Thursday, May 29, 2008

On May 30 2008

Today. Not good. My only real reflection on today is "ugh". Today was the sort of day where I put the kids down for a nap and brought the whole container of chocolate ice cream to the couch and watched a Tivo'd episode of Monk. Most of you can probably relate to that scenario. But today was also a day where following the ice cream I went hunting for something salty to wash it down with. After several perusals of the cupboards, fridge and pantry I returned to the couch to finish Monk and the last 1/2 of a bag of salad croƻtons. I doubt there's many of you that can relate to that.
At any rate, I'm glad that today is finally over and here's hoping that I'm a better mom tomorrow. I guess every day can't be a winner but does it follow that some of them have to be such bad losers?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Honey, I'm home!

I really, really believe that there should be a half-way house for parents returning from any weekend away. Being a mom with little kids at home all day keeps you keyed up - ready for anything - on your toes. Being a mom away from her little kids for a weekend transforms all of those instincts and senses into mush. The last two days have now left me thinking: "How do I do this on a regular basis?" I'm completely exhausted.
BUT, drumroll please, I did find us a house in Maryland! We are just renting for the year but that proved to be quite a challenge to pull off when the town you are living in has 800 households total - 2000 people. Not only did I find a house, or should I say, not only did God provide a house for us but it's a house with YARD, that's four-doors down from the parish (that has an 8:30 am daily mass!!! and a cry-room!!!), a 4-minute drive to the Seminary and is wheelchair accessible for my dad and has a 1st-floor guest room for him. God is good, good, good. I also love everyone who I met. Also, well here's a few things that I loved about our new home:
Our parish rings bells every hour and I can hear them.
There are poppies planted in the median of the highway.
There are outlet stores nearby.
My realtor knows everybody in the town and hugged me.
My landlady knows everybody in the town and hugged me.
You have to walk down to the post-office everyday to get your mail (where do I live, Avonlea?).
All of the parades in town go right past my house.
I will live near a historic covered bridge, with a train track next to it (OK, that second part is for Moses).
There are two railroad museums nearby. OK, that's also for Moses.
I live on the corner of Seton and Depaul (yeah, that's as in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Vincent Depaul)
The florist in town is called The Little Flower's Florist.
There are three Catholic Bookstores in town. They are the only bookstores in town.
In other words, I couldn't be moving to a Catholic-er little place.
And I really, really can't even describe to you the gorgeous scenery that I drove through.

This job just keeps turning out to be more and more perfect, and not just for David, for all of us. It's like God actually does have a plan or something. I know it will be hard to leave, there's really no way around that but God is making it so clear that this is the place for us that we can at least go forward confidently and joyfully. And with a guest room (hint, hint again).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Moses' reasons for walking into my bedroom, coming to the side of my bed, tapping me very gently and patiently on the lips and waking me up - every night this week - at roughly 3 a.m..
1. "I love you mommy. I want a kiss."
"I love you too, sweetie. Now go back to bed."
2. "I want a different shirt on."
3. (very tearfully delivered). "I want sumpin. I want my mac and cheese from dinner."
4. "There's sumpin on my face. I need some water to wash it off."
5. "I need medicine and I need to lay down with you."

I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with tonight. Little does he know that I will be in MD over the weekend and we could have a very distraught little man if he encounters daddy's hairy face when he's looking to tap mine. Maybe he'll be broken of the habit in my absence.


"Old McDonald had a farm - eeieeio. And on that farm he had a mommy - eeieeio. With an oink oink here and an oink oink there. Here an oink, there an oink, everywhere an oink oink. Old McDonald had a mommy - eeieeio. "
I'm not fat - I'm just pregnant.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Flowers, poop and coughs

Woke up to coughs and fevers in the mini-Loves. BUT also woke up to two normal-looking poops from the mini-Loves. So, out with one and in with another. I'll take the coughs and runny noses over the exciting diapering any day so I guess I'd say I'm grateful. Regardless, we are taking a sick-day and are on our second viewing of 101 Dalmations before noon.

Yesterday we went out for my Mother's Day gift to my mom - flower shopping. I've "given" her this same gift of going out with her and buying her flowers for her garden for 3 years in a row or so...perhaps a little lame since I keep doing the same thing but kind of nice too. It was lovely.

She got to spread some of her excitement about gardening and flowers onto the next generation and Moses was a willing student. He even stayed late so that he could help her "pwant sap-dwagons".

He also called her first thing in the morning to ask if he could have a snap dragon for his house. We'll have to see how Snaps do in a pot on a windowsill that doesn't get much direct sun...I just killed 4 pansy plants and his fish in the past week so I think he's growing accustomed to death and dying at his mothers caring, responsible hands. And yet God still allowed me to get pregnant a third time...sometimes you've got to question his judgment, even with the whole omniscient thing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

over the weekend...

I've decided to try to update more regularly, even if I can't think of a clever way to talk about the mundanities of life. I mean, at this rate I'll never reach my 100th post (which apparently is a big deal, I keep hearing about them). So, hopefully David teaching all these night classes will provide me with ample opportunity to update.
This Saturday was the first day that David has not had to work since he got the job offer and let me tell you, this is going to be fun. We went to the zoo for the first time all together since last summer and the difference is amazing. It was so carefree, even though we have lots and lots of "cares" revolving around the short-term (where will we live? will the insurance work out to pay for the delivery of Lovelett? Why the h__l did we buy a Honda if it's going to cost us $8,000 of repairs the second it hits 100,000 miles?). All of our cares have switched from being long-term career and home concerns to being short-term and let me tell you! I'll take short-term woes anytime over the long-term ones! Because, you see, I know that come September I am going to have a roof over my head, one way or another. I know that this baby will exit my body (that knowledge only comes after the first pregnancy - the first you're not particularly confident about that, if my memory serves me). And at some point we will either sell the freakin Honda or it will stop breaking. So, the knowledge that we have a stable, long-term "career job" puts all the short-term concerns in perspective and gives me the ability to be grateful even for the craziness of the next couple months.
So, the zoo was a blast!
I've been accused of not including enough child-centered posting lately and I agree that there has been a shortage. Sorry, I've just got Maryland on the brain. So...
Today as we were taking our evening stroll through the neighborhood (well, the neighborhood that is behind my apartment complex that I borrow) there were about 10 kids all playing in the front yard of a house. Moses very cautiously pushed his tricycle, Flintstone-style, past - watching like a hawk. About 1/2 a block down he says, "I wike those kids. I would wike to pway wif dem. But not today. Because I am too shy still." Moral of the story: Know Thyself.
Also, I love the sense of time that 3-year-olds have. Anything that happened before the last time I woke up is "yesterday". So, we went to Mass before his nap and after his nap that experience has now moved from today to "yesterday". Also, the trip we took to VA last July took place "yesterday". David has been playing softball on Thursdays and we all go to cheer. So, Moses told me today that we will go to another baseball game in 2 years and he will love it.
On Potty-training. I really don't know if it will ever happen. He is a holder and hold he will until he makes himself sick. And we are not just talking about #2 people, we're talking about all of it. So, we've been having some sort of mild viral bug that has taken up home of all the digestive tracks available to it in this residence. And after using about a months worth of diapers in one week (and still have two very red bottoms in spite of it) I am suddenly very aware that I am responsible for wiping 3 of the 4 butts in this home. That is at least 1 too many. I haven't decided what to do about it but that is very much on my mind. While I'm hoping that this falls into the category of "short-term concerns" I fear that "long-term" may be more likely. OK, I'm going to watch House now. Toodles.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

OK, I stole this from Barbara at Mommy Life and she stole it from Elisabeth Elliot. It's on the value of motherhood. Where I pick it up she's just finished talking about how many modern mothers have bought into, or struggle to fight against, the lie that only work that is "creative" and outside the house is valuable. It's worth a read if you need a reminder that a parent's work, particularly that of a mother, is profound in the context of Christ's incarnation and sacrifice.

But this is what we so easily forget. Men as well as women have listened to those quasi-rational claims, have failed to see the fatal fallacy, and have capitulated. Words like personhood, liberation, fulfillment and equality have had a convincing ring and we have not questioned their popular definitions or turned on them the searchlight of Scripture or even of our common sense. We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry.

This is what I mean by profanity. We have forgotten the mystery, the dimension of glory. It was Mary herself who showed it to us so plainly. By the offering up of her physical body to become the God-bearer, she transfigured for all mothers, for all time, the meaning of motherhood. She cradled, fed and bathed her baby--who was very God of very God--so that when we cradle, feed and bathe ours we may see beyond that simple task to the God who in love and humility "dwelt among us and we beheld his glory."

Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven't an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.

The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.

To modern mothers I would say "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . ." (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips).

It is a spiritual principle as far removed from what the world tells us as heaven is removed from hell: If you are willing to lose your life, you'll find it. It is the principle expressed by John Keble in 1822:

If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Open wide the doors to Christ (and David)!

Wow! It actually happened! David was just offered a position as Assistant Professor of Theology (a mix of systematics and morality) at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland. The "Mount" as it is affectionately called by those in the area. I have to admit that this blog is that last "person" informed because it was important that David let his current employer and my family around here in on the news first, you know. Please don't take offense, dear blog.
My first reaction was, "it's over!". "It" being the waiting period between finishing his doctorate and getting a job that makes getting that doctorate not look like a mistake. I am so ready to move on from the insecurity of a "temporary" job. No more long-term renting, no more wondering what next fall will bring, no more sending out resumes endlessly and getting rejection letters endlessly, no more part-time adjunct teaching, no more dissatisfied husband. Obviously this last one is worth a great deal, even moving away from all of the wonderfulness that we have here in A2.
Humans, especially women, crave permanence. I think it's a signpost of our God-given desire for eternity. You know, "Lord, it is good that we are here. We could build three tents!" So, while is has been good that we have lived here and as much as I would love to "build tents" and set up the Love-shop here the fact is that tent-building materials are in rather short supply and so I am thrilled to be going to build a tent somewhere where the materials are as great as they are at The Mount.
Not only is the Seminary one with a good reputation for orthodoxy and turning out some damn good priests but it's just beautiful. I think that even if I'm missing the comforts of this home I will not be able to help being happy, surrounded by so much beauty. Anyway, that's all I have time for right now because the petting farm is calling me.
I have to admit that I have hardly paid any attention to my children all week because the night we found out he got the job (they offered it to him at 10:15 pm - should I be worried about David keeping strange hours?) we were so excited that we couldn't sleep. We pretended to sleep from 12:30 - 5 or so but then we just decided to shove it and get up and have a big, fried breakfast. I still haven't really recovered - from the sleep-deprivation, the fried breakfast I had no problem taking in stride. I've been running on sheer adrenalin for days now. Adrenalin makes for me doing everything BUT paying attention to the kids and they are getting rather antsy for it. So, we are going to the petting farm where I hope that I will be able to focus long enough to give them a little bit of myself that has really already moved and is now in residence in Maryland.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Do-ers and Yards

I am generally a do-er. This does not mean that I am constantly doing, but it does mean that if I am not doing then I feel really guilty about it and have a hard time enjoying myself. This brings me to the fact that I have lived in an apartment for the last 4 years. Which, in turn, brings me to the fact that I have been yardless for the same amount of time. This is obviously a detriment when parenting a 3-year-old boy but it is a less obvious detriment for a do-er. A yard gives the Do-er the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors without feeling like you are neglecting the "real work" that in inevitably indoors. We will be moving in a couple months and even if we just have a teeny yard I am hoping to encounter the great outdoors again without the nagging feeling that I'm just indulging myself. Give me responsibility!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

St. Joseph the Worker

I'm making a special appeal to the big Joe today for David and his job. He chose Joseph as his confirmation saint, we are in the middle of a Novena to St. Joseph about door number three, and today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker - very appropriate for our situation. I thought that the prayer at the end of Morning Prayer today was perfect for David.

God our Father,
creator and ruler of the universe, in every age you call man to develop and use his gifts for the good of others. With St. Joseph as our example and guide, help us to do the work you have asked and come to the rewards you have promised.

I love it when the liturgical world and my world line up so neatly. It's very convenient and comforting.

Art: Detail from the right wing of Triptych of the Annunication - Robert Campin, Netherlands (Bruges), ca 1378-1444 (Oil on Panel)
The Cloisters Collection, 1956 - The Metropolitan Museum of Art