Friday, May 30, 2008

If I didn't laugh I'd go crazy

There are many moments that give me reason to laugh. Jacob dropping his new ball in the potty. Michael climbing in the drier (while I was folding dry laundry).

But an incident toward the end of this morning's Wal-Mart trip gave me the best laugh I'd had in a while. While I was unloading my purchases and swiping my credit card and putting the bags in the cart, Andrew and Nicole were perusing all the goodies lining the checkout isle. At last glance they had been fiddling with the Disney toy cameras and cell phones and the portable battery-powered fans. I was just about ready to roll when I hear behind me Nicole's uncertain little voice, "Mommy??"

I turn around and there she is standing with a little plastic fan in the loveliest shade of hot pink hanging from her hair! I guess she'd been fanning a bit too close and oops she was now firmly attached to this little treasure. I laughed so hard! I couldn't stop.

Thankfully the clever manufacturers created the fan so that it pops apart and we were able to relieve Nicole's tangled mass of hair from its clutches.

Maybe it's not so much that if I don't laugh I'd go crazy as it is that I'm already crazy so all I can do is laugh!!

Have a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm a believer

I am now completely convinced that all my children's clothes should be made of the exact same type of 100% polyester as Jacob's gray baseball pants.

Never before have I seen anything wash so well and resist stains so miraculously! Even red icing!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

And the memoriazation continues

Jacob's latest. I think sometime in July (the end of our year), we will do an open house/performance for the grandparents so they can see and hear all that Jacob and Nicole have been doing.

Decorating philosophy - does it make me smile?

I bought this fun print on Etsy a couple of weeks ago. It goes with my colors so well and it was so whimsical and fun - it makes me smile when I look at it. Yesterday Michael and I ventured to Hobby Lobby. They cut a mat for me for $6 and I found a lovely wood frame for $10 (50% off sale). Got it all put together and hung. It looks fantastic next to my quilt (which also makes me smile). I love it!


This spring we had the wonderful blessing of joining our local home school baseball league. Blessing indeed! What a fantastic, loving, Christ-centered organization! Jacob's coach was such a Godly man. His emails and talks at the end of the games (especially today's) always inspired me to follow Jesus more closely, to love God more deeply.

This morning Jacob played his last game for the season and his team, the Mariners, was the "champion" team for the machine pitch division. We so thoroughly enjoyed our involvement in this organization. Jacob came out really loving the game and wishing it was not over. After the games there was a great big family pot-luck picnic. What fun!

God bless all the parents and players involved! And super job Jacob!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Greater Love, Greater Understanding

This afternoon my eyes were opened.

We were happily playing in the backyard and Michael, who was standing at the edge of the patio, was crying and screaming. I could tell he had some blood on his lip. I realized he had probably tripped and reopened the abrasion on his upper lip (from Sunday). I ran over and scooped him up to comfort him. It wasn't until I was holding him close that I realized that one of his legs was covered in ants. And now so was I. I was screaming as I tried to brush them off of his little body. I ran inside to the kitchen sink I struggled furiously to get his clothes and diaper off of him so I could rinse him in cool water. All the while I am fighting tears as these awful ants are biting me with a vengeance. Oh, my how they hurt! I am sure these are the meanest, most painful ants ever! At some point I felt a wet rag on my legs. Unbeknownst to me, Jacob had gotten a wet cloth and was trying his hardest to wipe the ants off of me. I still have not found the ant bed in the yard. I have searched. All I can think is the rains overnight resurrected them from somewhere. My poor baby!

As things calmed down, God began speaking.

Now, with four little bitties bouncing around our "cozy" little home all day and playing in the yard like monkeys, the amount of bites, bumps, scrapes and bruises can number quite high on any given day. I hear their cries all day it seems. It is so easy to minimize this multitude of hurts. Some may encourage parents to "not baby them." And so often I "soothe" them with words like "it's OK," "be brave," and "it's not that bad." But why can't I baby them? They're babies after all - my babies. If I think a bit, I can readily admit that often times I would like to be "babied" as I ram my shin into the corner of the open dishwasher or whack my head on the bunk beds. If I am really honest, I would say at times I too would love someone to scoop me up and ease my hurt, give me a hug or gently rub my back.

What do I want my little ones to learn? I want them to readily show care and concern for another in need or in pain. I want their hearts to be moved to help another. I want them to learn that God is this way. He extends His mighty arms to hold us and heal us, to console us in our need and pain.

And how best do I believe they can learn this? Example. Pure and simple. Example. If they are to learn how to be sympathetic, empathetic, understanding, they must see it in me. If their hearts are to be moved at the sight of need and pain, they must see mine moved. I must make the extra conscious effort to show more love, more understanding, more tenderness and care.

So I learned a few things today. First, I learned Michael is not seriously allergic to ant bites. Yeah! But more importantly, I heard God speak. I heard God tell me what to do. "Celeste, I know you love your children. You give them your best. You comfort them and console them. But don't be afraid to give more. Give them more comfort. Give them more tenderness. Give them more gentle care. Give. It will serve them well."

Yes, God. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Matt Maher

My favorite Catholic music artist ever is Matt Maher. He is a fantastic guy. I have seen him concert twice. He is very much a part of Life Teen. Every time I see teens singing his music and raising their hands to heaven, it gives me much hope. I love his music. While everyone may not have my taste in music (I love all kinds, for the most part - oldies, classical, 80's, musicals, country, Christian), if you can you ought to give his latest CD a listen. You can go to Matt's website and actually listen to the whole CD. It is a winner in my opinion. He is a winner.


Remind me if I forget, which I am likely to do, that in my next house I want flecks.

Flecks in the carpet.

Flecks on the counter tops.

Flecks in the tile or vinyl.

Maybe even flecks on the walls.

Better yet maybe we ought to do as the Indians once did and paint with natural ingredients (berries, etc.). I mean, wouldn't it make a whole lot of sense to paint our walls with those natural foods that will eventually end up there anyway? Yogurt. Spaghetti sauce. Strawberry juice. Macaroni and cheese.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

I am in favor of flecks.

Monday, May 05, 2008

For the birds

Last month we tried our best to study birds. Often I have such grand plans and they do not all come to fruition. But I do know that at such a young age it is best to keep it simple. And it always helps to remember that this will not be the last time they will study any particular subject. Hopefully anything we do, even halfway, will spur them on to further interest and learning.

Of the things we did do, our favorite was all the books - as usual. We're just a bunch of book addicts. Beautiful books. Wonderful books. Books of every shape and sort.

As a fun surprise, we discovered a mourning dove nest in one of our back trees. The mother has been sitting and sitting. We are so anxious for the day they hatch and are praying they make it.

As we closed up our study, we did a little project that had caught my attention in Jacob's Cub Scout guide book. It was for a feeder.
It used orange slices and old bread. We had a lot of fun making it and hanging it. Then we waited. And waited. No flocks descending upon it. But wait!

Not a bird, but a butterfly!

From what I can deduce this is a type of Satyr butterfly, possibly a Pearly Eye. It stayed there for such a long time. It was very still and let us get extremely close to watch it eating the sweet orange juice with its proboscis. What fun! Nicole could have watched it all afternoon.

I am not sure any birds ever came. It is still there. Kind of sad shape now. But it was worth it just to get to see that butterfly!

Oh Where?

Oh where, oh where has this blogger gone?
Oh where, oh where can she be?
With her posts cut short.
Wow, it's been so long!
Oh where, oh where can she be?

Well, I am still here. I am still reading. I am still commenting when it strikes me. I am still posting - just not anything of great substance and depth. Not that I am not having lots of deep and substantial thoughts. I am. Really. I am.

It's just that these days find me lacking in the ability to bring any of these oh, so deep thoughts together in a cohesive, comprehensible format.

And then there is the time issue. I have no excuses. No new baby. No house selling/shopping. No pregnancy. No majorly ill children. No great happenings at all. It is just the little things that add up to require more time than God has decided I should reasonably have in any given day. (I mean whose idea was the 24 hour day anyway?)

But now the house is quiet (that happens regularly - it's just that by then my brain is pretty quiet too). The children are asleep and so is Brian. (I think Brian was supposed to be pulling back the bed and somehow the bed won.)

Even now I am having trouble thinking of what to write. Maybe it is that feeling of "where do I begin?" "I must catch them up!"

My days are full to the brim. My four little children are busy and they need me. I have always known they need me in so many ways, but lately it has been evident in a different, more taxing way. They need me for many big things. They need me to teach and read. They need a listening ear for endless hours of chit chat about dolls and Legos. They need me to feed them and clean their muddy feet and sticky faces. They need me to clean their home. They need me to do puzzles with them and make flower fairies and color pictures. They need me to watch their latest feats on the monkey bars and to swing them for what seems forever. They need me to pray with them and pray for them. They need me to hug them and kiss their hurts. They need me to hold them while I cook and wash dishes and fold laundry. They need me to referee and discipline. They need me to make time for them to spend with friends. They need me.

And many a day I find all these needs quite at odds with what I think I need. I need more sleep. I need more quiet time. I need a cup of coffee in peace. I need time for sewing and crafts. I need hours to plan and think through lessons. I need time to do the shopping. I need to care for all the household chores. I need a day off. I need to talk with and be with my friends. I need time to blog. I need a moment to sit. I need to think.

And I do get these times. More than I probably realize. And many of these opportunities come from my dear husband's loving heart. It's just that the noisy neediness overpowers the memories of the quiet.

But in those quiet moments I am allowed, I can imagine the days coming all too soon when they will not need me quite so much. And while I cannot be sure without experiencing it, I think it may hurt.

The Lord must be working really hard in His efforts to refine me, to mold me.

If I am hearing him right, I believe He is calling me to focus. To not run away from the needs that daily bombard me. He wants me to have time for myself, yes. But I know I must seek out more joy in the needs of my children and our oh, so "daily" lives. It is in the trapping thought that this dailiness contains little of great significance that robs the moments of our day of the joy we can have. How can we find joy in sitting on the floor reading a story at the top of your lungs to a couple of listening ears while you hold a screaming toddler and try to fix the preschooler's malfunctioning toy when "the significant stuff" seems to be happening out there somewhere? We can't. When my thoughts are out there, I have nothing to give to those who are right here. I can muddle through the above scenario with my thoughts turned towards that fun outing of mine coming up in a couple of days or I can find joy as I smile and shake my head at the beautiful craziness surrounding me and keep reading.

Where is the joy? It is right here. I will keep moving. I will keep looking right here for the joy I so very much desire. Because I know it's here. I see it now. I have always seen it. I just want to see it more. I will keep responding to needs. And when I fall down, I will get back up. I do not want to miss the joy.

My joy is right here.

The kids and me at our Parish Festival yesterday!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Oh Boy!

All the kids have been very dirty lately, especially their feet. I think it is a combination of the countless spring hours they spend outside swinging and exploring and the fact that often times they shed their shoes or wear crocs (not much help for keeping feet clean).

But today it wasn't so much Andrew's feet wearing a little springtime dirt.

Every boy needs a little war paint.