Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I've been meaning to write something about how I love 5 year olds. How I love their wonderful, enthusiastic, childlike innocence and joy! And since Gemma just turned 6 I thought I should do something about it soon!
5 year olds are really a wonderful age. After life with three kids age 3 and under I've felt like I've been buried in toddlerhood for many moons. And it seems as though at 5 there is a glorious glimmer of light at the end of the forever long toddler tunnel!
The terrible twos aren't so much terrible as they are a lot of work - just watching them constantly, keeping them from danger, beginning to instill the basic concept of "No don't touch a hot tea kettle", all while seeming to always try to keep them from things they want to do yet have no capacity for yet!
Three I find much more difficult than two. Something happens at age three which brings out so much strong will within a kid. There becomes a new level of stubbornness that they feel they must exercise over any and all requests or new situations. There have been so many times when my kids have been three, especially the boys, where they've made me so mad by their sheer willful disobedience coupled with excruciating tantrums that I thought I didn't really want to live with my kids anymore. I guess three is just a tough time for littles...but it feels never-ending sometimes for the mom.
By four they begin to understand new things at a deeper level of recognition which is refreshing, they've got more individual likes and dislikes which bring about such new insights into their own unique personalities but they can still flip their lids in seconds and revert to full blown tantrums. But then flip the switch again and throw you into a loop with speedy learning and hilarious ways of expressing themselves. But it all feels very up and down at four.
But 5, oh 5 seems so glorious in comparison! They've suddenly developed the skills to do basic things themselves, and even take an interest and dare I say pride in doing things for themselves. The likes and dislikes develop even more into strange, funny, and likable traits. But what I love most about 5 is how the simple innocence of children is in command of their demenors. They approach new things with smiles and leaps of joy. They live completely in the moment, enjoying fully the tiny things that make life wonderous. The feeling of grass on barefeet, sunshine on a chilly morning, singing songs for the heck of it. Its a contagious joy that they bring everywhere. They're cheerful most of the time and like being friendly. Its such a beautiful golden age of young childhood. Just enjoying things for what they are. Not needing to know more than but simply whats just in front of them.
Their imaginations begin to soar. I love watching the pretend games or assigning characters to siblings with or without their will. Intricate little worlds or simply taking care of their "baby" while using words like "nursing" "swaddling" and "quiet time".
Gemma at five was fun, frivolous, feisty, affectionate, inquisitive and always enthusiastic. Her tantrums and difficulty in expressing herself seemed to vanish completely. The odd tantrum was seen of course but it was rarity even during times of crazy family upheaval and new sibling addition! She began to take more interest in getting along and organizing her little brothers and helping out mommy and daddy. All pluses in my book!
So even though I've so far just had one experience in the new era of a five year old, I'm still fairly amazed at how much fun it can be. Sometimes it feels as if toddlers can be only the opposite of fun...so I think for the sake of my mental health and making it through the long haul of 4 more kids yet to make it to the ripe old age of 5 that I should at least remind myself of a more pleasurable age in childhood development! Its also nice to appreciate the good at any age, because that's what we'll remember when they're grown up - I hope - and that's what keeps us going.
(I'm expanding on the idea of childhood stages according to age from this great book series. Although not the perfect parenting book, I think they're a must read and they've really helped me get a more reasonable grasp on childhood development and dealing with the different stages of toddlerhood.)
Friday, June 14, 2013
My sole blogging contribution in a week. Surely I can muster the super 7?
I haven't blogged all week only because I feel like I have nothing to say. I feel stuck in blog inertia. I figure even though blogging seems a fairly self-centered pursuit most days that I should at least have something, anything, to say in order to actually post. Or maybe I'm just lazy? Either way I feel as if anything I could contribute is being said and being said better by much more interesting people than I these days.
C'est le vie.
I have spent the week cleaning up a lot of mud though! Its rained most every day and Max continues to be a mud magnet. Which I can't really begrudge him. He's adorable even when he's muddy. Plus the whole purpose of childhood is to enjoy mud. I have to admit that seeing muddy children kinda gives me a mom boost even though its completely unrelated to my mothering skills, but a sweet kid having fun and enjoying mud for its sheer mud-ness is remarkable. I must be doing something right!
Another thing I never add up to accomplishment is cooking. I never think of it as important thing I do everyday for some reason. And yet every meal during the week I usually cook, fairly healthily and mostly from scratch. Using my patented "pantry/freezer/30 minute meals/anti-menu planning" plan that I like to call "How to survive when you live 30 minutes and 20 miles from the closet grocery store that doesn't even sell fresh parsley". Its sorta like an episode of Chopped except the strange ingredients are whatever is in my freezer and pantry combined with using up the fresh veggies in the fridge. So far we've survived. I really haven't cooked "fancy" or according to actual cookbooks for the last two years or thereabouts which is how I usually like to cook. Everything fairly simple, fast, but tasty. And enough for all of us and my husband's lunch because he works where he can't even get anywhere that sells food and he won't eat sandwiches.
Did I mention I slept a full 7 hours uninterrupted last night for the first time in at least 3 months!! I couldn't believe it when I saw the clock say 5 am! Nora's been my sleeping champion and I'm not afraid to say that even in front of her siblings because there were some really awful sleepers who didn't sleep at all when it was dark out until they were 4 months old! And it seems nights where Nora sleep a 4 or 5 hours solid Max will wake up between times so someone's always awaking. But uninterrupted people!!! Uninterrupted. That is priceless.
I feel like this is bragging. But don't worry I'm sure I just jinxed myself!
I have to admit that I had a flash of my parental failure yesterday. I had let the kids play outside in front of the house for maybe 20 minutes while I cleared up the house a little without constant pestering for food and water and ya know...bathroom stuff. I could see them outside playing around with bikes and balls but I had to run out and grab Max from picking up mud and rubbing it in his hair and Gemma and Dom started talking about bird eggs. When I asked what they were doing they said they had found bird eggs and they broke them. I sorta freaked out and made them show me where they had broken two little robin's eggs on the gravel. Out on the gravel were the shattered blue eggshells and what was obviously little birds in some stage of embryonic growth. It was fairly gruesome. But what really got my dander up was how not one of my children seemed to understand they had killed little birds. I have to admit I felt like a person who was raising conscience-less sociopaths for a couple minutes. I made everyone (well, just Gemma and Dom because I figured they at least knew they destroyed something) sit on the time-out step for awhile. Then I went back out a few minutes later and tried to explain that they killed little birds who were growing in those eggs, that God had made those little birds and that He doesn't want us to hurt things He made to live. I had no idea if it was sinking in at the time I was lecturing. But Gemma did seem pretty cut up about it later this afternoon, now I'm hoping I didn't traumatize her by telling her she killed something. Modern parenting dilemma! Definitely not fit to photograph!
I have the paltry-est of plans for my dear husband, the greatest of daddys to my babies, for Sunday. I'm sure I'll muster a meal or something, but he'll probably refuse some daddy alone time because he's so great, and I ordered his gift only a couple days ago so that won't be here in time either! I'm so thankful I married someone who makes an even greater dad than I thought he would be. I can say gratefully that he works as hard or harder (who am I kidding) than I do taking care of our kids. And our kids are really a full time job for not just one person but two and so I'd really be up the creek if he wasn't so awesome.
Its also my wonderful dad's birthday today-so I wish him a happy weekend!
And for having nothing to say this turned out extremely wordy.
Have a lovely weekend!
Monday, June 10, 2013
I'm back-cause I'm wearing a skirt!
Ok everyone, let's all collectively try to believe that the "midi" skirt length works on me.
And I even went all out with a pleated midi skirt. I'm not quite sure if I can pull off this trend because it makes me feel even shorter than I am but I guess thats what heels, or in my case very stable wedges, are for. I feel like this outfit still needed "something", maybe a better necklace or lack of belt. But I'm just starting on this midi train, it might take some practice. Of course I'm also implementing my tried and true fashion version of "put a bird on it" with "put chambray on it". I really like chambray because they go with everything. And I clearly love me a colourful skirt so they're perfect.
I got this skirt from a giveaway I won from Hallie so its officially awesome.
The chillin's were fairly good in Mass.
Nora-great, even lasted the whole of Mass with a mini explosion in her pants yet didn't get it on mom's wwis outfit, so double points!
Max-a solid F for failing, flailing, and wailing. And throwing daddy's wallet a good two pews away.
Luke-actually not a bad Mass for him, almost fell asleep on the floor during the after Mass reading of a letter from the Bishop
Dom-not excellent, made a piano out of hymnals on the kneeler
Gemma-coerced into said piano playing, but stood up and said the Creed and Our Father so I let it slide.
So there we have it. A riveting wrap-up, go visit FLAP ladies for better fashion efforts, and Grace for better kids!
Posted by Christy from fountains of home at 9:04 AM
Friday, June 7, 2013
Joining Jen and the better takers...because I'm an addict.
Do I really have anything to say??
Lets rooolll the dice!
Do I really have anything to say??
Lets rooolll the dice!
I'm sure purgatory involves a lot of trying to get toddlers to play nicely with each other.
Unfortunately by Wednesday I was throwing in the towel, or more literally locking myself in my bedroom after someone who shall remain nameless chucked his bowl of supper that I had no desire to cook yet did anyways and it was really great and healthy on the floor. Thursday I just decided to fake it till I make it in regards to loving my offspring. Desperate times and all that.
Not that things have been awful or said offspring that terrible. But the capacity for one child not napping to completely ruin your day is staggering. If the baby decides to not nap at all in the afternoon then my window of freedom dies. That happened about 3 times this week so my patience was at all time lows. This kinda snowballs into everyone being so. much. work. Or so it seems. Which further snowballs into me having no desire or energy to get out of the house. So I didn't get out this week. Which probably doesn't help my mental outlook. However, keep in mind that I'm a good 25 minute drive to the nearest town which holds zero attractions for me or the littles other than the library. And getting five kids in carseats, or rearranging everything around Nora's eating and sleeping schedule feels like way more work than its worth and thus no leaving for me!
Max is the fastest child I've ever seen in the finding mud/getting completely filthy department. I'd leave him outside for five minutes and the only recourse to him reentering the house would be to throw him in the bathtub clothed and then strip him in the tub to minimize the mud damage in the house. This always happened just as I was making supper too. It was almost funny.
I just finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler and thought it was pretty good. I think if you're a fan of either F. Scott Fitzgerald or that ilk of disillusioned writers from the roaring '20s then I think you'd enjoy it. It definitely paints a picture of a very sad marriage and the tragic lives of both Zelda and Scott. I'm not sure if its simply because he was an artist, or because of the seeming emptiness of the era post-WWI, but they both struggled to find meaning in their lives and marriage but just couldn't. Ambition, fame, and a life of luxury again don't replace genuine love between a husband and wife. The end of her life was so tragic, and I shudder to think what it must have felt to be crushed under such a powerful personality of a husband. I found it well written, but also as if the author didn't quite get to the emotional and spiritual emptiness that Zelda must have experienced. But maybe a secular eye doesn't it see it that way?
Soooo a not so good week equals....online shopping!
Did everyone else know that Sole Society is now shipping to Canada...FOR FREE??!! I almost feel obligated to shop with them for offering such great shipping to Canada! Its such a rare thing. But I am definitely pondering buying these two:
I also officially entered adulthood and bought furniture last week. Its the second time I've ever bought a piece of new furniture and this was a couch and a chair! It felt like a massive and important undertaking. I don't get out much, remember? But now my perfect furniture is being made and we won't get it for another ten weeks! I'm dying of impatience, I hope I still like them by the time they come in!
Of course I'm praying for Dwija along with you all! Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I'm imploring His mercy for Dwija, baby and familia!
I know I definitely don't realize the importance of motherhood until circumstances like this occur to others. Motherhood is really a huge undertaking. Its signing up for sacrifice, heroics, and pain. And in turn this is what marriage means in the Catholic sense. When we open our hearts and lives to the possibility of life it means opening ourselves up to the possibility of heart-rending circumstances that you only get through with grace and faith. I have no idea what I would do in Dwija's circumstance, and that makes me pray for her even more! Anyways! I mean this to sound much more uplifting than it does, praying and praying and thinking I should be offering prayers for all mothers encountering such difficulties more often!
Well TGI to the F!
Posted by Christy from fountains of home at 8:00 PM
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Its fabulous. Everything is green. Lilacs are in bloom. The temperature is perfect. The kids spend about 210% more time outside than during the winter.
This is proof that the summers are so gorgeous in Alberta that they fool you into living here the whole year.
Tom and Lorenzo's Mad Style recaps
I fully admit that part of what I love about Mad Men is reading all the recaps on the internet the day after an episode airs. I think its awesome that a tv show can be dissected and analyzed and explored in so many ways. So many weird and really strange ways sometimes, but interesting nonetheless!
These recaps of Tom and Lorenzo however, almost always blow my mind. They so cleverly talk about how costume designer Janie Bryant uses clothing to further the story and bring up different themes within the show. Seriously, I never knew that costume design could convey so much information or meaning. And who knew colours could mean so much?! Even if you aren't dedicated to the show just give a read to how interesting the clothing is!
The Magnificat's free Pope Francis picture!
Was I the only Catholic around who was searching for a small nice picture of the new pontiff but completely unable to find somewhere to buy one without having to purchase a box of 500 copies??
I literally gave a squeal of glee when I got May's Magnificat and found me a perfect Pope picture with no aggro! I don't know where we're going to put it yet. I want to find a place I'll see it often and remember to pray, but also not somewhere where its not going to look like a small shrine-just to not completely weird out non-Catholic visitors to my house! (You see my house is small and already contains ample religious paraphernalia on the walls, bookshelves etc so finding a balance in a well trafficked area is a challenge.)
Specifically the Costco variety made with real butter and come in a giant sized box for a ridiculously low price.
If you want to know the secret to my pregnancy and post-pregnancy weight gain there you have it! They're really so, so, so good though. I think I'm a bit addicted so its a good thing I only get to Costco every two to three weeks.
Lauren's sweet post on Jane Austen from yesterday:
Doesn't she make everything beautiful?? I love Lauren's graphic skills. This one especially!
Happy Wednesday all!
Go see Hallie and all the fab fives!
Posted by Christy from fountains of home at 12:05 PM
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
This may be simply a symptom of my non-existent prayer life right now because I haven't exactly carved out much time for contemplation these days.
(Oh, but there are jokers on the internet who say "just get up before your kids to pray" to which I say which one? The one who wants to nurse at 3 am, 5 am, 7 am? Or the toddlers who are awake for the day before 6 am? Or the other jokers who think "you're home all day its the perfect time in life to focus on your prayer life" to which I say, were these people mothers to human children??)
I've had this gnawing and encroaching concept of self-entitlement seeping into my thoughts lately. But what's really scaring me is that this idea is creeping into my attitude towards prayer, Church in general, and when push comes to shove God.
Obviously our whole culture is constantly blaring messages of self-entitlement. And we've been used to pushing against this, buy less, accumulate less. But spiritually this idea seems a lot more insidious. I've noticed lately that my thoughts have been almost defaulting to a point of, "But I already do this and this...can't I just get a break God...you owe me!" But what have I done? Nothing. If simply living the life God has given me full of a ridiculous amount of blessings that I routinely dismiss, as well as some sufferings He thinks I can handle yet moan and complain about aplenty, what have I done thats been so earth-shaking that's changed the way God handles what goes on in the world? Have I really taken a load off of God's shoulders somehow? I think not.
I feel especially toad-worthy when I think about all the truly difficult things people I know are going through. People who have less than me are everywhere. And yes, even people with less children and people who are dependent on them for food and diaper changes have problems too.
I can't figure out what it is I really want anyway. Just for everything to be easy? All difficulty and push-back to be done away with? My own faults to magically disappear? I think sometimes I just want the difficulty of spiritual improvement to stop. I get tired of trying to be better, or even trying to do the everyday without completely failing and/or committing those pesky, repetitive common sins. I wonder sometimes if the Christian life is so difficult not because it requires the heroic but simply a life well lived. A life well lived which needs thought and love behind action. Not a life spent cruising from screen to screen, experience to experience, comfort to comfort.
So I'm set on the path of trying to recognize my thoughts as soon as they go to self-entitlement land. And maybe if I recognize them I'll combat them with a small prayer of thanksgiving for all the good I really have! That would be a small miracle in itself.
Posted by Christy from fountains of home at 11:38 AM
Sunday, June 2, 2013
We've got a full-fledged sinless baby in our midst!
We finally had Nora baptized yesterday, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, and now I feel as if a large burden of parental duty has finally been released and I can rest safely knowing my baby is "in"! But honestly, I couldn't help but feel good knowing that my baby is now part of our huge, crazy yet beyond interesting, holy yet complex Church while at the same time receiving the very personal graces through the sacrament. I love knowing that she's in God's hands and not just mine, phew we're all thankful for that!
Here she is pre-washed-clean-from sin, although she doesn't look it does she!
Is there anything cuter than a baby in a knitted bonnet? I think not.
This is the best family shot we could muster. I'm pretty happy we got all of us together in a photo to be honest.
And heres the rest of me familia. Can you get over the range of bizarro expressed we make?
I won't go into behavioural grades because lets just say I failed. Emotional breakdown was I! And I wore a sleeveless dress!
We partied and barbecued and drank margaritas all day yesterday with family! A fun party celebrating a beautiful sacrament and a beautiful baby! And today and completely exhausted and have barely moved from the couch. We're about to have a dinner consisting of popcorn and raspberries.
Posted by Christy from fountains of home at 5:06 PM