, perseverance, but in that setting, with those people, and the way he preached it, i was so filled.

in the Our Father, i struggle with the "give us this day our daily bread" part. can't i pray, "yearly bread" or "lifetime bread"? trusting in God providence each day is simple and difficult. i know He loves us and watches over us, but i like things to be easy and just want a smooth path laid out for me.

trust in God's plan for us. he talked about his mother's hobby of cross-stitch. each stitch is planned and precise. as a kid, laying on the floor playing or watching tv, he would look up at his mom working on a project, and from underneath, the project was a mess of threads. from her perspective, looking down at her work, it was making a beautiful tapestry. so many times in the last several years, our life seemed like a big mess but i desperately hoped God had a bigger picture he was working on.

perseverance. we have to keep taking our prayers to God, knowing that he always hears them, but as a good parent, answers them in his time and not always in the way we want.

the last several years, as tim started his new career and we struggled in so, so many many, my nightly prayer with the boys, among other intentions, was, "for wisdom for mommy and daddy to make good decisions for our family". was this the right job for tim and our family? were we making the right financial decisions? when should we try to add another child to our family? every night i prayed and for so long, it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere. but slowly, the boys got a little easier, tim's schedule became more manageable, we felt like we were making progress, and all of a sudden, we were both on the same page about another baby.

and we were blessed with one.

then more trusting. i have never considered myself a worrier, but with this pregnancy, it seemed like more than any other time in my life, i realized just how very NOT in control we are of our lives no matter how much we try to be in control. regardless of all of my best efforts, i couldn't guarantee a healthy baby or healthy me. for those first three months, on one side of my chalk board wall in the kitchen i had written "all will be well" and on the other side, "every little thing is going to be okay".

for the last year, on and off, i had been reading sheldon vanauken's A Severe Mercy. i never read books in starts and stops, but for some reason, with that book, even though i really liked it, i would read it for a bit, and it would really speak to me, then i would put it down for a while. i don't want to ruin the book because it's a good one and if you haven't read it, you should, but right when i was first pregnant, i got to a part where a character was contemplating mortality and realizing that with Heaven as our goal and hopeful destination, no matter what happens on earth, "all will be most well." so i repeated that to myself often.

with obama's re-election and so much uncertainty is our country and world, i often thought about what the future will look like for our children. i tried to reassure myself with Blessed John Paul II's simple words, "Be not afraid." so much we can't control. so much we really just have to turn over to God.

so on the night that my little one was to begin his sacramental life in the Church, it was so beautiful that fr. spoke of the things that i, whether i wanted to or not, had to work on during my pregnancy and will always have to work on.

after mass, we surprised my parents and oh were they surprised. they've always said that they didn't want a party and several (or most) of us kids didn't think it was a good idea, but i'm so thankful one dear, bold, sibling pushed on. the slide show one brother prepared and the toast that another one gave really made us all stop and think about the accomplishments of their 45 years together in a way that we wouldn't have other wise with all the busyness of our own lives and little families. to celebrate them and their perseverance. their trust. and all the fruit that it brought forth. eight children. seven marriages. 26 grandchildren on earth and more in heaven. that's a lot to celebrate.

i told tim at the end of the night that i wish i could have had a pause button to stop it all and soak up every last bit of all of the wonderfulness. but life keeps thundering on. so as the last scent of chrism wore off johnny's head today, i wanted to pause here and try, in a very, very small way to capture the beauty of his and our family's night.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a night in the life of tim and mary

i was going to just write this in my journal, because these are the things i don't want to forget, but decided to write it here in case it amused anyone else.

tonight i was outside watching the gorgeous lightening storm after sunset when tim pulled into the driveway. he walked over to me and after chatting a bit, he told me how much i had scared him when he pulled up.

t: "i was rockin' out to my music, pull up, watching the lightening, and then i see you with your back turned to me. i was terrified you were going to [tim imitates a zombie slowly turning around and staggering towards his car]."

m: "thanks for not shooting me in the head."

t: "oh man, mare. don't become a zombie. i'd hate to have to shoot you. actually, as scary as you are in real life, it probably wouldn't be so hard. you'd be terrifying!"

oddly, i took that as a compliment, but still had to pinch him.

tim's really good at doing voices, so he then made me laugh hysterically as he narrated the storm in a voice that would be inappropriate for me to try to describe.

and now, while i'm writing, he's scanning netflix for a movie to watch. one of his suggested categories, based on his past viewings, is "dark suspenseful foreign revenge movies". we rarely watch movies together.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

a prayer

as i snuggle my beautiful new boy, i sometimes start to feel guilt about my blessings. two wild and handsome big boys, and now this new little one. three sons. why do i get these blessings when others so desperately want even one child? or more children.

i used to be so overwhelmed by guilt over my blessings. we live in a world where a lot of bad things happen to innocent people. i can't even hardly listen to NPR anymore-the world news makes me cry. one day while i was talking to my mom about this, she reminded me that, when we pray the morning offering, we offer to God our "prayers, works, joys, and sufferings".

i acknowledge that i am completely unworthy of these gifts. i thank God for all that He has blessed us with. and when those feelings of guilt start to creep in, i offer up my joys and say a prayer.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

a million different things

i've been thinking about this space a lot lately. i so wish i could buckle down and spend more time here, but it's hard to sort out the many, many things in my head. and the time that i have to write-after the boys go to bed- is such precious time. when i used to write more, i spent less time with tim (although he was usually still at work so it wasn't an option), slept less, and had a messier house. i like having a tidier house, sleep is quite helpful to maintaining my sanity, and it sure is nice to chat with my husband before the 11pm hour. and i'm a slow writer. even silly posts that are pretty stream of conscience take me a bit to churn out. but i love having this written relic of the past to look back on as our life changes so much over time, all while it seems like it's not changing at all. *insert magic wand waving here!!!*

things that i would like to write about:

-this pregnancy. oh the lessons i've learned. or at least tried desperately to learn but will probably be working on for my whole life. all will be most well. every little thing is going to be okay. be not afraid. courage.
providence. the boys' excitement. the wild belly shows. baby names. tim's excitement and junebug kicking him in the head to predict/declare his/her gender. so many blessings and struggles.

- my big boys. how they've become such great (for the most part) playmates in the last six months. how they call each other bro. their strengths and struggles. ben's first year of school. the emergence of max's solo personality.

- my work. my thoughts on being a working momma, finally being done, and all those feelings. our schedule over the last couple years so i don't forget how full and sometimes crazy it was.

- projects. all the things that i've done during this pregnancy-although none are super stunning before and after reveals. but the little things i'm proud of, like learning how to replace an electrical outlet and light switch. the car saga. projects i still hope to tackle.

brain dump over. not really worth publishing, but oh well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

a boring recipe post to dust off the cobwebs

 i've been wanting to post for...oh....months now, but life keeps happening. and although i enjoy writing and sharing in this space, well, i'll just skip the annoying reasons that don't mean much to you and get on with the recipe.

i made this soup for some friends and they asked for the recipe. instead of typing it out and emailing it to them, i thought this might be a better way to share it with a few more of you who might enjoy it.

Chicken Curry Soup
 (boring title. maybe max's commentary on it might make for a better title: "It looks gross but tastes good Soup")

3 onions chopped
4 T. minced garlic (several cloves? i usually use the jarred stuff. yes, i'm a heathen.)
1 stick butter
4 T. curry powder
1 t. cumin
4 c. chicken stock
3 c. half and half
4 c. chicken
4 c. cooked rice (i used brown)
1 heaping T salt
1/4 c. *gasp* sugar

-In the large pot that you will cook your soup in, so as to only dirty one pot, saute onions and garlic in butter. Once tender, add spices. I added the cumin because the soups seems to be lacking a little bit of depth that more curry wouldn't fulfill, but if you figure out what is missing, please do tell. I'm not very experienced in curry, cumin, turmeric genre of spices. 
-Add stock and half and half to onion/garlic/spice mixture and heat until hot but not boiling. Finally add chicken, rice, sugar, and salt. I have issues with adding deadly, horrible white sugar to a main dish, but I did it. I dare someone to try honey or stevia and report back.

Eat. and hopefully, enjoy.

I get horribly anxious sharing recipes because i'm paranoid i'll have a typo on the ingredient list or amount and i'll poison you and your family, or worse, ruin dinner and all your hard work. and i can't follow a recipe to save my life. so, consider yourself warned.

the end.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

it's not you. it's me.

i feel like i've kind of dropped off the face of the earth. i feel bad that there are friends who say, "we should get the kids together sometime" or that i haven't seen or talked to in too long, but that, if i'm being honest with myself, or more fairly, them, i should just admit, it's not going to happen.

i don't want to play the, "oh we're soooo busy!" card. it's lame. most people are busy these days. you either make time or you don't. and really, we're not super busy. i hate being too busy and the idea of it always stresses me out. if anything, it's because i'm becoming more aware of how much i hate to feel too busy. i'm tired most days anyways and i'm to the point where i've realized that cramming things in and trying to make room for everything and everyone makes me miserable. although there are chunks of time in most of my days that are "free", the necessary tasks that surround them must have the priority of my attention and energy.

yesterday i felt guilty because tim was off work and i stayed home and did laundry all day and puttered around the house. i could have put in an extra day at work, visited some neglected friends/family, caught up on some errands, etc. but i just stayed home. i wore my pajamas all day and wasn't busy at all. but really, i got a lot done. all the laundry, tidied the house, worked on some organization, made a nice meal (and cleaned up afterwards!), and watched an episode of downton with my love.

so it's not that we're too busy and absolutely can't fit another thing in. or that i don't like you and don't want to spend time with you. my life is just as full as i can handle right now. between family, work, school and other obligations, life is full. i wish that i could substitute you in for some of those other things, but right now, i just can't. i know that lots of other people and families are so much better at making time for so much more. i marvel at their energy and organization. but i'm just not them, as much as i wish i could be sometimes. well, i used to wish i could be that. i'm trying to be honest with myself about who i am and can be. not lazy, and striving to be and do better, but accepting who i am- a tired little hermit.

if your feelings have been hurt because you think i'm brushing you off, i'm so sorry. it's certainly not you. we are blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people. i think about you often and try to remember you in my prayers.

Monday, January 7, 2013


back in middle school, a friend and i often quoted the following scene from the movie "dumb and dumber", adapting it to whatever middle school stress we were experiencing. "i forgot my lunch! i didn't understand our math homework last night! OUR PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!"

while i didn't really care for the movie as a whole, i found this scene so comical in it's pathetic-ness. the way jim carrey falls to the floor when he comes in the door. harry's totally disheveled appearance. the extreme melodrama of it is so great, because, well, sometimes i'm a little dramatic.

and as i sit and ponder tim and i's life, as today is our anniversary, that quote and scene sums things up pretty well for us. i'm joking of course, kind of, but we have had a pretty wild last couple of months and i have taken to sometimes whining and sometimes raving that line when i'm feeling particularly overwhelmed.

i feel like we're still trying to find our footing after the "everyone got sick and both of our cars broke and had to be replaced in a week" circus that was the end of november. then the busyness of the holidays. then continued car issues. and work and life and our pets' heads falling off.

but we're in this crazy adventure together. sometimes tim's harry and i'm lloyd, sometimes i'm harry, in mannerisms and appearance. i would say  here's to hoping this next year of marriage is quiet and peaceful and uneventful, but considering "give birth" is tentatively penciled in on the june calendar, i don't think that's going to happen.

cheers to our little circus and another year!