Friday, February 16, 2007

Ahh, the weekend & What is it with kids?

Aren't Friday afternoons just fabulous? Especially when you are staring down a 3 DAY weekend. Woo Hoo! There is so much promise of relaxation and friendly get togethers, time alone at the computer (a Mom can dream, can't she?) and sleeping in. I love sleeping in. It's been really cold the last couple of weeks and there is nothing like snuggling in bed beneath toasty warm flannel sheets and a thick heavy comforter. I think that is probably my favorite place to be in the world...Yup! A warm bed on a cold day. Nothin' beats it.
My kids better let me stay there tomorrow morning!!

Now, on to those darn kids. I couldn't love them anymore than I already do, but is it me or is it the kids these days who seem to need to be entertained 24/7? And not by just TV or Movies, but by other people? I played happily, blissfully on my own as a kid. It was my preference, and am not an only child. Sure I wanted to play with friends now and again. I am a very social person. I love people...LOVE THEM. However, I LOVE being alone too. I can figure out a thousand different things to do on my own. There is no boredome with me. So, I go completely nuts when my kids, especially the younger two, start complaining about being bored. Now, I know they are not reading yet, Ben because of his multiple LDs and Autumn just because she is a typical 1st grade reader, but that is not the problem. I love reading to them. However, I am 40 so reading out loud (or silently) puts me in a coma everytime. I usually last 30 minutes then I'm gone.

C'mon though, how many moms out there are playing with their kids for a large part of the day? I bet there aren't a lot. Why, then, do I feel so darned guilty about it? Is it that kids are so sheltered theses days that if there aren't friends in their neighborhood that they turn to mom and dad? I am not against playing with my kids. I have done it plenty. But jeez enough already. I am just afraid that if I give in to this constant need for entertainment that they will grow up unable to entertain themselves. Or worse yet, they will never let themselves be in the silence of what some would call boredom, but a great many others would see as an opportunity for self-assessment and prayer.

Gotta go, friends comin' over for pizza...ahh Friday nites!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Pope backing up my post

I just read this article on the importance of women to the Pope. Very Cool!
Clicking the title will take you to the article.


Discerning a Calling

You know I was thinking last night about why it is so important for one to really spend the time discerning a Calling from God. And I mean any Calling. Say, from having another child (which, as one who practices NFP, is a monthly discussion), to moving across town, to bigger Callings like the Priesthood or Marriage or serving God in some capacity. I say this, because as a devout Catholic, I agree with the Church that women should NOT be Priests.

There are all sorts of reasons for this, Christ being male is the most glaring reason. The reason for me is that the Church says no. That simple. I don't know why women have to get so hung up on doing stuff that men do. I really don't. Are we, as a gender, so hard up that we have to do everything that men do, to prove what? That we can? Gimme a break.

Men cannot carry, give birth to, or breastfeed babies. There really is no topping that. So, let them be Priests. They should have something really special which belongs only to them. Look at the Blessed Mother. Did she run around looking to become the first ordained priest? No. Jesus is the first and last HighPriest. And He gave earthly priestly succession to Peter. Mary was the first Christian, even before Peter. Did anyone see her screaming through scripture for her equal rights to be a priest? Heck, if anyn woman had a good reason it certainly would have been the Mother of God Incarnate! No, her Calling was to be first His mother and then Our mother.

So, what about women who really feel a Calling from God to serve Him in some great capacity. Well, I think being a theologian, professor of religion, lay ministry leader, DRE, RCIA director etc....are all great options. Personally, my dream is to become a Master Catechist or even get a degree in Theology (Catholic, of course). While I was a Protestant I loved theology, now as a Catholic, that loves burns brighter. If left to my own devices, I really would bury myself in Papal Encyclicals, the Writings of the Saints, and other Theological tomes. It is an all encompassing passion. Does this passion make me feel like I should be a priest. NO! It just means that God knows my gifts and He will find the perfect place for me to serve Him. Of course, my family is my first priority now. Yet, children become adults, and there would be time to do something else for God. So, I am letting Him lead me.

This is a great apostolate I just found out about. They have a Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan. That's the kind of thing I salivate over. I want to buy every book, hide in a corner and start reading.

Peace & Love

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sick Kid

Ben is sick. He is chronically ill with the mental illness of Bipolar Affective Disorder and is presently ill with what is possibly now a bad cold after a 3 day Flu. I am taking him to his pediatrician at 3 to make sure he doesn't have anything worse.

However, there is not a whole lot worse, in this family, than a kid with the flu who also happens to have BP. It's like having someone who looks like a 10 year old, acts like one most of the time, but when ill might as well be a toddler. He seems to have no concept that I literally can't fix everything and he completely forgets that there are other people in this family. The world revolves around him normally, but when he is ill, he is the center of the frickin' UNIVERSE!!!

I don't know why, when all my kids were, indeed, toddlers that I didn't mind, at all, that they needed me so desperately when they were sick. But, as they get older, when sick, needing me like they did gets, well, OLD! Okay, most husbands are complete babies when they are sick. They do revert to little boys and need their wifey's to be mommies. I'm cool with that. Somtimes it's annoying. (Let's not go into the fact that most moms need to be on the verge of hospitalization before anyone in their immediate family takes care of them.) For the most part, hubbies, can be contained, pacified, and can, most sick 6, and up, year olds. However, for those who struggle daily with Bipolar (even if they are on meds...which Ben is) being sick just amplifies all of their issues.

I wrote an earlier post on how demanding love is. "Well, no sh*t, Sherlock! " I say to myself. Especially, when it comes to Ben. In the last couple of days I have wanted to run screaming out of the house never to return. The name I am called frequently throughout the day, and the name many women yearn for and never receive, the name, "MOM!" has recently made me want to tear my hair out. The tough part is that no one else seems to be able to get a piece of me when Ben is sick and it really ticks me off. Then I spiral into mother-guilt because I need to remember that Ben is not a typical child. He won't ever be.
I turn into the 2 year old, when in my mind, I just want what I want and I want it now...which is a normal Ben. Ughhhh (big sigh)! I am never going to get that.

I am writing this mostly to me (I guess as I am doing with every post I write). I need to have an outlet for the frustration. Nothing has gotten done today. I have not gotten a chance to do any homeschooling with Autumn. I get so resentlful of the time Ben takes away from his other siblings. The day is just slipping by into a relentless stream of demands and, unlike a typical kid, Ben just doesn't know when or even how to stop.

I must say that I love the little Cuss something awful. He is so cuddly and adorable, so completely in love with his whole family. He can be so generous and thoughtful and then so quickly turn self-centered and inconsiderate. Yet he is so remorseful when he's screwed up and all it reminds me of is me and how I am with God. I am constantly screwing something up, and God is there...ALWAYS....quick to forgive, and to love, and to set me on the right path matter how many times I fail. I HAVE TO cultivate God's merciful heart. If I am the perpetual 2 year old God has to deal with, then shouldn't I give my sweet Ben a little slack?

Junior year is Hell for my Andrew.

Andrew, my amazingly wonderful teenage son (17 to be exact) , I am finding is a challenge to parent in almost the exact opposite way as his 10 year old brother, who is afflicted with Bipolar Disorder (he's a whole 'nother post, baby!).

So, I will try to go back to the beginning, the very beginning. I HATE the SAT test. What is funny is that I believe I did pretty well. I can't actually remember my score, but I was called into my Headmaster's office and congratulated on a near perfect Verbal score (like that was a surprise). However, my Math score sucked. However, my Verbal catapulted me where I needed to be for the colleges I was looking at, so I didn't care. I only took it that one time.
Then a few years later dropped out of college, so I guess, for me, it didn't matter much.

Now back to Andrew. He's got his SAT's coming up in March. We have bought him the SAT Online Prep course from the actual makers of the test, and he's figuring out how to work that into his already tight school schedule. But, Robert and I could tell that he was stressed. For the last few weeks he comes home from school around 4pm, grabs a snack, then grabs the snuggliest of our 3 cats, Toonces, heads up to his room and passes out into sleep for 4 or more hours. Then he wanders downstairs, eats something, chats with us a little, and goes back to his room to do homework, goes to sleep around 2am, just to wake at 7:45 and start this stupid process all over again.

Why do I say "stupid"? Well, it's not Andrew. I have real problems with modern American schooling. (Again, a whole 'nother post.) One would think there would be a little more cohesiveness to the system. The amount of homework is ridiculous , and this , after a very long day of having my son follow their directions and move when their bell tolls etc... Andrew was homeschooled thru 8th grade, and mostly Unschooled at that. However, HE chose highschool. And there has been ALOT of good that has come of it. But also so much complete and utter bullsh*t! Robert and I have really missed him these highschool years. School takes up his whole day and invades his homelife at night. Now this junior year has gotten my son on the verge of depression. Thank God he is a drummer. At least he has a great outlet for stress. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few teachers pictures he'd like to tape to his drumheads and pound the crap out of! :-)

So, we talked to Andy about it yesterday. He admitted he was really stressed out so Robert and I came up with things to help make things easier for Andrew to study (uninterrupted by the 2 evil minions). Robert was just amazing. He is a fabulous Father. He didn't grow up with a Dad like the one he has become. There is a reciprocity to his fathering Andrew, not so much laying down the law. I told Robert later, I wish my dad could of been like that (one more time, a whole
'nother post). Anyway, I HATE the SAT. I HATE when human beings are reduced to a score which has the power to make or break the beginnings of a young persons life. Having a child with many special needs , makes me see how people are so different with lots of really different and cool things to offer the world, and how many of them are not going to do well on the SAT, and how defeating that is to someone just starting out into adulthood.

Well, I DO have 2 other kids which need attending to (one schooled who is home sick, the other homeschooled), so I have to go. I just think the pressure on teens today is overwhelming. The competion is intense. What are we doing to these kids? Is it any wonder the drug use, sexual promiscuity, the rampant psychological problems of anxiety, attention-deficit, depression etc exists in these teenagers. No wonder so many are pissed off and act out. So, if you have them, talk to them, tell them how proud you are of them, and that you love them like mad, that you are here to help. Oh, and hug and kiss them too, or give 'em a back rub. They may act as if they don't want it or need it, but they do. If they didn't why would so many of them end up in the backseat of a car with someone they are using or being used by? Take them out and do stuff. I take Andrew to concerts and Robert will take him out test-driving BMWs. We both like taking him to his favorite Drum stores, and watching him drum on different kits. HE IS ADORABLE!! I love watching him drum. He is so happy, free, and lost in what he is doing. It's awesome to watch his love and passion for his drums.

I guess the bottom line is that when he was little and things were going wrong, I could actually fix them and make them right. He is now getting to the age where he has got to see that HE can start to fix things and make them right. It's like when he was little I stood in front of him to guard and protect. Now I stand beside him to encourage and guide. Someday I will stand behind him with admiration and support. But always, no matter where I stand, it is with a tremendous love for my wonderfully amazing son, Andrew.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

new look

I needed to change my original template. I wanted just purple and green, my two favorite colors. Now I feel nice and serene when I visit my blog. Well, I am off to figure out how to get my pictures on this thing. Wish me success.


Love is where it's at.

Okay, so Autumn is in an early Lindsay Lohan phase. She started watching the remake of Parent Trap and is now on to the remake of Freak Friday. I, personally, loved both of those remakes. I imagine she'll want me to track down the Herbie (the Lovebug) remake Lohan did too. It's a shame that Lindsay, herself, seems so messed up. She's got a lot of talent. But that doesn't mean much...really? If one doesn't have their priorities straight and/or they possibly had a family modeling messed up values, all the talent in the world won't save one from loneliness, despair and sinful choices.

So, I won't feel guilty that Autumn is having a Movie day. Coz even though, Lohan, personally, may be trying to figure out what is most important in life, the girls she's playing, in the movies Autumn is watching, are girls who find out what IS the most important thing in life, which for a young girl , happen to be a loving family life. Everything good can flow from that.

I am in a Scripture & Papal Encyclical study at my Parish. It is a 4 year program for Moms and there is one for Dads. However, at our parish, there weren't enough dads to form a group (kinda typical huh?) . Anyway, I digress. In Familia, we are studying encyclicals written by Pope John Paul II (the Great). He constantly reinforces the Truth that the family IS the domestic Church. The family is where IT all starts. IT being LOVE. This is why it is so important to work at having a loving marriage (which is no cake walk!). My kids may blush and turn away when Robert is kissing me or I am giving him a welcome home from work hug. But they are lucky kids. They know their parents really love each other (though, unfortunately they've heard the arguments too) and that nothing will change that. How can I be so sure? Because Robert and I, finally got our priorities straight. God comes first. God is love. Real love. Demanding love. But, of course, the best love.

In the "Letter to Families" section 14, JP II writes:
14. The Love which the Apostle Paul celebrates in the First Letter to the Corinthians -
the love which is "patient" and "kind" and "endures all things" (1 Cor 13:4,7) -
is certainly a demanding love. But this is precisely the source of it's beauty: by
the very fact that is is demanding, it builds up the true good of man and allows
it to radiate to others. The good says Saint Thomas, is by it's nature "diffusive".
Love is true when it creates the good of persons and communities; it creates
that good and gives it to others. Only the one who is able to be demanding with
himself in the name of love can also demand love from others. Love is demanding
It makes demands in all human situations; it is even more demanding in the case
of those who are open to the Gospel. Is this not what Christ proclaims in "his"
commandment? Nowadays people need to rediscover this demanding love, for
it is the truly firm foundation of the family, a foundation able to "endure
all things". According to the Apostle, love is not able to "endure all things" if
it yields to "jealousies", or if it is "boastful... arrogant or rude" (cf. 1 Cor 13: 5-6).
True love, Saint Paul teaches, is different: "Love believes all things, hopes all
things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:7). This is the very love which "endures all
things". At work within it is the power of God himself, who "is love" (1 Jn 4:8,16)
At work is also the power and strength of Christ, the Redeemer of man and the
Savior of the world.

That is "the" kind of love Robert and I stumbled upon (thanks entirely to God's grace) a few years ago, and amazingly love each other more, because of how demanding love is, instead of less. So, I guess that is what is wrong with the real lives of those like Lindsay Lohan...too much superficial love. The "it's all about me" kind of love. Which really isn't love, but lust for things, people, experiences. JP II takes about real love being the "gift of one's self for/to others". The fake love is about what gifts one can give to oneself. Isn't it interesting that you can empty yourself for God and others, out of love, and feel so FULL...yet, you can acquire "people, places, things" all day long and be left feeling so entirely EMPTY? Well, I want to feel full. I want my kids to feel full. And they will only feel full if Robert and I love each other and love them with the kind of love God wants...then maybe (with a lot of hope and prayer) they will grow up to have what poor Miss Lohan is missing...authentic, demanding, wonderful LOVE!

Peace out,

I could stay here all night

Okay, I have just realized that this will be more fun than I thought.

Tonite was a nice night. A long overdue night of mommy-alone-time. Robert and Autumn went to a Daddy-Daughter Hoedown put on by our Catholic Homeschool group. They looked adorable when they left and the Girlie was so excited to be going to a dance with her daddy. Andy went to a friend's party which turned out to be a sleep-over, and Ben, who is sick, sacked out early. So, I got to watch "In Her Shoes" on TV (free On Demand) . I was excited to sit and watch a chick-flick on my own!! Especially since I had just finished the book. I really love Jennifer Weiner's books. I know I am slow on the uptake here, as her books have been out a few years, but I am now reading "Little Earthquakes".

Well, Daddy and Girlie got home after a fabulous night of square dancing and Autumn even got a beautiful letter from her dad, at the dance, which she had me reread to her when she got home.
All in all it was a fun night...and best of all...I started this blog.


Friday, February 9, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?

I have named this blog of mine after something my fabulous (late) mom used to say to me, "Rachel, you are NEVER at a loss for words!" Sometimes it was said in a not so positive I also had to have the "Last Word" too. Often, though, it was said because my mom liked what I had to say...or, at least, liked hearing what I had to say.

I miss talking with my mom so much. She was the best mom and friend ever. I love talking, but writing is a different story. Never did like writing...never kept a journal...didn't even caption or catalog pictures. However, a great friend of mine, Sara, just started blogging and said she was doing it mostly as a way for her kids to get to know what she was like when they are older. I thought that was such a cool idea that I had to copy her.

I'm sure as I blog along, I will work things out for myself as I write. Somethings will be written because I believe I know what I am talking about, and some will just be my stream of conscienousness-ness :-) Anyway, whoever stumbles across this now...enjoy. And someday, if this is surfed up by my kids, maybe years from now, have fun getting to know the inner workings of your mom...I hope it doesn't freak you out too much...oh and know I love you like crazy!