Friday, November 30, 2012

Seven Quicktakes Friday-Nov. 30

1. Tomorrow we will no longer have a heathen baby dripping in her original sin. Hooray! Because of this event we are having many family members coming to town and I am throwing our first "real" Baptism party where I planned it in advance. The past two babies I was taken by surprise that we are supposed to have a cake and food for people afterwards. It does not help that G was baptised on the octave of her birth and I was still in shock of what it is like to have a newborn and be post-partum.

2. Three weeks is again my point of feeling like a normal person after having a baby. And by normal person, I suppose I have put myself in the category of normal for a nursing mother of a baby.

3. St. Paul is starting to feel like "home." You know that feeling you get when a place is familiar and comforting as you drive through it knowing where you are going? Moving is such a long transition. I expect that we will really know if it feels like home when we come back from our Christmas travels.


4. M is complaining about my quicktakes being too short these days; these will be again. I wrote the first three on Friday and am finishing them Sunday, but backdating them to Friday because I discovered how to schedule posts this week.

5. I labeled all my posts this week and then added the gadget of a label cloud. My blog is all grown up now. Maybe some of the posts I wrote years ago before I shared it with people publicly might actually be read. :) And you really should check out why Beatrix Potter is awesome if you haven't yet. My children's book reviews are my favorite...

6. I am about to do this workout video. And I know you are saying, workout video at 3 weeks post-partum? I am just going to say it is the best thing one can do for a post-partum body. It stretches everything and helps one's core get back into being normal. Plus you do the whole thing laying on the floor...

7. We have ordered all of the Christmas gifts now and I just have to finish making the ones the girls are making for everyone... (I know, they did some fun artwork for them and I am laboring to make their artwork a gift...)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Things!

Shortly after having the baby I was invited to contribute to the blog Truth and Charity. After three weeks I have decided to join! The blog is run by a group of lay, Catholic writers who are unwaveringly faithful to the Magisterium. The mission of the blog is to illustrate what it is to live as a faithful Catholic in American society - the intersection of faith and life.

I am really excited to be joining the other awesome Catholic bloggers on the site! I will be posting there every Thursday, and will continue my writing here at Living with Lady Philosophy.

Why Beatrix Potter is Awesome (Good Picture Books Series)

One of the weirdest but most wonderful authors of children's stories was Beatrix Potter. We have been slowly collecting the entire 23 book set with every chance to give birthday or Christmas presents, and reading all the stories as we find them at the library. The most recent book we read is "The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes." This apparently was her book written for her American audience, featuring the gray squirrel, the chipmunk, and the black bear, though the scenery is still taken from her native English countryside. It also features birds whose natural songs are: "Whose-bin-diggin-up-my-nuts" and "A-little-bit-o-bread-and-no-cheese." It makes me wonder what the birds around St. Paul are really saying.
Photo of Potter's Hill Top Farm by Chris Brown

All of Potter's books are full of insights about animals, nature, and relationships, which she expresses in the personified animals of her stories. Accompanying her witty texts are beautiful watercolors. (I would love to share some here, but according to Wikipedia the images are not in the public domain in the UK or Europe and I don't want to violate any copyright laws since I don't really know anything about them.)

A great feature of her stories is that she often includes rhymes in the dialogue, which expand on the nursery rhymes that I have already been reading to my children. She even has two books of her own rhymes "Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes" and "Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes."

She gives great life lessons in her stories: We learn in "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" the negative affects of gluttony and disobeying parents. In "The Tale of Jemima Puddle-duck" to not talk to predatory-like strangers even if they have sandy whiskers and that once again foxes are always bad. Another great tale is that of Ginger and Pickles in which we learn that giving credit, while it sells a lot of goods, does not always bode well for paying one's own bills. The tale about a tail, "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" teaches us to not pester our benefactors. From capitalism to parents to strangers, Potter presented helpful advice on living in the world.

The point is that Potter wrote some pretty great stories that kids and parents find entertaining and wonderful with every reading of the story. This I think is the essential element of good children's stories. I will say it again and again; if it is going to be great for the child it has to be great for the parent. And that is why Beatrix Potter is awesome. Go and read her to your kid now. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Jesse Tree

Our Jesse Tree
On that day, A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.-Isaiah 11:1

Every year growing up I looked forward to Advent. My parents worked to make it special, and looking back I imagine it was to combat the pre-Christmas consumer season. Every First Sunday of Advent before dinner my father would read the blessing of the Advent wreath and the tall brand-new tapers of purple and rose. Then my eldest sister lit the first purple candle (we took turns each day) and we sang together"O Come, o come Emmanuel."

After dinner when the dishes were cleared and washed, my mother would sit with the four of us children by our home Jesse Tree and read the first reading from Scripture. The Jesse Tree is a devotion is done by lay people in their homes during Advent.

The devotion includes having a small tree in one's home, such as a small evergreen or a small branch of a tree from one's yard, reading a specific reading from Scripture each day, and then hanging a corresponding ornament on the tree. By the end of Advent the whole tree is full of ornaments. In our home, my mother eventually made a tree out of felt and all the ornaments were also made of felt. (We used this devotional book which gave a guideline of readings and came with paper ornaments which we used before my mother made our own.)

This devotion of the Jesse Tree stuck with me as an adult and my first year of college I read the readings on my own until I went home for Christmas break. My first Christmas married, shortly before the birth of our first child, my husband and I hand drew our own Jesse Tree ornaments on paper and did the readings together. I am now working on a counted cross-stitch version of our ornaments.

 We use a 20 inch artificial evergreen tree to hang the ornaments. Our little girls love to hear the stories every year, and as they get older I am eager for them to learn more fully the story of Salvation history each Advent.

A home Jesse Tree can be as simple as a branch from a tree hung with the ornaments cut out from the devotional book, and there are many ideas online found with a quick search. The idea is to prepare oneself for Christmas and observe the season of Advent by reading Scripture passages that point to the coming of Christ. Some sets of readings start with Creation and move through important events of the Old Testament while others focus solely on the New Testament.

The name of the Jesse Tree comes from the fact that Jesus' genealogy is traced to the line of Jesse, the father of David. This is why I prefer to use readings from Scripture that start with the Old Testament.

The readings we use for each day start show the ancient line of Jesus beginning with Adam and Even in the story of Creation in Genesis, and then the necessity for Christ's birth because of the Fall; then going through Scripture we read about others in the line Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and then the prophets who told about the coming of Christ. The last week focuses on the New Testament readings leading to the birth of Jesus.

In reading about those who prefigure Christ, the prophecies about his coming, and finally the events immediately before His birth, we prepare ourselves throughout all of Advent. As we observe the liturgical season with the Church it helps keep the focus of what Christmas is really about: God becoming man, as He promised again and again throughout Scripture, so that we can again be united with Him.

Originally posted on Truth and Charity.

Two Year Old Sweetie

My middle child turns two today. It is funny that I still think of her as my baby in my head from time to time and slip up and call the baby by her name, but I suppose it is the adjustment of having another little baby girl around.

My sweet little L has been an amazing big sister so far. I think she has taken the adjustment of a new baby better than all of us. I have often described her as having "extreme" emotional responses, and it seems her response to the baby has been a sweet love. She often asks, "Hold baby?" And as I assist her in holding the baby she sits so still and stares at F's face. She does everything she can to help with the baby, which usually ends up being handing me a dropped blanket, burp cloth, or hat. Whenever F is awake and happy, L delights in her eyes and facial features: "Eyes open! Nose! Ears!" If the baby happens to move in a random way as to touch L, she gets super excited. Whenever F is awake and fussy, L goes to her and pats her belly or rocks the carseat saying, "SHHHHHH!!!" in a comforting way.

Even before the baby was born L was super into playing with baby dolls, but now she is more-so and her baby doll is always named after her baby sister. Of course G decides her baby has the same name and then we all have a baby with the same name.

Other favorite activities include cooking elaborate meals with the toy dishes and anything that fits inside them, following G around, and playing with the Little People doll house. The people in the house, "Go potty! Take bath! Go to sleep! SKYPE!" (Yes, my two year old daughter uses Skype as a verb. But it is perfect because the computer in the house has a person's face on it and that is all L does on the computer...)

We also have the "do-it self" phase going on, but I now know that two years old is easy breezy compared to three. ;) And soon we will discover what four is like!

One of the best things about having multiple kids is that with the second, third, etc. I have been appreciating more the age the child is at instead of waiting anxiously for the next development.

So, Happy Birthday to my little, sweet L! Maybe you can stay two a bit longer than you stayed one? It all goes by too quickly!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Seven Quick Takes-Thanksgiving Weekend

1. Thanksgiving was delicious! We have relatives that live only two hours away since we moved to St. Paul, which is something we are going to really have to get used to since we have become accustomed to living hours and hours away from relations. However, these relatives live close enough to visit for an afternoon or day, or holiday, and they are awesome enough for us to want to do so. :) M's uncle, aunt, and their three boys brought us a huge dinner yesterday (cooked and cleaned and had abundant leftovers for both families) plus pie. All we did was make sure the house was clean enough to satisfy my tastes. :) It was a lot of fun and the older boys had fun entertaining G and L while playing on the iPads that were available.

2. I have a lot to be thankful for this year: a new baby, a new city, M getting a job the first time on the market, a good place to live for the first year, a new van, our new parish, a good delivery of the baby, new friends, supportive parents and in-laws, growing and happy children and so much more!

3. L turns two next week!

4. The family photo and birth announcements came in the mail today which means it is time to start the Christmas cards. If you want awesome cards check out these sold by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priests. I love these cards because they are so focused on Christmas being about Jesus' birth and they send you a list for you to fill out with all the names of those you send cards to and send back. They then include these people and their intentions in their annual Christmas novena.

5. Advent is coming! But for now we get to celebrate the Kingship of Christ! :)

6. So, while we can eat Turkey today, we still have to do some other penance.  What were those bishops thinking anway back in the 60s...

7. One last thing to be thankful for: F nursing almost every hour yesterday so that my Thanksgiving food consumption was appropriate to what the baby needed anyway. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Three to One

I have already said it on Facebook. Today is my first day with my three beautiful girls without any other adults at home.

I woke up at 6:50 to nurse the baby and heard G trying to get out of her room already. M was getting ready for work. Once the baby was sufficiently fed and "back to sleep" in the co-sleeper (which I borrowed from my sister and works way better than the bassinet level of the pack n play), I roused myself from my bed and got as dressed as a post-partum mom wants to be in the extremely comfortable but stylish pants that I got from a friend in Buffalo. I then took care of my toliet while approving of M's tie and he left for work. G had been finally convinced to stay in her room a bit longer and I spent a few minutes on the internet while the three kids were safely still in their beds.

I never make coffee before the kids are up and dressed and about to eat breakfast because otherwise I will only get to drink cold coffee. If I ever do, my plans to drink it are always thwarted by children who no longer can wait to be gotten up.

So, G came out of the room again at 7:40ish and I decided to let her get up. I dressed the girls and decided to take on teaching G how to take off her own shirt this morning. While I was trying to convince her to do so the kitchen was too quiet. I discovered L standing at the counter (on one of the wooden kid chairs) with a box of Grapenuts dumped in front of her and eating dry cereal out of a spoon I had left out after dishing the girl's cereal out and letting it soak in water so they can actually chew it. What I managed to forget was photographing the scenario. It was a pretty silly scene. I managed to not get angry and told her to chew and swallow the food and went back to convincing G to take her shirt off.

Once we were all dressed and the hair was combed and styled I served breakfast and my coffee and we were done by 9! WOOO!!!!

I realize this was only possible because the baby decided to sleep three more hours after her 6:50 nursing session.

So, to make the day more interesting we went to a playdate at a friend's house. The kids had fun; I had fun. We had a yummy lunch and brought home with us what will be a delicious dinner. And now the kids are napping/quiet. The baby has been asleep since 11:30 AM and I woke her briefly to feed her about 15 minutes ago. Now she needs a diaper change. M is coming home in an hour and I plan to take a short walk since it is in the 60s today. I thought Minnesota was supposed to be cold by now... (yeah I know the high is 28 on Friday and I am so glad I do not care to do any Black Friday shopping... the things I would want to buy are never discounted anyway... I mean is there a sale on the new English-Latin Denzinger? Apparently there is... hmmm)

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Birth Story (I can't be held responsible for details you did not want to know. This is your warning.)

If you follow this blog at all you may remember my complaint about pre-labor for most of a week starting on Monday, Oct. 30. Well this continued in the same fashion through the birthday on Wednesday, November 7. The only change in the pattern was that on Monday the contractions were slightly stronger and by Tuesday they were of the same intensity that I had the day before L was born. They were 10-30 minutes apart for most of the day and stopped when I went to bed around 11pm. To be honest, I expected to be woken up in labor the next morning. It just seemed like it would happen. Here is the play-by-play:

4:30 AM- I woke up to the strongest contraction yet and thought, "This could be it!" I decided to try to get some sleep after getting up to use the bathroom. I managed to doze and noticed another contraction come about 20 minutes later. This was not quite what happened with L's birth. With her I woke up with them consistently every ten minutes. I dozed and had strange dreams about election results and being in labor while the stronger-than-I-had-been-having-in-nine-days-of-pre-labor contractions were 20-30 minutes apart until M's alarm went off around 6.

6:00 AM- I told M what had been happening. We decided that I should get up and take a shower and see if things intensified or seemed like my typical pre-labor days.

7:00 AM- The contractions had been just as strong and were happening every five minutes at this point. M decided to cancel his classes for the day so that I could have some help with the kids.

7:30 AM- They were still five-ish minutes apart. I could still walk through them and talk through them. I decided to call my parents and tell them to get ready to come to town. They had a nine hour drive ahead of them and I figured the sooner they left the better it would be for the kids.

8:30 AM-Things were still going as they had before with fairly regular strong contractions, but I could still walk and talk. I decided to do some of my weekly house chores that had not yet been done. I got ready to mop the floors. When the mopping was finished and I was still having the contractions we decided to look into getting the kids set up with the friends who were planning on watching them while I was in labor. M got together things for them and started making phone calls. We also started timing the contractions.

9:30 AM-The timing of the contractions was not going well. For some reason timing contractions with precision stresses me out, and stress makes my labors slow down and even putter out. I started getting really anxious that this was not labor and that M had canceled class for no reason and that my parents were going to come and stay for a week and there would be no baby. I just felt a lot of (probably unreasonable) pressure to know I was in labor and stay in labor. Further I was anxious about the kids' childcare since we had not yet been able to line up someone who could watch them all day.

10:00 AM- The kids things were packed, my suitcase was mostly packed. The contractions were more like 10 minutes apart and not very strong anymore. M got a hold of one of our friends who had offered to watch the kids and being a stay-at-home home schooling mom she was able to have them over all day until dinner time. Another family was going to have the girls for dinner and then if I was still in labor the mother would put the girls to bed at our house and wait the arrival of my parents. As soon as things lined up I had a massive contraction. My stress about the kids had been making it harder for me to relax and allow labor to happen.

10:30 AM- M took the girls to our friends house and of course I started to miss them. My parents called to tell me that they were leaving St. Louis. I started feeling anxious again since my contractions were now 10-20 minutes apart and still not as strong as they had been. I had the occasional super strong one, but still nothing super regular.

11:30 AM- M and I took a walk (maybe .5 miles?) and I started having stronger, more regular contractions on the walk. When we got back home and I sat down, they still were not super regular. I started worrying if it was labor at all still. I did some reading and sitting around and trying not to focus on if it was labor.

1:00 PM- We were hungry for lunch and my contractions were picking up again, so M went out and got us some Jimmy John's subs. I had a roast beef sandwhich. It was delicious and took me until 2:00 PM to eat. During that time we ordered L's birthday presents and the Christmas presents for the kids online.

2:00 PM-More active contractions were setting in, and I decided to take a bath and see how things went. The bath was nice, but not nice enough to mask the pain of stronger, regular contractions. They seemed about 5 minutes apart and sometimes only 3 minutes apart.

3:30 PM- With the contractions 3-5 minutes apart and intensifying, I decided to call the "maternity care center" at St. Joseph's hospital and see if they thought I should come in. My reason for getting to the hospital sooner was so that I could have a round of antibiotics to take care of my positive beta-strep results. I also wanted to be settled in the hospital before transition. I had arrived during transition with L and things were rushed, crazy and not exactly relaxing at all. The nurse thought it would be good to come in given that it was my third delivery.

4:00 PM- We were in the car heading for the hospital. I sent out texts to family to let them know, and called the grandparents to give more details. M said that he could tell by my voice when I was having contractions, so things were definitely progressing.

4:10 PM- We parked and went in the main hospital entrance and then were given directions for a pretty long trek to the maternity care center. I guess they want to make it hard for random people to walk in on that part of the hospital (and run off with the babies?). I had to stop a couple of times because of contractions.

4:20 PM- We made it to the maternity care and were brought to a room. I gave them the sample they needed and threw on the hospital gown to make monitoring easier. Then we started talking with our nurse Julie. She was in her first year at maternity care and had a more experienced nurse, Maggie, helping her and giving advice. The nurses were both super friendly and we chatted about my other two births and how things went then and how things were progressing with this labor. She hooked me up to the monitor to check on contractions and the baby's heartrate, and then put the IV line in my arm (yuck!).

4:45 PM- While we were waiting for the monitoring we got on facebook to ask for prayers for the labor. The contractions which had slowed down slightly when we got to the room were picking up again.

5:00 PM- After successful monitoring the nurses decided to check the dilation and station of the baby. They measured me at 4 cm. I do not remember the station. Things were continuing to progress like normal labor. I decided to put my own shirt back on since it seemed like it would be a few hours before I was ready to deliver.

5:15 PM- They got the antibiotics started.

5:45 PM- It was time to monitor the baby again, which we did in the rocking chair in the room. Julie suggested we order dinner before the cafeteria closed in case labor went long.

6:00-7:00 PM- They were having trouble getting clear readings and had me move to the bed to get better access to my abdomen.

Sometime in here they decided the baby's heartrate was dropping too low during contractions and they had me use and oxygen mask. This also happened with G's delivery. My strong long contractions are strong and long I guess.

Dinner came sometime before 7:00 PM and I had a few sips of milk and then lost my appetite.

I was taken off oxygen when they were able to see what was going on with the baby better.

7:00 PM-They checked me again, and I was measuring at 6-7cm with an intact bulging bag of waters. Maggie mentioned that as soon as my water broke I would probably at 10 cm and ready to push. They called Dr. K to come to the hospital. The baby warmer was brought into the room.

I was in the midst of the most intense transition of all three of my totally natural births (besides the antibiotics). Every contraction was long and crazy intense. I had thoughts about never wanting to do this again and mentioned to M that I was not sure if I could manage the pushing after the transition. The pressure of the baby descending plus the bag of waters was always present. I just laid on my side and let those contractions do their thing. Which is all one can do with labor.

7:25 PM- Dr. K arrived in the room and checked on things. Transition was still in high gear. I think I asked her about the Bible study at our parish between contractions. I was supposed to be there that night.

7:35 PM- My water broke. Gush went the bag. SLAM went the head. I informed the room as it happened. I had a couple more contractions before the urge to push was imminent.

7:40ish PM- Pushing contractions were at hand. I was planning on easing into them so as to avoid a tear this time. I turned from my side to inclined on my back and breathed through the first pushing contractions. The seconds between the pushing contractions were blissfully relaxing compared to the intensity of transition.

The baby's head was starting to crown even with the lack of pushing, so I decided to push a little with the next contraction. With that push the head came halfway out. M described this to me. They urged me to continue to push to get the head out the rest of the way and then the shoulders. It felt like one long continuous pushing contraction until the whole body was out.

7:49 PM-Dr. K announced that we had a daughter and she was placed on my stomach. When the cord stopped pulsing it was clamped and then cut. F stayed on my belly and I was propped up a bit to try nursing her. She was not really interested so I just held her while we waiting for the placenta to come out.

The placenta seemed to be taking longer than Dr. K thought it should, so she did a little uterine massaging. We decided to have M hold F so I could focus on pushing out the placenta. It came out all in one piece. This might be TMI, but I had a very small tear which only needed a few stitches. It is a huge difference in recovering than even my small one with L, not to mention the 4th degree with G. Anyway...

They noticed some heavy bleeding. One of the things they do at St. Joseph's in St. Paul is weigh the pads to see the exact amount of blood the mother is losing after delivery. 500 ml is considered to be a hemorrhage. I bled 1.5 L in two hours after delivery. So, they were fairly concerned.  Pitocen and some other pill which caused cramping were administered. The bleeding slowed to normal eventually. My favorite story about the bleeding was when I called my brother to talk to him about his goddaughter and mentioned the bleeding, asking for prayers. He asked me to let him know when the bleeding stops. So, in a couple of weeks he will be getting a random text message. To resolve the bleeding issue, they found my hemoglobin levels to be way above that of an average pregnant woman at 13.8 a few hours after delivery. They were holding strong at 12.5 the next morning. Apparently I bleed a lot after delivery and my body can handle it. Because of the bleeding I was not allowed to get off the bed until 5 hours after delivery. I managed just fine without any faintness.

While I was waiting to get up, Julie was clearing some equipment out of the room. She invited M to touch the placenta. He, being the way he is, was totally willing and they did a thorough examination of the placenta and the chorion and amnion. I think that is the most intimate experience he wants to have with that organ, but if you ask him he will tell you how much fun he had checking it out. Julie decided that he was cool enough to be her friend. Before she went off duty she told us how she had found the birth beautiful. She was a great nurse to have for birthing. :)

1:00 AM- After being allowed to get out of bed the night nurse came in and gave F her first bath, weighed and measured her. At some point we got to go to sleep.

I loved that at this hospital we got to hold our baby for 5 hours after delivery before they even bothered to record a birth weight. She did not leave our room until she was 24 hours old to go for a hearing screening, heart screening, and blood draw. M went with her to do that. While I can't really stand being in a hospital for very long, this was by far the best hospital experience. The nurses were totally cool with our natural birth plan and very supportive of everything being as we wished. Dr. K was also awesome. We were able to check out 25 hours after her birth and get home after the other kids were in bed. I was really glad I was able to say good morning to them at home right after they woke up the next morning.

We feel so blessed by the arrival of our third daughter and once I lose the memories of the-most-intense-transition-ever I could consider having another birth at that hospital.

However, M says that he would be willing to deliver the next baby at home now that he has witnessed three deliveries...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Quicktakes: Newborn Edition

1. Every newborn "honeymoon" has gotten better than the last. Maybe it is because I know what to expect. I suspect it is because my parents and mother-in-law have continued to come and help with household chores and taking care of the other children after every birth, each of them taking a week. I have help until next Tuesday morning, and then M has Thanksgiving break. This means I get to sleep until 9am with the baby (if this is what she does) everyday for 2.5 weeks!

2. I am feeling pretty good for having given birth (completely naturally I must add) nine days ago. I actually feel kind of awake this morning. :)

3. The baby caught the cold her sisters brought home from somewhere. If you never have used nasal saline drops to help clean out a baby's nose, you totally should. They work wonders!

Since all I have been doing is sleeping, nursing, sitting while others do the work, and being with the baby I will leave the rest of the quicktakes to cute details one forgets about newborns:

4.  The newborn smell. It is like no other. You have to smell it to know it.

5. The nursing callous on the upper lip and how it peels off every couple of days.

6. The silly half awake expressions of rolling eyes, sideways grins, random quick breathing, puckering of lips, etc.

7. The snuggling sleeping cuddly times when you know you should go take a nap, shower, use the bathroom, eat something but just can't pry yourself away.

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Quicktakes--11/9

1. I made two delicious recipes this week while awaiting the birth of Baby #3. The first was steak pie, which was yummy and steaky. I am now allowed to cook savory pies for dinner whenever I want. :) I also made French Onion Soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was delicious as usual.

2. The baby came on Wednesday at 7:49pm.

3. It is a GIRL! Now we have three beautiful girls.

4. 2 hours and 49 minutes from 4 cm to birth is pretty intense. (Labor started around 4:40am but was not regular until 1pm)

5. 49 minutes from 6-7 cm to birth is crazy intense.

6. 6 minutes of pushing is less painful than 43 minutes of transition.

7. I will post a more detailed birth story soon for those who want to know. We came home 25 hours after delivery and my bed is way better than that hospital bed. I am feeling better at this point than I did after the other two as long as I have my 600 mg of Ibuprofen. Nursing is going great.

Friday, November 2, 2012

On Mom Friendships and Mom Blogs

I like to read blogs. I started reading a blog by a mom with two young children about a year ago, and recently realized that her blog was about a three yer old and a six year old. I was relating to her because she had a nursing child and a non-nursing child; suddenly her kids were older and her life did not seem so similar to mine. And then she started sharing from other parent blogs on her blog and the secular view of children and parenting started to really bother me. There is something really, truly negative in a lot of the secular/non-Christian parenting blogs that I can't quiet pinpoint and describe. It is also present in the parenting magazines, which I peruse in doctors' waiting rooms. I found that when I read these things, I am more selfish mother, annoyed at my children, and wishing things were different. Which is not what I am called to as a mother or a wife.

On a side note: I know a lot of my feelings about being a mother lately are coming from being very pregnant, living in a new city where I have not had enough time to develop solid friendships (though I have hopes for many great friends since I have met so many wonderful women so far!), and missing the great friends I have in Buffalo.

However, as I have been reading mom blogs of home schooling (or normal schooling) Catholic moms who have more children than I have, I have found a sort of support system, that will not replace the real life one I am developing here in St. Paul, but will encourage me to press on in my call to motherhood and wife hood.

I realize that my days of cultural normalcy are limited, and that I have been enjoying them perhaps a bit too much, when someone asks G if she is going to be going to pre-school and she tells them very openly that she is home schooled. I know once baby number four starts to make an appearance (be it God's will that our family continues to grow) in a couple of years, I may not get as many friendly comments from strangers. Even now, three is not as normal as two. Also, my kids are "really close together." Ha! I am looking forward to the days that G and L are the teenage older sisters with the baby brother or sister on their lap and I take care of the baby for feeding and changing (like a family we met this past weekend at M's cousin's Confirmation party). I am finding I love talking to the moms of 8+ who have been where I am and are fully aware that since I am 26 and having my third child will be where they are in about 10 years or so. To them my life makes sense and they know what it is like, but they are realistic, seasoned mothers who know that it is all for good and really love their children. They inspire me and have great advice to give. And a young mother needs that support from older mothers. A young mother also needs support from other like-minded young mothers.

And it really is love that it all comes down to. Loving God. Loving myself as God sees and knows me. Loving my husband. Loving my children. Loving my other family and friends. May God help me to always love, and to trust Him in all things. Then I know I will be truly happy and have a happy family.

Seven Quick Takes--All Souls Day

1. I am going to Mass alone today (meaning without already born children to take care of)! I looked this up so I remember to pray for the poor souls today:

Indulgence for the Souls in Purgatory (from Enchiridion of Indulgences given by the 1968 Decree of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary):

67. Visit to a Church or Oratory on All Souls Day (Visitatio ecclesiae vel oratorii in Commemoratione omnium fidelium defunctorum)

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory or -- for those entitled to use it -- a semipublic oratory.
The above indulgence can be acquired either on the day designated above or, with the consent of the Ordinary, on the preceding or following Sunday or the feast of All Saints.
The above indulgence is contained in the Apostolic Constitution The Doctrine of Indulgences, Norm 15, with account being taken of proposals made to the Sacred Penitentiary in the meantime.
In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, according to Norm 16 of the same Apostolic Constitution, that "one Our Father and the Creed be recited." [ed. note : see Norm25 of the Enchiridion].

2. This day reminds me of my desire to have Masses said for my relatives who have passed away. I am not sure if anyone in my family has been doing this. We can never know if a soul is in Heaven, unless of course the person is canonized.

3. One thing I need to offer up this week for the Souls in Purgatory is my fifth day straight of regular, for hours on end braxton-hicks/pre-labor contractions. Some of them feel like they could be active labor contractions, but those go away and I am left wondering when I am going to actually be in labor. I have only had one night in which they have not stopped and have kept me awake, making the next day exhausting. I went to the doctor on Wednesday to see if I was progressing at all, and there was not much progress. So, we are waiting for what feels like real labor, which for me is when I want people to just leave me alone and be quiet. The kids are a pretty good gauge of the fact that I have not actually been in labor. My mom reminded me today (I guess she told me this before) that she had every day like these for three weeks leading up to my birthday, and I was two weeks late! I think my mom is holier than I realized. I suppose it is only just that my third child do the same thing. She also had the same experience with my brother, her fourth child. This means that this is no indication of gender.

4. M told me on Wednesday as we were driving to the doctor that he thought it was weird that I could feel so vividly my uterus but had no control over it. I pointed out to him other organs that work on their own, but he insisted that the laboring uterus was truly weird. Then of course we considered how it would be if we were not sinful beings and had not fallen. Perhaps I would then have perfect knowledge of when it was time for the baby to come, kick the uterus into high, painless gear and have an easy, breezy delivery of a healthy baby. This not being the case, I get to sit around and wait eating chocolate, drinking fizzy water, and sneaking sips of M's beer wishing I were drinking beer or wine or something stronger than water.

5. I know that I am going to miss the two hours of quiet time I get every afternoon while L naps and G tries really hard to not come out of her quiet time. I do not think I am going to be able to pull off two hours everyday with three kids.

6. A couple of weeks ago I used my skills at Word and made a monthly/weekly/daily cleaning list with charts for me to fill in the date when I accomplish my tasks. It has been really helpful so far in keeping me on track cleaning-wise. All of the things were on a mental list, but a physical list is so much better. I am almost done with my chores for this week, and I still have all of tomorrow!! I am also hoping that it makes it easy for our post-baby out-of-town helpers to know what I like to have done cleaning wise. I have found I am much more sane after a baby is born if the house cleaning is kept up on.

7. Lastly, behold the cordless hand vacuum:

Yes, it lives on my kitchen counter. I use it many times a day. It makes me happy to vacuum with ease high chairs, rugs, dust piles from sweeping, crumbs left on the table, furniture, car seats, etc. It is my latest toy which I justified buying by cashing in some credit card rewards. (Is is sad that I use my credit cards so that I can get cash rewards to spend guilt-free? I also will point out that I never carry a balance on the cards.) In case you are interested in acquiring your own, this is the one I purchased.

For more quicktakes, visit Jen.
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