Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real in September

Just stopping in for the Like Mother, Like Daughter Thursday link up! I changed up my blog colors for autumn (so high tech of me yes!).


We've been enjoying walks in the campground behind our home.


We are happy to see this gate blocked off. This means the campground is closed until May of next year. We get to roam and I can send the littles down to play in the campsites closest to our house without worrying about cars or strangers. The dog can be off leash...err...see my real why this isn't such a great IDEA.


This is the "I wipe my runny nose on my sleeve and won't let my mom put Vaseline on me" mustache look. Does your toddler sport one of these?

He loves his glasses his big sissie made for him!


Being all preggo and in my last trimester I was enjoying a walk with littlest ones the other day...

And you lab there, Nori...she just gets into things. As we were walking home from our peaceful stroll, Nori went down an embankment. With my large belly, there was just NO WAY I could follow after her without being stranded down there. Picture me, in my state, desperately calling from the edge, "No Nori! Come Nori! Please NO NORI!!" as I watched my dog roll around in a salmon carcass and eat it. Ah yes, the adventures for the Southeast Alaskan dog....bears to bark at in the front yard in the early morning, porcupines to "investigate" and yes....STINKY DISGUSTING DECAYING SALMON to rub all over their bodies. 

My husband was away with my two eldest daughters for his brother's wedding (just too long a trip with the littles and being so far along) but...I did make Nori stay in her kennel until he got home the next day. I felt sorry she had no idea why I wouldn't let her come inside the house, but to say the garage smelled of dead fish is a gross understatement.

So my poor husband, the first item on his "honey do" list was bathe the dog.

REAL love my friends. My husband didn't complain or gripe, he just knows what needs be done and does things. Love you Justin xxoo.

Thanks for dropping in! Peace to you in your home! 

More linky happiness here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Our Blessed Mother

Autumn has arrived in Juneau....

...and so my summer book study of The Little Oratory has now turned into... a book study. Most of you know my husband is underway at times and I have to be more serious homeschooling with third and second graders, so you forgive me for drawing this book study out....

Also, even if you aren't reading The Little Oratory, the themes are beautiful and worth reflecting on.

From Chapter 8: Praying the Rosary:

"Just as a child assumes his mother will make all the necessary background preparations for something important to take place, so we can be very confident in the Blessed Mother's help. A childlike attitude gets us further along to our goal."

How is your relationship with the Blessed Mother? The above quote sums up very nicely where I am at with her. Although the authors are specifically speaking about the goal of starting a devotion to the rosary in the home, I rely greatly on Mary to help me with my home...period. I am confident in her help. I have attempted at various seasons of my life to keep a consistent devotion to Our Lady, but many times my efforts go no further than keeping a tiny finger rosary on my hands as I do housework.

Housework. The work of the home that just needs to be done, the background work...and Mary seems to remain in the background as I meet these everyday needs.

And yet, the Holy Spirit brings her so clearly front and center in my life at other times. This can happen on her feast days, and wow, especially during Advent, and here I am pregnant thinking of her still.

My seven year old took this! I love it :)
My family is in love with our new liturgy of the hours evening prayer routine. My husband does lead us in evening prayer, which I think is huge, so I am hesitant to say, "I want to start the habit of my family praying the rosary in the home."

There is a part of me thinking, "this would be TOO much."

Isn't that funny? Too much prayer?

But I know my family and I think I'm on to something, because being almost regimented about prayer (we ARE a military family) and saying we "must" do this devotion does more damage than good.  This would ultimately be contrary to the spirit of this chapter, the whole book even.  Although this book can be read in the span of a few sittings...I feel like the actualization of a culture of prayer in the home will take months, years!!!! 

My husband and I have spent the past few years figuring out what we want the culture of our home to look like, since we're the ones that have to LIVE in it. I like to read about Catholic family life and I have had the honor of witnessing real family life in the homes of good friends (and I take notes).

From Angela's home.

Hmmm...the culture of a home...what does yours look like?

A few things about mine...

We don't have cable tv (err...except for if the Red Sox are doing extremely well in October...this was the case last year NOT this year. We cave for Thanksgiving football as well).

We like to be outside.

I watch for now.

We eat supper together every evening. We attend Mass on holy days and Sundays and we GUARD that Sunday. We are huge fans of Sunday brunch (any brunch really!). We read lots of books and sing. We like white elephant gift exchanges. We rough house with couch throw pillows to a Switchfoot album. We do campfires.

We "school" at home.

We pray.

That last one is a new one. It IS a little embarrassing to admit. In the past, we seemed to take prayer more seriously during Lent but lighting our prayer candle and saying evening prayer together over the past few months has really stuck.

"Our culture is plagued by explaining. We have lost the ability to allow experience to be the teacher, and we certainly have lost any patience for the kind of learning that comes with practice. We rely on words in a technical way, as blunt instruments for instruction. We don't rely on the meaning inherent in words of rituals, learned over time."

The littles know we wear Santa hats when we decorate our Christmas tree. They know that we light the Advent wreath and sing before supper as we wait for Him. They know that daddy checks the candy after trick or treating and that a "Daddy tax" is due. They know to put a life jacket on before getting into a kayak.

They know when daddy says "Brush your teeth and come pray" there are a few things loaded in those six words: This takes place in our family room. I should grab my book and coloring pencils. I should get a comfy spot. The prayer candle will be lit. I should be calm and quiet.

Justin and I say the prayer without EVER explaining anything. We simply pray and read and have our "sacred silence" together and it happens to involve the children sitting quietly by...listening. Sometimes quiet doesn't happen with one of these:

Note from authors:

"Try not to pay attention to antics or calls for attention. Focus as much as you can on the prayers and saying them reverently. It would be good not to comment on how things went in front of the children. The important thing is that you prayed together."

Prayer has thankfully made its way into the culture of this home. It is VERY simple but it is happening and becoming a ritual...which really evolves over time. 

Bringing this back to praying the rosary...with where my home is at, I think I personally just need to carve out time for MYSELF to spend with Mary. Even better, this can be about ME and then my children, especially my daughters, can just naturally see me drawing closer to her.

I don't need to say,

"Look at me children. Look! I am getting out a rosary as I sip my coffee. Isn't it so nice to think about the life of Jesus by praying this devotion??? The rosary covers everything. Here let me show you what each bead means. Did you know......blah blah blah blah...."

No show. No explaining. Just start my OWN daily ritual.

I just need to let my children do what they do and

because they are with me and we pass time in community with each other, they might notice I pray the rosary. If I can just sneak in a decade before the next "event" unfolds, it is a good start.

I feel blessed to have had the time to contemplate the Blessed Mother as I am turning my thoughts toward the big work of labor and delivery I have ahead of me. Pray for me? God Bless You!


Chapter 7 Thoughts

Please go here for other thoughts on The Little Oratory.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Lesson in Limits & Staying Put

This lesson on limits and staying put isn't necessarily for you. I have to write these life situations down. I'm tucking it away under my Large Family Vision because it seems perfect there. I understand things through talking. Such is the way with extroverts, but if I've already put myself through some of this maybe you can learn from my failures.

We've had the August rains here in Juneau and we were blessed this past week, during the later half, with some beautiful sunny days. This was wonderful because my third daughter turned five and there was just lots of celebrating outside to do....

We ate outside.

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We swam in lakes outside.

Played on outside playgrounds.

Being 30 weeks pregnant, I usually find a spot outside to sit and watch my littles enjoying themselves. My belly is a good resting place...

Except...after three days of outside in a row...going places...and sitting...I find myself...well...exhausted.

I'm reading this laughing, "I get exhausted sitting?"

Well, I do. 

Every time we leave our home, there is just the whole "leaving" dance and that takes energy. Physical energy but also a whole planning/disaster preparedness mindset that takes thought and more energy as one packs. I love the playing and enjoying part and narrate in my head to myself how awesome my outdoor littles are but then there is the whole "pack up and go home" dance. There are wet clothes. I'm thirsties. Counting to __ with some threat if they don't obey. Energy my friends.

It doesn't sound like anything too exciting...but there I am all spent... exhausted.

Not just exhausted. I start getting irritable. The words out of my mouth have a certain...edge to them. I am honestly like a ticking bomb, ready to go off on terribly minor things. I resemble a three year old who desperately needs a nap and some quiet time.

I could blame it on pregnancy hormones, which...I do....BUT these situations of mommy cranky-ness are so often at times I would say there is a certain PREDICTABILITY to it all.

I am old enough, by now, to KNOW MY LIMITS.

Friday night after all of our shenanigans of running around so that we could "enjoy" the outdoors was over, I decided Saturday we were not going ANYWHERE. We have a pretty nice set up right here at our home. I was relieved with how doable this no car day seemed as I awoke that morning to a slight chill in the air with a bit of an overcast sky. Perfect!

Late morning I sat in an oversized preggo turtle neck and fleece leggings with my daily mug of creamer with a tad bit of coffee and watched my two year old son play in the driveway. My son's godmother stopped by to sit awhile and chat. How nice that I was here and that when she called I could say, "Yes, please swing by we are here all day."  Even my eldest daughter announced, as she went back to her room to paint and listen to her books on cd that "We are not going anywhere today." 

The hours passed, and soon I was settling my two year old into his after lunch nap (I always put my legs up a bit then) and well...the sun...the sun came out. 

While I was in my bedroom, my daughters devised a plan in that short amount of time to earn swimming at the lake again. The sun had erased all plans to "not go anywhere." Instead, they had decided to DO SCHOOL ON THEIR OWN so they could go swimming (you read that correctly, school on their own).

I know right??? When I walked into the family room, they had put my five year old through her ABC cards and were asking where their cursive books were. They pleaded with me..."Can we PLEASE go to Twin Lakes?!? We are trying to earn it! We thought you might let us!"

I did the whole "let me think about it" routine.

My seven year old would come to me every five minutes..."have you thought about it?"

I did.

I thought about that paragraph I wrote a few lines up...about how predictable this all was, and that, by the end of this pleasant day, I would be spent...again.

So...much to their dismay...

I said no.


No and some very long faces...I believe a tear or two may have been shed.

No...followed with a ....we can have fun here.

And here it is my friend....  

Let's try to build a family culture of being able to create fun by staying put. 

It is way easier to feed them all by staying put as well.

There are so many adventures awaiting us in our own neighborhoods, in our own backyards...especially if you live here.

I think we can all pat ourselves on the backs if we are able to have a "no car" day and still have fun. News flash! This is what women did for GENERATIONS before we got our kitchen gadgets and mini vans and busy-ness.

My friend Janet said her mother of ten never went anywhere with all her children, besides Mass on Sundays, the children went to school and generally played outside. Aren't the best novels written by people who grew up as children left to their own devices?

I'm convinced we are doing our little ones a favor when we set limits and stick to them. And I don't think this lesson is only applicable during a third trimester in one's fifth pregnancy.

I think we see the energy of our children get drained when we've been to one too many Halloween costume parties. We may have entertained one night too many for our introverted husband to manage. When the housework is uncomfortably far behind, and we are giving our best to others and our loved ones get the leftovers...we have to think of our limits.


Perhaps you all are already really good at knowing your limits. Thanks for sticking with me. I'm told by mothers of teenagers that this work of staying put becomes harder as their children pursue their interests outside of the home. If we mommies of little ones see this on the horizon, maybe by exercising control over these limits now, we'll be more seasoned at saying "no" when those predictable moments (when we've reached our limit) are in front of us in the future.

God Bless You! Thank you for stopping by xxoo