Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Third Born

Happy Birthday to my sweet, crazy, and hilarious third-born munchkin today!

Luke was born on a Halloween night, so maybe that explains some of his crazy, mischievous ways, but I prefer to think of it only as his "terrible twos" or at least thats what keeps me going on days like yesterday where I woke up to a room full of...ya know...and it ended in the inexplicable finding of a smashed beer bottle in my living room...oh the memories Luke!

You're a smart kid Luke. Smart enough to start machinery, tell your older sister the answers to her kindergarten reading questions, and how to mess with your parent's ipad. Its most likely from being so close in age to your brother and sister...yet another thing to thank me for in the future!

There's never a dull moment when you're around. You always make us laugh. Never grow out of that!

Happy Birthday Lou! I can't believe how big you are or that I've survived for this long, I love watching you grow!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The truth about weakness

I'm not sure where to begin, as my gut reaction and operating strategy for the past two-plus months has been one of ignoring, stuffing down, trying to get by. There was the delusional idea that maybe it would just go away-or at least my emotions, which seem to be less fleeting than they are designed to be. But I guess I've come to grips with one thing, and that is that although I seem to not be able to overcome these feelings, I should at the very least try to be accepting of them and at the most thankful for them as they are a seriously heavy cross right now.

I'm 16 weeks pregnant. And even now after knowing for more than two months its difficult for me to even say the words or ackowledge the fact to anyone other than my husband. I'm not only overwhelmed but just the idea, but overcome with such strong feelings of powerlessness, frustration, anger, and simply not wanting to be pregnant. I don't want to talk about it simply because its so hard and I can't possibly contain my emotions. Which of course makes me feel even more guilty for feeling this way at all.

The problem isn't just the baby, although babies are work and I will now be having my fifth is less than 6 years. Its the impending chaos, the constant feeling I have of going from one time of survival to the next for the past 5 years. And although I've done fairly well so far with four, the idea of even more seems so completely overwhelming no matter which way I think of it. And of course, there's simply being pregnant. I am so tired of being pregnant. Of the constant body changes, the nonstop roller coaster of emotions that tire me even more than the physical pains, the feeling of living in a nine month pressure cooker knowing the only way out is labor and delivery, the spiritual burden of worrying for a baby I cannot see but feel, a baby whom I am the only one to provide and care for until it is born.

But if someone, let alone Jesus, knocked on my door and handed me a child and told me that I was the only one who could look after and care for this unique person in this unique moment I would without hesitation, no matter what my resposibilites or "busyness" or current situation, want to take care and love that baby. So yes, I know and understand intelligently that a baby is momentous, and the most important thing compared to the little things in life which we make big in our minds. Unfortunately my emotions just don't seem to get the message and I'm left this mess of depression at only the thought.

This divide within myself between what I know and believe compared to how I feel is like nothing I've experienced before. It is a spiritual break from God that I have never experienced to this degree. Somehow I felt that because of how difficult and unexpected our past pregnancies have been, how difficult they have been just to deal with and accept, how much work and sacrifice having these babies so close together have been, how hard we've tried to live faithfully the Church's teachings of love, sex, and marriage, how simply tired I was with four babies that God would understand, that he would know me, that I could trust, even as little as I am capable of trusting, that He would know to give me a little more time between babies. All of this is not to say that I/we were practicing some blissfully ignorant form of NFP, oh no, I can fill numerous posts/books on how much and how hard we've worked on NFP, how two of my babies were conceived while fully breastfeeding but by stretching two different rules, and how my last baby was the only inexplicable pregnancy my NFP teacher has had in over 25 years of working with women, and how the number of times we "used" days and while solely breastfeeding since Max's birth last December can be counted on one hand. I just thought that somehow God would cut me a break, a little slack, just know everything I was dealing with. Yes, I know intellectually God doesn't owe me a thing. I am blessed beyond measure of what I could possibly deserve. And I am not faithful simply because it feels good. But I can't seem, yet, to get around this deep feeling of somehow the Lord choosing to not understand me, for my feelings to count as nothing, for my sense of trust to be squashed.

I've been left feeling terribly alone, angry, and inconsolable. As if somehow God has put me here and is now nowhere to be seen. I've never had such a overwhelming feeling of desolation. All while feeling incredibly guilty for having these feelings at all. Because of course, being open to life, being a good Catholic, being a good mom means always feeling happy about pregnancy, about this miracle. And only saintly mothers have lots of kids, and are joyfully accepting of babies no matter when, no matter the number. Not only am I not saintly in this department, but lately in moments when I feel run over by a truck I cannot believe my own weakness at the realization that I am having such a complete spiritual breakdown over something that in of itself is so good. I am not even being tried by something as awful as infertility, death, severe illness, a child's severe illness, let alone war, poverty, oppression, persecution, or the myriad of horrible things in this world. I'm knocked over by my own weakness of faith. My own crappy self-centered inability to trust or believe. Weakness, weakness, weakness. 

So I'm trudging along, hoping I can be picked up eventually.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

G.K. of the Day!

"The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand."

- G.K. Chesterton, "The Maniac," Orthodoxy

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy by Sarah Reinhard

I think the pregnancy genre of books has to be my least favourite in the entire world of terrible book genres. There's not a lot of fun in reading the endless list of maladies that can affect the woman in preggo. And don't even get me started on the childbirth books because they have given me a fear of birth akin to watching zombie flicks. If there is even a Catholic-esque element to the genre the only thing I've ever seen are the syrupy prayer book/devotionals that only the blissfully glowing pregnant woman can dream about praying with any sincerity. So I hereby declare myself a tough critic when it comes to this kind of thing.

Thankfully Sarah Reinhard's new book A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism completely departs from anything previously written in the woefully trying pregnancy genre. Sarah brings a simplicity and focus to the spiritual complexities of pregnancy, by writing about each week of pregnancy then comparing it to a mystery of the Rosary. She also brings in a short description of what's happening with you and your baby physically, as well as great specific tips to dealing with major issues that arise during pregnancy; even the topics of miscarriage, a child with severe disabilities, and the heart-wrenching possibility of giving birth to a child who may only live a few short hours outside the womb. These are all things that a pregnant mother contemplates during pregnancy and issues that need to be addressed so that we can approach our pregnancies with less fear and more trust in God's creating plan. Sarah also covers a myriad of spiritual tools that would help anyone, pregnant or not, through a challenging spiritual time in a simple and approachable way in each chapter.

For me, my pregnancies have been some of the most challenging times of my life spiritually. There is so much pressure in being what feels like the lone caretaker of an unborn soul. Anxiety, fear, depression, and other issues from our lives seem to be kicked up a notch during pregnancy, and the hormones don't help either! I appreciated so much that Sarah never sugar coats these difficulties. She acknowledges the reality of these feelings which we tend to gloss over, yet nevertheless exist. Even though we're Catholic women with faith who want to embrace life, there is so much hard sacrifice involved in motherhood and it begins with pregnancy!

The correlation Sarah draws between the weeks of pregnancy and the mysteries of the Rosary are simply beautiful. I've felt a greater closeness to the Rosary during pregnancy, there's just something very comforting in knowing that Mary's journey of carrying Christ is so important that we're supposed to pray over it during the Rosary! But Sarah's insight into the mysteries are profound, and I have to think that so many graces will come of these mediations she has written. It is really such a valuable gift for pregnant women to be exposed to.

The awesomeness (you know I jest) that is labor and birth aren't neglected either! Sarah describes so well how to focus our pain during labor and the unite it with Christ's. As typical with the whole book Sarah's approach is refreshingly real and unpretentious. Making these difficult spiritual practices approachable is much harder than it looks, and is so appreciated instead of a patronizing or general tone that does not relate to the reality childbirth at all! Life with a newborn is also addressed, and I loved her tips such as a Nine Hour Novena, when you're up all night. Baptism with its spiritual gifts and the responsibilities of parents is also written about with a great perspective that fits perfectly as the fitting ending to the pregnancy journey.

Obviously there has been a great need for a Catholic spiritual help specifically for pregnancy. There's just nothing out there that aims to help women in such an important time in their lives, but this book is the perfect handbook. At such an tumultuous time spiritually its so comforting to have a real Catholic woman write to these issues. Even if you've been pregnant a million times like me, you will get so much out of this book! Basically you should buy this book for yourself and any Catholic woman who has, is, or will be pregnant...that covers quite the demographic but think how easy your Christmas list just became!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

muchkin love...

I was just thinking the other day that although small, itsy-bitsies are hard work, day in and day out, with no break whatsoever, this childish dependence can sometimes (and obviously I mean a very small minority of the time!) bring out the best in us. 

Lately I think if I didn't have to take care of every want, need, or crazy-town demand of these four precious babes I'd mostly wallow in bed in a sea of self pity. Sometimes its nice to care for people who have no concerns about your own feelings but expect the same things everyday. It leaves a lot less room for your own self pity, and pushes you along to living in the present moment which is really reality and not the crazy, uncontrollable, realm of our own emotions. 

Aren't you glad all that constant neediness and work comes in handy sometimes?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

G.K. of the Day!

"Saving the grace of God, a mystery within our measure, I believe the practical problem of whether people will become Catholics is simply the problem of whether they will think hard enough to become Catholics."

- G.K. Chesterton, America, June 9, 1928

Friday, October 12, 2012

seven quick takes vol. 20

Thanks to Jen for the awesome takes!


Happy Year of Faith everybody! I'm not quite sure what momentous resolutions I should make, but I'm pretty sure I need more faith, so hopefully this year will be a good one. Don't you think we should have a trademarked Year of Faith alcoholic beverage??? I think a nice cocktail would in "Come on in, have a Year-of-Faith-tini!" It would have to be strong, not too fruity or sweet, so that after a couple of drinks you'd be theologizing like a stud.


Its been cold for 3 days and already I think I'm going to go crazy with not being able to throw the kids outside! Always I wonder why during the summer I'm fairly content with my house. Then winter rolls around and I can't understand how we live within such a small square footage, by March I'm willing to move into anything with more than 1500 sq feet. Hell, I'd take over 1200 sq feet. it begins!


I just finished The Kitchen House this week. It was sad. Almost Oprah Book Club-sad. But overall, well written, with a story that really sucks you in, and a good depiction of slavery of the early nineteenth century.
I don't know how you all read books, but I definitely can read a sad/depressing book much easier when I'm feeling sad. Its like an emo effect that spills over into my reading habits. My husband thinks that it must just make me sadder but really when you're reading about slavery your life starts looking a bit better...


Something else that may be falling victim to my current emotional malaise: my enjoyment of a good American election campaign. Seriously, I usually totally geek out over this kind of thing. I know, its weird, and slightly sadistic since I'm Canadian and all. But this time it seems like Obama is just so evil, and Romney should look really good just in comparison but I don't want to cheer for him because of the impending feeling of doom, and no one really is talking about any real issue like say, the fact that the Western world will go down if the United States does, and I really, really, really, REALLY, just want  Joe Biden to stop calling himself a Catholic. 

So as you can see I'm clearly very detached and uninterested.


I haven't quite milked this picture for all its worth so I'm putting it here too!

My mom made these pumpkin hats for the boys and I find them hilarious. Dominic wore his for about 4 straight days even at night. Luke will only wear his for about 4.3 seconds.


I am going to attempt going out for dinner with my husband this weekend for a "date night". Its been since August since we've gone out for dinner, which doesn't sound as bad as it really feels. Its a far cry from that once a week business perfect people do. I say attempt because the variables of what four children plus conning someone into babysitting them are endless! Fingers crossed.


Am I the only one with 3+ kids who feels guilty asking parents/in-laws to babysit my children?? I guess its because I know how much work they are. I just feel guilty. I guess part of the problem is that they are the only ones I leave my kids with and the idea of a monetary exchange someone makes all that work easier?? I'm not sure, I can't figure out my crazy thoughts in this area. Its probably because I'm hearing 4 babies making a lot of noise constantly...

On that cheerful note everyone go out and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My morning

At this point in my life I'm completely unfazed by waking up to one or multiple potty accidents. I don't even think about it. I do copious amounts of laundry anyways at this point.

See? My laundry is bigger than my child.

He's pulling himself up on everything and pretty much furniture walking by the way. My earliest mobile child. 
I don't know how I feel about it.
He's also teething like a small those teethe?? if anyone is available from 3-5am I have an opening for "person with patience".

Also; early riser here loves making noise come 6:30...sooo...

Its a good thing we've all got a good sense of humour or else we'd really be bored!

Oh yeah, and its snowing...on October 10...epic fail.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

G.K. of the Day!

"I believe that sleep is a sacrament; or, what is the same thing, a food."

- G.K. Chesterton, Daily News, March 27, 1909

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tell me you watched this Sunday...

Just wanted to ask if anyone watched Call the Midwife on PBS Sunday night?? Any takers?

I may be the biggest midwife fan in the western world, or at least Canada, so I had to watch it when I heard the British show was beginning here. However, I couldn't get my husband to watch with me because in his words, "We call the midwife enough in real life." 

The story revolves around a novice midwife just beginning practice with a group of midwife Anglican nuns in the poor East End of London in the 50's. The poverty is shocking to her, and yet the joy of birth and children is captured beautifully and also shocks her. Its interesting to see that of course, the standard digs at how "some magical potion" is needed to stop the incessant filling of prams is needed. I wonder at how much the idea of birth control being the magic ticket out of poverty will be shoved down our throats as the series continues. 

Even though the idea of too many children being a constant burden that castigates poor women to a life of suffering seems to be one that the show will feed on, the beauty of birth is shown to great effect. It seems contradictory that these astounding moments of children entering the world are brought into a milieu that already doesn't value them. The first episode seemed to have the theme that actually countered the birth control mentality, however. A woman having her 24th child is shown in difficulty and then in the joyful bliss of raising her baby to the astonishment of the midwives. On midwife character comments on how heroic the mothers really are in living in such conditions but continuing to raise their children. And the narration seems to focus on love and its effects beginning at birth and its complicating effects throughout life that the burgeoning midwife is only just learning.

So overall-I think its good stuff! Of course, it doesn't quite have the glamour of Downton, but the great acting, and writing draw you in like most BBC shows. And of course, theres tons of great labor and birth that should make everyone watch right??


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