Friday, April 18, 2014

The Joy of the Crucifix on Catholic Sistas

A few weeks ago I realized that my April post for Catholic Sistas was going to fall on Good Friday. I debated doing a reflective post on the importance of the day or keeping it simple with a short prayer and some art work of the Crucifixion.

Then I decided that I wanted to write a post on the importance of the crucifix for Catholics. While some Protestant denominations do use the crucifix in their churches, a large portion of them do not. The crucifix seems to be much more common in Catholic Churches (both Western and Eastern, though I learned there are some differences). I was very interested in this topic and was fascinated by some of what I was reading. But, formulating something still wasn't coming to me.

I sat down to write, because I couldn't put it off any longer (pesky deadlines), still thinking I was going to write something about the crucifix and why it is so commonly used by Catholics, and instead this story came out.
We turned off the windy country road onto a gravel drive. As we started up the hill I looked around at my surroundings. I would be spending the next three days at this retreat center. The driver was telling us about the old retreat center across the road. But I had stopped listening as I noticed a large crucifix at the top of the hill ahead of us.

This was my first impression of the retreat center. As we ascended the hill, the life-size crucifix dominated the view in front of us. Only once we turned the corner did I notice the retreat center and the other people arriving.

It always amazes me how the Holy Spirit works. Apparently this is the story I was meant to tell today. Read the rest of it here: The Joy of the Crucifix.

Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: Traveling, Cribs, Chocolate Diving, and Wow, I'm old!


~1~

I started this 7 Quick Takes post on Thursday. Thought I'd get a head start and have it all ready to go by Friday morning. I finished it and went to bed and then kept thinking about it. The general feel of the whole post was coming off to me as kind of depressing. I have a lot of good things going on in my life and yet somehow my post was coming off as kind of drab. So I'm scrapping the whole thing and starting again. So there's Take #1 for you. (Probably not much better than the original ... moving on ...)

~2~

Last weekend we were in Atlanta to celebrate my brother's marriage with family and friends. It was wonderful to visit with so many people that we don't get to see very often. I wish I could have visited with them more, but herding three children around everywhere made that difficult. It was fun though!! The boys had a great time and continued to talk about Nanny and Papa (my parents) for several more days after we got home.

~3~

Our trip wrapped up with a very long drive home. Loooooooong! Because of an accident on the highway (pray for those involved) we ended up sitting in traffic for about 2 hours. I think we went about 20 miles over those two hours. I convinced Hubby to stop for dinner shortly after we started moving again. It was just a long time for the boys to be strapped in their car seats and I was sure diapers desperately needed to be changed. So yes, 30 miles from our exit, we stopped for dinner. It was definitely the best choice. By the time we got home we just put the boys straight to bed.

~4~

The baby has been moved into his own room! There really hasn't been a compelling reason to keep him in our room for the last month or so. We were all sleeping fine, he sleeps for a good 8-9 hours every night, so it was time. I probably should have done this sooner. I much prefer the changing table in his bedroom to the changing table accessory attached to the Pack 'n' Play and I really enjoying feeding him in the rocking chair in his room. Much more comfortable that propping pillows up in our bed and feeding him there. (I think my husband appreciates this as well.) It's been a good move. And he looks tiny again! He was looking so big in the Pack 'n' Play, but now looks small again in his big ol' crib. So sweet!

~5~

I had a surreal moment the other day. I was driving home from work with the boys and just had this weird moment where I thought "How did I get here?" Not in a I'm-having-a-mid-life-crisis kind of moment, just in a wasn't-I just-in-college-like-yesterday-and-now-I'm-driving-a-minivan-with-three-kids-in-the-back kind of moment. It was like I was suddenly my younger self for a brief moment wondering where I was. I had to laugh at myself about this. I used to wonder what it wold be like to wake up one morning and find yourself in your life 20 years in the future. Can you imagine how weird that would be? Maybe I'll think more on that idea. Could be the basis of my first novel.

~6~

I think you could say that I went chocolate diving yesterday. I was eating dark chocolate covered almonds (YUM!) and dropped one. I crawled under my desk and came back with two pieces of chocolate. I have no idea how long the other piece had been down there. I'm about 98% certain that I have not eaten any of that other kind of chocolate in the last month since I've been back at work. So that means it's been there at least four months, but likely longer?? ICK!! I threw it away, obviously. I threw both away. Obviously the far reaches of the space under my desk haven't been cleaned in a while. ICK again!

~7~

Can you believe that this coming Sunday is Palm Sunday!! Lent is almost over. What are your plans for Holy Week? Do you attend the various Masses and services during the Triduum? Do you bring the kids and at what ages? Are you a family that goes to the Vigil or to Easter Sunday morning Mass? What are your plans for Easter Sunday itself? Share in the comments, I'm really curious about how other families do things.

Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary. Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Small Success Thursday, No. 6

 #1
Work Success: I finished a quarterly report on Monday. You'd think this would be an easy thing to do when you consider that I keep a consistent format to these reports and I had all the info I needed by last Thursday. But I ended up not working on it on Thursday, then I was off on Friday. I figured it'd be no problem to get it done on Monday. But then I had meetings all Monday morning followed by a weird monitor display problem with my computer which we fixed just in time for me to then go pump milk. After that it was lunch, check email, then another meeting, and then it was time to go pump again. So then it was 3:30 PM and I still hadn't started the report. It was due by the end of the day and I sent it to her at 4:55 PM. Just under the wire.

#2
Today is exactly one month since I went back to work after maternity leave. And I'm still breastfeeding!! I didn't think I'd be able to last, but here we are, still going strong. Even though I don't find the actual breastfeeding part all that enjoyable, I have learned to appreciate it more than the pumping part. I could totally do without having to lock myself into a storage closet lactation room twice a day and hook myself up to an electric motor. But it is making it possible for Silas to continue having my milk 100% of the time. The pros definitely out weigh the cons.

#3
I went to the grocery store!! On my own! Yes, it was 10 o'clock at night, but I managed to get there. And now I have lunches to bring with me to work each day and don't have to go to the Student Center or a local restaurant. This week was getting expensive (we were out of town last weekend, so we've been improvising all week). It was so nice though to go without any kids. I even got to use one of the little carts that don't have space for kids. So great!

What are your small successes?? Share them here or over at CatholicMom.com as part of the Small Success Thursday fun.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Survey on Miscarriage Resources

Today on Facebook a friend of mine shared a link to this survey for women who have experienced a miscarriage. I believe it is being done by the Archdiocese of Washington. They are working on developing resources and information for those who have been affected by miscarriage and are looking for information from those who have gone through a loss.

I completed the survey and it had questions on there about your own loss, how you dealt with the grief, what resources you used or where you got information, what you wished was available to you, and much more. It was a pretty comprehensive survey.

If you have the time and are so incline, I encourage you to  fill out the survey yourself and help the archdiocese in their quest to provide more and better information to other parents who may experience the pain of miscarriage.

Thanks!!

https://s.zoomerang.com/s/miscarriagesurvey

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Small Success Thursday, No. 5

#1
I'm actually writing this post. I almost didn't.

#2
I cleaned our kitchen floor last night. It had been getting the short end of the stick for a little too long. It doesn't help that I hate the bright white tile floor we have and that I have two two year old toddlers who don't know how to keep food on the table. The ants are started finding their way in again (had that problem last year too). So I swept, vacuumed, and mopped. This morning? No ants. Success!!

#3
I managed to get myself together enough to think about Easter this year. I totally slacked on a few Christmas things this past year (though the whole having a baby thing probably gives me a good excuse) and missed some birthdays and such in the new year. But I'm on the ball now!! I got some Easter gifts for a few precious people in our lives and even ordered some birthday gifts for the boys for the end of May. We won't talk about the fact that I still have a few thank you notes to write and I just last night flipped over my birthday calendar to April and realized that birthday season is going into full force this month.

Bonus #4
I rearranged part of our basement space to create a small space for myself. I set up our card table in a corner and bought a three-drawer, plastic storage unit to put next to it. I moved all my cards, card filing boxes, envelope boxes, and all the gift wrap stuff to that area. I still need to do a bit more organizing, but not I have a spot to wrap gifts and write out cards (and maybe letters??). And I could use it for other things as well. It's in a storage space in the basement, but that's okay with me. I was very pleased with my little set up.

What are your small successes this week? I'm linking this post up with Small Success Thursday at CatholicMom.com.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Loving Casey

It's hard to admit that you have to learn to love your babies. You hear so many women talk about the immense love they have for their children from the first moment they saw them that you feel like a bad mom if you don't experience the same thing.

Then I read an article someone had shared on Facebook recently: 20 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Postpartum. The author admits in this article (#9) that loving her babies after they were born did not happen immediately, it took time. She articulated better than I ever could how it took time for her to grow to love this tiny little human that you are solely responsible for. I was so relieved to read these words! That's me, too!

When all three of my boys came into the world, I was overjoyed to finally get to meet them. I was overjoyed (especially with the twins) that they made it safely! I got a bit emotional over the experience as well. But "love at first sight" it was not. And that's okay. The profound love I have for my children grows over time as I get to know them and experience their presence in my life. It was nice to read that I was not alone in that.

It also got me thinking about loving the children we have lost as well. As someone that has to get to know my children over time, how do I feel love for a child I've never seen? Or only seen for a short time before he was taken away from me?

Six years ago today we said good bye to our first child. Casey Marie was only 8 weeks in the womb when she was miscarried. We never saw her on ultrasound, never held her, barely knew of her existence before she was gone. There was no opportunity to experience her over time. There was no time. So how does one go about loving a child you barely knew?

I've been asking myself this all weekend. How to explain it? Because the fact is, I do love her. But I didn't get to experience being with her in the same way as I have my other children. I never got the opportunity to be with her, to watch her grow, to get to know her as a person.

I came to the realization that although I have not experienced her physically in the here and now, I have still experienced her presence, just in a very different way. The first moments after the miscarriage were covered in grief. That grief persisted for some time. Quite a long time.

But slowly, as time has gone on, I have come to accept her place in heaven away from me (for now). Accepting the loss of Casey doesn't make me forget. Instead I can pray for her soul. I can also ask her for prayers and for her intercession when we need it. Over time I have come to know my child through prayer in a way that is different from how I have gotten to know my living children. And through that I have come to love her.

She is my first child and as her mother, she has a special place in my heart. A place that is full of love for her. And I look forward to the day when we can be reunited and I can tell her face-to-face, "I love you."

Happy Birthday, Casey!

Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: Wacky Weather, Beautiful Babies, and Weekend Plans


~1~

Saturday was so nice here!! I even sent the boys out to play without coats. We must have gotten into the 60s.
Two boys working together. And you can tell the sun is out.
Beautiful day!

~2~

Sunday was still nice, though slightly more chilly than Saturday. When the sun peeked out from behind the clouds it felt warm. We still went outside to play, but coats were a must.
The boys enjoying the backyard. A bit more cloudy today.


~3~

On Tuesday it snowed ... again. This picture was taken around lunch time when the snow had started to melt. Please tell me this is it! I hear it's supposed to be spring now, but I think that's just a rumor.
Around noon, on my way across campus to pump.
Most of the snow from the morning was melting.

Can you see the snow coming down?
On my way to go pump around 3:00 PM.

I told you it was snowing.
Just 20 minutes later, heading back to my office.

It was not a lot of snow this time around and it came in fits and spurts melting some in between. Even so, there was a good thick layer on my car when I left work on Tuesday, I even had to break out the snow scraper.

~4~

And speaking of pumping, I took a picture of the set up in the Lactation Room I have been using the past two weeks.  It's not the best set up, being a corner side table, but at least the chairs are comfortable. I make it work. Just grateful to have it!

~5~

Silas is a talker. Oh my, this kid! He babbles and he laughs and he smiles and he babbles some more. I'm about 99% certain that the twins were not this talkative at only 3 months old. I don't think they were ever this talkative. It's so cute to get him going. I especially love seeing Hubby talking with him.

~6~

I finally got a great picture of all three boys together. After several attempts I finally got one with all of them looking at the camera:
Ethan, Silas, Peter

But I actually really loved this one the best (just wish I had thought to close the curtains sooner):

~7~

Plans for the weekend? I'm planning on doing some cleaning and organizing in the house, doing a bit of shopping, and working on a special blog post for Casey for Monday. I may try to find some purple cupcakes for us as well (the boys are into birthdays right now, so why not!). Can't believe it's been six years!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! Check out more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.