Thursday, November 29, 2012

Turkey Withdrawal

Woo hoo!  I have signed school papers, fed a toddler, and fixed my daughter’s hair for school all before getting out of bed.  Hyperproductive day ahead no doubt, so I’m posting:

Hahaha!  I wrote that yesterday.  No wait, two days ago.  Left it in to have a good chuckle at myself.  Ah the hubris!  Oh well.  Almost a week later, I am still recovering from the twenty-hour round-trip Thanksgiving family van voyage down south and back again.  Honestly though, I have greatly missed you, my dear invisible—possibly imaginary—audience.  J  Thanks for checking in.  Do let me know if you have any Thanksgiving stories to share yourself; I don’t want to always do all the talking here. Or you could post a really nasty comment so I can make fun of you.  J  That would be diverting.  Meanwhile, I really need to redo this blog format; all I’ve learned how to do so far is change the background really, which I need to do soon for the advent of Advent… Hmm.

I want you to know that I certainly planned on posting before this, but I ran into various obstacles the past few days, above and beyond the usual unpacking and catching up.  Often literal obstacles.  Like my three year old standing in front of me with the dreaded CandyLand game; her version is played by leaping from one treat to another, while her baby sister chews the color cards.  Ironically, this sugar-obsessed game was produced to me right after I told her she could not have her sister’s leftover birthday cake for breakfast.  Seriously Veggietales… Veggieland maybe?  Anyway.  I was a bit delayed as well by the realization that a hard-boiled egg (mercifully still shelled) was lost in my king-sized bed, a sensorial attempt to teach my toddler about ovoids.  Oh yes, and my eight year old turned… nine, completely without my permission.  This required the yearly pilgrimage to the penitence of Chuck E Cheese, where I greet the migraine with a determined smile, thinking I really REALLY need to enjoy this because they are only young once.  I almost convince myself to do this…

Other obstacles included me tangling with a cord and slamming into my beloved Shark steam mop, which I somehow managed to step on in the debacle and snap in half. I now know what my husband will be getting me for Christmas.  And while I’m on a requiem for appliances, I must have a moment of silence for my GPS, which faded away into silence before our trip south for the holiday, naturally.  I miss it greatly, and await the Cyber Monday-ordered replacement with mixed feelings.  Will this new tech relationship be as good as the first?  Remains to be seen.  I will keep an open mind, though my former GPS just knew me better, my contacts and frequent destinations, the place I call home… sniff!  

One last excuse I will mention is the health issues we’ve been having over here: my baby is entertaining some stomach issue that causes the need for diaper changes on the hour.  That and my RA—an old friend of mine—made itself known in an unique way this week by causing both of my hands to swell painfully; usually it goes for my left, but this time it showed no favoritism.  This current condition is not particularly conducive to typing.  I’m waiting for doctors to call back as I pound away here with about 65% accuracy…. Loving the backspace right now folks…

But back to our trip.  I used to love to travel.  Really.  Car, plane, boat, train.  My husband and I drove cross-country for our honeymoon for crying out loud.  (No, I don’t recommend this, but we did it.  If we got a do-over, we’d choose an all-inclusive resort at a tropical destination, which would greatly reduce the anxiety produced for a new couple driving in the dark around canyons in national parks, seeking a place to spend the night.  Fun stories though.)

I think my latest Thanksgiving trip has finally cured me of all wanderlust.  We hadn’t even made it out of the state when we found ourselves in the emergency room.  My poor coughing husband managed to badly pull/tear a muscle while driving, and during his x-ray they found out—oh, by the way—he had pneumonia.  Did that stop us?  Not us.  Armed with new prescriptions three hours later, I was driving at a nice clip between concrete barriers in a construction zone with my stiff, sore, sedated, and snoozing spouse by my side.  Screams from the back then alerted me to the fact that my three year old had successfully let herself out of her car seat and had minimal desires to return, despite the highly persuasive shouts of her older siblings, “Get back in there!!!  Aw man….Mommmm!!” 

The nearest Walmart produced a new [Pink!  It’s pink! Your FAVORITE color!] car seat for her.  And sometime around 3 AM, we made it to our destination: a cabin located—somewhat oddly—right beside the site of the Battle of Chancellorsville.  It did help me keep my complaints to a minimum recalling how much sacrifice once occurred in the area.  We spent some time in DC, which I’ve always loved… very grateful I was able to share that experience with my kids!

Though on further inspection, the Museum of Natural History is essentially a dead zoo.  Just saying.  Still, the city inspired patriotism even in my youngest it seems.

This was followed by Thanksgiving with extended family, which went okay… despite the fact that one of the family took suddenly ill, while another demonstrated more concern for the well-being of the deceased poultry than for anyone else present.  But it was Thanksgiving anyway, we said a heartfelt grace, and I got to hang out with my sisters-in-law, which for me is always a positive.  If I didn’t like them as people (which I do exceedingly) I could not help but like them for their penchant of playing mommy makeover with me.  They initiated me into Black Friday—both the late owl and early bird versions—and I have immerged, through their stunning generosity, with more clothes than I have bought in my lifetime to this point.  I buy about one article of clothing a year usually, and yes, I still wear stuff from college, but hey, I thought I was doing okay.  They did not agree.

So I’m back here, still tripping dazedly around piles of laundry to be folded.  I’m so very, very tired.  I hope you all had a good thanksgiving.  Will post again soon, but diaper duty is calling again. Ttys, TLC 

(Meditating on this one today: “In everything, give thanks.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pressed Down, Shaken Together, Running Over

My eldest lay face down while my baby attempted to bite her feet.  We were in a tiny appointment room next to the large waiting area, door left open because the mini company I had to bring could not be contained on the single exam table.  I balanced my ever-overflowing tote bag from my shoulder while trying to fill the forms on the clipboard pertaining to the general health and well-being of my prone offspring.  Curled up in a corner chair, my 8 year-old read a book, while the chiropractor busied himself with the computer prior to the adjustment. 

“Yep, a bit of scoliosis going on here, should be correctable with regular visits.  You see how she’s all tight here?  And here?” 

Baby was licking the mirror on the door now.  I tried to decide where my focus was supposed to be. 

It was then that I noticed the smell, and turned to see my just-recently three year-old 2/3rds potty-trained daughter standing stiff, straining, and flushed, very obviously “working on something.”  In the middle of a full waiting room. 

Oh no, it didn’t end there.  No, she decided to take her time with the procedure, as it was a rather overdue occurrence.  Part of me kinda admires the complete obliviousness young kids have to social norms when it comes the calls of nature… If only I had one iota of that serenity.  I deliberately shut off my ability to perceive if others were uncomfortable—since there was not a blasted thing I could do about it during this rather important exam—and switched into survival mode.  I hyperfocused on the doctor’s words, a tiny voice in my brain reassuring me, “He’s had kids, he gets it, he can handle this.” 

“Oh.” (nervous chuckle) “If she could just not touch that table... she could get pinched.” 

Wrong focus.  Focus off doctor, off pooping preschooler, onto toddler near pinchy table.  I scooped her up to balance on my overflowing bag where she could slap my clipboard and chew the office pen that said, “Relax and rejuvenate in our care.”  My arm was on fire, my head was pounding as I drowned in the humiliation of being a disturber of the peace, a leader of an unruly hoard, a flawed human being who breeded little flawed human beings, the opposite of put-together, with faults for all to see.

It is hard to be a mom sometimes.  Unbelievably hard.  Especially when you have to bring your more-than-two children with you out in public because no one could watch them at home, or because you underestimated the challenge of the situation you were entering into.  Especially when they were constipated and somehow, SOMEHOW, the best laxative seems to be public places when you are down to the last baby wipe, which is invariably dry as bone.  (Why oh why oh why!)  Especially when it’s a situation where—oh, I remember!—you used to be like the people you and your kids are currently annoying.

“My kids would never act like that.”
“Why does she have her babies out with her here?  At this time of night?”
“Is that kool-aid in the bottle?!?”
“Why is her house such a mess?  I guess she’s just laid back about it…”
“Can’t she talk on the phone without talking to her kids, ever?”
Not that I was ever especially uncharitable.  I thought I was being reasonable.  I mean, the store is no place for kids after 9, right?  And kool-aid, c’mon!  But now—and I’m a pretty kind person, so I’m not sure why I had to have empathy drilled into me over and over---I’m at the other end, and I have the answer to all these mysterious questions: The babies are out with her because her husband’s sick, and she just realized—after an exhausting day—when she opened the fridge to get milk for the bottle that there’s none left.  Nor juice.  So okay it was Gatorade, it looks like kool-aid, not much better, but it almost kinda kept baby quiet while she shopped.  But then her tired toddler had a meltdown over the non-acquisition of a toy that started to play music while she ran the cart past Dancing Mickey Mouse Pants, so all eyes are on the mom stuffing the kool-aid bottle in the mouth of the screaming baby while she books it down the main aisle, eyes glazed, seeking the refuge of the car where the screams would be louder, but at least the humiliation would be gone.  She comes back to a mess which is usually a mess because cleaning with children at home can be like plowing the sea.  But oh, it’s not because she’s laid back about living in a mess; she cares, deeply, but by the time it's nine PM she could weep with exhaustion most nights.  And yes, if you are blessed with parenthood someday, your house, your car, your purse, and your kids, will absolutely, positively, be some version of that at some point, some day.  Not that it's not worth every bit of it to have those kids.  :)

I hope I’ve really reached the place where I can see the insecurity behind the rudeness of teens, the aches and pains behind the grumpiness of the elderly.  I’d like to think I’m beyond judging in my life.  Like about everything, not just “other moms” and their choices of how to educate their children, or discipline, or what they eat for dinner.  But also I hope I’ve stopped judging those of different political consider the individual and not just the ideology.  Those of different faiths, or those with no faith at all.  Those from different family backgrounds.  Those of different sexual orientations.   Those who appear rich, and those who appear poor.  If the daily humility motherhood brings does not cure me of thinking I am better than anyone, for any reason, nothing will cure it.  Because—just like how you can’t “get” being a mom till you’ve experienced the full affect of a thousand sleepless nights--I have no idea what they’ve been through as individuals, or any clear idea where they are now, or what their future holds.  I can in no way know for certain I would be better if I had been given the hand they had been dealt.  But I do know for certain, when I see anyone in a negative light of any kind because they are different from me; or I get to thinking myself or my “kind” are somehow superior; or I’m just annoyed because I can’t wrap my mind around how anyone could be “that” way--that there, but for the grace of God, go I.  Or from there, by the grace of God, I emerged.  And sometimes, there—by the grace of God—I will someday go.  Because sometimes we need to be broken to be remade.  And we all have so much yet to learn.  (Speaking of which... brb...Gotta go lecture my husband about the proper way (i.e. mine) to get these honyacks to bed while I blog...)

My daughter wasn’t finished after I changed her in the car after the doctor; she concluded the process in the middle of a restaurant.  And to anyone who was there or at the doctor’s, yes, I changed her as soon as I could.  She’s a size six, and I had apparently packed only size 3 diapers after all.  Besides, she was having such a wonderful time shaking grated cheese over her baby sister’s hair, who was laughing hysterically while I shot pictures with my I-Phone.  (Which reminds me: having an I-Phone does not mean I am rich, or that I am a poor and soaking up government money; it just means that my sister-in-law is generous.)  Can’t judge a book by its shoes and we need to walk in each other’s covers, right?  Something like that.  (Which reminds me: I just heard of a service being concluded by an earnest young priest who suffered from spoonerism; he had the misfortune to make it through to the very end when he commenced: “The ass is mended; go in peace.” Okay, admit you smiled… J)

To wrap this up: I hope you, dear readers, won’t judge me too harshly.  I am bound, at one time or another (if I haven't already) to tick somebody off or somehow offend their sensibilities.  It's inevitable, especially as I am starting out on this blog.  I was so afraid of offending anyone it took years to start this.  Finally, I had to realize that I can’t avoid offending someone at some point, but I could really mess up by not saying something I was supposed to say.  Stuck between scylla and charybdis, I figured I might as well have fun, and do what I love: writing for you. 

Thanks again for reading!  At some point soon I may have to disappear for a week, not because I lost interest (impossible) or the name of my blog (somewhat more possible), nor that I was trampled on Black Friday (hope not) as I attempt to acquire a laptop (don’t have one.)  It’s just that I will have less access to a computer (refer back to need for laptop), and will be out of state at my in-laws for Thanksgiving.  (Da da dum!)  Tune in next time to see if I remain thankful and non-judgmental while on family vacation and a holiday on the road.  If I can't post before, hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving where you can bask in God’s innumerable blessings. -TLC    

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom.” Lk. 6:37-38

(Side note: Yes, the Douay-Rheims translation states the word “bosom.”  I’m sorry, it’s just there.  Probably referring to the heart or the core of the person, or, as in Barnes' Notes on the Bible, “The word ‘bosom’ here has reference to a custom among Oriental nations of making the bosom or front part of their garments large, so that articles could be carried in them, answering the purpose of our pockets. Compare Exodus 4:6-7; Proverbs 6:27; Ruth 3:15.”  This reminds me of an upcoming post I’m doing about this blog’s name, which I tried to make unique enough so that I, at least, wouldn’t forget it.)

(Further side note: Okay, so I’m just stalling because the kids are rowdy and it’s quiet within a five square foot radius at the moment.  Fine, I’ll go, good night! ;)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Headaches and Pretty Princesses

“I’m feeling rather loopy,” I mentioned to my husband last night, while shaking a bag of pretzels and doing a little dance in Aisle 6 of the supermarket.  We had had our first babysitting in weeks, and the date night at the steakhouse—as always—ended up as a shopping trip; it is honestly a complete blast to shop as a couple if you are used to having to cart kids every time.
Well, if he didn’t believe me then, he knew I was “off” when I laughed almost to tears while I pointed out to him, “Do you REALIZE… (giggle) that when you take out the S’s, the store is ‘Top and Hop’?!?  ROFL…” 
“Okay.  You don’t do drugs, so I’m going with a sinus infection again.  Do you have any symptoms?” 
“No, not really, I’m just a bit dizzy.  And tired.  And I have a little cold.  Only cough a little.  Slight headache.  I’m fine.”
Yeah right.  Hate when he’s right.  I really did have the hubris to think I wouldn’t get his cold.  Or my baby’s, who regularly sneezes in my face and laughs at the sound. 
The morning after, I am here holding my pounding forehead with one hand.  I had boiled water for tea, but wandered off and forgot to put the tea in; it’s waiting to be boiled again.  I made eggs, but lost the energy to eat them. I got distracted by half an episode of “Chopped.”  And then I fast-forwarded through the news I recorded from last night, to the part where the weatherman held up the picture of himself with a certain third-grade class.  “MOM, that’s ME!  Right there on TV!  See?”  Jumping with delight, she hammered at the screen with her finger at a tiny face in the crowd.  “Oh, that’s awesome sweetie!” I exclaimed at the appropriate time.  
I think that’s going to be the most active part of my day.  I’m now listening to my 8 year old and 3 year old attempting to play “Pretty Pretty Princess” behind my chair.  It’s not going well. 

8-“Okay, you rolled a three, so you need to put back your bracelet.” 
3-“Oh NO!  Not my pwetty bwacelet!”
8-(With a painful attempt at patience) “Don’t worry sweetie; you’ll get it back.”
3-“But I want THAT ONE!!  WAAAA!”
8-“Roll the die… Move your pawn to four.”
3- “NOOOO!” 
8- “Oh look!  You get to take ANY piece of jewelry!”
3- “Oh WOW!  HooWAY!” (Struggles up from floor to do a happy stomping dance.)
Attempts to have them change the game have been unsuccessful.  (“But I WANT the CWOWN!  I LOVE the CWOWN!”)  I jump every time the volume goes up as I’m hoping my 1 year old keeps napping. 
It is inadvisable to blog on a “topic” today--as you see all I can manage is to give "play-by-play" of oh-so-fascinating domestic events--so frankly I’m just going to see if I have any leftover antibiotics in the back of my pantry.  Or maybe they're in the fridge.  Okay fine, I’ll call the doctor instead.  Or boil some hot peppers and inhale that, hear that can work.  No, not the neti-pot.  Got any great tea?  Groann….
“YOU WON THE GAME!  HOORAY!”  Oh bliss.  Oh God bless eight-year olds. 
Oh no, wait.  They are dumping out the costume box to celebrate with a princess parade.
“Nope, I’m sorry, I’m wearing this one.”

It’s loud.  I’m sick.  Stay well.  Pray for me.  Soccer games are taking up the telly, but the bed looks lonely.  Hmm.  Sure they won’t miss me, right?  Zzz… - TLC

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all he hath done for thee.  Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from the pit, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” Ps. 103 2-4

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sufficient to the day

Yesterday morning when I awoke, I was certain of four things:

  1. I had just dreamt I was drinking white wine out of an Aveeno baby shampoo bottle.
  2. I was actually coming down with a cold; my throat felt like sandpaper.
  3. My three-year old was scheduled for dental surgery in 40 minutes.
  4. I had overslept.
But I did not yet know, with absolutely certainty, who the president was going to be for the next four years.

I did what any of you would have done under the circumstances.  I burst out of bed, calling on my sleepy progeny for help, wakened my poor husband (who had similarly overslept) to have him dress my unsuspecting preschooler, and jumped into the shower.  Chatty daughter in tow, I flew into the mini-van, raced carefully to the hospital, and convinced my daughter she liked the new blue pj’s and would soon recover her princess shirt. Carrying my sternly pouting child into op, myself dressed in white and a blue pancake cap, I held her chubby, bewildered, suddenly masked face on the operation table and looked into her eyes with what I hoped was a reassuring way.  “It’s okay.  Mommy’s here.  I love you.”  I stroked her cheeks while she succumbed to the anesthesia; one long muffled scream, one quiet sob, a couple whispered “Mommy?” then her eyes rolled back and she was out.   Dazed, I wandered to the chapel, barely remembering to rip off my white paper jumpsuit before doing so.  After half an hour, I tried to get a bagel at the cafĂ©, realized they were cash only, located the lobby, located ATM hidden in lobby, returned for bagel and decided my baby might like a banana, a fruit cup, and some pudding too when she woke up, bought them all, realized the cashier had no bags, balanced all small items in my hands, and found post-op waiting room.  Then I called my mother.

“Mom, she’s fine.  Who’s the president?  Oh.  Yeah, I was afraid that might be true about OH.  Oh my.  Oh well…” 

I was then treated to my mother’s ever calm and rational view of stressful situations: how she was going to go underground when authorities came to euthanize her when she turned 70, and she had a sewer cover picked out for this eventuality.  She told me the secret signal I would have to have when I visited her there.  How we as a nation got what we deserved.  How she was still quite upset with me for consenting to general anesthesia for my daughter’s four cavities.  How I really should have extracted the problem teeth myself using string and a rolling pin. 

As I waited with the two verbose Italian men who were grumpily anticipating their wives’ recovery from colonoscopies, I had time to reflect on the four things I knew now.

  1. We had not just elected a new deity.  (I took some unsuccessful pains to convince a couple individuals of this fact prior to the elections).  God was the same yesterday, as He was today, as He would be till 2016… yep, 2016, and infinitely beyond that. 
  2. God was not alarmed.  Nor surprised.  Nor despairing.  Nor panicked. 
  3. Many of my friends were going to be alarmed, surprised, despairing, and panicky.
  4. God, as the ultimate Weatherman, had a hand in the election results.  For instance, people’s perception of Obama’s help during Sandy caused the incumbent’s ratings to rise… 
I also had a strong sense that we are going to get through this, by God’s grace, one day at a time.  Not counting one horrible possible outcome at a time.  Not figuring out how we are going to manage socialized health care and limited religious freedom, then taking those two probable problems in one smooth instantaneous mental leap to the worst case scenarios (which we humans are so adept at imagining): widespread martyrdom of Christians and religious leaders, mandatory euthanasia, the enforced gay marriage of every adult, the prohibition of chocolate…. That we should not head for the sewer covers yet.  That today certainly had enough dental trouble of its own.

Thomas More is my all-time favorite saint.  I love that he was a husband and father, an educated lawyer, a writer, and a man of wit and wits.  And no, the play A Man for All Seasons didn’t hurt my favoritism either.  As a government official, he was at the front lines when Henry VIII started the protestant ball rolling.  Faced with a king (not a term president, a lifelong monarch) going increasingly mental with wives and power, he did not immediately count himself doomed, though his doom was likely and in the end inevitable.  Rather, he tried to find a way to operate as a man of conscience despite the cultural climate.  In the end, as a leading statesmen of scrupulous morals, it did cost him his life.  But he was level-headed and sane in the crisis, as he successfully protected his family and tried to find a way to avert disaster.  He didn’t panic, but many conservatives are, with much less cause than More. (Click here for more info on More.) Historically, Obama is unlikely to be the worst thing that ever happened ever.  We are still very blessed, very fortunate, to be Americans… hopefully we can extract the baby from the bathwater here…

While waiting beside my daughter’s cot with instructions not to wake her, I inspected her IV, oxygen mask, and steadily beeping monitor, blotchy face, and fresh ether smell, silently cursing all fruit snack companies that made chewy sweet things my daughter adored.  Sighing, I took her hand, reading the ever-helpful post op instruction sheets.  I was not to force food on her in the next 24 hours.  I was to start her with a liquid diet.  She would be dizzy, so crowded bouncy houses were contraindicated for the afternoon.  Caillou, however, was strongly indicated.  (Groan.)  Fevers, convulsions, and comas were bad, and should be noted immediately as such.  Feeling the weight of such new wisdom, I activated my smartphone Facebook capacity to read the feedback.  

Frequent word occurrences included the following: prison, horrible, Obama horrible, election horrible, end of freedom, firing squad, end of healthcare, usherance in of the new Hedonistic States of America (okay there was only one occurrence of that one.)  Several other posts beginning with, “I’m taking a break from Facebook because I can’t stand everyone talking about how bad everything is” followed by a detailed description of how bad everything was.  Close second most-frequent post to this was “I’m taking a break from Facebook because I can’t stand so many people celebrating; I don’t know how you can judge me when you just elected the antichrist.” Quite a few “May God help us all” or similar deck-of-Titanic sentiments.  And least most popular post was, “Hey, I just fried homemade corned beef hash” and a truly alarming picture to go with it.  (General note: photos of what you just cooked rarely communicate—at all—that these dishes are actually appetizing.  Pots of soup, stuffing, yeah… it don’t look good, really.  Please desist.) 

Meanwhile, group hug everyone!  Group hug… squeeze!  There.  God has guided his people through far stormier seas. 

“Mommy… my princess shirt…”  My daughter groggily came to, lurched forward in a daze, and shakily started to rip every lead from her body.  I hailed the nurse, who rushed in to distract my daughter with a cherry Popsicle.  I resisted a sudden urge to ask how a red-dye-40-frozen-corn-syrup-stick was truly going to help her recover.  Instead I chose to focus on her comfort.  Cold.  Wet.  Sweet.  I helped her into her princess shirt, watching sticky drops fall unnoticed onto it from her melting pop as she gazed blearily at Toy Story 5 ½.

Maybe it feels like God just handed our increasingly ill country a red-dye-40-corn-syrup President.  Or at least allowed us to grab it ourselves as a nation.  But I’m seeking to remember that our Father loves everyone in this nation.  That God loves Obama, who is not beyond hope of salvation.  Neither is this country.  That God works all things for the good of those who love Him, and many Americans still do.  That sometimes maybe it’s better to drug up the patient and perform messy surgery than to rip the offending tooth out directly.  That if anyone can bring good out of this mess, it is our Divine Physician.

My little one is snoozing now.  Okay duh, it’s 2 in the morning… I’ll be editing this much later I’m sure.  (As before mentioned, it’s sleep or write sometimes.)  My kid ate like a horse today.  She played whenever Caillou did not amuse, but fortunately only fell off of one chair and ran into one wall.  She’s going to be okay.  But her beautiful face, inside her huge smile, is some serious bling.  In my hesitation to make the right treatment decision, two of her poor lower molars were too far gone for regular fillings.  Instead, two stainless steel crowns peep out from between her white pearly teeth. Oh my friends, I cringe as I can hear the gasps of my fellow moms now.  Particularly my mother-in-law.  “What HAPPENED?!?  Oh, poor baby!”  And my girl, blissfully unaware and proud of every part of her small body, will reply, “Oh I not a baby.  I a BIG giwl!”  And she will scamper off while I will have to launch into my personal discovery of the evil of allowing gummy fruit snacks.  The crowns aren’t pretty, but they’re healthy. 

Maybe Obama’s affects will prove the same, in the long run.  I hold on to hope. Meanwhile, this ain’t the Douay-Rheims, but I this translation speaks directly to my fears today.  I will hold onto hope.  –TLC

“Do not be over-anxious, therefore, about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own cares. Enough for each day are its own troubles.” Mt. 6:34

P.S.  I’m still going to celebrate my birthday.  So if you don’t like the upcoming Inauguration Day, join my party in spirit.  I’ll be dining on kid-made cake and opening school-craft gifts and generally being grateful for life.  Then and till then, oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crooked lines

Well then.  (Sigh. Stretch.)  God can still write straight with crooked lines.  Chin up. :)

"We put our hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20

Monday, November 5, 2012

Don't ruin my birthday

I have more to lose than most if the elections do not turn out well tomorrow. My birthday is on Inauguration Day.  And I have had far too many birthdays ruined with poor election results.  So I trust my readers are all going to do their part at the polls tomorrow.

Here’s where I’m going to attempt my first links… bloggers more experienced than I have given more reflection on this issue than I have had time and mental space for, so I am here going to link two rather opposite Catholic perspectives for your consideration, in case you haven’t seen them yet:

I appreciate the humor of Zmirak in general, and had the opportunity to work for him at one time.  But I can see the dissenters point of view as well, since I have several close friends and some relatives who are Ron Paul supporters; I have heard those arguments for almost a year now. (And I also have friends and relatives who are Obamaphiles, naturally.)

My own two cents, for what it’s worth between doing the dishes and sorting the laundry over here, is that I am going to place my one vote—the only weapon I have other than prayer right now--where it can best fight the worst evil, as best as I can detect that evil.  I will hope another election will have less dramatic issues at stake and Catholics can once again more freely consider third party candidates without raising hackles and ruffling feathers amongst our own kind. 

Please join me in prayer for these elections, and may indeed the best man win, or the better man, or at the very least, the least evil one.  And my birthday can be celebrated in peace.  –TLC

Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of
America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in
order that she may present the country to you.
Through her we wish to thank you for the great
resources of this land and for the freedom which
has been its heritage. Through the intercession
of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in
America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our
President and on all the officers of our government.
Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and
charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and
labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard
the precious gift of many religious vocations.
Through the intercession of our Mother, have
mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners—
on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, Patroness
of our Land, we praise you and honor you and
give ourselves to you. Protect us from all harm. 
Pray for us, that acting always according to your
will and the Will of your Divine Son, we may live
and die pleasing to God. Amen.

Dear Mother, please grant the conversion of our country
and a very happy outcome to the elections.
We fly to your patronage,
O holy Mother of God;
Despise not our prayers in our necessities,
But ever deliver us from all dangers,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Imprimatur, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, 1959,
for public consecration of the United States to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary;  renewed by U.S. Bishops, November 11, 2006

“And he said to them: You are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is high to men, is an abomination before God.” Luke 16:15

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Falling Back

“What time is it really?  Did you change this clock yet?  Oh.  I’d already changed it.  It changed automatically?  No, my cell phone’s not charged. Okay seriously, what’s the time…”

Discombobulating fall-back in fall day.  The sun’s in the wrong place in the sky, which I find oddly vexing.  Must unsettle the Native American in me.  I’m trying to adjust bedtimes and naptimes and fretting over children who woke too early.  And darn it, I’m not totally over summer yet.  Also I seem to have a tendency towards that “seasonal blues” thing if I don’t get enough sun, must be my inner reptile or something…

We’re all cranky today, despite this extra hour.  I hope you are having a better day, using this “extra hour” for sleep or productivity or just plain leisure.  If you’re not enjoying it, well—if I do say so myself—you’re in good company. J

The good news of today: I finally found out how to post a photo, so here’s my youngest with pumpkins.  Okay, yes, it’s her back; I just haven’t figured out how anonymous I want to be while I’m writing all my private reflections on a public forum.  As you may have seen from my set-up, I haven’t fully figured out how to do this blog thing.  Yet!  Links?  Photos?  Oh there’re a-comin’ my friends, they’re a-comin’.  Dear invisible audience: Just you Wait.  (And yes, this is meant to be said like Eliza Doolittle.)  -TLC

“But darkness shall not be dark to thee, and night shall be light as day.”  Psalm 139:12

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lady Antebellum

Shuttling around in our mini van this morning, desperately trying to avoid yet another round of kiddie CD music, I surfed the lite stations…

“It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now…”

Second oldest: “Mom, is that like baby’s song to you?”  (Man, that girl listens intently when she wants to!)

Absolutely kiddo.  That sounds like the best application of the song, I mean really.  “I just need you…. WAAAAAA!”

The following is the likely exchange that would occur if an adult attempted such a conversation with me:

“Huhello?  What?  Yeah, you betcha it’s a quarter after one, so this better be good.  You’re a little drunk?  Uh okayyy… that’s promising… You need me now?  Dude, I need sleep now.  You need sleep now, and then Motrin and confession in the morning.  Get real.  Buddy, you said you wouldn’t call… You lost all control and dialed my number?  Ya know, it takes a certain amount of control to dial a number.  I mean, I can see losing all control and eating tons of ice cream,  I can see losing all control and… dialing a number?  No. No, don’t try to dodge responsibility on this bizarre behavior.  You don’t know how you can do without… what?  The senses you have taken leave of?  ME?  Man, you shoulda thought about that before you scattered my picture perfect memories ALL OVER THE FLOOR!!!   Yeah, stop watching the door; I ain’t doing the sweeping, no.  Yeah.  Yeah, you’re crossing my mind right now, and it’s not pleasant.  Good night.  I am SO getting caller ID… (click.)”

But a baby crying in a crib… now the song makes sense. J

I would like to follow this reflection on Antebellum with Scripture’s first reference to milk—yes, apropos of nothing but addressing baby’s needs at night, thank you.  It’s found in Genesis 18:8: “He [Abraham] took also butter and milk, and the calf which he had boiled, and set before them: but he stood by them under the tree.”  Interestingly (to me) this first reference (I think) of milk in the Bible involves the meal Abraham served to the angelic visitors who foretold the birth of Isaac, even though Sarah was old and laughed at the idea. 

It is also biblical basis for my most successful cooking method: boiling.  Apparently the Irish cook like Abraham.  Cool. -TLC

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Soul's Night

“Mom, baby POOPED!”  That’s what I woke to this morning, not “Amazing Grace.”  After fumbling contact lens-free through the necessary ritual, barking half-conscious orders to the two who were walking to school, I grimly observed all the hallmarks of a lonnng day.  The house (since the hurricane) looking as though Sandy had paid us an indoor visit.  Signs everywhere of costumes, softening jack-o’-lanterns, and candy wrappers being snuck from secret stashes.  My own exhaustion, having “overslept” after having gotten up hours before the kids, but just not when they woke up for the day.  And out the window, a cold, gray rain. 


I tried to turn things around.  I mumbled a prayer.  I made hot coffee.  I did a quick clean-up.  I assessed the lack of paper towels ANYWHERE in the house, and dressed up myself and the babies to go on an “outing” to remedy that lack at the nearest drug store.  Then I tried to put the little one down for a much-needed early nap.

Lying beside her, I tried to think of something useful while nursing her to sleep.  Like dinner plans.  Nothing came to me as I wavered between aching and unconsciousness.  Finally her breathing smoothed out, her chubby arms relaxed, and I unlatched her and admired her angel baby face for two seconds before I heard the sounds of doom.

“Mom-my! Mom-my!” sang my three year old from the other room.  Dora was failing her job at holding my kid’s attention.  Baby still not asleep enough to make a quick getaway, I tried to slowly ease her off my arm, listening helplessly to the inevitable.

Thud thud thud thud…BAM!  Door burst open.  “MOM! I HERE!” greets my preschooler in her one and only volume.  Baby startled violently and struggled to sit up, eyes still half closed. 

“Honey, baby was asleep.  Could you go watch your show?”

“Oh.  I sowwy Mommy.  I go watch my show now.”  Door slams. 

I sighed and resigned myself to several more minutes of chomping; she’s teething and nursing has not been perfectly painfree for some time.  Finally she zonked… for a whole half hour.

But hey, I’m still here!  Lunch was a moderate success… I ate broccoli and candy.  Figured that was balanced enough, don’t tell anyone. J  And now I’m “blogging”… as I have finally found the secret to how mothers get time to engage in such quasi-intellectual pursuits: you simply steal the moments otherwise spent eating, sleeping, or showering to write.  That appears to be the secret thus far...

Soon I’ll be getting ready to get all the kids to a doctor’s appointment immediately followed by an All Saint’s Party (yes, on All Soul’s Day).  Which, unfortunately, I have no costumes for yet.  I do have a handful of robes from the dress-up box that could easily be St. Fill-in-the-Blank but I was hoping to get something more individually selected for each child…

I ended up going to the late Mass at the local Catholic college with my two oldest last night; I wistfully thought of my own college days when I saw the golden-lit wooden chapel packed with young people… kids who could spend their days in quiet study and their nights in sound sleep if they wanted… Now that I am (really just barely) past youth, I can finally understand that once incomprehensible expression, “Youth is wasted on the young.”  But I digress...  The sermon was on the meaning of the feast day, how we celebrate all those in heaven that we don’t have names for, who aren’t officially canonized, our grandparents and ancestors and so many, many others thronging the blissful streets of Paradise.  How we use the month of November to reflect how we want to be among them someday.  How on All Soul’s we remember those gone before us whose desire for God yet burns and is still unsatisfied.

Okay, my moment of reflection is over for now; my three year old is hauling on my arm: “Mommy, can we make Popsicles?  Pweeease?  [pause] Pweeease?”  (Popsicles?  Kid, it’s freezing!  Brrr… Plus, she still doesn’t get the “wait for it overnight” part.  Like at all, so it’s a guaranteed tantrum either way, grr.)  Coffee is mercifully hitting me though.  More candy?  One more party, this one for the saints, the real deal?  Games with some rather grim Catholic humor like “St. Lucy’s Eyeballs” (ping pong balls shot through a ring) and maybe burgers from St. Lawrence’s Grill?  I’m sure I’ll resurrect to the occasion.

I think I’ll have the kids dress as themselves, future citizens of the New Jerusalem.  Right?  Easy but profound, no?  Hmm.  Just in case they don’t buy it, anyone want to help me haul the dress-up box to the car?  Aw, I know you would if you could; thank for the thought! J-TLC

“But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them.” Wisdom 3:1