Friday, February 13, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 29

Check out more awesome bloggery at Kelly's.

{Lent is ALMOST HERE}

I love Lent for the opportunities to form better habits and renew the scope of my life. So I'm kind of excited to challenge myself beginning on Ash Wednesday to do some things to make life better.
On the spiritual side, I'll be following along with hundreds of others who purchased the Blessed Is She journal Only One Thing.  I'll have a paper copy, but there's a digital download now too!

And the other thing I thought I'd challenge myself to do was the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge at White House, Black Shutters. I started last year but after 4 days, I got lazy... OR maybe I just had a 2-month-old baby and 2 other kids under 4 to see to, haha!

I really loved what Haley had to say on the Fountains of Carrots podcast about doing something physical along with the spiritual during Lent.  In their show notes, there are a bunch of other awesome links to open your eyes up to an amazing world of Lenten suggestions.

{Mom's Groups}

Shout out to my Mom's Time Out ladies if you're checking out my blog for the first time. I'd love it if you'd stay around and learn a little more about your crazy co-coordinator.

I've never written about this before, but my Mom's group is a real light in my life. Somehow, I volunteered to help coordinate it, and that has been an exercise in humility.  I really don't think I'm cut out to be doing this, but with the guidance of my co-coordinator, she and I somehow get things done and lead the moms into something lovely.

I should have more confidence about it. I've always been a pretty "take-charge" person, but I'm also a serious scatterbrain when it comes to accomplishing simple tasks. I promised for 2 weeks to get a volunteer sign-up sheet there so that the ladies could work out when the bring a snack to share... It took an insane amount of time for me to finally just push print on the nice Excel document my husband set up for me.

But I love all of these moms. I think the leadership role has helped me to see them as more than just friends or potential friends, but as beautiful creations of God whose spiritual journey I play a part in by welcoming them back each week.  I find myself praying for them and their husbands and children when I go to sleep at night, and thinking about their prayer intentions as I go through my day.

This mom's group saved my mommy-life in some ways when I began attending 3 years ago.  I found like-minded friends, friends for my children, spiritual support and got to actually drink a warm cup of coffee in peace. I was extremely depressed during my last pregnancy, and some weeks Thursday morning was the light in my week. So I'm so thankful for this ever-changing group of ladies. They're wonderful!

{My oldest child}

I've been a mother for over 5 years, if you count maternity, which I do. Trying to wrap my brain around that is insane.

Patrick will be 5 next Sunday.  He's having a dinosoaur party, complete with these cookies which I will shape into dinosaur bones and bury in chocolate mousse and oreo crumbs with some gummy worms for the cake... which is apparently also supposed to have a volcano (cereal treats and icing probably).

But aside from celebrating his 5th year, I will take out our photos and tell him the story of his life as I see it, and remember the day he was born.

He usually wants to know all about my c-section, and I try not to emphasize that too much, because it's kind of emotionally scarring for me that I had to have one.  But he's fascinated that he was cut out of me, and he knows that the other two weren't, so he likes to know all the details.

He also still likes to snuggle up and have me hold him like I did when he was a baby while I tell him what it was like when he was a baby. My heart hurts a little thinking that maybe next year or the year after, he'll be like "Moooooom, I'm too old for that."

{Switching Gears}

Last Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the law against assisted suicide was unconstitutional, and there's been all sorts of uproar about it. I was shocked and reeling for two days, then I figured some things out and wrote this post about what I should be doing in light of this situation.

However, my friend Stephanie wrote this beautiful, hopeful post about it, and I think she said what I wanted to say, only better. You be the judge.

{Marriage}

My 6th Anniversary is tomorrow. It doesn't seem like we've been married that long.  I'm still finding out more things as the inner layers of Joseph peel back, revealing more of his soul.  I think maybe it's the having 3 kids in 6 years that has slowed time for us - there's a lot of caring for them and doing "their" things that goes on, leaving less time for us to talk and wonder "Why the heck does he do that?" about each other.  We're just clinging to each other for dear life on this wild parenthood ride!

I say all that with utmost positivity. We honestly have no regrets. We often say to each other, "I like our life," or, "I'm so glad we got married."

I'm always finding more reasons why marrying Joseph was really the best direction I could have taken. I am so much better than I was 6 years ago. This due to the fact that he either makes me want to change myself because of how good he is, or he just tells me, point blank, "X thing that you do is dumb, so you should work on that, but I love you."

I'm excited for our Anniversary. We already celebrated it by taking a week away to Hawaii last month, but I'll probably take a little extra time in the kitchen making something yummy for dinner.

{Teething Baby}

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Teething is the most horrible stage of my baby's life. If it could just all happen in one week of blood and tears and horror, I could probably do it, like a marathon of baby-hell. He wouldn't remember, right?
He is having such a rough time. So 25% our nights are filled with crying and homeopathics and soothing back to sleep. Last night though, Zachary actually just decided it was time to play, sooo... 1.5 hours later, at 5 a.m. I crawled back into bed.

This is why you're only getting 6 takes, because he just woke up SCREAMING from naptime and I must go console him and let him growl at me.

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!









Sunday, February 8, 2015

Assisted Suicide: My Arguments Don't Hold Water, But I'm Not Doing Nothing.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday, that the law banning assisted suicide was unconstitutional.
When I heard, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a historic moment: The historic moment when people in my country decided to further devalue the lives of some of its most vulnerable citizens. 

But I’m not here to give you the rundown of events. That’s all over the news.

And, cleverer people than I have written articles about the conflict of ethics we face and the reasons that this decision is to some, a great tragedy.

My feeling on this is one of helplessness.  I’m so small in the face of this.  I’m just a little stay-at-home mom whose heart is weeping.  If you haven’t gathered by now that I’m against this decision, I am. There it is.  Those who would argue with me, and tell me I’m wrong not to support assisted suicide will simply write off my opinion as something to be tossed aside like garbage because of one thing: my faith. 

That, more than anything makes me feel helpless.  There is a difference in philosophies that is an unbreakable barrier without a complete change of heart and mind.  My friend says that the when and how of death should be the choice of the terminally ill patient – that’s death with dignity to her.  To me, dignity in death is how one is treated, both physiologically and personally as they spend their last days, hours and minutes.

For me, the spiritual being of God informs my life and the way I live, but for my friend who believes there is no God, the Laws of God simply do not exist.  I believe you can be compassionate without taking someone’s life, and further, that compassion is not in killing at all – but my friend believes that assisted-suicide is the very compassion we've been lacking.

With this impasse reached, the discussion ends, because it is impossible to convince someone of the existence of God, His laws and the dignity of human beings from conception to natural death when they have no intention of being convinced. To Godless people, the "because of God" argument doesn't hold water.

But that's all I've got.  I'm afraid I have no time to research and study ethics and argue philosophical points. I've got kids to take care of and a never-ending laundry pile. I've got a little life of domesticity, though I'd love nothing more than to be well-versed enough to argue in the courts.

From behind my computer, while I read the news, I’ve asked myself over and over, “Is there nothing I can do?”

Today I sat in a pew and listened.  I listened as the words of Job filled the church:  What was life? Was it not simply as conscripts of God? Life was filled with suffering for Job, but he still believed. He still carried on living his life as a faithful follower of God. 

It occurred to me at that moment, (and hopefully my priest will forgive me for not listening to the rest of his homily very closely) that there is indeed some things I can do in the face of this decision of the lawmakers of my country.

Pray.
To think about prayer as a means to an end often makes me feel passive and desperate.  It’s like, “This is all I can do?”  But if indeed all things are possible with God, then I’d better be asking His help. 

Listen.
This decision made me sit up and pay attention.  This will affect us.  I will be vigilant in finding out exactly how it may affect me, my family, health care, and our society as a whole.  Knowing these things, and becoming prepared and educated on the decisions that are made will only strengthen my resolve to make what little difference I can.

Speak.
Here it is. My little battle cry from my busy life with kids and responsibilities.  I likely won’t have the opportunity to speak publicly to the masses, and my little blog with its miniscule amount of hits may only encourage a few, but I really do pray that I have the opportunity from my little realm of the home and church and grocery store to either speak on the importance of human beings and each life or show it by my actions.

Hope.
The most important thing I think I can do in my little world is to live in hope.  That’s what this is about isn’t it? Hopelessness? The terminally ill who want to die feel there is no hope. Their families see no hope.  Without hope, what is life?
Living in hope and continuing to bring those around us closer to the Source of that Hope. That’s something, isn’t it?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 28


This will be my 75th blog post, which is kind of surreal.

{Posts}
There's something strangely liberating about having put myself out there 75 times, even though a lot of it was just catch-up-with-the-family moments and some ranting about parenting, breastfeeding being hard, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding toddlers, and why I don't cover... Yeah. I feel like I wrote a lot about boobs. But hey, if you've got em.... no, I'm not going there.

I'm linking up with Kelly today for Seven Quick Takes, which I love, because I have many topics floating around in my swimming pool of a brain that I am always up for sharing a little about. And I'm counting this as a take, because, time. Mine and yours and not wasting and all that.

{Renovating}


For those just tuning in, we've been in a constant state of renovating since we bought our house 4 years ago. Scenes like the one above are not uncommon. That's my new laundry space just FYI.

I'm pretty excited about this. It'll be pretty and functional with the right amount of storage, a folding table, and most importantly, heat! The current space is not heated, so we have this hose freezing problem that has me leaning over the freezer with my hair dryer to get the machine to fill or drain on days when it's below freezing, which, in Canada, is quite a bit. MUCH frustration. MUCH expletives muttered under the breath.

But despite all that inconvenience and the mess you see here, it does not drive me crazy.

Most visitors to our house just see a big mess and ask me when I'll crack the whip to get it finished. But since my husband is an actual carpenter, not just a handy dude who thinks he can DIY who then eventually hires someone at his wife's insistence, I am basically at the mercy of time. His time. AND, since he has a business to run and needs to eat and rest, and spend time with our children, time grows short.

Maybe I've just been given some sort of miraculous gift of "renovators vision" but when I look at that space, I see the finished product.  I see cupboards and a sink and pretty, witty, painted laundry signs and a vase full of flowers and a sunbeam. If only I could pin that on the wall for the whip-crackers.

But mostly, I just like the guy, a lot. So as much time as I've spent sitting watching him work with a cup of tea in hand (my hand, not his)... a snuggle on the couch and a movie is just so much more fun. So you could say, it's my fault. Me and my feminine wiles.

{Podcasts}
I've just discovered podcasts this year.  It's a little ridiculous that I didn't jump on this train sooner, because there are some gooders.

But this one, from Christy and Haley at Fountains of Carrots with Auntie Leila was my favourite ever. I think it might have changed my life.

I have struggled so much with passing on the faith to my little ones. I've Pinterested and whispered wonderful things to them during Mass, and prayed little books with them, and taught them prayers, and just felt totally inadequate always. Especially when my oldest said to me this week, "Mom, Mass is horrible. I hate it. The only thing I like about church is cookies."

I tell you, if you listen to nothing else for encouragement in this area, this podcast.

{Mass Destruction}
Just as things got back to normal after a horrendous, illness filled December, and then a wonderful vacation, Zachary has entered a new phase of life.

This sweet little baby?



Yeah him. He's now in the phase referred to as "Mass Destruction". Of what? Anything he can get his little dimpled hands on. Mostly, my sanity. Every time I turn around there's another one like this:

Or this:

I'm sure this happened with the other two kids, but at that time, I didn't have the other two kids. But I just keep breathing in and moving stuff, and realizing that hey, his little newspaper mess helped me prep lunch rather peacefully, so win?

{Boys}

Being mom of three, or really, any number of boys is a special job. It constantly surprises me.
Lately my four-year-old has talked a lot about guns and weapons and fighting of "bad guys". His 3-year-old brother of course, plays right along, and together they make elaborate plans for the demise of these enemies.

At bed-time last night, I said, "I really don't like it when you talk so violently about shooting and hurting and blowing up people. It doesn't sound nice."

"Mom," Patrick said, "I just want to protect my family, and that's nice, isn't it?"

It is. It really is. I still would like him to know that guns are not toys, and that killing is a very grave thing, not to be taken lightly, but his basic thought is to defend and protect. And that's noble and good.

I went away from that tuck-in slightly less disturbed about the day's play.

{Body}

I recently integrated a workout into my day. Before 7 a.m. AND, I've stuck to it.  But I also realized my pattern every time I begin a workout routine:

I start excited.
I stick to it for a week.
I do a workout that's a little too hard for me and actually injure myself, or I get sick.
So I stop.

So, I just have to stop stopping! That, and injuring myself by getting a little overambitious.  Usually what leads to this is my hearing about a workout that someone else is doing, and deciding to power through it. Seriously, at my level of fitness, I should have realized that I needed to work up to Jillian Michael's House of Pain. <---not actual="" br="" its="" name.="">This is what makes working out unappealing for me, PAIN. But not just the dull ache of having worked muscles - that's ok - even awesome. I'm really talking about overdoing it. Not working up to it. Not challenging myself slowly and pushing a little harder over time. I'm talking just deciding to go for it because other people are doing it, and paying the consequences of a strain.

So. Ridiculous.

So, turning over a new leaf, I'm not working out for other people. I'm working out for me. I'm not working out to make other people think anything about my body. I'm working out because I want my body to last till my kids are 40+. I'm not working out because I hate myself. I'm working out because I love myself, and I will nurture my body into health, not break it in the process.

{Grocery store visions}

Since I really don't get out much, I seem to have all my unsuccessfully-evangelizing-people-to-more-than-2-kids moments at the grocery store. But I haven't had one lately. All I've had are really positive experiences. So maybe this means my kids are now accustomed to our weekly trek to obtain sustenance - and know that if they're good, I'll buy them animal crackers or some other devil-food; or I'm just putting on my rose-coloured glasses and seeing the good in everyday life.

This week, I saw a mom with 4 kids. She was calm. The kids were fairly calm but acting normal, asking questions, wanting this, wanting that, and she... she was radiant amidst it all. I mean this was a gorgeous woman.  I would have snapped a picture but I didn't want to be a creeper. It wasn't just her stylish boots and her cute hairstyle, but also the way she talked to her kids (who I'm sure were all hers because they looked like little mini-me's and called her mom). I was seriously in awe. I briefly considered following her beyond the canned vegetables aisle just so I could see if her kids acted up or she lost it on them and made them stand by the oranges while she shopped the rest of the aisle (no experience there or anything...).

Normally I would envy someone like this, but this particular day was a better one, and she gave me hope. Hope that maybe I could be like that, and hope that there are other moms out there trudging through the trenches of life, and succeeding for the world to see. So I abandoned all thoughts of stalking and let her go on with her day, thankful for this little moment of clarity.


Well there you have it dear readers, you beautiful people who've made it to the end once again.

Have a wonderful week, wherever you are.