Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Crown of Thorns

I woke up to a puking child this morning.  It was too early.  Then I started to fall asleep again and another child came poking me and asking me very loudly for a baba.  I did not get very much sleep two nights in a row.  So as I started the day I was very crabby and on edge.  Then someone spilled cereal in the living room after all the children were repeatedly told not to bring food into the living room.  Then the same child got angry at her cereal for being soggy and dumped it on the floor in the kitchen...It was destined to be a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.

Then my toddlers were very naughty at church today and they were very, very naughty at the post office.  But they helped me make a neat crown of thorns bread I saw on the Catholic Icing website.  I used to hate it when kids would help me make food, because they would always make more mess than it was worth.  Or would want to do everything even though they could not physically help with all parts.  These two girls though want to help me everyday. They listen, take turns and do a very good job.  I envision two teenage girls someday who beg me to let them make dinner.


I was so happy about my crown of thorns bread, I had to complete the picture.  I brought out the children's picture Bible and turned to the story about Christ being tempted in the desert to explain the lenten fast.  We read the story while they ate.  We had lentil soup and bread.  Then I put a tablecloth on the table, which I never do these days for one simple reason: it would never stay on with my very silly little girls.  Dinner would be dumped on the floor before I could say, 1, 2, 3.  But after a hard day of disciplining one naughty child in particular, I was going to have order; I was going to have a tablecloth.  In a crazy, mommy moment, I stapled the tablecloth to the underside of the table with an industrial stapler.  It's a plastic tablecloth.  I can wipe it down.  I told my husband to get used to the tablecloth, because its stapled down.  For the moment, I'm pretty pleased with myself.


I could see that this day was a spiritual test.  It was a trial.  I'm not sure how I did, but I made it through.  It was not as terrible as it began.  I hope my kids learned something about how they ought to behave.

Mno Hiya Lita!


Friday, February 13, 2015

Fish Fridays

I don't think many Catholics know that we are still supposed to participate in fasting every Friday of the year and not just Fridays during Lent.

In the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches we are meant to fast on Wednesdays in reparation for Judas' betrayal and on Fridays in communion with the Passion of Christ.

I think, however, Kristiana is in my court.  She loves fish like I love fish.  Especially, salty, yummy, canned fish.  It's not really a penance if you love it.  I have to sacrifice this luxury as well.

Kristiana begged me to open this can of kippered herring for her.  She then proceeded to scarf it down.  It cracked me up how fast she ate it and how much she loved it. I had to take a picture.





She's Found Her Calling

When our son, Alex, played on a little league t-ball team years ago Annie was a mere one years old.  But she kept running onto the field trying to get into the game.  Now Annie is four years old and she is finally old enough to play t-ball.  I signed her up weeks ago and she has been asking daily, "Mommy, when I go play t-ball?"

Today was her first practice.  She hit balls from the tee; practiced catching and throwing; and ran the bases with speed.

She was quiet, reflective, taking it all in, with a smile.  You could see she was concentrating on learning the game.

At the end of practice she did not want to leave.  She said, "Mommy, why do those mens get to stay?"

I explained that they were the coaches and they were packing up.  She said, "OH, I want to be the coach.  I want to stay."  Then a little bit farther down the road she said, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a girl coach."

I was so happy, and proud for Annie.  She said it with convection.  "I'm going to be a girl coach."  I knew she was an athlete in her heart.




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When Does It Go Away?

So I've been wondering when I will stop feeling pain over the loss of Xavier.  I have anguished over missing this baby who would never be mine to hold.

I accepted his loss too soon.  I told myself its okay.  "Not now."  Everything that comes to me is in God's hands.  I did not realize how I would long for him in the months to come.  So I've had my meltdowns; and I've confided in others; and I'm learning it does not ever go away.  I might think on it less.  But I might also have a cry eight years from now.  I guess this too is a part of motherhood.

A child stays in your heart forever--one that was in the womb; one that breathed one breath; one you held for three years; one you loved for all the rest of your days.


So the answer is, as I am told, this pain will not ever go away.

Most days have been good, but Xavier is never far from my thoughts.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tea Flowers

We held our first Little Flowers Club Badge Ceremony and Tea.  It was a lovely little party: very girly and very holy. 


There was so much hope in this room.  I definitely felt that everyone in this room could one day be a saint.  Especially, the little girls.  I'm praying for you, little ladies.  Stay pure, stay faithful.  You inspire your mommas to be holier for your benefit.

I was only able to take pictures with my phone, since my husband borrowed my camera to take pictures in Washington, D.C.  I did not check pictures after I took them and I am sad to say most came out blurry. :-(









I tried to pick pictures that did not have the faces of other peoples' children.  But, did want to show a group picture.


Mno Hiya Lyta!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Play Date with a Chicken

Our friends invited us out to see their chickens and baby goat, and scamper around their 13 acres.  The kids lost the mommies on the trail.  We all had fun.  My son brought home piles of junk found around the property.  He brought home cow bones, and rusted metal things, and a catchers helmet. Whoa! Cool!



See Alex's pile of junk.  He let his friends take home some of it, because this momma wasn't taking all of it.




Dog Love - This was a very sweet Anatolian Shepherd who was guarding the chickens.
I was impressed he was not eating the chickens.





Mno Hiya Lyta!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Not a Baby - My Big Girl, Lucy

When did this little girl grow old enough to play a game between dolls by herself; and use the toilet on her own; and recognize her own name written upon a page.




But she still lets me cradle her like a baby.  I'm pretty sure all my children, including my eight year old boy, still want to be cradled like a baby.

Lately, Lucy has been kissing everyone...a lot. She also kisses a lot of inanimate objects: the wall, the table, the car, toys.  I'm sure this is just a phase, so I wanted to document this sweetness.


Lucy Kissing Her Sister, Kristiana

Lucy Kissing the Wall

But, as you may have noticed, like a typical two year old, she does not wear a lot of clothing.  She keeps taking off her clothes in favor of just a tutu and underwear, or just a swimsuit.  At home, I have stopped fighting it, as long as she has something on and is not totally naked, or else fighting it would be all I was doing.  Of course, I have stressed the importance of clothing in public.  She "got it" after the first time she tried to go out in public in tutu and underwear. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tot Talk – Discussing How Babies Are Made

 I burst into tears in front of the kids today. Oops.  Kristiana said, “Guys, mommy is crying.  Mommy why are you crying?” I didn’t know if I could tell them.

“Why are you crying?” said Alex.

Then Kristiana said, “Well, here you just need a big hug.”  She gave me a big hug.

They were all very concerned.  So I told them, “I’m just still very sad about the baby we lost.  I’m sad because we did not get to hold him.”

“Oh.” They all said quietly. 
Remember this Annie snuggle from 4 years ago?


“Don’t worry, mommy.  You can take a pregnant contest some other time!” Kristiana keeps telling me.  She means pregnancy test.

“Okay, Kristiana.”

“When? When can you take the test?” she asked.

“I don’t know.  It takes time to make a baby.  Daddy and I have to make a baby before we can take the test.”

“How? How do you make a baby?”

“Um.”

Annie says, “You can just eat a tiny baby and the baby will go down into your body and grow.”

“No, you don’t eat a tiny baby.  That’s not how babies are made.”

“I know!” Alex chimes in.

“Okay, how?”

“The mommy and daddy kiss a long time and the daddy cells go into the moms body and join with her cells and make a baby inside her.”

“Well that’s close, but it doesn’t happen through kissing.”

“Oh, then how?”

“Well it happens with a special touch that only mommies and daddies can do in private.  And yes, then the daddy cells go into the mommy’s body and join with her cells and make one flesh—make a baby.”

“Do you do it in your closet?” Kristiana exclaimed.

“No.”

“How will I know how to do it when I’m married?” Asked Alex.

“Don’t worry you will know how by the time you are an adult.”

“How?”

“Well, Daddy will explain it to you when you are old enough.”

Kristiana pipes up. “I know how babies are made! (pause) God makes babies, and then puts them inside mommies.”

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Mno Hiya Lyta!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Ladybug Picnic

The day was perfectly, warm and sunny.  Accordingly, the kids, the neighbor boy and I had an impromptu trip to the park today.

The boys just sat in a sand pit building great mounds and getting very dirty.  I did not go visit them, because I did not want to cringe at how dirty I knew they were getting.  I just wanted them to have a peaceful, fun time in the sun.

The girls ran everywhere in the park.  Annie was especially attuned to new discovery today.

Annie found a fleet of Ladybugs feasting on aphids in this patch of clover.  There, we found at least 20 -30 ladybugs.


This is definitely a favorite picture of Annie


I just liked the contrast of the red against the green.  
Annie was trying to get the ladybug to crawl on her finger.




After finding ladybugs, they ran after a yellow butterfly.


Lucy and Annie played together a lot


Here they are playing frog hopping


Here is a tender moment between sisters.  Annie is sharing her boots with her little sister.  A couple months ago these two were so jealous of each other they could hardly go a minute with out hitting or yelling.  But we all worked on it and lately they have been best friends.  Annie has really taken the initiative to look after Lucy and share with her.  Lucy is sweet, but she will make sure she gets hers. I guess Annie being nicer made Lucy feel less competitive.


A couple of weeks ago Kristiana asked me why I wanted to home school her.  In a simplified way, I told her that I wanted her to learn and live her faith, which is something she could not do all day at school. Also I wanted to her and her siblings to be close, each others' friends.  She responded,
          "Well Mommy, that's my problem.  That's why I can't get my school work done, because I AM friends with my siblings and I just want to play with them."


Mission accomplished. Mno Hiya Lyta!



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pinewood Derrrrrbeeeey!

We had a fun day at the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby.  That is we were all having fun until my son realized he was not going to make the top three and then there were tears.  He is very competitive.

We cheered him up promising to play Settlers of Catan Cities and Knights with him in the evening.  He really cheered up when he won the best paint job award.

We decided next year we would let him have a blast designing and painting it and we would make sure to center the weights better and get better wheels.  He designed his car this year, but mommy helped a lot with sanding and painting.  We found out that's not a big deal.

All in all, Alex got 6th place.






Friday, January 23, 2015

Jealousy

From the beginning of this miscarriage, I just wanted it to be over and past me.  I can handle anything if I can just move on.  I kept trying to push it past me.  Everyday I woke up and said, this is the end; today I’m going to put it behind me.  But everyday, my body would say, no, not today.  It took a full month before my body was quiet and there were no more signs of miscarriage.  So I said, this is behind me and I felt better.  I think all the pushing it away maybe has caught up with me.

A few weeks later, I began my period and the experience sent me into worry and flashbacks of the trauma of my loss.  I also sent in all my insurance claims.  It was a hard week mentally.

The week after that, friends were continuing to announce new pregnancies.  It was upsetting, but these were Facebook posts, so they were distant.  I could lovingly “hide” those posts.

Recently, a close friend announced her pregnancy via email.  I felt a new weight set upon me.  She was one of the first friends I told about my loss.  My heart was angry.  I was angry because I knew the JOY her family was experiencing over this pregnancy.  We had lost that joy. 

We had lost 1,000 laughs and kisses, 1,000 sleepless nights, 1,000 hugs. That was/is my grief.  We lost a person who would bring us joy and unimaginable blessings.  I get it, Mom.  I get why you mourn 30 years later.  I didn’t before, but I do now.

I was going to see my friend the next day after reading her email, but I was planning to respond to her email and congratulate her and explain I could not say it to her in person just yet.  But, I was still upset and angry, so I decided to sleep on it and text her in the morning. 

My sleep was a tempest.  I had nightmares all night about my friend.  Over and over, I dreamt congratulating her and every scenario ended up a mess.  I woke up and affirmed in my mind that I was going to be a big girl and overcome my pettiness.  I was going to look her in the eye and congratulate her.  I could be happy for others.   

As I drove to our meeting, with a car full of kids, I became overcome with grief.  I almost pulled the car over.  But, told myself to stay alert and keep driving.  I was going to suck it up.  Then I saw her and did not make eye contact.  I thought to myself to calm down.  Then a quiet opportunity arose to say the words I so desperately wanted to say.  I wanted to rejoice with her.  Instead I felt the ground drop out from under me and my vision go white.  “Oh! Am I passing out?!”  I took a deep breath.  “Not today, I would not congratulate her today,” more breathing deeply.  Then it was just a struggle all the rest of the morning to keep from crying.

I cried at home.  I wrote the email explaining that I had wanted to be congratulatory; and genuinely, I am happy for their family.  But I was a mess the rest of the day.  It’s no one’s fault but my own.

I cried and cried and cried and tried to push it down.  It seemed there was something evil about it.  I felt I should be able to stop it.  I told myself I could choose to stop it.  I would stop it.  Many times I stopped it, only to have it return.  It was just so painful.  It was probably the most painful day yet.  Every thought hurt. 

I had a little vent session with my husband.  He listened patiently and I felt calmer. 

Later I prepared the presentation for my daughter’s Little Flowers Club and the answer came to me in the reading for the club.  There was a snippet about jealousy.  It was about how jealousy interferes with friendship and the health of one’s soul.  It seemed to hardly fit the piece at all, but it came as the perfect message, sign from God, and answer to my problem of how to make the pain stop. 

I was jealous.  I was insanely jealous of someone else being full of life.  I said that should be me.  I was sinfully jealous.  I did not mean to be jealous, but I wanted what my friend had.  All day long I had tried to find the root of my problem.  I hated myself all day for feeling that way and for not just being able to be happy—anger—why me?  I just wanted to fix myself.  When I read the excerpt on jealousy, I could see myself in it.

So I decided to look up more information on jealousy and more information on grief.  After reading further, everything I was experiencing sounded more like grief than jealousy.  But, I decided maybe grief and jealousy are not so far apart.  While experiencing grief there is deep longing for that someone/something one can never have again, and as a result one experiences a deep sadness.  One desires to have something that is forever lost.  Jealousy is similar in many ways.

It was in identifying the roots of my problem—it was grief wrapped in jealous feelings that someone has what I lost—then I began to feel better.  When I knew what it was that I was experiencing, I was able to address it.  It was this moment of self-understanding that made all the emotions go quiet again. 

As one Little Flower told me today, “If you ever feel jealous of others, you should look at what you have a see the good things that you have.”  Yes, I see the good things I have.  I certainly do not take them for granted.  There’s just one little, good thing that I am longing to hold.   

Maybe this is not the end of grief, but this is the end of jealousy.  I cleared away jealousy, and I cleared away anger.  I’m truly happy for my friends.  I might even be able to say it to them now.  I hope they cherish the joy of their new little lives.  Now, when I feel sad about our loss, I know its just grief.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Music Class and More

I brought the kids a little musical instrument from Australia.  I would have brought a full sized didgeridoo if I had thought I could have fit it in my luggage.  I was not going to try to carry it back.  This was our first lesson.  Perhaps, after some time and practice they can all learn how to play the didgeridoo for real.  It's pretty hard.

The kids insisted holding the camera for each other.


Mommy tried it out.  I can make the right sounds.  I do not know how to do circular breathing to keeping the sound going.  I would like to learn.  As I learned, this is one of the oldest wind instruments.


Art Class

I had to post this picture. This is the one and only time I have set two little ones to paint and they did not make a huge disastrous, mess toward the end.  Actually, I am mostly referring to Annie. 

They did not make the rainbow of color into a brown mess.  They did not demand more paint, or for me to draw them something to paint.  They just sat quietly and reflectively, and painted beautiful, baby masterpieces.  It was glorious--absolute heaven in plain view.  


The little girls have been pretty good of late.  They've been playing with each other and taking care of each other and not fighting too often. They have been reading books and playing with puzzles, play dough and dolls.  They might get to paint more often too, if I can trust them to paint nicely.

(Lucy has my reading scowl - Deep in thought)



If only I could get Kristiana to focus.  Yesterday I let her have headphones and music while she was finally able to finish a handwriting assignment she has been working on for a week.  She would do one letter and then she would get distracted and walk away.  I think she is one of those people who has to have her ears, eyes and hands all engaged in order to focus and learn.  I met a few of those types in college. 

Mno Hiya Lyta!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Alex Recites the Station of the Cross

I learned the fourteen Stations of the Cross in first grade.  My first grade teacher, Sister Madonna, gave us a handout of prayers and tenets she wanted us to learn by the end of first grade.  If a student was to stand before the class and recite what they had learned, she would give a prize.  The prizes were mini statues of Mary, Jesus, rosaries, books about saints, a new box of crayons, or the rare candy.  She lived a vow of poverty and yet bought these small prizes with money she saved from recycling aluminum cans she found on her daily rosary walk.

The first thing she asked us to memorize was the "Our Father."  For that everyone received a plastic crucifix.  I still have the one I received.  It was a magnificent moment for me earning that crucifix.

I was the only student in the class that year to memorize the Stations of the Cross. I did it, because I wanted her admiration.  For this first grade feat, I received a book about the miracles of Fatima and a rainbow candy cane.  I was filled with pride.  Further, the gift of the book about Fatima inspired in me a childlike faith I can hold on to for all my life.

This week I challenged Alex to learn the fourteen stations.  And he groaned at the assignment.  But, I taught him a few tricks to remember the stations and his fear disappeared.  Today, the second day of the challenge, he rattled them off with ease.  With pride and joy, I asked him to film it.  Of course, when we began filming he was nervous! Not to mention, the girls were chattering away and the dog was barking.

Here are some of the tricks I told Alex to help him remember:

The first three are easy to remember, anyone can remember three things.  1.) Jesus is condemned to death. 2.) Jesus takes up His cross.  3.) Jesus falls the first time.

The second three Jesus meets three people: His mother, Simon and Veronica 4.) Jesus meets His mother, Mary. 5.) Simon the Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross. 6.) Veronica wipes Jesus' face with her veil.

Then 7.) Jesus falls a second time. 8.) Jesus comforts holy women.

How do you remember number 9.) 3 times 3 equals 9, Jesus falls the third time. (It rhymes and the 3rd time He falls times 3 is nine the same number as the station.)

The last are visually vivid, and make chronological sense, so no tricks are needed.

10.) Jesus is stripped of His garments. 11.) Jesus is nailed to the cross. 12.) Jesus dies on the cross. 13.) Jesus is taken down from the cross. 14.) Jesus is laid in the tomb.

I asked Alex how he remembers number eight.  He said, "I just think of you, Mom. You are a holy woman."

Melt my heart! Always stay sweet and innocent, my son.


Mno Hiya Lyta!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Good Things

So proud of this little girl.  She's potty training herself.  She has not had many accidents.  She wears underwear to bed. However, she had not mastered #2 in the potty until tonight.  I went to my room to put something away and when I came out she called to me.  "Mommy, I pooped."  Yay! It was in the toilet. Phew!


I've been feeling like a domestic goddess for the last couple weeks.  I've been baking something every  morning for breakfast.  I have graduated to planning three meals a day instead of one main meal and just having cereal and general lunchbox type supplies.  I am kind of proud of myself.  I think it is encouraging my kids to eat a little bit better.  

I wake up early, pray, bake, feed and dress the kids, then off to the gym; 
and back home again to start school.  The kids have to finish their school by 2:30 p.m. because we are picking up the neighbor boy from school.  I think it's a routine that's working.  


While in Australia I spent a little time giving myself a gym clothes makeover.  
Now I view my gym clothes as my most essential clothing.  
I feel I need some more durable clothes I feel good wearing.
What you can't see are the awesome new sports bras I bought. 
They are easily my new favorite thing.