Thursday, 26 December 2013

introducing Kateri...and Merry Christmas!

It's hard to believe that our sweet babe is 4.5  weeks already. The time is flying by, though in some ways it already feels like she's been a part of  our family forever.

I know an update is long overdue. The postpartum rollercoaster has been too crazy and too exhausting for me to get to it until now, and even now I might just cheat by putting in a lot of pictures.

What a blessing it was that labour went so smoothly this time. I had some pre-labor contractions this time, but nothing like the weeks of contractions that kept me awake at night and left me completely exhausted that I had with Isaac. This time I woke up with mild contractions around 4am . I wasn't sure if it was the real thing but asked Sean to just wait awhile before going to work just in case. We kept waiting for the contractions to go away but instead they just kept coming and getting stronger. Around 11am we decided to call the midwife, by noon we were at the hospital and at 1:53pm Kateri Regina joined the world ex utero. With Isaac, I pushed for 2.5 hours, and then still needed a forceps delivery. Kateri was born after pushing through only 2 contractions! I was pretty amazed at how different it was. An easier labor has also meant an easier recovery, and though I'm still not 100% back to normal, I soon will be.

She was born so quickly that her face was a little bruised,
Sean took a week off work after Kateri was born and I took full advantage of it to rest and recover. Then my friend Caitlin came and stayed for almost a week to help out. I am so grateful to this wonderful friend and all the other people who have brought presents, clothes and food. Moms with new babies need support and I have felt very supported these past weeks.

As usual, everyone but Isaac is tired.
Isaac loves his baby sister; in fact, sometimes we have to protect her from the enthusiasm of his love. For the first couple weeks, when I had constant help with the kids Isaac had very little reaction to their being a new little person in the house. Now that it's down to just the three of us most of the time he's definitely been a little extra needy and temperamental. But after hearing some horror stories from friends of how upset their children got with the arrival of a new sibling, I think his reaction has been pretty mild.

Sibling love.
As for me, I'm still trying to figure out how to be a mom to two kids. Fortunately, Kateri is pretty easy going. Keep her fed and cuddled and she is happy. It now seems like it would be super easy if I only had her to look after (note: I certainly did not think it was "easy" when I only had Isaac. The first time around everything is and new and overwhelming and anything but easy). Right now, though, it's more challenging keeping Isaac entertained and safe when I also have to nurse/change/hold a baby. At first I would feel guilty a lot, like I was neglecting one or the other of them, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it and realizing that it may not be the worst thing in the world for either of them to have to share my attention. I also try to remember that a new baby is a gift, not just to the parents, but to the siblings as well. Isaac doesn't fully realize it now but (I hope) he'll be happy to have a sister to play with as she gets older.

Me and my babies!
Isn't she beautiful? I could just post picture after picture but I'll try and restrain myself.
Family picture at Kateri's baptism.

On another note: Merry Christmas!

Taken on Christmas Eve. She's already getting chubby!
It's been challenging, but really beautiful having a newborn baby around for Christmas this year. I've been too tired to do everything that I've wanted so Christmas has been pretty trimmed back this year. On one hand, it's a shame because this is the first year that Isaac is really old enough to have a clue what's going on (well, sort of anyway). I want to make it really special and fun for him. But, on the other hand, it's not really supposed to be about the presents, and the baking, and the decorations, right? We didn't get our tree until Christmas eve this year due to crazy ice storms and our own lack of organization, but we're thinking of making it a yearly tradition. First of all, the tree was free, and who can say no to that kind of bargain? It also made Christmas eve and Christmas day really special this year. The decorations were still fresh and intact (Isaac hadn't done any un-decorating yet) for the big day, which has been a great reminder to keep the focus on the main event.

Presents! Not the main event, but still pretty fun.
It's fun to have a girl to dress up.
This year, I've been able to look at Kateri and marvel at the fact that Jesus too was once such a tiny baby, so precious, but so vulnerable. Out of love for us, he put himself in that position: not even able to hold his own head up. I keep thinking of how Mary must have gotten up in the night to nurse Him, changed His diapers, soothed His cries, held Him close and smelt that newborn smell. Having a baby is very--I don't know how to put it--earthy. There are a lot of bodily fluids involved. I read somewhere how much poop becomes part of your everyday conversations when you're a new parent, and it's so true! Thinking of Jesus as a newborn, just like my little Kateri, makes me realize how truly human Jesus was. It is almost unbelievable that God would do that for us, but true.

Wishing you all the blessings that our God-made-man has for you this Christmas season!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

pregnancy, birthday, and fall loveliness

Since my last post, I've started three different posts and haven't had time or energy to finish them.  I'm determined to actually get this one published.

Life lately has involved a lot of ups and downs. I'm feeling very large and pregnant. My back aches more or less most of the time and I really have to watch what I do or it can get a lot worse very quickly. Some days I've just felt too tired to do anything. I just found out that my iron is low so hopefully the supplements I'm taking will help with my energy levels a little.

The week leading up to Isaac's birthday was stressful and exhausting, even though the plan was to keep things as simple as possible. Isaac hasn't been sleeping the greatest and for some reason I was obsessing over making the perfect birthday cake. After a couple setbacks I finally finished it and was just able to enjoy my little man on his big day. In the morning we played with balloons, and made paper party hats while watching his favorite show in the whole wide world (a nature special on crocodiles). Then we went to the park and spent time in the backyard blowing bubbles. In the afternoon a few family members came over to celebrate with presents, pizza and cake. Simple as this was, it was more than enough to give Isaac the wonderful day he deserves. Fortunately, I was able to let go of the stress I'd been feeling and just enjoy the chance to spoil my little man (who is officially no longer a baby by the way! *sniff*).

Since then we've just been enjoying this gorgeous fall weather. I'm still tired and uncomfortable but I think that as my due date approaches (just over a month to go!) I'm better able to deal with it because I know that it will be over soon and I'll have a sweet little babe in my arms to show for it.

Our little gardener picked a cucumber, the only thing that grew in our too-shady garden this year.
The birthday boy. Where did the last two years go? Sometimes I feel like I signed up to have a baby and now, all of the sudden, I have to raise a child! I guess we'll just have to keep learning as we go along.
Checking out his new toys. A set of construction vehicles were among the favorites.
After quite the struggle, I was actually pretty pleased with how the cake turned out.
Isaac was already on sensory overload after opening presents so he wasn't too sure what to do when presented with his cake. He knows now. Whenever we talk about birthdays he always mentions, "cake" and goes "ffew" blowing out the imaginary candles.
Have I mentioned that this is the nicest October I can remember? We've been outside almost everyday with nothing but long sleeves or maybe a light jacket. (The pink and purple bike belongs to his cousin Lucia. He doesn't seem to mind the colours.)
We found this wagon at a yard sale and it was an instant hit. When Lucia climbed in Isaac started taking her for a ride all by himself.
I love our DSLR camera. We're no photographers but it was definitely worth the money.
With this lovely weather we've been spending a lot of evenings in the backyard and barbecuing supper. One of Isaac's favorite new pass times is digging in the garden with Daddy (Mommy's back isn't up for much digging).
And what better to dig for in a garden than worms? As you can see, he's thrilled to be holding his "big" worm. He always tries to feed animals (grass, rocks, whatever's handy) so he was happy when we told him that worms eat dirt, so now he can always feed the ones that he finds.

Part of what made Isaac's birthday stressful is that we're also doing some renovations (and by we I mean Sean is working while I try to keep Isaac from getting killed). We've been meaning to work on the kitchen since we moved here and we realized that if we don't get it done before the baby's born it might never happen. So Sean's been busy working on the cupboards and painting and there's nothing Isaac likes better than "helping" Daddy.
35 weeks! I definitely got bigger more quickly with this pregnancy but I don't think I'm quite as huge now as I was with Isaac. I guess I still have a month and some to grow.  It's been so long since I posted that I feel like I could keep writing and writing, but I think I'll sign off for now. We're very proud of our two year old and very excited to meet his little sister! Please keep our family in your prayers as we continue to get ready for baby.

Friday, 23 August 2013

My almost-two-year-old

Today I was reading old posts and it just blows me away how much our little man has grown up. It made me realize how he has become easier in some ways and harder in others.

Things that are easier:

1. He no longer has the compulsive need to open every cupboard, go through every box, and climb every climbable surface. He will still do these things, but not as insistently as he used to.

2. He can do more things by himself. He can climb up and down stairs by himself, get on and off couches and beds, etc. safely, so I'm less worried about him cracking his head open every time I turn around. He can also get down the stairs in front of our house by himself, leaving me with two hands free to get out the stroller.

Getting out blocks is now always accompanied by a request that we help him build a "house house house house!" In fact, he won't stop saying it until some one helps him.

3. He can communicate MUCH better. He's now at the point where he's constantly spewing new words. And, while it can still be a challenge to understand what he's saying (pronunciation is not his strong suit), his growing vocabulary is certainly helpful.

4. He can follow simple instructions. He can even do things that are actually helpful, like going to get a spoon, or putting something in the garbage. When we clean up his toys he actually puts things away in the right place and usually doesn't stop until all the toys are away. Sometimes his dedication is much greater than mine!

5. He can understand if/then statements: "If you put your blocks away, then we can go outside." You have no idea how helpful this is! The only problem is that he doesn't always agree with our if/then statements. In fact, sometimes they are the start of complete meltdowns.

Things that are harder:

1. His memory is getting very, very good. While this may be helpful in some ways, it also means that we have to be very careful what precedents we set. ONE time when we went for a walk I brought cookies in my purse for a snack for the way home. Ever since then, when we start the return journey from the store, or the playground I'm likely to hear a chorus of requests: "cookie! cookie! cookie!" Also whenever we drive by a field we hear neighs and moos from the backseat, because he wants to see a cow or a horse. We drive in the country a lot and often see farm animals, but we have yet to make him understand that there won't be horses or cows in every single field.

2. The tantrums are more intense and harder to deal with. We have a boy who's always had a mind of his own, but now that he's older it's harder to distract him, harder to make him forget when he's not getting his own way. The poor little guy just rails against a world that is not fair. I guess time is the only cure for that. The world will continue to be unfair, but his railings will become less violent. The most common trigger for a tantrum is his 3-year-old cousin Lucia (or Cia, as he has finally figured out how to say). It's not that he doesn't like her; in fact, he adores her and wants to go everywhere she goes--which is a bit of a problem, considering they live upstairs and have to go through our front hallway to go anywhere.

Chasing bubbles with Lucia; in other words: he's pretty much in heaven.

3. Drama drama drama. In the above paragraph I was talking about real tantrums, ones where he completely loses it and simply cannot control himself. However, there are also the less intense incidents when you can tell he's just practicing for his audition for the Stratford Festival. Like when he sees that his dad had stubbed his toe and he comes limping over, whimpering, to have his foot kissed. Or when he starts crying over not getting his way, and looks to see my reaction before gently lowering himself to the ground in his (wink wink) grief. The problem with this drama is that it can quite quickly turn into a real tantrum if I don't find some way of distracting him. Then the problem is finding a distraction that isn't rewarding the behaviour. I've never been a fan of excess drama in my life so these little displays, though often cute, usually just irritate me. I guess I just have to accept that they're a normal part of childhood.

Not impressed at having to share. Or maybe that's just the villainous look one has when one has just stolen a shovel from a baby.

When Isaac was born I couldn't imagine him walking and talking, yet here he is! Six months ago I couldn't imagine the time when he wouldn't be into everything all the time, and while I won't say that that stage is over quite yet, I can now see that it will have an end. I still can't imagine being able to walk down the street with him without having an iron grip on his wrist, but maybe by next summer? I often just want to cuddle him and tell him that he's still my baby, but at the same time I'm glad to see him growing up because pretty soon (3 months!) I'll have another baby on my hands. I wonder what Isaac will think of that!

In this picture he still looks like a baby, just a ginormous one.

(To my friend who just did a similar post about her almost-two-year-old: I'm not just copying you I swear haha! I actually had a draft of this written when I read yours.)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

mostly pictures

This spring/summer has been surprisingly photogenic for our family, so I thought I'd do a nice, lazy, picture-full post. Here's one of my favourite family photos. We were all dolled up for a friend's wedding in May.

These pictures are only from May but Isaac is already looking older!

Random photos from July:

Did I say photogenic? I must have been thinking of another word...

Waiting for the ferry to take us to our cottage on Manitoulin Island, where we would meet up with my parents, my brother and his family!

At Bridal Veil Falls on Manitoulin. Baby is approximately 24 weeks at this point.

Here's a picture where you can actually see the Falls.

The boy is a mover. He apparently decided to go for a walk by himself, since his elders were taking too long staring at the water.

There were many more highlights of the trip and many more pictures I could post, but Isaac will wake up pretty soon so I think I'll quit while I'm ahead. Expect a wordier post soon; I can feel one brewing!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

little crosses

Last weekend we had a delightful weekend visit from some very good friends of ours. These dear friends have been married for almost four years and have throughout that time been coming to grips with the cross of their infertility. I can't say how much I admire them and what a witness they are to the beauty of marriage and its fruitfulness, with or without children. The fact that our lives are not exactly on the same path right now has affected our friendship, but not as much as I sometimes feared. We still have an amazing time together and share many common interests and they love Isaac so much that I'm sometimes afraid that they might sneak off with him when we're not looking.

Anyway, this visit my friend shared with me that she is learning to accept, and even embrace the cross of their infertility as a means to holiness, as the particular way that God has chosen to draw her closer to Him (forgive my paraphrasing. I just hope I'm capturing the essence of what she was saying). I was very happy for her and the peace that she is finding, but her words also left me humbled and even a little awed.

Anyone who reads this blog has heard me complain enough to know that I don't think my life is free from suffering. However, how often do I think of that suffering as a cross to be embraced? The truth is I'm more likely to stew in my own discontent, not thinking that my suffering is grand enough to be really sacrificial.

Sometimes when my friend tells me about her life I have little pangs of jealousy. She's taking classes, she's pursuing a career, she can sit down to pray without calculating how many minutes of nap time will be left when she's done. I love my life. I love my husband, my little man, and baby-yet-unnamed and I'm happy to be able to stay home for them, but, of course, there are things I miss about being in school and working.

So what do I have to complain about? Nothing big, just the everyday pains that come from giving yourself away piece by piece to a family that you love. I've often thought how, in a way, martyrdom would be easy. Just die and go to heaven and "bam!" you're a saint forever (yes, I'm sure it's just that easy). We poor pilgrims who have to toil through the muck of daily life are the really unlucky ones. I guess maybe I've been thinking about my friend's infertility in those terms: she has the grand cross that will lead to holiness quickly while I struggle along lucky to fit in two minutes of real prayer between diaper changes and cleaning up spills. I don't really want to trade places with her, but thinking about it is another excuse to sigh over my lot in life.

I don't want to in any way diminish the pain of those suffering from infertility. I know it to be a real, constant grief beyond my imagining. I guess what I'm trying to say is that when it comes to crosses there's no point comparing. My cross is what I must embrace simply because it is the one that God gave me. That's all I need to know. God wants me to become holy through my toddler's 6 am wake-up calls and my pregnancy backache. He wants me to cheerfully offer up my cleaning of a house that becomes messy five minutes later, and my not usually having time to pray when I want to. These crosses are so small and insignificant that I hardly dare call them that; nevertheless, they are what God has given to me, and I suppose He knows best.

I thank my friend for reminding me of the glory of suffering, whatever form it takes.

The cross of the week: I'm pregnant and it's very, very, VERY hot. If the heat actually kills me is that enough of a martyrdom to land me right in heaven?

Friday, 10 May 2013

little terror

I want to admit that being the mother of a toddler is harder than I ever thought it would be. I still love my little man to bits, and I still think he's the cutest small person to have been put upon planet earth, but this is the age where original sin starts to rear it's ugly head.

What a roller-coaster ride it can be. Of course, being pregnant doesn't help with roller-coasters of any description. Yesterday I found myself thinking, "What a little terror!" as he tried to bite his cousin's legs as she came down the stairs. Yes, we've got a biter on our hands. How did this happen?

Then a little while later thinking, "What a little monkey!" as he danced wildly around the living room with more energy in five minutes than I seem to have all day.

Then, of course, thinking, "What a little angel," when I felt his little body relax and finally fall asleep in my arms for his nap.

Now I know that there is a whole range of normal toddler behavior, from mild to wild, and Isaac is no extreme case of wildness, though he definitely leans in that direction. The thing that is easy for me to understand in my head but that doesn't always get through emotionally is that everything that he does is normal, it's to be expected. The toddlers and who seem to have a natural respect for rules, and whose parents don't need to childproof, they are the exception. My Isaac, who runs away when he's called, and doesn't like staying in the cart at the store, and who opens the fridge and pours milk all over the floor, is normal. Did I ever really expect to have one of those mild, well-behaved toddlers? Yes, I suppose I did. After all, Sean and I are both law abiding citizens. Is it so far fetched to imagine we might have a docile child? Maybe not. But, as it turns out, Isaac is not that child, and it's much better to work on loving the child you have than to waste your time thinking about the child you don't have.

Something else that I know in theory but that is sometimes hard to remember: it's not personal with toddlers.

It's not personal.

Toddlers are never malicious. They may be testing their boundaries, trying to get attention, or, with a young toddler like Isaac, just experimenting (what happens when I pinch Mommy? Oh, I wonder if she'll make that same squeak if I do it again), but they are not out to hurt anyone. It's original sin, ungoverned by self-control or reason, making it's presence felt. Of course I know this; it only makes sense.

However, when that little person whom you love with every fiber of your being, looks you right in the eye, shouts, "No!" and then tries to bite your hand so that you'll let go of his arm, it can be hard not to take it personally. You think, "I'm his Mommy, doesn't he love me? Why won't he just LISTEN to me for heaven's sake?"

It's not personal. I think I should write that down and tape it up somewhere where I'll see it often. Do you think I could write it on the inside of my eyelids?

Caught in the act!

"Who me?"

Fleeing the scene of the crime.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Another one about spring....sort of

It's been difficult to write about spring and Easter and new life without mentioning the new little life growing inside me. I'm relieved that the news is officially out now.

When I was pregnant with Isaac we waited a long time to make it public. I had just had a miscarriage and I was terrified that it would happen again. We were so excited for our first pregnancy that we told people very soon, but that also meant that we had to "un-tell" them when I had the miscarriage. However, not telling people meant dealing with the fear and discomfort of the first trimester in silence and with fewer people praying for us.

I find myself thinking about those days a lot right now. It's still difficult but I'm much more at peace about this pregnancy. I get anxious sometimes but the old terror is no longer there. I'm not sure why. It must be grace.

We already love this child and are so happy that our family is growing. We're so happy to give Isaac a sibling  and to have another little bundle to cuddle come November. However, it still doesn't seem quite real yet. It's hard to believe that by next Christmas I will have two little munchkins.

Maybe I'm not as afraid of a miscarriage this time because now my experience has given me other things to worry about. I know now how difficult pregnancy is. I'm looking forward to feeling those first kicks but I'm also struggling with nausea and heartburn and dreading the constant backache and hunger that will probably come later. I also know how difficult Isaac's birth was. I'm hopeful that this time will be easier but I know it's possible that this baby will be even bigger and more difficult. I also really hope that the transition from center-of-the-universe to big brother won't be too hard on Isaac.

Anyway, I'm trying to take things as they come and not look too far ahead. Right now every day is different and dealing with each one is enough. Some days I feel pretty well and some days I'm exhausted and/or sick. I feel like a wimp because I know so many women who get morning sickness so much worse than I do, but it's still not easy. I guess the real point of this rambling post is to ask for prayers. Please pray for the safety of this little one and that I can make it through each day (more or less) gracefully, and for everything that lies ahead.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Happy Easter! He is risen as He said!

I'm so happy that Easter has finally arrived and now it seems like maybe, just maybe, spring is also arriving too.

Easter weekend was beautiful and the last couple of days have been ABOVE ZERO! (If any non-Canadians are reading this--yes, we do get excited about above freezing weather in April.) Yesterday Isaac and I went outside three times. I love feeling spring in the air and it does a great deal for my sanity to be able to set that boy loose in the wild. Maybe "the wild" is an overstatement, what I mean is our small backyard in the city. Someday hopefully we'll live somewhere where I can talk about the wild and really mean it.

Some outdoor time has been especially appreciated, because indoors Isaac has been driving me crazy. He has discovered climbing.  I only have to turn my back for a minute and he's on the kitchen table. I started laying the chairs down thinking that he wouldn't be able to put them upright again--guess who surprised his mommy once again? Laying them down does slow him down but if he's determined he can pick them up and push them where he wants. He's also perfected opening the fridge door and is pretty good at getting up on couches. I pray that it'll be awhile before he figures out doorknobs.

Anyway, spring is by far my favorite season. Everything is waking up and stretching itself after winter. The plants are so green and fresh. And, if we're lucky, we get some nice mild days before the bugs come out.

This year I'm blessed to see spring through my little boy's eyes. In the fall he was still a baby really. He loved to go outside then too, but then he was still in his own little world, only really seeing what was right in front of him. Now he's started to discover the world around him. When he hears a bird he looks for it and might even try to imitate it. He's constantly pointing at things wanting me to tell him what they are, even things as simple as a pile of branches. Last week we took him to the park and he chased a squirrel up a tree and held it in siege there until we distracted him.

Discovering the world through Isaac's eyes this spring has reminded me why children are here. They are really a kind of spring in themselves. They make the world new because they are experiencing it for the first time and it is all oh-so-fascinating. It can be hard to take the time to appreciate every twig, the way my toddler does, but he sure makes me take more notice than I would otherwise.

Yay for Easter! Yay for the renewal that comes with spring! And yay for little children leading the way!

"Behold, I make all things new" -Rev 21:5

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

cookies for St. Joseph!

Today I decided to celebrate the Solemnity of the Feast of St. Joseph and the inauguration of Pope Francis by baking cookies. Not just any cookies, "dark and dangerous triple chocolate" cookies. These things are rich, cakey, and unbelievably good. If you want to forget about life for a while and drift off into a heavenly diabetic coma these are the cookies for you.

Anyway, as soon as I started getting out ingredients Isaac got ready to help by pulling up a chair. He's my constant companion in the kitchen and can get pretty upset when I try to do anything without him (such as preparing raw meat, using the stove or sharp knives--Isaac is confident that he can handle these things, but I'm still not quite convinced), so I try to include him whenever I can.

Everything was going pretty well at first. There was flour and cocoa everywhere but that was to be expected.  Then, when we were almost finished Isaac got a taste of the batter (raw eggs never hurt anyone, right?) and realized how sweet it was. It then became a race. Isaac trying to shovel the batter into his mouth, and me trying to quickly finish mixing it and simultaneously stop him from ingesting it all. We don't give him a lot of sweets, but he sure does love it whenever he can get his hands on any.

I soon realized I would have to finish off the cookies without Isaac's help if I wanted there to be anything left to put in the oven. So I did what any 21st-Century mother would do: I put the bowl out of reach and went to get the camera, then blogged about it and put the pictures up on the Internet.

I put the bowl out of reach but, as you can see, he managed to find the beaters. Mmmmm, butter, sugar and egg.

I'm so happy to finally get pictures of him smiling and not making a run for the camera. Turns out all that was needed was a little chocolate.

Happy feast, St. Joseph! Please protect my men and may we follow your example of holiness and purity!

Friday, 8 March 2013

waiting, waiting,!

March always seems to me to be a month of waiting. You can feel spring getting closer but, let's be realistic, this is Canada, and March is still basically winter. So we're waiting for spring. We're also waiting for Easter, and this year we're waiting for a new pope as well.

That's a lot of waiting, and I must admit that Lent has been difficult this year. Sean and I are fasting from watching tv. I'm so glad that we decided to do it and it's been really good for us, but there was quite the detox period. When Isaac was sick near the beginning of Lent I almost didn't make it.

It's amazing how much more productive I can be without tv sucking all my spare time down the drain. So I've been filling in this waiting time with sewing. Since we have so many friends who just had or are about to have babies I've been sewing baby gifts. I've actually become pretty obsessed with making these cute little soft-soled baby shoes.

Aren't they sweet? Because of the elastic in the heel, they should be nice and snug and stay on well too. I'm very seriously considering starting an Etsy shop so I can sell these little treasures. Then, of course, I had to start making little headbands to match the shoes (since everyone seems to be having girls these days).

I needed more interfacing so today I went to the fabric store where I couldn't resist picking up a few cute remnants. I also discovered a thrift store next to the fabric store and found some beautiful fabric there. My favorite place that I shopped today, though, was my mother-in-law's fabric stash. She loves to see fabric going to a good home and I love free stuff! Long story short, I have enough fabric now to be making these shoes for the rest of my life. Anyone interested in buying?

Monday, 25 February 2013

helluva hard

So I wasn't really planning on posting today but I came across this excerpt from a book that I just had to share: Carry On, Warrior , by Glennon Melton.

She talks about the difficulties of mothering and how we find them hard to admit because we're always being told to "love every minute of it" by old ladies in the grocery store. This is something that I think about often. Especially as a stay-at-home mom I'm on the defensive about my motherhood. In a society where it's anti-cultural to raise your children full-time if I admit that it can be lonely, or even sometimes, dare I say it, boring, I'm afraid that someone will tell me to just get a job because I obviously don't have enough to do (this is coming from a woman with only one child; I'm sure once I have eight children no one will question whether I have enough to do--then they'll question my sanity).

Anyway, I love this excerpt. It made me laugh and cry at the same time.

I just hope to be one [nostalgic old lady] with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like  your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours ’til bedtime.” 

Friday, 15 February 2013

St. Valentine's

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone and I've fallen into the trap once again. The hype surrounding the holy-martyr's-feast-somehow-turned-day-of-ultra-romance has fooled me into putting romantic love on a high pedestal for which it was never destined. Darn you greeting card company conspiracy!

Truth be told, I've been feeling a little blue lately. I don't fully know why. I think partly it's the weather and being cooped up indoors too much. Also, Isaac has been pretty temperamental lately, which really wears on me. Maybe the weather is getting to him too.

Anyway, I've never really thought much about Valentine's Day. Sure it's nice for couples to have an extra reason to show their love, but it's pretty much a made up holiday anyway, right? But as it approached this year I began to look forward to it as a break from recent monotony. I began to think that in some small way maybe it would make me happy. BIG mistake.

Flowers and chocolate certainly cannot make me happy. Neither can the love of my husband, dear though he is. Only God can.

One of the few things that humans can never get enough of is love. We desire to be loved perfectly, completely, forever. Can I love someone like that? Of course not. It is how I strive to love my husband and son everyday but I'm constantly falling short. Romantic love, beautiful and amazing as it is, can never truly fulfill a person. The reason romantic love is so beautiful is that it is a shadow, the faintest whisper, of real love--God's love. The only love so perfect and all-encompassing that it can make a person happy.

When we put the burden of our happiness into someone else's hands we are doing them a great injustice. No human was ever meant to bear that burden. Essentially, we are making them into our god. Expecting your spouse to fulfill you will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Expecting them to be perfect will only make them feel inadequate and unappreciated.

All of this I know, and have known ever since studying Theology of the Body before I was married--in theory. In practice it's very easy to forget. In practice it's very easy to look to the person who is beside you everyday for your happiness. It is very easy to blame him whenever you have a bad day, whenever you're the least bit down. It is much more difficult to look to myself, to what is lacking in my spiritual life, to sincerely put my well-being into God's hands.

There's a song by Jon Foreman about this called A Mirror is Harder to Hold. He says:

I could try and point the finger but the glass points in my direction
Sure you've got your sharp edges but my wounds are from my own reflection

Happy belated St. Valentine's Day everyone! Hug your loved ones and don't forget to remind them that you can't make each other happy!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Will the world be so kind?

Awhile ago we noticed that when we said "good job!" Isaac would clap. Now he's doing it even if we don't say anything, whenever he thinks he's accomplished something.

Sorry, I don't have a better picture.
This is Isaac making a rush for the camera as usual.
Today Isaac put a fork on a pair of shoes and smiled and clapped for himself like it was the greatest thing in the world. It just made me wonder: are we overdoing it? Have we set him up to be one of those kids who thinks he's the cat's pyjamas because he can adequately pair cutlery and footwear? Will he go off to college and throw a temper tantrum when his professor isn't impressed that he put a spoon in a boot? I guess only time will tell...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


I thought I'd do a post with a couple photos just to mix things up a little. 

Isaac and Daddy, getting the pizza dough ready.

Isaac taking a break from his very important job (stirring some floury water in the measuring cup) to test the dough.
We like to carry on the Koechl tradition of making pizza on Saturdays when we have the time and energy. We all love pizza, including our picky eater, Isaac. He also loved that he got to help us make it this time. He's getting to be such a big boy, imitating us more and more. And as you can see in these photos, he's finally getting hair!