Monday, February 26, 2007

we are in good company

Quote from Pope Benedict XVI--- highjacked from

"I must confess a personal weakness," the Pope said, when answering a question about priestly activities. "At night, I find it difficult to pray. I just want to sleep," he said to much applause. "Nevertheless, it is really necessary to find some time for the Lord."

Friday, February 23, 2007

hush little baby

A few weeks ago, Kain told me he wanted me to start singing to him at night. Specifically, he wanted me to sing "Hush Little Baby". Small enough request, right? It just irked me, singing this song. I couldn't really figure out why, except....

-- I just don't like the song. I've never liked it. Who is this Momma that's gonna buy a baby a cart and bull? A diamond ring? That turns brass??? Where do they get this stuff? What's the message here, "Hush little baby, I'm gonna buy you stuff"?

But that wasn't all of it. I had to do some digging, and I think I know why. It doesn't reveal a pretty side of me, necessarily, but I'm not pretty all over. :)

--He's not a baby. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten really very attached to this child, but there's just something kind of odd-feeling about singing a lullaby to a very large, very un-baby-like 7 year old. Not only is he not a baby, I didn't even *know* him as a baby. I met Kain for the first time when he was three years old, and even then it was just for one summer. I only rarely even saw a baby picture. If my 10 year old wanted me to sing her to sleep tonight, other than being amused, it wouldn't phase me much because I can close my eyes and she's a plump sweet-smelling 9 month old laying on my shoulder and playing with my hair. I have no physical memory of Kain as a baby, and that makes it feel kind of weird.

--He's not my baby. It's a rather specific *type* of lullaby, isn't it? "Momma's gonna do this, Momma's gonna do that." The reason he wants me to sing it to him in the first place is because he says his Momma sang it to him. I am a stand-in. He knows it and I know it. He was embarrassed when he asked me to sing this song. Kain, who is usually seemingly oblivious to what others think and feel, knew he sounded a bit babyish and silly asking me to sing him this song. He was admitting vulnerability. He misses his mother. And even though I am not her, he wants me to pretend. He wants me to pretend so that he can pretend. He wants to close his eyes and have me sing and rub his head and pretend that I am his mother and his world is sane and right again, that he has parents that don't party their lives away but instead take care of him and want him enough to do whatever they have to do to provide what he needs.

--And I guess, deep down, it bothers me a little to indulge this good memory of his mother. I need to villianize her, because I can't understand a world where parents mistreat their children any better than Kain can. Other than occasional awkward phone conversations, I don't know Kain's mother, and I don't want to know her. I have a lot of anger towards both of these parents, these people that have abandoned their child and put us in this gut-wrenching position of falling in love with this boy and trying to do what we can for him while his parents continue to toy all of our lives and with his undying devotion to them both. I don't want him to love her because she doesn't deserve it, and because continuing to love and want her will just cause him more pain. I know it's not right to expect him not to love his own mother. I know this in my head, but that's still how I feel. And I have a picture of her I want to keep, a picture of a woman who neglected her children so much that they have been taken away from her not once but several times, who let things so terrifying happen to her child that a year and a half later he is *still* waking up with nightmares, a woman that after doing all of these things will call me and tell me how she really has her life straightened out this time and expects me to actually swallow that without gagging. I don't want a picture in my head of her singing Kain to sleep, of her doing something sweet and maternal.

I don't want to sing this song. And yet...he has asked. This is what he needs. He needs his mother to sing him to sleep. Of all we have done for him, this is the one thing I can't provide, his mother to sing him to sleep. But I can pretend, for him. I will sit on his bed, push his thick blond hair across his head, and sing about mockingbirds and dogs named Rover...and at the end, promise him that he is, indeed, still the sweetest baby in town.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

And finally, a Lenten post

Boy, I had a hard time getting my brain around the fact that Lent was starting. We really scrambled to get our preparations ready this year. Maria and I went to the Ash Wednesday mass yesterday afternoon...John was home and stayed with Jack so that he (Jack) could nap. Later that evening we finally got the altar ready. Maria and I made a salt-dough crown of thorns. There's 40 thorns in the crown, and we take a thorn (toothpick) out for each day of Lenten sacrifice and put it in that little glass bowl next to it. On the Easter Vigil, all the thorns will be gone and we will glue flowers to the wreath. The toothpicks in the bowl will disappear and be replaced by candy. So, what are we all giving up for Lent? Well, we pondered and pondered what to do this year. We will do our usually giving up of sweets and treats on all days but Sunday. Other than that, we decided to let the kids focus on their jelly bean jars. Their jars are there on the altar, back in the corners. They aren't exactly jars, more like fancy bowls. You can't tell in the picture, but the bowls are lined with a piece of cardstock to hide the view of the jelly beans because 1. I didn't think it was appropriate to have candy on the altar during Lent, 2. I didn't want Jack to see the candy, and 3. I didn't want the kids to get obsessed with comparing the number of jelly beans in each other's jars. This is a really nice little tradition. Each evening the kids share (with some prompting from us one what we've noticed, good and bad, during the day) what little sacrifices and deeds they have offered up during the day. They get the corresponding beans in their jar...all except for the white ones. This poem goes with the jars--

Red is for the blood He gave. (sacrifice)
Green is for the palm’s cool shade. (good deeds)
White is for the grace He gave. (can’t earn these!)
Yellow is for God’s light so bright. (kindnesses)
Orange is for prayers at twilight. (evening prayers)
Blue is for sweet rest at night. (going to bed well)
Purple is for His hour of sorrow. (asking forgiveness)
Pink is for our new tomorrow. (giving forgiveness)
A bag full of jelly beans colorful and sweet,Is a prayer, is a promise, is a special treat.

The night before Easter, we will fill whatever space is remaining in each jar with white jelly beans...they represent God's grace- you can't earn it, it is freely given to hold us up where we fall short.

So, that's the bulk of our Lenten ideas. We have some nightly scripture readings to add to our evening prayers, we will coordinate with our parish calendar to try and make some of their activities, especially Stations of the Cross, and we have some special activities planned for Holy Week. John and I also have our own things to offer up too...we didn't make our own jelly bean jars. :)

Did you think we were dead?

I was reading my last post, and then realizing I hadn't posted in so long that someone might have assumed the worst. :) We did survive the flu,,,and John and I didn't even come down with it, so that was a blessing. Then we just got busy with life....but here's a few pics of one of Jack's latest accomplishments. :) He worked so hard on this...putting a block on, realizing it was the wrong size and putting on another...I really helped very little. It's a mom-skill, for sure, learning how to sit on your hands and let your kids discover things on their own. He looks quite tickled with himself, doesn't he?

Saturday, February 10, 2007


The children are falling fast. Kain became sick early yesterday morning with a high fever, sore throat, etc., and tested positive for both strep AND flu. He is sickity sick sick. His temp reached 105.8! last night...the highest temp I have ever taken, and I used to work pediatrics so that's saying a bit. I was able to quickly bring it down with motrin and cold rags. But last night Jack started with the fever as well. It's been a loooooong 24 hours ya'll. Throw us up a prayer when you get a minute.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Kain!

Kain turned 7 years old on February 2nd. He has been waiting for his birthday for months...ever since Maria had hers in September and Jack had his in October he has been waiting for his turn! Friday we celebrated a bit early because he was going to spend the night with his dad. So during reading and rest time, I snuck Maria out of her room and we stealthily decorated the living room, put out presents, pizza, and cupcakes and surprised Kain when he came out of his room.

Saturday we had a little pool party at the Jones Center with some friends and my parents. He had a ball and has been nagging me to go back to the Jones Center pool ever since.

Kain also had his first appointment with the psychiatrist at Schmieding. It was an interesting experience. She had some insights into his behavior I hadn't thought of before, pointing out some progresses we hadn't seen..for example, the way he cries so easily now- when he came here, he *never* cried. Ever. I'd forgotten that, how even when he fell and hurt himself he wouldn't cry. Instead he would become enraged! It was really odd behavior, to see him fall down and get into this angry rage about it. He doesn't do that anymore. In fact, his rages are much less frequent. I keep reminding myself how bad things used to be...we have made a lot of progress and I need to remember how far we've come. He is doing much better in school since starting the medication three weeks ago. He enjoys school and has a very patient teacher that he adores. We were making great progress with his behavior at home even before the medication, but the medication has helped in smaller ways here...he handles things like mass, going to the grocery store, doctor's appointments, overstimulating situations like that much, much better now. We will continue to go the weekly therapy, and we are working on getting OT and speech therapy started through his school. I may have to be a little, ah, assertive about getting that done. There are a lot of kids that need therapy and not enough therapists to go around, so I guess you have to have some pretty severe delays to get therapy...but I've got two doctors now saying he needs this done, and it needs to happen! I also realized how much he has slimmed down since coming to stay with us in August. Between his weight problem and his lung condition, he had no exercise tolerance at all. He would become short of breath and complain about his legs hurting just walking through the walmart parking lot. Now he runs and play outside for a couple of hours everyday, and it is showing. The binge eating that we had such a struggle with is almost nonexistent now. He sleeps through the night many nights now. He used to wander around the house and we would find him asleep on the hallway floor in the morning! Now he still wakes and turns on his bedroom lights some nights, but he doesn't roam anymore, and many nights he seems to sleep straight through.

Thank you to everyone that has prayed for us with this situation with Kain...some of you for three years now since we first started this journey of trying to help him. When we lost him three years ago, I never knew if I'd even see him again. We have prayed and prayed...St. Mother Theresa, St. John Bosco, and John Paul II are ones I have begged prayers and intercessions through...and here he is , and doing *well*. We are so grateful.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Maria's quiz

She got an 83%, which I thought was pretty darned good! I let her do it completely on her own, in fact I wasn't even in the room...which is why she closed the browser window and lost the link to her But she says she got an 83%.

I am Melanie...super genius

You are a 100% traditional Catholic!

Congratulations! You are more knowlegeable than most modern theologians! You have achieved mastery over the most important doctrines of the Catholic Faith! You should share your incredible understanding with others!

Do You Know Your Baltimore Catechism?
Make Your Own Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

I won't get too cocky. Most of the questions in the first one were very, very easy and had at least a couple of "throw away" choices. I may have Maria do this later...a fourth grader that knows her catechism at all should do decently on this!

The bible one had some harder typical Catholic fashion, I know the catechism better than the bible. So I was suprised I got 100% on that one. I honestly made educated guesses on a couple of them.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

hidden motivations

Why do I neglect this blog so? Well, for the same reason I started it...accountability.When I don't want to post what we did (and didn't) get done in a particular day, it's easy to be "too busy" to post it...haha! Ah well,,,a quick catch up.

Tuesday- we did a decent day of school, but I couldn't recall it for you now. Maria started soccer with our homeschool group and really enjoyed it, which surprised her to is "for boys" you know. She only tried it because I pushed her to do so. She has never played any team sports...what is the point of a sport that doesn't involved pretty shoes and tutus?

Wednesday- Well,,,what can I say about Wednesday. It snowed about 4 inches. Kain's school closed early, throwing a great big wrench in the middle of my best laid school plans, and then I turned the kids loose to go play. We haven't had a winter with this much snowfall in a few years now, and the kids are eating it up. We did do some school before picking up Kain....a math lesson in Saxon, reading a story in Bible History, catechism questions,,,we started reading "He Went with Marco Polo",,,finally. It has been MIA upstairs. Fabulous book if you can find it. Then I began the 45 minute/2mile drive on extremely hazardous roads and crazy, crazy traffic to pick up Kain from school. Kain was supposed to have therapy yesterday, and Maria was supposed to have choir practice at the church...both were cancelled.

Thursday-, today....letting the kids play in the snow again. Kain's school is closed. We will go upstairs when Jack wakes up and work on the school work we didn't do yesterday, plus read some more of the Marco Polo book.

On the menu- freestyle breakfast...I let the kids sleep in since I knew it would be a "snow day", so breakfast was kind of freeflowing.

Lunch- spaghetti

Tea time- banana bread? Some cookies? Not sure...planning on doing some baking today

Dinner- Beef nacho casserole, asparagus

My very first meme

I'm getting a little misty eyed...Ok here goes--

Homemaking Meme----from A to Z

Aprons – Yes, I have one. If I wore it more often, my shirts would probably be in better shape.

Baking – What is your favorite thing to bake?- Bar cookies of some kind. Much easier and quicker than individual cookies. It's all about efficiency here, folks.

Clothesline – Y/N? Yes, we have one. I don't use it. John doesn't like "crunchy clothes". I have a retractable indoor one in my laundry room that I use to hang up stuff that shouldn't go in the drier. Right now it is holding wet gloves and pants. (snow yesterday!)

Donuts – Have you ever made them? Nope. Would like to try someday...just never have.

Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day: Clean the bathroom sinks (actually, Maria does hers).

Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes, and old upright one my in-laws gave us. It sits unused in the laundry room. It needs a good scrub down before we attempt to use it. Another "someday"'s not a necessity at this point, but will be with the addition of any more people to this family!

Garbage Disposal – Y/N? Oh yes.

Handbook?- I *love* Managers of Their Homes (

Ironing – Love it or hate it?- I don't iron. We have no need. My husband is a nurse, he wears scrubs to work. I don't mind ironing the occasional item, but it is rarely needed.

Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it? - Ha! My dh has several...practically one in each room. I started off giving him one of his dresser drawers because I got tired of arguing with him over the stuff he would stash in there. He has since taken over a couple of more in other rooms of the house. Need to purge those and hold him to one drawer. He is a packrat, God love him.

Kitchen: Design & Decorating?- Just finished most of our remodeling. Natural wood cabinets with a coffee colored glaze, blue Corian countertops, buff-colored ceramic tile floor...pretty. Still needing to finish some trim work around the window, a bit of paint....

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking? I love organizing stuff. I am an organization junkie. Big on plans, weak on follow through.

Mop - Y/N? Oh yeah. Mostly hardwood floors in this house. When we are done remodeling the living room the only carpet will be in the upstairs playroom.

Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?- Dear heavens, I don't wear nylons. What kind of establishment do you think this is! When I wear skirts, they are very long, and I wear sandles or some kind of slip on loafer. No nylons. They are evil. Last time I wore a pair was to my grandfather's funeral, and before that was probably at my wedding.

Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?- Open the door.

Pizza - What do you put on yours? I love a little sausage or bacon and slices of tomatoes, fresh basil if we have it. Yummy. We make homemade pizza every Saturday now.

Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Blog, or sit with a cup of coffee and a book.

Recipe card box - Y/N? Yes. I have one and use it regularly.

Style of house -1950's fixer upper, white siding with no trim...very plain outside,,,need to fix that up if we ever get the inside done. In theory 4 bedroom/3bath, but one of the baths is unfinished, and the 4th bedroom is really a finished attic space that we use as a homeschool room/play room. The kids are up there right now destroying it.

Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?- Placemats and napkins. I don't care for tablecloths with kids. Somebody always seems to spill and drip...would never make it through one meal around here. I can replace a placemat quickly and easily.

Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland? Can of Barkeepers Friend, dishwasher soap, and a giant apple juice jug of dishwashing liquid (long story...I needed 9 empty dishwashing liquid bottles for something like 3 years ago...we are still using up the soap), and my giant stockpot is under there.

Vacuum - How many times per week? Twice a week in the living room.

Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week? About 8.

X's - Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off? Oh yes. I'm a big list maker.

Yard - Who does what? John mows and weedwackers, I do the actual gardening. We both do some leaf raking. I enjoy getting out on fall days.

Zzz's - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?- When things are running smoothly, a quick pick up of any left out stuff. Not been that smooth lately has been a lick and a promise of more tomorrow....