Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Quick Takes-Aug 31

1. L's favorite book these days is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. If you have read children's books at any point in the last 50 years, you have read this one. Though her method of "participating" in the book is to search aggressively for the "young mouse" on each page. As M or I read her the book, she shouts "MOUSE!" and points all over the page. When I put her to bed at nap or nighttime if I don't say "Goodnight Bears and Goodnight Chairs" to her bears and then "Goodnight Mouse" she throws a fit. Yesterday she started pointing to the words in the book and saying "Letters." I am certain that the mouse-hunt and letter recognition are signs of genius.

2. I encouraged G to look at her Bible during quiet time yesterday showing her all the pictures of the stories about Jesus which she is familiar with. I told her after her quiet time we could talk about the stories. The one she zeroed in on was the story of the beheading of St. John the Baptist. Maybe it is because we talked about how it had been the Gospel at Mass on Wednesday so she had heard the story there. But she asked for it in particular for her naptime story today. The priest at Mass on the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist spoke about how he died because he defended marriage. It seems that he would be a great saint to pray to for the preservation of traditional marriage in our society.

3. If you want a recommendation on a Bible for children and don't mind a blue eyed, blonde Jesus, the Golden Children's Bible is a really good one for being true to Biblical texts and not oversimplifying the content. G who is three seems to understand the stories in it as long as I explain some of the details to her, and she really enjoys the illustrations.

4. I know I said this on Facebook already, but we went to the Minnesota State Fair this week which was just about what one would expect from a state fair. There were farm animals, greasy foods, and rides! Though my favorite part was the draft root beer. Apparently I am making up for not being allowed to drink by drinking excessive (for me) amounts of root beer whenever I get the chance. Also, G stopped her princess play after the fair and decided to pretend she was a pig who won first prize at the fair. :)

5. I come to accept that going places with children takes time and it no longer bothers me. Maybe it is pregnancy fatigue, but maybe it is me finally getting used to being a mother.

6. Saw this linked the other day and it looks pretty cool. Toddler leggings made from knee high socks. Now I just need to find some cool looking socks for cheaper than the on-sale, clearanced leggings I usually purchase for G.

7. Earlier this week M and I were talking about why a sitz bath is called a "sitz" bath. M joked that it comes from German and means sitting in the bath. It turns out he was right. From
1840–50;  half adoption, half translation of German Sitzbad,  equivalent to sitz ( en ) to sit1  + Bad bath1

That's all folks!

On School Masses

I went to public grade school, so I never experienced the "school mass" as a child, but I have experienced many as an adult attending daily Mass. In fact I thought I had attended enough to say I never needed to go again. The typical school Mass that I have gone to has included many of the following elements: watered down prayers for children, oversimplified Eucharistic prayers for children, children's choirs singing off-key, hand motions, children "lectors" etc. To sum it up, one could say not a very reverent Mass experience. It seems that the planners of these "children's Masses" forget one very important fact about the Mass and that is that it is different from the everyday.  It is Heaven touching Earth. And I am convinced that children can handle much more than the simplified versions of just about everything out there that is for kids. (For example, shortening children's books that were already made for children and making them into short board books or "readers.")

Yesterday, my family and I went to daily Mass at our new parish, St. Agnes. Now there is also a school at St. Agnes and when we saw that Mass was in the upstairs Church and not in the basement chapel we knew it was a school Mass. My initial reaction when I think of going to a school Mass is bracing myself to tolerate whatever irreverence may occur during Mass because it is children centered and not God centered. However, the only children in the sanctuary at this post-conciliar Novus Ordo Mass were the altar boys in cassocks and surplices. The priest still said Mass "ad orientem", that is facing the liturgical East of the tabernacle/Jesus. The prayers were all those of the new translation for the day. The communion rail was used. The other priests in residence came to help distribute communion (All these things St. Agnes does for all Masses whether Latin, English, Ordinary or Extraordidary). And the school children sat still, paid attention, knelt during communion. They understood reverence. They are being taught that Mass is different from the everyday and they can handle it!

I am thrilled that St. Agnes knows how to do liturgies and is not too good to be true. If you want to see their music selections check out the website I linked above.

And while the school children could behave at Mass, my children are a different story...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

1. I am doing this at the encouragement of Claire and Liz. So, ladies this one is for you. :)

2. Since we are all talking about spiders, I want to say that there are an absurd number and variety of spiders in St. Paul. Since we have been here, there has been one living about six inches from the handle of the front door and today I went at his web with a stick because it looked abandoned. There was a huge one in the garage yesterday on the floor. I have sucked about six up vacuuming our basement family room and study. G whigged out about one on the outside of the car window this morning. And yesterday from the inside of our garden level window I watched one attack and eat a bug in his web.

3. I think it might have to do with her age, but all summer G has been narrating from time to time her actions. For example, "She ran across the room and opened the door..." It is quite amusing. Maybe she will be a writer.

4. At a different stage of development, L has been learning all her verbs and everytime she does an action she says the verb that goes with that action. Some of the favorites include running, climbing, swinging, swim, kiss, eating, drinking, jumping, shake, sing.

5. We got a book with the story of "Peter and the Wolf" this week from the library. I found the recording of it on Youtube that M and I both listened to as children. We have been listening to it everyday per the request of G. It is a Soviet commissioned piece for children to learn about music.

6. We did our first official pre-school week this week. Monday I bought the last minute supplies. And then on Tuesday I picked an activity from Teach Me to Do It Myself for each day and planned to do as much or as little as G wanted of My First School Book from the Handwriting Without Tears series. We spent less than five minutes on each thing a day, which is appropriate for pre-school home school. I am glad I have a little structure this year and once I planned things and have books to use I am realizing that home schooling will work. :) Further, L has been coloring in a notebook very contentedly while G and I do the school activities.

7. Claire linked this article today about a couple struggling with infertility and the pain they go through and the way they offer up their suffering and desires for a child. I cried through the reading of the article, realizing how easy it is to forget how blessed M. and I our with our two beautiful children and third on the way. The husband in the article discussed how he has been drawn closer to God in a way he never expected because of their infertility, and I am reminded how God uses our hardships to bring us closer to Him and form us into better people. I really need to work on not complaining about my children and the struggles I have as a parent.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Thinking About the "New Baby"

Sometime amongst the past two months of travel, unpacking, and adjusting I hit the third trimester with this pregnancy. If this baby comes as early as L. did we have about 10 weeks until we find out if we have another beautiful daughter or a handsome son. This past week I started feeling the third-trimester exhaustion along with the back pain and then the dread of never getting sleep once the baby comes. So, not exactly happy feelings about having another baby. Additionally, I started thinking about labor, delivery and recovery, which is not the most pleasant set of physical experiences one can have.

I decided it would be a good idea to plan for the tour of the "maternity care" ward of the hospital. I called on Friday, to discover that the quarterly scheduled tours were taking place on Saturday (yesterday). I found some last minute childcare (courtesy of another professor and his family whom we had just had dinner with this past week), and M. and I got the tour yesterday.

We walked into a wing and discovered that there is no nursery for holding babies at all, unless they are needing special care, and that I will labor, deliver, and recover in the same room and that all the baby will need for care after I give birth is right in that room as well. So, the only option is rooming in. I also got to see the room and tub for waterbirths, which my doctor has attended before and I plan on trying. If I have the waterbirth I will have to leave my room, but I am excited for a hospital that says on their webpage: "Our goal is to give you the safest birth and avoid unnecessary interventions." and "St. Joseph's has a low cesarean rate: 11.3% compared to a national average of 30.2%.". I have great hopes for another natural birth this time around.

It is not that my birthing experiences with my first two were horrible, it is just that the hospital viewed it more as a medical procedure, where as it really seems that this hospital and the nurses working there want to make things as natural as possible. The reason I am using a hospital is in case there is a need for medical intervention, plus I found a really great pro-life family doctor for my care in St. Paul and I want to be able to work with her for the birth as well.

I found this article on the hospital's maternity care and a history of how they got a more natural focus. Evidently though I should fall into one of two categories, at least roughly: "recent immigrants who are used to midwives in their home countries and older, professional women". Which I don't, so maybe they should add another category of young mom's who care to have a natural birth. :)

That all being said, I am starting to be more excited about meeting this baby outside the womb. There is something about newborns that you can't find anywhere else, even if you are sleep deprived.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Two Sisters Moving Together

I have been appreciating more and more the sweet friendship developing between my two little girls. G. at nearly 3.5 has been really relying on her younger sister for companionship this summer and L. at 20 months, as she develops vocabulary and the ability to play more with her sister instead of in parallel play, is doing everything she can to keep up. I am so thankful on behalf of both of them that we had these two girls first. I imagine that a girl and a boy or two boys would be able to have a friendship as well, but there is something about having sisters.

It seems to me that L. is the perfect age for her older sister at this point in our lives as we just moved to a new city and are meeting new people and adjusting to new places. Any younger would have not been as helpful for her. L. is forming her first sentences/phrases these days. Her first was at dinnertime as we were helping her eat and she told my husband who was feeding her a bite (for some reason she is asking us to feed her), "Mommy do it!" The sweetest phrase came from her today as I was rocking her before nap. I told her it was time to go to sleep and her face turned into the saddest pout and she said "Want G----!" The girls do not nap in the same room since G. only naps about 1/3 of the days.

I am so glad that they have such affection for each other, even if it means they spend too long falling asleep at night because they are talking and giggling. They also fight and pester each other, but they have more fun and games or even cause trouble together than discord between each other. And as we have been transitioning that which has helped the girls the most has been the things that have stayed the same between the two homes from toys, to furniture, to the meals I cook. The most important constant for them has been each other, and I am so thankful that my girls have a life-long friend in each other.
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