Friday, January 29, 2010

Just for Today.

I want to get rid of our television and be entertained only by family togetherness. I want to play piano better, play guitar and write my own music. I want a lap harp and to be a classical music proficient.

I want to bake bread every morning. No, scratch that. I want to buy grain berries and grind them by hand and THEN bake bread every morning. I want to churn butter with organic honey and eat breakfast in front of a wood stove. I want to pray the Angulus before everyone scatters for the day.

I want to raise free-range chickens and eat their eggs every morning. I want to slaughter them and roast one every Sunday. I want to buy grass-fed beef from a local farmer and make my own beef stocks and soups.

I want to have a vegetable garden with potatoes and tomatoes. I want strawberries and raspberries. I want an apple tree. In the fall I want to can and blanch and freeze and store. I want, I want, I want.

I want to shear alpacas and clean and card their wool. I want a spinning wheel to make yarn. Then, I want to knit hats and mittens and sweaters for cold winter months. I want to learn to sew and mend, to MAKE things and stop BUYING things.

I want my children to hand me Robert Louis Stevenson books to read instead of Spider Man versus Venom. I want to take walks down the river and spend days out of doors; my children appreciating the beauty of nature. I want to run a marathon, swim laps and know self-defense.

I want a dishwasher. Not a 'dishwasher' but an actual dishwasher; someone just sitting in my kitchen waiting for the next oatmeal-crusted bowl. I want a nursemaid and a launderer...and a cook...who can make stone ground berry-wheat bread ;) . I want a vacuum that doesn't make that awful noise when it sucks up Legos and a toilet that can handle even the biggest wad of wet wipes.

I want to smile all the time. I want to sweat the small stuff. I want to love that my floor looks like a zoo blew up on it. I want to accept and embrace and enjoy every single stinkin' moment in my day. I want to not feel tired even though I am.

I want to know, with unwavering confidence, that what I am doing right now is the most important thing that I could be doing, instead of thinking about all the other things that I want to do.

I want so much.
But for today I have to be okay with Barney and Bagel Bites, Spiderman and snow. If the bathroom is clean it means the beds won't get made. If the toys are put away it means the kids will jump on the couch. It all can't get done.

Just for today, we're happy this way.

I'll get the alpacas later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Toys!

It's winter, and we're playing inside A LOT. Reading books and watching Dinosaur Train really isn't blog material, so with subzero temps this week, the blogging isn't going so well.

Just because I think it's cute, here's Luke's playtime. He stands on his train table to play with his pirate ship on the window sill. It must stay on the window sill after one too many incidents of finding buried treasure (no pun intended) in the little one's dirty diapers. I get a kick out of this picture with the incorporation of a Spinosaurus, Lightening McQueen, and cowboys and indians, all in a battle against Billy Bones and the rest of the pirates.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Pure love!

Natural History

Our life, in pictures, is pretty simple. There are A LOT of dinosaurs. Luke, our resident paleontologist, just sang this morning about how he was the "greatest carnivore in the Cretaceous forest." (A T-Rex)

The weather the last few days has been dreadful. It rained, then it froze and turned the roads into an ice rink. Today is a downpour of snow. Inside, imaginations in full swing, it's back to the dinosaurs, our tried and true preschool pastime.

This is our T-Rex family. From Luke: "T-Rex's are meat eaters. It hunts other dinosaurs. It eats carrion. A T-Rex has two fingers and three-toe feet."

Here are our dinosaur books for the week. We have a good collection of our own, but without fail Luke will find the non-fiction section of the library and sneak a stack of cumbersome fact books about some obscure dinosaur.

Needless to say, while I am fully supportive of his thirst for fossils, I'm ready for another passion. Planets? Gorillas? Lizards? Monster Trucks? Anything?

Here's to precocious minds...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Television, Entertainment, and Duds

Mark and I don't watch a lot of television. Our DVR records The Office, which we usually will watch once the kids are asleep on Thursdays, and we are suckers for American Idol auditions (we won't watch it again until the final six or so.)

Other than Dinosaur Train in the morning on PBS, that's were we stand on television. We're just too busy and don't like to watch when the kids are awake. Having said that, sometimes I feel like we're missing out on a lot of great television! We are told over and over again all the shows that we would love, but it's just not the right time.

Here's a list of shows that we have NEVER watched:
Desperate Housewives
Gray's Anatomy
Mad Men
CSI and all the other crime shows that I can't keep track of
Modern Family

...and basically every other show that isn't The Office. Now, since the football season is coming to a close, we might activate our Netflix account again and add some TV series for something to do on a Saturday night.

What would you recommend?

Sleepless in Minnesota

I have reduced happiness for a mother down to three things:

1. The attitude you decide to have
2. How much you care about the appearance or dissarray of your home
3. How much sleep you get

When I say "reduced," I'm just saying that on a day to day, boring old lonely basis, that these three factors affect how you see the world and relate to your children. They make a good day good, or a bad day bad.

This isn't the first time sleep has been an issue in our home. For Luke's first year I didn't sleep. I felt like the living dead. I was so sleep-deprived that I couldn't finish sentences, I would lose my words, and when I tried to rest I couldn't fall asleep. Finally, after thirteen months of trying nearly every strategy, we made Luke cry it out (CIO).

The CIO method is awful, painful, torturous and heartbreaking. With an infant like Luke it was nearly unbearable. A strong-willed little sucker, I kid you not, he would cry for hours at a time, never letting up. After three nights of absolutely no sleep for the entire family and hour after hour of night time crying, Luke finally slept through the night! He was a champion sleeper and napper from that time forward, giving me a three hour nap nearly every day STILL, at over three and half years old!

We just finished our fourth night of making Paul CIO. At nine months, I realize now that we should have done this months ago, but I just wasn't ready to put ourselves through the horror of a relentlessly screaming baby. I have to say though that it wasn't that bad. Paul fatigued after only two hours the first night, an hour and a half the next, and the past two nights his crying has been between 5-10 minutes. I cannot describe the excitement our household (me!!) is experiencing because of the rest we are getting!

It's very easy to judge a mother who lets her baby cry, and before Luke developed all his sleeping problems, I was one of those mothers! After all, they want us, and we know that we can make them stop crying! But there comes a point when the baby can't rule the roost anymore and when as a mother you need to take care of yourself for your own sanity and for the sake of the rest of family who deserves you, too...not just the baby.

I would say that the past two days have been happier than many days in a long time, and we are happy to report that for the first time in nine months, the days have had a definite beginning and end, instead of the constant night waking we were accustomed to.

I feel like I can conquer the world ;) .

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I can't keep my eyes off the television. Despite my better judgment I've allowed my three year old to watch the rubble and listen to reporting. He doesn't understand the devastation and asks things like, "Did the people die like the dinosaurs?"

I feel so helpless. I feel like if I could do something, I would do it. If I could go down there and help, I would do it. If I could bring one of those tiny orphans home and love him like he deserves...I would do it.

But, I have two young children and no medical training. I am of no use to anyone in a third world country. I'm ten years too young to adopt an orphan.

Our parish is taking up a second collection for Catholic Charities, specifically for Haitian outreach. We can do this. It's about all I do.

If you can do something, please do it, even if it's small.

For information on Project Haiti, listen here to an interview from today

Project Haiti, Inc.
c/o Patty Nelson
123 Minnesota Avenue
Aitkin, MN 56431

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Living the Gospel

We were eating lunch after Mass on Sunday afternoon when we heard a knock at the door. Mark answered, and it was a door-to-door Jehovah's Witness offering us literature on the Watchtower. Mark didn't say much, but took the brochure and told her he would be interested in reading it. After she left for the next house, Mark and I looked through the "Six Myths of Christianity," with pictures of icons, kneeling faithful, and the Rosary throughout. While some of the "myths" were directed at Christianity in general, the entire brochure was vehementantly anti-Catholic.

We sat at the table dumbfounded. Here we were sitting, having just made the Sign of the Cross to bless our food, having just returned from Sunday Mass, and with icons of the Blessed Mother and crucifixes all around our home, with a brochure telling us that Mary was not the Mother of God, that people do not suffer in Hell, that our souls live forever on earth and not in Heaven, and that icons and images of God are graven and wrong. We couldn't let this go. Our kids were eating at the table and I needed to get them ready for nap, and there were eight loads of laundry waiting to be folded on our couches. I probably should have invited her in, it wasn't the environment where any kind of theological debate could take place. So, I sent Mark outside to wave down the Witness.

I can't write down the discussion verbatim, and really, no one ever wins these debates, you only hope that seeds are planted. But, what really struck me was the way I felt about the whole thing. Reading through the brochure, while it was pure nonsense, I was deeply offended. So many things about the Catholic faith that I hold so dear were being defamed.

It's all wrong? The Gospel, the Cross and Redemption? What about the martyrs, the Saints, the miracles, the apparitions? This 'religion' calls itself Christian, followers of Christ, and yet, they discount it all as myth.

"We can't let this go," we both said. And I'm glad that we didn't. While more flabbergasted than prepared, I'm glad that the effort was made to at least make the distinction that evangelizing starts with living the Gospel, not by telling people that everything they live for is a myth.

Next time, we'll invite them in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

And so it goes...

I'm going to direct to another blog for a different post today.

This post made me laugh, probably because it seems that I'm always talking, talking, talking and blogging, blogging, blogging about all of these things, while, like this mother, coming up a little short.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


My little guy just turned nine months old. He laughs, babbles, waves and walks around furniture. In so many ways he is pure delight. He has a goofy grin and lives to play with his big brother. He has two teeth on the bottom and I can the see the whites of his two top teeth--they're going to pop out any hour now!

We've struggled as a team though. Our breastfeeding team is failing. After nursing my first baby for well over a year, I expected the second to follow suit, and I looked forward to nursing him even longer. As it stands with Paul, at seven months I counted down the days until eight months. At eight months I counted the days until nine months, and now at nine months I really question whether I can make it another week, day, hour, or feeding, let alone to the one year mark.

I won't get into details as to why nursing has been such a struggle, it wasn't so bad the first few months, it's been a process. It started fine, became uncomfortable, then painful, then excruciating. I'm just waiting for it to be unbearable, and we we're close to that point.

Let me make a big distinction, because I don't want to make non-nursing mothers feel bad, as I know mothers who couldn't nurse despite every intention. I can nurse, which is a blessing and something I've very thankful for, therefore, for me to stop nursing prematurely weighs very heavily on me.

The times have shifted, from what I understand. The pressure to nurse to the one year mark wasn't always the case. Now, I'll argue, it's a bigger stigma to bottle feed your baby than to nurse in plain sight, and I've heard many stories of mothers brought to tears defending bottlefeeding as the only way their child could be nourished. I'm a breastfeeding advocate, but this is unfortunate.

So, here I am at a crossroads, trying to put my own pride into perspective, my baby's health, my own health and happiness, and ultimately the expectations I have for the quality of motherhood I'm giving to my second child and owing him what is due. However long we make it as a team, whether it be today or three months or longer, I realize I will be making a sacrifice either way, and either way it is going to hurt.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Reads for Cold Nights

I just joined a reading program at our library, appropriately called "Hot Reads for Cold Nights," that encourages the community to read during cold Minnesota months when you're bound indoors.

I like to read, and I feel like I read quite a bit for my state in life, which basically leaves me with no free time to speak of. Still, reading is a value of mine, and something I want to model for the children. I want them to read, so they should see me read.

The biggest problem that I have with reading is finding out what exactly to read. I'm picky. I don't like romance novels, anything too fluffy or sentimental, nor anything that aims to shock or sensationalize. This leave Jodi Piccoult and Nicholas Sparks out the door. Won't read them. I've tried, and it's torture (for me, no offense).

I need something with a bit more meat, if you will, something with substance that can be nourishing to the mind in it's wealth of knowledge and content. There's a forum online that I frequent (to peruse, not to contribute). It's a classical homeschooling website without any religious affiliation or agenda. While most the threads are homeschooling related, some are parents who are teaching their children a classical curriculum and want to be self-learners along with them. They strive to read a book a week and give recommendations and suggestions based on each person's interest.

It's my cup of tea ;) . The Well-Trained Mind is everything that I love about education. The forums are even better. With pen and paper in hand, I eagerly write down book suggestions and take it the library, hoping that our local library has at least a handful of the titles on my long list.

This week I'm reading "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," by Lisa See. A fictionalized account of foot-binding and women's oppression in Imperial China, it was recommended multiple times on the Well-Trained Mind forum.

So far, so good.

It's too cold.

It's cold here..waaaaaay cold. Leaving the house, while possible, requires so much preparation that we're staying in today. After a few days of starting the car twenty minutes early, bundling the kids, packing the car with emergency boots, snow pants and hats, I'm giving it and a rest and staying at home.

It's weird.

I can't remember the last time we stayed 'put' for an entire day. It's only 11:15am and I'm already running out of ideas! We have watched television, colored, made muffins, did preschool worksheets, and played dinosaurs.

On my end, I am nearly finished with undecorating (and you KNOW I had to be bored to get that done). I am stripping and bleaching the cloth diapers and deep cleaning our coffee maker with cycles of vinegar.

I'd say we're bored. That, and detoxing from the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Is it that we've forgotten how to 'live' in our house, or are we appropriately experiencing the inevitable Cabin Fever when the thermometer dips to -20 below?

No joke, I'm taking out the glue sticks and play dough if this keeps up. If anything, it will give me a good story to blog about ;) .

Sunday, January 3, 2010


It's no secret that I lean to the conservative side when it comes to morals, values, and things of a general prudish nature. But, whatever way you swing, I think that we can all join in agreement that Britney Spears is a poor excuse for a woman.

Harsh words, yes, so let me state my case. While I have a difficult time mustering up any sympathy for her personal problems, it's her influence in spite of her escapades that I find the most infuriating.

Here are some delightful lyrics from a few of Britney's recent songs,

"All eyes on me in the center of a ring just like a circus."

"All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to F**K me."

"Living in sin is the new, two, three, not only you and me...what we do is innocent, nothing meant."

She's pretty gross, there's no question. But, young girls (and grown girls...) with a confused identity and convoluted impression of what a woman should be, dress like Britney, talk like Britney, do their hair like Britney, dance like Britney, and wear thongs over their pants like Britney.


The biggest pop star in the world is no more an adult than a thirteen-year old. She is court-ordered to live under her father's supervision and rules. This same Britney actually lost custody of her two children. We've watched her shave her head, parade her children amongst paparazzi and make a total fool of herself.

Do you see the problem with an unfit mother (and adult for that matter) waving their marketed garbage in your face? To think that the media actually questions the reason for the state of today's children is funny to me. One look to the media-darlings and idolized talent and it's fairly evident. They should have been shunned long ago, but we keep coming back for more.

I can't fix the problem, but I can run from it, and that' what I intend to do. Then maybe my own children, when they are exposed, can recognize it for what it is and continue to look elsewhere for their role-models.

Friday, January 1, 2010

And All The Rest.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Mary Day!!!

Happy, Happy, Happy.

I'm on Christmas break, be back on Monday.