Monday, November 19, 2012

"The Latin Mass for Dummies"

Or, "How to Not Look Like a Dummy at Your First Latin Mass"....this post is intended to be just what the title (and subtitle) say,,, first impressions after attending our first Latin mass and things it would have been good to know going in. I looked for info like this online and everything I found was very lengthy commentary on the form of the mass...lovely and theological thoughts, but not what I was looking for at that moment. That is not what this post is about.

John and I attended our first Latin mass this past weekend. We went into it pretty raw...neither one of us really knew what to expect at all. I knew from my mother (who grew up with the Latin mass) that the priest faced the altar, with his back to the people, and I knew that, duh, it was in Latin. That was pretty much it. So, here's a collection of tips should you find yourself attending your first Latin mass! Also, a caveat...that's a Latin word, btw :)...this is just based on our own extremely limited experience. I don't know if there are differences from diocese to diocese. I imagine that differences are few...but I'm just saying. I wouldn't know.

So, tip number 1...leave your kids at home. Ha! Well, I realize this may not be possible, but if you can, or if you can leave some at least, it will help, especially if you have a lot of littles....we all know that mass is hard enough to get through when you have a mess of little kids. This is different for you and for them. It will be easier if you can at least get an idea of what to expect before you bring the whole gang. We planned our first visit carefully. Maria had Lifeteen mass that evening, so John and I took Jack and Mary Claire with us and left Tess and Henry at home with Maria. Taking Jack was less than ideal, seeing as how he dislikes different experiences so much, but he is old enough now to have the obligation of going to Sunday mass, and I wasn't going to two!

Tip number 2...dress for mass. People will be dressed conservatively. The women will be in long skirts. The men will be dressed in slacks and collared shirts. Clothing need not be fancy. It's not Easter Sunday type dress really. But modesty is key. It's not that pants aren't allowed...the skirt police aren't checking the door. But this article is to help you to know what you are doing, right? So there you are. Wear a skirt or dress, or be ok with being the only one in pants. I don't remember seeing any females in pants, though I can't swear that there were none. Overall I already dress the girls in skirts and the boys in slacks/nice shirts, so this wasn't a change for us. But Maria has taken to wearing a couple of dressy pants outfits from time to time that probably should stay at home for this mass. Mantillas (veils) are not necessary. Probably 2/3 of the women were wearing them, but not all. I didn't wear one. I don't own one, and I don't really "get" the mantilla thing...maybe that will change someday, but I just don't feel a personal conviction to wear one right now. I dress for mass out of respect for our Lord, and he is the same Lord in the Latin mass as in the Novus Ordo mass, so to cover my head for one and not the other feels inconsistent to me. If someone has an explanation for this that makes sense, I am totally open to hearing it though! :)

Tip number 3...enter through the front entrance of the church. Though we had never been to this mass, we were very familiar with this particular church. We came in through a side door and realized later that there were Latin missals to be had if we came in through the main entrance. We did ok...the mass responses from the people are minimal anyway. But it would have made it easier to keep up with what was going on.

Tip number attention! It is easy to zone out when you don't understand what is going on. Some of the order of the mass, as well as when to kneel and such, are a lot different, so watch those around you. We sat in front and to the side, so no one was in front of us. Father processed in as a hymn was sung, and so I was following along in the hymnal and didn't even realize that everyone was kneeling before the hymn was even over. And they stayed kneeling. For a long time. Prepare your kids for that, lots more kneeling. Also, sometimes they genuflect in the pew and do not really kneel. Your husband may not get this and repeatedly throw down the kneeler and get on both knees only to realize (yet again) that it was only time to genuflect. ;)

Tip number 5...babies. Don't even sweat the fussy baby thing. The Latin mass attracts a lot of young families. Large ones. Children easily outnumbered adults at this mass. The children were very well-behaved, but fussy babies and toddlers being taken in and out was very common. No one will give you the evil eye for a fussy baby like they do at your regular mass,,,it's that expected.

Tip number 6...communion. Ok, now this totally caught me off guard. *Way* different. We did pretty well since we had a line of people in front of us to watch. You've probably seen old churches with a communion rail around the altar, right? The church I grew up in had one. Anyway, if your church doesn't have one, they will have something rigged up. This church doesn't have one, so they used two of the very front pews. As they got to the front of the line, people filed into those pews and knelt down. Father went up and down the line giving communion. After your little pew of people receives, you file out and back to your seat, and the next few people in line move in. Also, receive on the tongue. Everyone else will be. If it feels weird, you will get used to it. I have been receiving this way for quite some time now. I didn't grow up doing it and thought I would never get used to it, but you do. The nice thing about this mass is that Father is expecting it, unlike the Eucharistic ministers at other masses that sometimes look a little alarmed when you come up in line and stick your tongue out at them. :) I really liked receiving communion this way though. This was easily my favorite difference.

Tip number 7...language. Most of the mass is in Latin of course. All the mass prayers, and think that Father did the readings and gospel in Latin too? I'm not sure, but it seemed that way. Then he went up to the ambo and did the readings/gospel/homily in English. Most of the responses are done by the altar boys. Being an altar boy in the Latin mass is much more complicated! This was beautiful though. I was kind of fascinated by it all. Being so close to the front, I could hear a little and spent a lot of time trying to pick out what was being said as best I could with no missal. ) I do know some Latin...not tons, but I took three years in high school and have been re-learning as I've taught my kids. I'm assuming having a missal would have helped me follow along, though I haven't seen one yet!

Tip number 8...the closing. After Father finished mass, at least looked as finished as I could tell, everyone kneels and says more prayers. I'm trying to remember...I think there was an Our Father, a couple of Hail Marys, and a Hail Holy Queen...this was all in English. Then after he processes out, everyone kneels again for a moment before exiting. You might prepare your kids for this...especially if you have any autistic ones that insist that mass is over once the blessing is done.

Tip number go to a Latin mass! Even if you have no desire to make it a permanent thing, this is part of our Catholic heritage and history. The mass we attended was a low mass. I am looking forward to trying a high mass, which I guess is for special holy days? Maria is taking lessons in Gregorian chant, and hopefully they will be chanting for some masses soon, so that will be really neat.

Will we make this permanent? Our inclination right now is to say yes though I am leaving the final call to John. We love our current parish and priest and we have been there a long time. Maria received her first communion there! There are some wonderful people there! But we have a lot of friends at the Latin mass, a lot of homeschooling friends, and we would like our kids to see these kids more often. We are pretty lonely at our current parish. I don't feel like every friend my kids have needs to homeschool, but one or two homeschooling friends is nice, especially for teenagers. There are some homeschoolers at our current parish. But we are lacking a community feeling there and really feel like we know very few people. I think this is because our parish is very large, and maybe also because I don't have the time to volunteer as I used's hard to get to know people. I think most people are content with this. They just want to come to mass and go home. But when we went to Catholic Familyland, we got a taste of what it would be like to have a real Catholic community experience, and we are trying to find that at home. This group of people has that feel. Many are homeschoolers,,,maybe all are, I don't know...and they stay afterwards to socialize and let the kids play. We find this attractive. A long time ago, churches were the social center of whole neighborhoods and towns. Now, school and work seem to have taken that place for people. They spend all day socializing with other people and maybe they just don't need that at church. Well, we homeschool, and I don't work. :) So we appreciate the interaction. We will always be at our current parish in some way, unless we move some can't be beat for daily mass 2 miles away! But we will very likely attend Latin mass more and more. Right now Jack's sacramental prep classes are at the same time as the Latin mass, so for now we will probably just be attending when he doesn't have class. And Maria loves Lifeteen and wants to do those masses. So until she graduates, we will likely have feet in both worlds.

I don't feel, for me, that this is a Novus Ordo vs. Latin thing. The Latin mass was beautiful. I'm sure the high mass is even more so. The Novus Ordo can be beautiful and reverent too. But I think it has lost too much of that reverence. We tend to think of the priest as influencing that angle, and he do teenagers that text during mass, and women dressed immodestly, and the people that sit behind me chatting about where to go have lunch when mass is over. I guarantee you that *does not* happen during the Latin mass. :) The general feeling of reverence and awe is very attractive to me. That is the most obvious difference to me between the two forms...not what the priest is doing, but what the people are doing.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Jack: I want to buy a game on the Wii shopping channel.

Me: Ok, well, you need to show it to Daddy and let him see what he thinks about buying it.

Jack: I can buy it myself. I just need my credit card number and security code.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Jack said

to Henry,,,,"Let's play 'Whack'. I'll ride my bike in a circle, and you try to hit me with a stick."

Large Family Road Trippin'

We are leaving on Friday for a trip to Catholic Familyland. This is our first time attending, our first vacation to anywhere besides visiting family, our first trip with this long of a drive, and for this long a period of time away, our first long trip with five kids. We will have a two-day/15 hour car trip each way, and a week at the actual campgrounds. I have been searching online for tips and ideas to make this run as smoothly as possible. I really haven't come across much, not a whole lot of specific helps. So I'm going to share our trip in detail here...what worked, what did not work, what I can do better next time....maybe it'll help someone else. At the very least, it'll help ME if we are crazy enough to do this again. ;)

Why Familyland? Especially since it's so far away? Well, first of all, even with our limited vacationing experience, I can tell you it's hard to plan a trip and meet everyone's needs in a large family. We have little kids that need some downtime, Mom and Dad that want some good unplugged family time, big kids that want lots of fun, a teenager that wants to spend time with other's difficult to even plan a day trip that appeals to everyone. This place provides a little of everything. The kids will be with other kids in the morning, we can take our pick of family activities in the afternoon, and we get together with other families in the evening. The teenagers even go off for more fun late into the night each night. It doesn't hurt that it will be a great Catholic environment, that there will be plenty of other big families, some homeschooling families,,,,it'll just be a nice shot in the arm before our new school year starts. That's my hope anyway. So, back to the planning tips, starting with loading the van....

First, I am planning on paper. I have a notebook set aside for the sole purpose of planning the trip, and I am emptying my brain into it. I have a list of everything we need to take and where to put it all in our van. Our van, btw, is now full up. We have a seven passenger, and we now have seven passengers, three of them in carseats. It's a tight fit. We have had a trailer hitch installed and we borrowed this platform that attaches to it...I have no idea what this thing is called, but I will get pictures of it. But you basically stack everything on it and bungee cord it on there. We thought about renting a trailer, and I might wish we had by the time it's all over, but the platform thing-y was free, borrowed from friends...I'm all about free. Once this thing is packed up, we can't open the back of the van. Since we are staying at a hotel on the way there, some bags I will need access to during our drive. So placement is important. Things included in my list....
-drying rack for swimsuits and towels and such
-microwave, coffee maker, toaster ( we are staying in a cabin and we will have electricity but no water)
-bedrolls and towels, of both the pool and bath variety
-training potty, potty supplies, extra clothes and diapers
-two hotel bags, one for the trip there and one for the trip back
-car snacks, water bottles, toys and books, little goody bags to break out during the trip, dvd players and movies, car blankets, e-readers, maps, and my notebook all in easy reach.
-camping chairs, six of them
-stroller, ergo carrier
-clothes, diapers, and all that stuff for a week-long stay in the cabin
-large cooler full of car food, and also food for the cabin. Our dinners are provided. We will bring breakfast, lunches, snacks...
-pool stuff, board games, jackets and ponchos

On this list I have written where to put each thing in the car...what can go in the back, what needs to be in reach and where to put it so it will be in reach. Every small space is utilized. I am using those super-sized ziploc bags instead of suitcases...I realize that's probably not the classiest of travel bags, but 1., I don't have enough suitcases to pack up seven people for nine days, and 2., the ziploc bags will wedge under seats better, and they can be stacked in laundry hampers for loading onto the platform. Once we are fully loaded, I'm sure we will look like the Beverly Hillbillies on the move.

There are more lists--a list of food and kitchen items to pack, a list of meals for the week, a to-do list for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning...these include every detail I can think of, like washing out the cooler, returning library books before we leave, having clean pajamas at the ready for the night we return, and having food in the house enough for the first day or so after we return so we don't have to run immediately to the store. I have traveled enough to know that we will all be fried and cranky when we get home and need a day or so just to relax (and do laundry).

Our general plan is to leave Friday as early as we can and drive about 9 hours, stay in a hotel Friday night, and drive six hours on Saturday, arriving at a decent enough hour to settle into our cabin before orientation Saturday evening. We will leave the camp the following Friday afternoon, drive six hours that day, and arrive probably way too late Saturday evening, dirty, exhausted, and with lots of dirty laundry.

Next to survive the road trip.

PS- For some reason I can't get that link to work. Go to and click on the family fest link.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

pretty is as pretty does

As I was dressing Tess this morning...

Tess- "Am I byoo-di-bull?"

Me- "Yes, you are beautiful. Do you know what makes you beautiful?"

Tess- "Skirts and dresses."

Me- "When you love Jesus and treat other people nicely, that makes you most beautiful."

Tess- "No. Skirts and dresses make me byoo-di-bull."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Things I Should Never Have to Say...

"Stop licking the ceiling fan!"

"Everybody had better keep their pants on while the plumber is here."

"Don't put bubble wrap on the baby."

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Mary Claire, one month old

Our little red bundle of fury is one month old!

That's my endearing little nickname for her. Because if she's not nursing or sleeping, she's pretty ticked off most of the time. Oh no, not *all* the times...she has happy, content moments. And she smiles, and is starting to coo...goodness, I just love me a cooing baby, is there anything sweeter?

(Maria got these yesterday...that's why the picture is shot up her nose, lol. Maria was determined to get one of her smiling long past the time I had given up, so she was both holding the baby and taking the pictures.)

She's not colicky, at least not so far, because nursing does comfort her. And she does have some long sleep periods. Usually she will take a decent nap each day *out* of my arms, and she sleeps pretty decently at can't complain about that! But mostly when she is awake she wants to nurse, and nurse, and nurse some more. This kind of negates the value of those have to work a good long time to get them, like spend an hour nursing to get the nap, and then there's no telling if it'll be a three hour nap or a 10 minute one. And when she's awake, she's not even content to be in her swing or sling or anything. She just wants to nurse. She's gaining well and has obviously been filling out nicely, so I can only assume she has a strong suck need. I have had some luck putting her in the sling and using a pacifier, but I have been saving this move for when I really need it, not wanting to overdue the pacifier and all. But John is back at work, we really, really need to get things caught up around here, and so I am really going to need it more and more. Don't tell me these things can wait. I'm not talking about scrubbing baseboards here, people! I'm talking about clean underwear! Clean dishes! Bathed children! Such things can't wait forever...

We took an unexpected little trip to St. Louis recently to visit John's family. Insanity to take a trip three weeks postpartum you say? Apparently so, since I came back home with a case of mastitis, and Henry came home with a virus of some kind. But it was worth it, really. We got to visit with John's sister's family, whom we haven't seen since Jack was a toddler. The kids had such a ball with their cousins, I really wish we could visit more often...we are hoping to travel to their neck of the woods sometime next year. They live near DC...wouldn't that be the Mother of All Field Trips?

I do need to take some more (better) pictures. It has been rough, what with the trip and the cooties and all...Anyway, that's the latest and greatest around here. I am struggling mightily to find a new normal. I feel like I spend the whole first half of the day trying to get a shower, and the whole second half trying to fix dinner, and that's about all I can manage. But we sure are enjoying our new little girl. Hopefully we will get it a little more together in the next week or two now that everyone is well again, and then maybe I can find my way to more picture-taking.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mary Claire's birth story

So, this birth story really started here, during those dreadfully long and tiresome "fixin' to start" prelabor days. That last post was on the 25th, and the 26th I think was pretty much more of the same. Then things puttered out. Even the puttery stuff puttered. I seemed to be doing next to nothing at all. I mentally resigned myself to being induced.

The night of the 28th, which was Memorial Day, things started again. Around 7pm I started having pretty strong contractions, and they seemed to last longer than the previous ones. That was in the middle of our usual evening chaos, so I couldn't time anything right then, but just continued on with the usual evening routine. John had worked that day, and he was supposed to work the next day, which meant he needed to go to bed early, so I said little of it to him. I really felt like these were strong and long-lasting enough to be it, but I had said that before and it wasn't it...I wanted him to go to bed and sleep well. Either way, he was going to need it!

Eventually the kids were in bed and I was watching TV with Maria. It was around 10pm. The contractions were still going consistently, but the strength varied depending on my position. They were strongest when I was sitting. I decided to go on up to bed and see what happened. Maria came upstairs to say goodnight at 10:30, and I told her that they were getting stronger, strong enough to have to breathe through, and that I might be waking her up soon! She was very excited but I warned her to say nothing to Dad if she should see him, just in case.

At that point I started timing a few. They were coming 3 or 4 minutes apart and lasting 40-50 seconds. This felt like it, but after all the false starts I was afraid to officially "call it". I decided it was better to continue to let John sleep anyway. I didn't want to wake anyone up. I didn't want my parents to have to wake up Kain and drive all the way here in the middle of the night...but of course I didn't want to wait too long to call either. It's hard to tell, when you are in labor, when you will need something two hours ahead of time. I was hoping to fall asleep and maybe wake up in the early morning hours in harder labor and call in the troops. Instead I stewed about the state of the house and wished I had kept up with things better once we entered this baby-waiting limbo...

At 1am, I decided not to wait any longer. The contractions were stronger and lasting about a minute. I was afraid to wait too much longer to call my parents. They live an hour and a half away, not counting "getting out the door" time. I woke up John and a little later, Maria. We kept the secret well from John, he was very surprised! It was about 3:30 by the time we left for the hospital.

Our arrival was a bit hysterical. John dropped Maria and I off at the door of the birthing center and went to go park. I walked up to the sliding doors expectantly, and they didn't open! I pushed on them....nothing. Weren't they supposed to be open? Such a thing had never occurred to me. The birthing center was attached to the main hospital. But it was quite a distance from the ER entrance. Surely they didn't intend for laboring moms to come that way? I looked around for a sign or something to tell us what to do...nothing. A couple of minutes passed while Maria and John walked around and we debated what to do. I was starting to feel a bit shrieky. Suddenly a security vehicle came driving up and unlocked the door. He had seen us on the security cameras. I never did find out why the door was locked. Maybe they always do it that way during the night? Not sure why...the birthing unit is behind locked doors anyway. Trying to keep people from stealing the lobby furniture?

Anyway, once we were finally inside, we managed to get upstairs to the triage room without further incident. The nurse did all her admitting stuff and checked me. I was barely 3cm dilated, she said. She wanted to hook me up to a monitor for a bit and see how things progressed before admitting me in case this wasn't "it", but I wasn't really worried about that anymore. This was "it"...I was sure. And I knew the contractions were strong enough that it wouldn't be long. I told her I needed to pee first, and I hoped maybe my water would break in the bathroom,,,no such luck. However, as soon as I lay down in bed....everywhere. Tons. Never seen so much. I had hydramnios, I knew that, but wow!, what a lot of water, and it just kept coming. It also had a bit of meconium in it, which I knew could be not a great can mean that the baby is stressed for some reason.

With that, I was there to stay. They admitted me to a regular room, attached all their monitors and such, started an IV, all that stuff. I labored a bit, not too hard, really, and so I was surprised when they came to check me around 8am and told me I was 8 centimeters dilated. My own doctor came in...she wasn't on call during the night, but now it was Tuesday morning. The baby looked pretty good on the monitor. So I labored, still surprised it wasn't more intense. Time passed. I was checked. I labored some more. The contractions spaced out more but got stronger. I was checked again. The baby started to show signs of stress. More and more, her heart rate didn't recover after a contraction. And I stayed at 8 centimeters. For hours. My parents, when they had heard how fast I was progressing earlier that morning, rushed in with the other kids, certain birth was imminent. The contractions grew stronger and stronger until there was no doubt I was in transition. The baby continued to not do well. An internal monitor was placed, oxygen was given, and I had to lie on my side...still, 8 centimeters. Not only that, the baby wasn't even moving down.

At 12pm or so (my sense of time gets loopy here), the doctor came in again to check me...a sweaty, quivering mess clinging to the bedrail. 8 damned centimeters for four hours. We had had some scary points were the baby's heart rate stopped altogether for too long for comfort. I spent each crushing contraction praying and listening for that putput putput to return. I knew I was losing my natural birth. I knew I was getting a c-section. I didn't care anymore, because I was scared for my baby. My doctor knew how much I didn't want one though. She offered the option of trying some pitocin. My contractions were still kinda spaced out. Maybe bringing them closer would help? I didn't want that though. The baby was obviously stressed, pitocin would only stress her more. So she suggested an epidural. Maybe the relaxation would help her move down. I agreed to try it. If I had a c-section, I would need one anyway.

The epidural was lovely, a welcome relief after so many hours of contractions. It was odd...I could feel the contractions, feel that they were very strong, but they were fairly painless. I dozed, I labored,,,,but still, 8 centimeters. My doctor came in and checked me,,,with the epidural she could do this during the contractions and get a better feel of what was going on. The baby's head was positioned badly,,,turned kinda diagonally and not positioned well over the cervix. She was going to try to manually get the rest of the cervix out of the way and turn the baby's head while I pushed with the contractions to help things along. If that doesn't sound pretty, I assure you, it wasn't. But because of the epidural, I really didn't feel much. It was exhausting though, and took about an hour. I remember a roomful of doctor and two nurses by me, a pediatrician and two nurses waiting for baby, and all watching me tensely when they weren't glancing around at each other...except the doctor. I kept looking at her for a sign of what she thought, but she has a great poker face, that one...they were expecting the baby to have problems though. There's not usually that many scrubs present at a vaginal delivery. My mom and Maria were behind the doctor, John was with me, and we pushed and prayed for what felt like eternity. Then lo and behold, she started moving down! Once her head was turned right, out she came,,,with the cord three times around her neck. No wonder she couldn't position herself! She was born at 2:39pm.

For all that, she did perfectly problems at all. Her head was pretty battered and sore though. She would cry hard every time I tried to adjust her head to nurse. She was rather miserable and unhappy to be here the rest of that first day. She nursed furiously and squinched up her eyes and face like she was trying to escape it all. But the next day, she opened up and we really got to meet her. We both went home the following evening.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

a birth annoucement!

Please meet Mary Claire Elizabeth....

Born May 29th at 2:39pm. That makes her birthday the day after Tess's! That will make for some interesting juggling. :)

(Don't know why this is sideways, but as I am already typing one-handed, it will have to stay that way!)
She weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. Tiny, by our standards, making her the second smallest baby we've had! This is pretty funny after all the ultrasound techs' dire predictions...they told me at my 37 week appointment that she already weighed over 9 1/2 pounds and that her head size was off the charts. I have no idea what percentile her head size is in, but I promise it's nowhere near as big as the last three babies'....

She's doing great! Her birth was kinda traumatic...more about that later. She was pretty unhappy her first day of life,earning her the nickname "Mary Mary" in "Mary Mary quite contrary" :). She wouldn't even hardly look at me, just scrunched up her face and squinched her eyes shut and nursed or slept for the first several hours of life like she was trying to pretend we weren't there. Her head seemed to be really sore...she would cry every time I adjusted it for nursing. By the next day though, she started to just kind of open up and adjust very well. She is 4 days old today and a very sweet, alert, happy girl. As long as I am holding her, of course. ;)

I am doing pretty well. We have had some serious engorgement issues this time, but I think I turned a corner with that during the night last night...I feel much better today. John is off work for a couple of weeks, which is such a blessing. Frankly, just sitting in my living room feels strenuous sometimes with all the activity around here, lol. And today she turned from a sleepy newbown to a baby who lives at the that is helping.

I need to get some pictures of her with the other kids. Everyone is very taken with her, except for maybe Henry, who I think is feeling a bit I whenever I am not nursing the baby, I am loving up on him. I know he'll adjust...he's so young. Tess is madly in love with her new baby doll and drives us nuts with requests to hold the baby. Jack...the first thing Jack said when he saw her was, "She has arms, but they are really short." Isn't that just the most Jack-like thing to say? :) Maria, of course, is "second Mom"...she can't wait to get out and about with the baby to show her off. I, however, am happy to relax at home a bit longer yet.
Back with a birth story soon!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

grocery shrink plus give away, or where I attempt to get something for nothing

There is a giveaway for a year's subscription to grocery shrink plus menu planning at

Now, you don't really *have* to enter and lower my own chances of winning, haha! But I have to say...I have subscribed to three or four menu planning sites over the years...I have liked different things about each, but none was a great fit for one reason or another. This one looks really, really promising, and it's only $5 a month. So, even if I don't win, I will probably order it anyway. Shhh...don't tell anyone though. I'd rather win! lol...

Friday, May 25, 2012

my not giving birth saga

My original due date is Monday,,,Memorial Day. My "other" due date (determined by early ultrasound) is almost a week past. Usually I consider my original one more accurate, but this time it was a total guess, that date. I hadn't been watching my cycles *at all*, so when I realized we were expecting we kind of determined a likely window and then I picked a date that was generous, knowing that I tend to go late and freak out midwives and such. So, this time, I (secretly) considered the ultrasound due date to be more accurate.

So, here I am. A few days to my due date, or a few days past it, depending on your date of choice. I have had just enough going on to keep me in hopes that labor is trying to start. My labors are sad and piddly and slow...eternal, really. Henry was the exception, my castor oil induction baby, and so I'm not sure if this one will be quick when it finally gets going or if Henry was just quick because of the castor oil.

Anyway, on the 20th, 5 days ago, I started having strongish contractions after going to bed..this was around 11pm. I went to sleep and woke up around 4am with more contractions. I traveled to the couch and dozed off again until Jack woke up at 7. They had (annoyingly) puttered out at that point. So, believing that I was close and knowing the doctor had talked about possibly inducing at that week's appointment, I decided to try castor oil. It worked like a charm with Henry. Around 1pm I started dosing. At 3:30pm, three doses later, I couldn't take anymore of it. I had a lot of cramping, some irregular contractions, and lots of "returns" from the castor oil..much more difficult than I remember it being with Henry. Around 5pm the contractions got stronger and more regular, but by 9:30 they had puttered out again. Sigh. I went to bed, up again at 5am on the 22nd with more sad returns from the castor oil, but no contractions at all. I tried walking a lot that day, on walking trails, around Lowes, etc.,,,that triggered some contractions but they didn't stick.

The next day, the 23rd, was my OB appointment. She told me I was still just a fingertip dilated, maybe 25% effaced, but soft. She did a nonstress test (I've had some extra fluid), which was fine, and we told her we wanted to hold off on inducing, something which was difficult to say because I am *so dang tired of this*, but it's true, I really don't want an induction. She said she would give us two more weeks as long as baby is doing ok. That evening I started contracting around dinnertime, and they fizzled again when I went to sleep. The following morning (which would have been yesterday), I woke up to find a tiny bit of mucus plug had passed and was very excited about this...prematurely, it turns out. I felt very crampy across my lower belly and back all day, but otherwise, nada, not even any real contractions. This morning was the same. I woke up to a tiny bit of of mucus plug, and I even think my water might be leaking, but other than a very few contractions, there's not much else going on.

It's all very frustrating. I'm very uncomfortable, my belly feels very irritable, especially when there is a child trying to climb on it, which is most of the time. I am tired of sitting in baby limbo. I'm not sleeping well and have been waking up very early and unable to go back to sleep, and then during the day I fall asleep every time I sit down. I'm ready for this baby to come. Now, please.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

mole bites, nesting, and sweaty pregnancies, and baseball

I am starting this post sprawled out on the futon in the playroom, the coolest room in the house mostly because it has a truly awesome ceiling fan. All our rooms have ceiling fans. But the living room one is broken. The living room is also one of the hottest rooms. Naturally I avoid it at all costs. I actually have a new will hopefully be installed soon. Anyway, I never write on the nook normally, but the computer is, of course, in the living room. I am grateful that my last three pregnancies have been done with before summer arrives in full force.

Jack was bitten by a mole yesterday. You've never heard of someone getting bitten by a mole you say? Why, that is because you don't have a Jack around. He drums up new and exciting adventures almost daily. I was sitting at the hot computer desk and Jack comes wandering in and says, very casually, "A mouse bit me." It almost didn't register. I called him over to figure things out, and he said, "I picked it up and it stuck on me with its teeth. My blood started leaking out. Jesse is eating it." Inspection revealed a small bleeding wound on his finger. Maria ran outside to find the dog (Jesse) playing with a mole.

Today was Jack's last Miracle !eague baseball game of the season. He just loves to play. I was on my own today, which is always a little hairy. John had to work and Maria was with a friend. They do have a little playground area and a small concessions stand between fields, so that helped keep the littles happy and I could still kinda watch Jack play.

Tess with chalk. Henry with Cheetos.

Jack dearly loves his trophy.

No new baby news...some strongish contractions late today, but nothing regular and they always taper off. My energy has been a bit better and I have been scrubbing a bit obsessively. But the house really does need it!
***edited to add...I started this post yesterday afternoon, Saturday. It is now Sunday night, still having contractions. All day. And night. Not constantly, but frequent, and not miserable, but there. I'm considering a bit o'castor oil in the morning. I feel like things are trying to get started. Henry was a castor oil induction after being more than a week overdue, and it was very nifty and effective. I'm not getting so impatient that I feel like I need to do this *now*, but on the other hand, my first three births were days long whereas Henry was only a few hours long. That's looking pretty attractive after these last two uncomfortable days. It would also make arrangements for the other kids a lot easier if we only needed help for a few hours instead of so long... Hmmm.....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

38 weeks

I had my 38 week check up today. Actually, I was 38 weeks on Monday. Not that I'm counting down or anything. On Mother's Day I started having contractions in the evening. And I'm still having them. Oh, not constantly. And most aren't even uncomfortable. But more frequent and stronger than the occasional braxton-hicks I'd been having. Yesterday I decided the baby looked and felt decidedly lower. And at the OB today, the heart rate was found lower down on my belly. But the cervical check didn't show much...a fingertip of dilation maybe. I feel really tired most days, like first trimester tired. I'm grumpy and not sleeping well and my belly is irritated by little kids wanting to sit on it all the time. Mostly I want to sleep and clean. That's about it. The doctor has offered to induce me at my next appointment. Boy, that's tempting. I really don't want to be induced. But it's hard to resist when you are so sick and tired of being pregnant. If I could just go into labor before then...that would be lovely. Sigh. We got Henry out with a castor oil induction. But I haven't gotten that desperate quite yet. He was well overdue, for one thing. It won't necessarily work unless you are good and ready to go. So. Here I sit. Sweaty and sleepy. Taking catnaps during episodes of Go Diego Go and waddling myself to the laundry room when I can muster up the energy. My doctor is on call tonight. Yeah. Tonight would be good, don't you think?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother's Day daybook

Outside my's dark and cool. I'm loving these cool nights. I know they won't last!

I am hearing...Celtic Woman. It's background music for a Wii game Maria is playing. Jack chattering with Maria. Tess chattering to her dolls. It's time to get kids in bed.

I am thinking...about this baby. Kind of pensive in turned inward lately...alternating between appreciating these last couple of weeks of "life as we know it" and anxiously hoping for an early appearance.

I am thankful for...birthday parties! Today we did a combo Mother's Day/Tess's 4th birthday/Henry's 2nd birthday party thing. I don't like the idea of doing combo birthday parties, but they are both so little and they were thrilled with it, and it was just the easiest thing to do right now with all that is going on. It was a nice day, a simple party with just family and presents and cake and such. Maria helped me quite a lot with all the preparing. Also, confirmations! Maria was confirmed last weekend! I obviously have a backlog of pictures to post...she picked Maria Goretti as her confirmation Saint.

I am wearing...a white polo with pink flowers, and pajama pants. I had a skirt on earlier. I ditched it for the pajama pants a few hours ago. :)

We are currently reading...Henry loves Leo Lionni right now...A Color of His Own is a favorite. He also loves (and so do I), the charming Little Blue Truck. I am reading the latest edition of The Womanly Guide to Breastfeeding on my nook. My paperback version was an older edition and tattered.

I am praying...for an early delivery! Just a little early. Or not late even. That would be good.

Latest on the babies...this little honey is a biggun...just like the others. I had an ultrasound a few days ago and the estimated weight is already 9'14, ha! And the head is measuring at 42 weeks. Actually, the head was measuring a bit bigger than that, but that was the biggest parameter they had. I also have a bit of extra fluid. Because the giant baby isn't enough to lug around. I'm having contractions all.the.time today. I keep hoping that they will turn into something, but I know they probably won't. See? That was posted a month before Tess was born See?! This is a week before she was born. So, I don't expect to go anywhere real soon. Sigh.

From the butterfly birthday cupcakes for Tess. Baseball cookies for Henry. Mocha Cappuccino cupcakes that Maria made for Mother's Day. Oh my goodness, they are really good too. I'm not even a huge cake fan, but these turned out wonderfully...

Around the house...a mess. Really. Just a mess. I have really got to get things together in the next day or two. As much as I want to go into labor, I'm kinda scared that I actually might with so much undone around here.

In the learning room...wrapping up as much as I possibly can. Speaking of undone. I need to get papers and grades off to our consultant. I had my consultation the other day and made lots of good plans for the upcoming school year. More about that later, I'm sure!

In the garden- Berry bushes look to be still alive, but not growing much. I haven't been great about watering, need to work on that...

Plans for the rest of the week...Monday, Jack has therapy of course. Wednesday will be busy. I have an OB appointment (38 weeks!), and I'm taking Maria and Tess to get haircuts, and we need to get a few groceries and a new crib mattress for the baby. I thought we had one. But Tess has recently moved back upstairs to sleep on a mattress on my bedroom floor. Sigh. So she has hers back now. Rest of the week looks fairly clear to work on nesting. Or birthing. :)

Happy Mother's Day!

"We would like to pay homage to all brave mothers who dedicate themselves to their own family without reserve, who suffer in giving birth to their children and who are ready to make any effort, to face any sacrifice, in order to pass on to them the best of themselves ... How hard they have to fight against difficulties and dangers! How frequently they are called to face genuine ‘wolves’ determined to snatch and scatter the flock! And these heroic mothers do not always find support in their surroundings. On the contrary, the cultural models frequently promoted and broadcast by the media do not encourage motherhood. In the name of progress and modernity, the values of fidelity, chastity, sacrifice, in which a host of Christian wives and mothers have distinguished and continue to distinguish themselves, are presented as obsolete. As a result, a woman who is determined to be consistent with her principles often feels deeply alone, alone in her love which she cannot betray, and to which she must remain faithful. Her guiding principle is Christ, who has revealed the love which the Father bestows on us. A woman who believes in Christ finds a powerful support precisely in this love that bears everything. It is a love that enables her to believe that all she does for a child conceived, born, adolescent or adult, she does at the same time for a child of God. As Saint John states: ‘We are called children of God, and that is what we are’ (1 John 3:1).”--Pope John Paul II

H/T to Lisa

Friday, May 04, 2012

Napping with Henry

Taken with my phone...yes, that's my very pregnant belly...

Close up of Henry. His hair gets curly when he's sweaty. See the cat in the background?

There is pretty much always a cat napping with us.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dear blogger,

Your new format stinks. Nothing is coming out right. Those stupid dotted lines in my last post? I put them there because my post came out as one giant paragraph, even though it wasn't like that when I wrote it. Go back, or I am outta here man. Lisa, was it you who said there was some way to switch back? I can't see how to do that, help if you can!

Baby Gifts for the Mom of Many

Or, "What to Buy for the Mom Who Has Everything. Or Pretty Damned Near." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lest you think this is a thinly disguised plea for gifts, please know that I've already bought most of this stuff. That is, in fact, what prompted the topic. My mom recently asked what I needed for the baby, and I told her I'd already pretty much gotten what I needed. Sorry, Mom. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- But, it is true that baby gifts are few and far between when you are having your third, fourth, fifth child. People assume that you have everything you need and want by now, I imagine. And that's pretty nearly true. Still, there are always things you need, and always things you'd like. So here's a few ideas--feel free to add your own in the comments section! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Baby showers with scads of cute baby outfits are pretty unnecessary. Mom probably has plenty of clothes. It's not like newborns wear out their clothing or anything. Unless she has had five boys and is expecting her first girl or something, clothing is probably not needed. But one clothing-like item we've bought for this baby is cloth diapers. This the first time I will attempt two in cloth, so even though I have cloth diapers, I needed more. Find out what kind your mom-to-be prefers. Most of us are pretty opinionated about it. :) Or get a gift card to be put towards the purchase. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Consumable stuff is always a welcome gift. Disposable diapers...even moms who use cloth use some disposables, baby lotions and potions, wipes, etc., are always nice. Gifts of food and freezer meals are always very appreciated. A couple of times a friend who doesn't cook much has given a gift card to a local take-out place, always with an apology that it wasn't a homemade meal. Silly! My kids were thrilled! I was thrilled, believe me! Shoot, if I don't have to cook it or clean up after it, bring it on! Or consider the gift of your time...friends who offer to pick up my older kids and take them to have fun are always a blessing. It gives them a needed change of scenery and gives mom a break too. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Maybe she has a largish piece of baby equipment that needs replacing? If you don't have a "large gift giving" type of relationship, maybe you are part of a group of friends that can go in on something together. By your fifth baby, things can start to look pretty haggard. We replaced our portacrib with Henry. I am looking for another rocking chair for this one. Car seats, strollers, all these things can start to look pretty worn, if not downright falling apart. Also, baby equipment mom considered unnecessary when she had one or two kids might start to look more appealing as her hands become more full. A mom who once scorned baby swings and exersaucers when she was in the throws of "first baby idealism" may find them more appealing when trying to cook dinner with a houseful of little people. Uh huh. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Moderately sized baby equipment often needs replacing as well, just because of the beating anything in a house full of kids takes. Maybe her three year old bent the tar out of the baby seat frame by sitting in it. Or maybe her six year old broke the mobile by using to climb in and out of the crib. Not that that sort of thing happens in this house or anything. Ahem. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And some things just need replacing with pretty much every child. I always get a new diaper bag for each baby. If the one I've been carrying for the last two or three years has even survived that long, it's looking pretty ragged and tired. I love to get a new one for the new little arrival. I refuse to use it until the new baby actually arrive, packing it with the "bringing home clothes" and taking it to the birthing center. The old one gets thrown out before I even come back home. Similarly, I always need new nursing bras for the new baby. Talk about ragged and tired. Again, ask, or get a gift card...we usually have strong preferences about this item as well. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Something pretty! John's cousins sent a huge bouquet of balloons and flowers after one of our babies. It was totally unexpected and sweet. I love flowers, and no one ever sends you flowers for your fourth baby. It seriously made me cry. Hormones, you know. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sometimes there is something sentimental to be gotten for the new baby too. A little tradition that has always been, or maybe one worth starting. Maria always buys a small stuffed something for the new baby, a tradition that started when Jack was born, and even though we need more stuffed animals like we need another hole in the drywall I know she will buy something for this one too. Each baby has gotten a new pretty blanket (but comfy...always comfy...can't abide by some scratchy blanket). And each baby gets a new book. Just to start off right. :) (I am still looking for a book for this baby! Any suggestions?) If you knit or sew or have a talent for crafting, your one-of-a-kind gifts are always special. Our sweet friend Lori made a precious little lovely for Henry. Jack's Godmother made him a scrapbook, a blank one but with pages that she templated herself for me to just be able to plug pictures into...a beautiful gift, I love it dearly. Some pretty keepsake that will set this baby apart from the others is always sweet- something that says, no, we don't really need another something, we have plenty of hand-me-downs,,,but you are special. You are baby #5, and even so this baby-having business is not taken for granted. You are new and loved and wanted right here, now, by God and by us. Even though you are one of many children in this house, you are the only one of you we will ever have, and we can't wait to meet you and kiss your sweet face.

Monday, April 23, 2012

random thoughts

I'm tired of daybooks.... Let's just write, shall we? Blogger has changed my format. This is really throwing me off. I am still feeling panicked here. The last couple of weeks have been very busy. The next three weeks or so promise more of the same. I really, really need a few days to get some things done around here...things that really need to be done before the baby comes, you know? Not weird pregnant-woman things like cleaning blinds and light fixtures. Things like giving the bathrooms a thorough cleaning and unpacking baby stuff. I was kinda counting on the next few weekends to help me out with that, but it doesn't look like that is going to work out. During the week, it seems to be all I can do to keep up with school and chores and life. Not sure what to do about that. Maria has a feis this weekend. The following weekend is her confirmation. Then Mother's Day weekend follows that. So far, we are clear after that. Think my luck will hold out? Think my back will hold out? Henry's birthday is today. I wonder if anyone realizes this but me? We aren't celebrating today. John is working all day. We had a busy weekend this past weekend too, so we will be officially celebrating on Sunday after the feis. He's too young, of course, to realize that today is his actual birthday, and I'm not going to make a to do about it because I'm afraid of confusing the matter. Besides, I'm not prepared to do anything about it. Originally we were supposed to have had his party by now, but the weather didn't cooperate. Next Sunday may not cooperate either, but with everything going on it's the best I've got. It's just as well we didn't plan anything today. It's not going to be much of a day for him. On Saturday night, he broke out in hives. I found them when I was getting him ready for bed...all over his upper legs. He'd never had them before. We gave him some Benadryl, but by the time it started working the hives had spread up his back and arms. The Benadryl worked nicely and I hoped that was the end of it. But very early Sunday morning the hives were back,,,worse! Long story a bit shortened, all morning/early afternoon we did this, and by the third dosing of Benadryl it became clear that this wasn't working. The hives came back after only three hours that time, and he was covered with them, from head to toe. Face, hands, feet, diaper area, everywhere. I took him to the ER. They gave him a shot of epinephrine and a shot of steriods and that all helped, but the doctor said it would take a couple of days to completely clear up and to keep giving him benadryl. We are. The hives keep coming back, but not as bad. Still, he's cranky and itchy and drugged up. Not been a fun couple of days. I peeked at him in his crib this morning, and they are still there. Sigh. We have no idea what's causing them. He has a well-child visit scheduled tomorrow, so if they are still around then at least his regular doctor can give her opinion. From what I've read, anything at all can cause hives...a food, contact irritation, insect bites, viruses...we may never know what caused it. Ok, he's awake now, so I'm going to go love on my birthday boy who doesn't know he's two today! Can't find spellcheck on this new layout. Grr...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A "Holy Crap, I've Only Got Six Weeks Left" Daybook

Will she ever post anything but daybooks???

Outside my and windy. Storms all day.

I am hearing...Tess and Henry squabbling. Again. I love rainy days. It appears they are fighting over who gets to lay on the Wii Fit balance board.

I am thinking...that it's been a long week. Henry has been sick, really sick, since Thursday. He's finally doing better today, but still pretty cranky.

I am thankful for...a new 50 count pack of markers. Tess and Henry have spent large amounts of time coloring with them today. I have spent large amounts of time trying to keep them off the floor and match up the caps.

I am wearing...shorts and a tshirt.

We are currently reading...Heck, I don't know. I can't even hear myself think. I'd better go put out this fire.

Ok, I'm back. Sheesh. Anyway, reading,,,um, I'm reading Anne of the Island. Also, I've ordered Managers of Their Schools, another Maxwell book. I'm not sure if this one will be particularly helpful though. They homeschool using a textbook curriculum, and we don't use a textbook curriculum. But I ordered it in a fit of desperation one afternoon. We'll see. Maria is still on Johnny Tremaine. Still on Wuthering Heights. Audiobooks take a long time. Jack and the littles are just enjoying a variety of what grabs us from around the house. Tess recently got this silly book from the library. It's sooo corny, really, but she loves it! We've read it many, many times, and now she's memorized it and we find her "reading" it aloud, which is pretty cute. Still, I'm glad it's a library book. :)

Latest on the babies...Henry's speech has taken off like mad. Suddenly he is saying gobs of words, new ones every day. Up until now he's only said a few words, and no new ones in a long time.
...and also, holy crap, I've only got six weeks left! I'm 34 weeks tomorrow. Oy, I've got so much to do.

From the kitchen...Um...we had Wendy's for dinner. :)

Around the house...let's just not go there, ok?

In the learning room...Maria has had a really hard time in algebra this year, and we are so behind. I've ordered Teaching Textbooks for her. And for me. For my own sanity. It arrives tomorrow....stay tuned.

In the berry bushes and bulbs arrived Thursday. But between Henry's illness and the rain I haven't planted them yet. Maybe tomorrow?

Plans for the rest of the week...waging war on my to-do lists. And you know...all the usual stuff.

Our week in pictures...the littles in their Easter finery...I didn't get a picture of Maria. She had to be at church early. But she's wearing her Easter dress for her confirmation, so I'll get her then. Jack was a riot. He hated wearing a tie, but when he saw himself he started cracking up and said, "I look like a man!"

Tess...making this goofy, scrunchy face for some reason. She was so cute though...I love her dress. It's pink and light green, doesn't seem to show up so well in this picture.

My sweet Momma's Boy.He's badly needing his bangs cut. Never been done before now, but it is time. Isn't he a cutie though?

Monday, April 02, 2012

An Holy Week daybook

Outside my window...can't hear a thing. The windows are closed up tight because the a/c is on. Already. Yesterday we had highs in the upper 80's. Sigh.

I am hearing...Jake and the Neverland Pirates...Jack's new obsession. Henry is watching too. Everyone else is still asleep.

I am thinking...not much. I'm still on my first cup of coffee.

I am thankful Um, I should say something more profound. Weather warm enough that the kids can play outside whenever they wish, just being able to open the back door and let them go. They are spending lots of time outside, they are SO gross and dirty at the end of the day, but it's so good for them. I laid in some new sand and sand toys a few weeks ago...all the ride-on toys and bikes are out. It's lovely not to have to deal with jackets and such.

I am wearing...a tshirt and pajama shorts. I am sadly lacking in motivation this morning so far.

We are currently reading...I just finished rereading the first Hunger Games book. I read the series a long time ago, before they were even popular. Because I'm that cool. Anyway, we saw the movie this past weekend, which made me want to reread the book.

I am praying...for the same friend as last week. She has so much to bear right now.

Latest on the babies...I. Am. Huge. So very pregnant. My OB sent me up to labor and delivery for a nonstress test because baby's movements had decreased a good bit. The test went fine and they sent me home. Her movements are still decreased, but when I lay down and do kick counts they are frequent enough. Just smaller, I guess, mostly. Running out of room I imagine.
Jack is in a destructive phase right now. He seems to do this every so often. He repeatedly rammed his bike into the deck rails until he broke one of the rails off completely. He kept throwing Tess's trike off the deck until he broke the handlebars. And he threw a keyboard out the playroom window. You read that right. A keyboard. Like a big Casio keyboard. Sigh. He will keep us wrestling with stuff like this for a while, and then he will just stop. Just like that.

From the kitchen is a mess. I'd like to not talk about that, ok? I focused on catching up on laundry this weekend, and we will focus on that.

Around the house...lots of housework that needs to be caught up because I have let the daily stuff slide while focusing on other projects. Calling a plumber today. I have new sinks! Not installed...haha! Silly! No, they are sitting in my living room. Hence my need to call the plumber. We have a leak upstairs too. We can't use the upstairs shower because it makes rain in the downstairs bathroom. I'm scared about this because it sounds expensive. I may regret buying those sinks.

In the learning room...just trying to keep up/catch up. Maria is having a hard time with Algebra, which is discouraging for us both...she has always done well with math. I've done next to nothing for Holy Week and have little planned for Easter either, other than the usual stuff at church of course. Just too much to wrap my brain around this year. Some years are like that. And to be honest, with Kain gone, so is my motivation for such things right now. Maria has seen and done these things so many times. Jack just cares so little about anything not in his little sphere of concern. Tess and Henry are a bit young yet.

In the garden- still waiting for my plants to arrive.

Plans for the rest of the week...I don't think we will even make it to Holy Week services, which is disheartening. John is working the entire time, and mass has been far too rough lately to go looking for trouble by myself, even with Maria's help. John is off on Wednesday and is going to watch the gang so I can tackle my last big pre-baby projects, cleaning out a couple of of them holds Easter baskets. :)

Our week in pictures...I posted a bunch of pics of Jack and Henry. How about Tess?

The gang at the zoo...did I post this one? Funny story behind this...notice Tess's clothes....the green striped shirt, the pink patterned skirt, sneakers...odd yes? Well, you see, she had an accident 15 minutes after arriving at the park. And she has been perfectly potty-trained for over a year, so I had no changes of clothes with me. I was utterly lost on what to do. I went to the gift shop and they had nothing at all...tshirts, but nothing I could put on her bottom half at all. The zoo is out near the airport, not near anything at all. I circled the gift shop, trying to think of something. Just as I was getting ready to give up and leave, I spotted these long cottony batik scarves. I bought one, and Maria and I fashioned a skirt out of it. She is completely bare-bottomed under that makeshift skirt,,,something the whole zoo figured out more than once when it managed to work its way loose. Thankfully she is still too young to be embarrassed about such things. Sorry Tessie.

This is Christmas morning. She got some dress up stuff then, and was cramming on as much as she could. The mess behind her? The shrapnel from 5 kids opening gifts. Anyway, I love this picture, she's all sleepy-eyed and just screams "the morning after prom" or something, yes?

This picture is classic Tess. She is the dress-up queen. She wears dress-up clothes every day. And she now refuses to wear pants anymore. Dresses or skirts every day. I'm only glad that the weather is warm so I don't have to fuss with tights and such.

She's got a weird expression on her face here, but otherwise looks so cute I couldn't resist. She was falling asleep this way, but woke up when I took her picture.

Baby chicks at the fair.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A warm spring daybook

Outside my window...warm, warm, warm. We had several days of rain last week, but this weekend it is in the 70's. I think we will have a terribly hot summer here in the south.

I am hearing...Jack playing Wii ping pong. Tess and Henry in the playroom.

I am thinking...about all the things I need to get done before this baby comes.

I am thankful for...a third trimester burst of energy. I've been cleaning like mad, still. My back and hips still don't appreciate this much. I am waddling pretty badly because my lower back feels a bit stiff and sore all the time. But it's not too bad.

I am wearing...a black skirt and brown, beaded shirt. Barefoot (and pregnant, ha!)

We are currently reading...Hum. I got "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" on my nook for Maria to read. Not because I expect her to embrace the whole courting thing, but because I think the book makes some good points on boy/girl relationships in general. I am reading Anne of Avonlea...been reading my way through this series for the first time. I somehow missed them in my younger days. Still slogging through Wuthering Heights. Maria is starting Johnny Tremaine this week for history.

I am praying...for a friend bearing far too many crosses right now.

Latest on the babies...I am on week 31 for little honey five. Not 32, like it says on that ticker. Don't know why it says the wrong date, and I can't get lilypie to let me fix it or change it at all, so I guess it will stay the way it is! Baby is *very big* and moving lots. The kids love to watch my "belly-quakes", especially in the evening...she seems to be a night owl.
Henry knows what letters are. He doesn't really know any, but he will point to them and say, "Oh, ee, ay, oh, ay!" Tess's speech is improving soooo much. She is just expressing herself so much better. She has a good bit of trouble with pronouns though, and often leaves them off entirely...she will say things like, "Are going to the store?"

From the kitchen...Tuscan pork roast in the oven, with mashed potatoes and corn cobs for dinner. We are making a poor meal each week from operation rice bowl...we watch the little video to go with the country of the week and then try the meal out, and we donate the money saved by eating our little poor meal to CRS at the end of Lent. Do try it! This is our third year doing this and it is a really meaningful thing to do for Lent. Plus, some recipes are,,,interesting. Not a fan of the Vietnamese spring rolls... :). Some have become new favorites. I really liked the vary amin'anana from Madagascar.

Around the house...working on digging out warm weather clothes,,,and baby clothes while I'm at it. It's too early to wash them and all, but since I'm going through my stash anyway...Also, bathroom remodeling, yay! Long overdue! How much remodeling? It will depend on how long the income tax return holds out. :) All three bathrooms need a lot of work. I'm starting with some repairs, some sink replacements, and new flooring. That will probably do it for now.

In the learning room...some planning for next year.

In the garden-I ordered some perennials to plant in the beds out back in an attempt to make the weed control easier for John...things that will hopefully fill in and be low-maintenance. The dogwoods are blooming. I also ordered some berry bushes to try this year. Any tips?

Plans for the rest of the week...therapies and dance, as usual. Mass on Wednesday and adoration on Thursday. OB appt. on Friday combined with some shopping for Maria and me. We will do some birthday shopping as we have three birthdays coming up, and I need to go to Lowes to get some yard stuffs before the berries and flowers arrive, as well as some things for the plumber's visit.

Our week in pictures...these aren't actually from this week. This is a series I've been meaning to post..."Henry sleeps". I took these when he was outgrowing his morning nap. he would not quite make it until after lunch before conking out. And if I tried to put him to nap late morning, then he would fall asleep sometime around four or five. Almost every day you would find him asleep on the couch at some weird time of day, and always with whatever he was toting around at the time...

Excuse our raggedy couch. It was actually in excellent condition a year ago, before we had a dog. Then SOMEONE trained the dog to climb up on the couch next to him, which was really cute when he was a puppy, but now he's a huge monster of a dog with rather sharp claws. He has shredded the couch cushions. We are retraining the dog, and then recovering the cushions.

What Jack said

We have had a little Jack issue lately...he is very affectionate with me, and he can be a little, erm, feely at times. I've been tactfully working on this, not wanting to discourage his affections...just redirect them a bit. He's 7 years old, after all, and because of his autism, he often needs to be expressly taught things that other kids just get by this age. So, we've been talking about what's appropriate in this area. Being all Jack-like, he will take these things to the extreme and be very concerned that he is doing something wrong. And also being all Jack-like, he does not whisper...he will announce things, loud and clear, wherever we are. So, we were in mass today and he was snuggled up against me, like he tends to do. Then he suddenly pulls back and says loudy, "Oh, I'm sorry. I was touching your chest with my head." And I shushed him and said, "It's ok." Then he says, just as loudly, "It's very cozy there."

Monday, March 12, 2012

first reconciliation, and autism

One of the characteristics of autism is that Jack has trouble understanding abstract concepts. This makes preparation for his first penance difficult. I'm glad he will be an older second grader and we still have another year to work on this. His first communion is different. That's much easier. Because he's so literal, he has no trouble wrapping himself around the Eucharist. If momma says, and Father says, and his PSR teacher says, that the bread and wine become Jesus' body and blood...if indeed the Bible says "this IS my body" and "this IS my blood"...then so it is. The difficulties with first communion prep will be in semantics...getting him to walk down the ailse and actually receive appropriately, without making any comments about how gross the wine is.

But teaching forgiveness, sorrow for sin, penance,,,that's more difficult. For Jack, "sin" is when you do something that makes other people mad. And "forgiveness" is being nice to someone after they make *you* mad. So Henry will do something that annoys Jack, and Jack will say, "HEY!" and then, "Oh, it's ok Henry", and pat Henry's head, and then say to me, "Mom, I forgave Henry!" and Henry will toddle on, completely unaware of what happened.

His understanding seems to be on about the same level as Tess's. Lately she will come up to me and say, in her high-pitched little girly voice, "I sorry! I sorry Mommy!" and I'll say, "Why are you sorry?" "No!" she says, "You say, 'it's ok!'" And she'll start over patiently, like a teacher with a not-too-bright student..."I sorry Mommy!" "It's ok," I sigh. "Tess, why are you sorry?" But she's gone. And eventually I find what she was sorry about...a puddle on the floor by the toilet, a dumped bowl of cat food, or maybe cat food in the toilet.

Anyway, not too long ago a friend pointed me towards this...a resource for preparing autistic kids for the sacraments. We are ordering this with our homeschool book order for next school year. But there is nothing for first confession out there that I've found. That will take far more preparation and gives me far more willies...not only do we have these concepts of "sin" and "forgiveness" to work out, but he will have to have an actual one-on-one conversation with the priest! And not about legos or star wars either! Sigh.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A nesting daybook

Outside my window...cold and cloudy. It rained last night. I have a bird feeder that attaches to my window, a Christmas gift. For months no bird has been brave enough to visit. Finally I am seeing a few brave chickadees, and this morning I saw a nuthatch!
We've also been hearing woodpeckers somewhere in the pine trees outside the bathroom window.

I am hearing...Jack playing wii sports resort and Henry playing the piano. You know..kind of.

I am thinking...that nesting is awesome. I have been on a cleaning rampage for two days. If I had this kind of energy all the time...well, my house would be clean, that's for sure.

I am thankful for...evening mass after a late night and the spring time change.

I am wearing...tan pajama shorts and a navy blue shirt.

We are currently reading...hmm. Jack is working on catching up his Aesop's fables book. Owl Moon is a favorite right now with the littles. Maria is still sloooowly working through Wuthering Heights and just finished Witch of Blackbird Pond for history. I am reading two new ones..."Prayer for Beginners" by Peter Kreeft (my Lenten read), and "Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things That Really Matter".

I am praying...For Kain. He's doing well so far in his new digs and new school.

Pondering these words... "Reading a book about doing something can be an obstacle to doing it because it gives you the impression that you are doing what you are only thinking about doing. It is tempting to remain in the comfortable theater of the imagination instead of the real world, to fall in love with the idea of becoming a saint and loving God and neighbor instead of doing the actual work, because the idea makes no demands on you."- Peter Kreeft, from "Prayer for Beginners"

Latest on the babies...Tess found one of Maria's old ballet recital videos and has a new love. She now puts on her dress up clothes and twirls all over the house. She can also count to 12 now and kind of says her alphabet..."A, B, C, D, Luhluhluhluh P! Q, R, S, T, U, V! All my Leh-lers, A, B, C, next time won't you sing with me! Yay!"

From the kitchen...a chicken is simmering on the stove. After it cools I will pick it for chalupas tonight.

Around the house...I spent hours and hours yesterday cleaning and organizing the laundry room. Maria wanted some mall money, so I hired her to be me for the day while I cleaned. I purged and cleaned and organized, I caught up on ALL the laundry (including putting away!) and moved a bunch of things around to make more room in there. Oh! My back! My hips! But it's so nice to have so much accomplished.

In the learning room...fatigue. We are ready for Easter break.

In the garden- the hyacinths died in a frost. The forsythia is blooming nicely. Dogwoods are ready to bloom any time now.

Plans for the rest of the, and,
Today- evening mass. Maria spent the night with a friend and will go to the mall today, then to mass, and we will pick her up after Life Teen tonight.
Monday- therapy for Jack
Tuesday- dance class, library, and errands
Wednesday- mass, therapy, and also an OB appointment. Fingers crossed for my glucose tolerance test.
Thursday- adoration..we signed up for an hour during Lent.
Friday- mass..maybe the park after?
Saturday- John is working again, so I'm thinking another project day...the upstairs? The school room? I'm so torn. The school room is an abomination. But I really need to get upstairs and sort out warm weather clothes.

Our week in pictures...

Maria and Tess's "flower cake"...they made this yesterday when Maria was babysitting.

Jack does "fish cracker math". He always has whales crackers during math, and we use them for subtraction manipulatives, hehe. Addition facts he can work out without manipulatives, but subtraction, not yet.

Tess and Henry's new favorite school pastime,,,do-a-dots!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


(Jack trying out instruments at an event at the University)

I thought it'd be easier to share some of our recent pics one child at a time....
"Recent" is a relevant term...some of the ones I downloaded are 6 months old!

(Christmas Eve)

Jack is having a hard time with the weekly grocery shopping. I usually can handle Jack, he's usually a quiet and sweet boy, but he has his moments. Shopping is one of them. He does ok when we are getting food. I let them each pick out a snack of some kind and he picks cheese sticks. Once he's got these, he is done. When we start moving through the rest of the store, to the pharmacy, pet supplies, diapers, etc....he gets really agitated and starts whining and carrying on.

(7th birthday party...a lego theme this year. The cake was too hideous to post, but he liked it. :))

He'll say, "Are we never done with shopping? Do you have 20 hundred more groceries to get?"

(cow train at the corn maze)

Today, he started pushing the cart away from me, so I snapped at him, and he started crying, "Are you going to put me in the dumpster? Do you want to throw me away?" Now, we've never threatened to put the child in a dumpster, I promise. This is something he often says when he gets in trouble. We have no idea why.

(goats at the corn maze)

When we were checking out, he started up again, and was wrestling the cart in the parking lot, so I grabbed him by the arm and made him walk right next to me. He got really upset then and started sobbing hysterically, "Ow, your breaking my arm!"
(a ninja for Halloween)

(St. Tarcisius for All Saints' Day)

And when I put him in the van, he was screaming at the top of his lungs, "Are you putting me in the dumpster? She's putting me in the dumpster!" over and over again.

(checking out bones at the zoo)

(on the drive to the zoo, Jack said that this was the Eiffel Tower)

(and those towers in the background were lighthouses)

I talked him down once we were all in the van, and he was calm again. On the short drive home though, we passed a dumpster. He said softly, "There's a dumpster. Just pull over and throw me in."

(This is very recent. The child is toothless. All his front teeth got very loose at once. Three fell out within a couple of weeks of each other. Kain helped the fourth along when he accidentally knocked Jack with the wii remote while playing Swordplay Showdown.)

Monday, March 05, 2012

a seven months along daybook

Gosh, it's been a long time since I did a daybook!

Outside my window...Beautiful! Warm! Sunny!

I am hearing...Disney Junior. Yes, they watch too much tv lately. It's the only way I can post, or cook dinner, and I'm trying to do both right now!

I am thinking...about Kain. He is registering for school today, starting tomorrow. This past weekend was much harder emotionally than I thought. I thought I'd feel nothing but relief. But it was very difficult. Lots of tears.

I am thankful for...a quiet Sunday and Monday with my kids. It really is much more calm here.

I am wearing...A purple t-shirt and pajama pants. I'm always in pajama pants. It's a third trimester rule. I find maternity pants so uncomfortable. I put them on to leave the house and change as soon as I walk in the door.

We are currently reading..."You Are a Better Parent Than You Think" by Dr. Ray. Started this for Kain, lol. Still need to finish. Trying to plod my way through Wuthering Heights with Maria. I'm sorry, I'm not a fan. I realize that's like blasphemy or something. Maybe it'll improve.

I am praying...for a better Lent than what I've had so far. I've been very distracted.

Latest on the babies...Jack has made some great strides. I was trying to think what had changed recently, something in the way he has been talking to us...I finally realized the other night...he is making eye contact! Not great eye contact, lol. But it's definitely improving.
Tess can't say "f" either. This is really funny. She says "bood", not "food",,,"wowers", not "flowers"...and my favorite, "blip blops", not "flip flops" :)
Henry is a big boy! He suddenly looks like a little boy, not a baby. His hair is coming in thicker, and he has gone from clinging to my knee to being so social and outgoing.
Baby Bee is 28 weeks along today. Everything is going well. I was informed she is measuring three weeks further along than her due date,,,that's about par for my course.

From the kitchen...crock pot dinner tonight, pineapple pork tenderloin, rice pilaf, and broccoli. This was planned for Sunday. I forgot that we were having Sunday dinner at church yesterday.
Tuesday- crock Italian chicken over noodles
Wednesday- Shrimp jambalaya, french bread
Thursday- Artichoke pesto chicken, roasted broccoli, garlic bread
Friday- Vary amin'anana. Never had it? Me neither. It's a recipe from our rice bowl calendar...learning about the poor in Madagascar. It'll be interesting!
Saturday- Mesquite beef sandwiches, oven fried potatoes
Sunday- Tuscan pork roast, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes.

Around the house...catching up, finding a new normal. We are very behind in school due to all the pregnancy stuff and Kain stuff...we will be working hard to get as much done as we can before my due date, and still doing school through most of the summer. Sigh.

In the learning room- a hot mess. It's on my "to organize, or burn to the ground" list.

In the garden- daffodils, lots of cleaning up before spring comes and everything starts growing like mad. But that's mostly John's department.

Plans for the rest of the week...
-Monday's about over. Usual therapy today
-Tuesday- Shopping and library. Dance is cancelled.
-Wednesday- noon mass, therapy for Jack, PSR in the evening for Jack.
-Thursday- adoration...we signed up for an hour during Lent. I have so far been able to go alone or with a big kid. Bliss!
-Friday- noon mass. Maybe a park day?
-Saturday- home all day, hoping to tackle that school room.
-Sunday- Mass,,,I found out that the move in our parish towards having weekly evening masses has been delayed until fall. Sigh. I was looking forward to that! But this Sunday is the usual monthly evening Life Teen mass, and Maria will have confirmation prep class afterwards.

Our week in pictures...I have just downloaded almost 300 pictures off my camera since I found my cord. Sigh. Totally overwhelming to even think about organizing. Here's one that I have to show now though!

Isn't she just lovely? This is my first 3D ultrasound, and I have to say it is VERY COOL to have such a picture of my little one! I have the pics on my fridge and love to see her every day. :)