Saturday, April 27, 2013

Seven Quick Takes-Saturday, April 27

I was not really in the mood to blog yesterday, so I am late on the Seven Quick Takes Friday link in, but here I am now.

1. We closed on our house on Monday, meaning that we have a house to live in which is owned by a bank. We will make a monthly payment for years and years and one day will have our own house. Hooray!

2. Today we spent the whole day cleaning at the house. We primarily used our new Shark Vacuum and a Norwex cloth. The house had been unoccupied for 8 months, so there were a lot of cobwebs. The whole (finished) basement is entirely clean: every surface (including walls) wiped and the floor vacuumed. We did about half of the upstairs, but the rooms we have left will be done this week. All of the floors are done.

3. Friday and Saturday are painting days. We are painting two bedrooms, the living room, a bathroom, and the stair hallway. Hopefully we will get it all done on those days. :)

4. M is rereading Lord of the Rings for the billionth time; his goal is to read it seeing Frodo as an English middle-aged gentleman. I am going to start The Fellowship when he gets onto The Two Towers. It is nice to read a book from time to time that is really hard to put down.

5. I am almost finished with Catherine of Sienna by Sigrid Undset. Undset is such a great writer and portrays humanity so clearly; she had a great understanding of the Middle Ages and gives interesting insight into St. Catherine and the divisive times St. Catherine lived in. I am pretty sure that God put St. Catherine into the time he put her to save the papacy, by using her to bring the pope back to from from Avignon and then during the schism, use her to support the true pope. She was an amazing person who loved everybody with her whole strength.

6. Another great biography of a saint is Edmund Campion:A Life by Evelyn Waugh. St. Edmund lived during the suppression of the Catholic Church in England, and became a Jesuit and did secret ministry, and was martyred. What is so great about this biography and Catherine of Sienna is that they were written by really talented authors who knew how to write and loved the Church.

7. I never linked it here on this blog, but I thought some might still find it worthwhile. I wrote this post for the Truth and Charity blog a couple of weeks ago about how procreation is an end of marriage and how those who choose to have no children (in marriage) are not fulfilling its ends.

Head over to Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Empty Womb: Forsaking Fertility in Marriage

I have been trying to write this post for days now, and today I am squeezing the writing into the afternoon as the five month old baby is asleep (for now), the two year old is resisting the urge to get out of bed instead of nap, and the four year old is building with blocks in her quiet time. It has been an eventful day. The baby took a short morning nap, which caused her to be in hysterics for her next nap as I was making the big kids their lunch. I got the chance to nurse her to sleep when the kids were occupied with eating. The two year old is potty training for the third week in a row; it is not going well. My four year old, in anger at being told she lost her naptime story (for lying to me), dumped her milk all over the table. I ask myself, is this the life that I would choose to have: changing diapers, potty training, naptimes, cooking, cleaning all day, everyday, without days off? Why am I planning on having more? There are some married people who have decided to not have any kids, ever. Not just delay kids for ten years and then have a boy and a girl three years apart. These people never want to have kids. 

And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, `Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’’ (Luke 23:27-29)” 

Jesus said these words during His Carrying of the Cross, prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 A.D., but in another interpretation, it applies to those who have forgotten what marriage is for. The marriage debate and the cause for so-called “same-sex marriage” is only making progress because society has rejected children as an end of marriage. 

What I mean by ends is based in Aristotelian philosophy. The human person is directed by nature towards certain ends (fulfilling goals)by nature, and one of these ends is reproduction. Within human societies, marriage is the proper institution for reproduction to take place; to separate reproduction from marriage is immoral and to separate marriage from reproduction is not marriage. To deny this end, to act against this end is an immoral act, acting contrary to the ends of the human person. 

Further a valid Sacramental marriage in the Catholic Church requires the openness to children: “For matrimonial consent to exist, it is necessary that the contracting parties be at least not ignorant of the fact that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman, ordered to the procreation of children (Canon 1096 §1).” Canon law states that if either person in the marriage does not intend the goods of marriage (procreation is a good), then it is not a valid marriage. Society does not agree with this view of marriage, and it began with the acceptance of contraception as normal, divorce, and further abortion. 
There is so much going against a couple who is open to having kids, and they are surrounded by it daily. Take the standard of what a beautiful woman looks like, and it is definitely not that of a woman who has had multiple children. It is just about impossible for a woman to regain her pre-children body, even if she tried, but that is what she is surrounded with whenever she goes to buy clothes, watches television or movies, or is in the check-out line at the grocery store in the magazine rack. A man has to overcome this standard, purge his mind of the women who are not his wife, and see the beauty in his wife who has born the children. 

Still the pictures of the models and movie stars cry out, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!” 

Then there is the pressure for women to succeed in the workplace. If she takes time from her job to have children, she misses the promotions that her male coworkers can take. The movement for women to choose to be at home instead of at work is one positive trend in society, but what about those who feel they can’t afford to, especially those who are used to a more expensive lifestyle? 

When a woman chooses to have children, she sees other women without children who are moving up in the professional world and she hears, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!” 

And then there is the daily toil of taking care of children; either the money spent on childcare or the parents attending to the day to day needs at home. After a long night being woken many times, then a long day full of diaper changes and cleaning up spills, or a busy afternoon driving children from activity to activity, one might envy someone who does not have to do this and think, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!” 

A marriage may seem better if there were no children. The couple has time for each other, can bathe when they wish, take vacations wherever, sleep without being woken up, and focus on loving each other without the distraction of little people. But that is not all that marriage is about; tradition and God dictate otherwise. If we don’t remember what marriage is for, the procreative, as well as the unitive, then marriage will no longer be marriage. And raising children is hard; but it is for the sake of someone outside ourselves. It teaches us to give of ourselves, to love as Christ loved us, and those same children are not for us but for God.

Feeling sad about the way the world is changing...

I keep on asking M if things are really that much worse than they were when we were kids (just a short 10 years ago really), and we look at the state of things and agree, yes they are getting worse.

I read this article the other day "A Boy's Life with Unisex Scouts" by Anthony Esolen, and several things about it struck me. He talked about the world a boy should grow up in, as he learns about man-hood, and he said that we do not live in a "healthy" world anymore where we can trust other adults to teach our kids the right things or where perfectly normal activities are no longer "allowed."

It makes me sad to think about my children growing up in a world where women to go topless in public and disrespect a bishop. I think what these women did was evil, but I know there are many that would commend them. And then there is the anti-bullying program at the school in New York.  The persecution of the Church is happening now, and it is probably only going to get worse. Those of us who stand for the Truth are going to be outcasts and there are those who are going to seek to limit our freedom to share and live the Truth.

Esolen also spoke beautifully on the "time-transcending, child-making thing", which is of course in reference to what man and woman do to become mother and father. The contraceptive mentality is so polluting on our society, and I keep on looking for ways that children are welcome and loved, but it seems that the society does not really care for them at all; they just want to train them to think like liberals. The contraceptive mentality has even polluted the Church, for example when people complain about children misbehaving in Mass. Mass is not for my own private prayer or you private prayer it is for the all Catholics to participate in the Sacrifice of the Cross being made present on the altar in your church. Please welcome me and my children in Mass and at the grocery store and wherever we are. I am doing my best to raise virtuous, holy, disciplined children, but kids are in a state of being formed and not always perfect. And this is why I am sad about the world, because it is becoming a place where it will be harder to form my children in accordance with the Truth.

Thanks for listening, and for the record, while I am saddened, I do have hope. I have hope when I read my children the stories of the young martyrs, and see their faith. I have hope when my five month old gets to spend her first warm Spring afternoon giggling in the sunshine. I have hope when my two year old asks to kiss her statue of Our Lady. I have hope when my four year old listens to the priest's homily. I have hope when my husband leads our family in prayer. I have hope because I know that no mater what happens we will always have the Church.

Going to Mass with Children...

In case you wanted some encouragement read my Six Reasons to Go to Daily Mass as a Family at Truth and Charity today. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oh look, it's snowing again

The meteorologist on MPR promised this is the last time this "Spring." We closed on the house today, so that means I am a grown up now.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our New Pet: Sac Spider

Last week I caught a brown crab spider in our dining room. Today I had M capture what appears to be a sac spider on the ceiling of the kitchen. These guys bite, just ask M! It is a great "home school" opportunity for us!

He is a hunting spider which means he won't make a web, but waits and bites his prey. I am not sure about releasing him anywhere near the house.

Seven Quick Takes Friday, APRIL 19

Some snowy pictures from up here in Siberia Minnesota. The snow varied from 6-12 inches throughout the yard.

1. Snow lands in such a funny way on various things. I loved these snow spikes on the porch slats.

2. Contemplating the 5755395839859385938th snow of the "season". L said that it was Spring now, and when I asked if this is what Spring looks like G informed me, "This is what the start of Spring is like." My girls are true Buffalo gals.

3. A tree.

4. The snow next to the neighbor's house got as high as the second level... wait is that a giant standing in the right side of the frame?

5. Here is L planting snow in the garden. I guess this is how Spring rolls here.

6. Tulips from California, shipped to Trader Joes in St. Paul, standing up in inches of snow. What does it mean?

7. My toddler sized snowman. The snow was not very cooperative for packing, but I did get to build my first snowman this year!

Head over to Grace at Camp Patton for the rest of those linking up this week.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Phenomenological Evidence that I am from the South

Happy April 18th everyone! Today it is snowing in Minnesota. They predict 4-8 inches. Maybe my "Northern-Mid-Western-Michigander" husband has been right all along and I am really from the South. I never thought of St. Louis as in the South but look at this weather they have there:
That looks like Spring to me. 64 and raining is better any day than this:
And Buffalo, NY (which most of the country believes to be East Coast but is actually 8 hours of road West of the coast) where we lived the four previous years is having some nice Summer weather today:

I am pretty sure Minnesota should change its name to Siberia, and then maybe I would be more able to handle this weather. But that is probably not true and what is true is that Missouri is really and truly a Southern state.

So here is my phenomenological evidence: I have been doing some self-sensing and some sensing of the world around me (my environment). Mostly I have been sensing cold. For the past six months I have been sensing cold. And I have been seeing a lot of white outside and sensing cold white things on my nose and eyelashes. That is all fine when we are getting ready for Christmas, and maybe I can tolerate a bit of it during Lent when it is supposed to be a penitential season anyway, but my senses are giving me evidence that I am not from around here and I am actually a Southerner. St. Louis is in the South and not in the North or the Mid-west. And Buffalo is just a bit quirky when it comes to weather.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Seven Quick Takes--What my kids have put in their heads

What would you put in your head?

1. Guzzled Body Oil: When G was one I used to use essential oils mixed with jojoba oil as a skin moisturizer. I stored it in a 1 ounce container with a tip just right for sucking on. One afternoon M caught her in the bathroom chugging this oil mixture. When we called poison control they said she would be fine, but to give her milk and watch for orange poop. The people at poison control are really helpful and friendly.

2. Swallowed Floss: When an adult who shall not be named as visiting us, two year old G was playing with a container of floss. She managed to get a 14" piece off and swallow it. The nurse said she should be fine. On the plus side she had really minty breath.

3. Peas in the nose: L has a fascination with sticking things in her facial orifices. The first time it was peas. She was 18 months old and bored at dinner. We tried to get them out ourselves and when we could not, I took her into her doctors after hours urgent care. He got it right out, and found it fairly amusing. The best part about this one was that it was billed as "surgery."

4. Hair ties in a different nose: G as our oldest child is really good at imitating behavior of others, even her younger sister. One day when she as three, while in time out, she decided to shove one of those little plastic hair-ties up her nose. M had the car at school, and had to come home and bring her to the doctor. By the time we got her there, it had gone all the way back and she had swallowed it.

5. Eating Chapstick: G is very oral; that is the nice way to say it. One day during her "naptime" she got ahold of some flavored lipgloss and ate most of a melon flavored one. Poison control was helpful here as well. I just figured it is so easy to call them, and they can find all the info I need.

6. Coloring inside Ears: L at age two put a colored pencil in her ear and the tip broke off; I did not notice it for days when we noticed blue coming out of her ear after a bath. She has really waxy ears so it was not really bothering her. They got it out with the ear sprayer technique almost immediately. Every since then she likes to pretend to spray water into her and if I am not careful she will try to stick long thin objects down her ears.

7. Foam stickers: L and G were using these cool Easter and spring foam stickers when L complained to me that one was in her nose. So, of course G puts one in her nose, also. I got G to blow her's out almost immediately and decided to try to perform my own "surgery" on L to avoid a doctors visit. M arrived home from work as I was laying her under a light. He thought maybe she could blow it out like G did. Instead of prying around in her nose, I held one nostril shut and had her blow (while sobbing) for five minutes and it finally came out! I feel like I have achieved another level of parenting when I don't need the doctor to get foreign objects out of my kids noses...

I suppose I am lucky that there are only seven incidents to report here, but we have only been parents for four years, so I expect many more.

Quick Takes are hosted by Grace at Camp Patton this week. Please say a prayer for Jen and her new baby boy in the NICU.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Metaphysics of Waffle Makers

I made waffles the other night for dinner in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation. M is wonderful and does the dishes every night. When he got to the waffle maker we had the following conversation:

M: How should I wash the waffle maker?
S: Just wipe it down with a paper towel.
M: Should I immerse it in hot, soapy water?
S: Well, that would break it. Would it even be a waffle maker then?
M: If it did not function as a waffle maker would it still be one?
S: I don't think it would be. Maybe we could put it in a 20 lb bag of rice for a week and then it would work again.
M: What if I completely rewired it, would it still be the same waffle maker or a new one?
S: It would be the same one, I think.
M: Do waffle makers persist through part replacement?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Opening the Daffodils

At Trader Joe's yesterday they were selling bunches of daffodil stems that were not in water (for only $1.69!). I thought, "Hey, for 1.69, it is worth it to see if it works!" I brought them home and explained to the girls about how the water was supposed to make the flowers open.

Here is how it went:

After 3 hours in water only one was starting to open.

 Here they are after about 10 hours in water.

And they next day after 24 hours in water! Totally open!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: April 5

1. M is in San Diego, CA right now. He keeps on texting me pictures of palm trees, sunsets on the ocean, and panda bears. So I texted him a picture of an ugly bike rack in St. Paul. I won't complain about our weather here because the high has been above freezing for about a week now, and many days above 40°F! He is in CA giving a paper at a conference, which he has to do to get tenure someday, and sightseeing with a college friend who lives there. I think he is having fun.

2. We are having fun here as well. While M went to the San Diego Zoo yesterday, we went to the Como Park zoo today. When I told G we were going to the zoo, she asked, "Are we going to meet Daddy there?" It would be kind of cool if each zoo had a secret connector to another or something... Also, at the zoo there were a couple of families with at least 6 kids and I wanted to stop and ask them if they were Catholic and home schoolers, but I did not of course.

3. My wonderful mother-in-law is in town to help me manage the wild take care of the children. They are extra active and willful with their father gone. Tomorrow I have to put them all to bed alone since my help is leaving at noon and M does not get in until 9pm. I am contemplating declaring it movie night (their first one!) for the big girls until I have the baby asleep because I will have no other way of preventing them from knocking down my bedroom door repeatedly (as they exit their own room and beds) as I am putting the baby to bed.

4. I started running again this week for the first time since I was about 15 weeks pregnant with F. The weather is finally warm and I decided that I had no more excuses for putting off running. I had forgotten how much I enjoy running and how it adds in a positive way to my mood.

5. Four months is the magic age for good sleepers to become bad sleepers. I am now wishing that babies were born with all of their teeth (though I am thankful they are not during the first week of nursing). Anyway, lets just say that the only positive thing for me in F needing me next to her to stay asleep at night is that I have been going to bed at 10pm (after her first wake up) instead of 11pm.

6. I hope this is not too complainy of a post. I am feeling pretty tired and cranky today. I have not yet read the thing everyone is sharing about the Pope talking about not complaining...

7. I have been eating a lot of Easter candy this week. Let's just say it is a good thing that running increases my appetite. I am sure the sugar intake is not helping with my stress of being husbandless for the time being, but it is a temporary relief I suppose. When M was away interviewing last winter I spent a lot of evenings with a daiquiri, so maybe candy is a better stress reliever than rum?

Head over to Jen's blog for more quick takes!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Easter Morning Sprint

It had been a two hour Mass. A beautiful two hour Mass with a full orchestra playing a Mass by Haydn and the propers chanted by an all male choir. We took two trips down to the restroom. Once during the epistle and again during the Creed. I knew a third time for a potty training kid was probably an excuse to get out of Mass and go somewhere were she was allowed to run. I paced around in back with her for the second half of Mass, took her outside the couple of times she decided to express her displeasure at not being allowed to get down with shrieking. She almost made it away from me up the aisle twice when we "knelt" during the Eucharistic prayer. When we went up for communion she insisted on being set down and skipped while holding my hand. I had to hold her in back again afterwards, but brought her to the pew for the Last Gospel as the people coming in for the next Mass were filling the back of the church. We were only four rows from the back. I set her down in the pew and then made the mistake of moving G to the inside of the pew and leaving the free-spirited child on the aisle. We almost made it through all of Mass, the priest and servers were almost processed out of the church when she saw her window of opportunity.

The empty aisle beckoned to her. It said, "Run, run, run away!" She heard the call, slipped into the aisle and ran. I noticed that she had gotten away too late. She was about six pews in front of me, and her sprinting pace is only slightly slower than my quick (but of course reverent because we are in church pace and all the pews are full because it is Easter and everyone is seeing my child run up the aisle and I have to chase her down because there is nothing else to be done) walk. She glanced back towards her parents about half way up the church and saw me following; then I saw the smile on her face meaning "It is a game!". What was I to do? I picked up my pace, but she sprinted on ahead, her doily veil flopping up and down and her heals kicking out behind her in her pigeon-toed run. A nun in the pews saw her and smiled; what is more joyful than a two year old savoring her freedom? She approached the front of the church. I wondered what I would do if she decided to climb past the altar rail up into the sanctuary, but am so thankful that I did not have to find out. She veered to the right. Maybe those Baptismal graces kicked in at that point. I caught up with her as she started her way down the side aisle. It was over, we were going back to our pew, and I was trying not to laugh. This child will put us through it all, I think...

Happy Easter!
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