Monday, January 31, 2011

A man and his girl

You are a cutie...both of you. What is so sweet about a man holding his baby? Whatever it is, I love it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

To my dear Rose...(sigh)

Dear Rose,

I will probably tell you most of your life how sorry I am I haven't documented your daily life. I promise it wasn't on purpose. You have been a beautiful dream and miracle since we very first heard of your existence. Let me tell your story.

Dominic told me at breakfast one morning that he wanted to pray for Mama's new baby. It took me back a bit because Lillie was seven months old and still nursing. I decided to take a pregnancy test and to my delight saw two lines. I couldn't wait to tell your father. John came home for lunch and we rejoiced together. I was thrilled to be pregnant and smiled that Lillie would have a sibling close in age. About three weeks later, I started spotting one morning and by that evening we miscarried little Benedict Joseph. We saw his little body. We were so very sad. Four short weeks later, I found out I was expecting...and it was YOU. Beautiful YOU.

There is so much to be said about miscarriage. Who was that baby? If I had never lost Benedict, I would never know you. How could I have never known you? I could tell you were sweet in the womb. I wrote on your ultrasound picture "Sweet baby." You moved gently. You kicked softly. You were already sweet. Lillie was still so sick at the time with numerous doctor's visits each week. I was so nervous how all this would work. John in school, three little people, and a very sick child. God is so good.

I went into labor with you the night before your due date. I labored through the night at home and we headed to the hospital in the morning. I was dilated to a five almost six when we got to the hospital. Your Aunt Megan was very sick with cancer at the time so I felt very motivated to offer my labor for her without pain medicine. I put together a little album with ten slots, one for each centimeter. I put a picture of each person I was offering that centimeter for. I will never forget your labor and delivery. Your papa almost delivered you because it was only the two of us in the room until the nurse flew in the door at the last second to catch you. It was awesome. You were even born on your due date. Perfect from the beginning!

I remember seeing you for the first time like it was five minutes ago. Breath-taking! Don't tell your were my prettiest newborn. Your face was incredible. You were perfect! You had black hair and fat little cheeks. I couldn't believe it and the best part is that you were mine. Dominic and Lillie were very fussy babies so we held are breath to see what temperament God had given to you. We waited...

You never cried. Ever. You changed my motherhood. After two fussy babies, my confidence in my abilities was about zero. I knew it was something I was doing wrong, but then God gave me you. You really did change my life. I was so proud of you. You were chubby, happy, and were content to just be alive. I hadn't documented much of your babyhood because during that first year of your life Megan died, my father died, John graduated and we moved twice. It was a crazy year. Please know that everything you did was close to my heart. We delighted in having you. Your father and I still talk say, "And then there was Rose...sigh." Even Mechie says, "and then there is Rose." We ALL adore you.
You still continue to be wonderful. I even tell people that even your hair grew in perfect. It is long, beautiful, and blond. We call you the universal friend. You are everybody's friend old and young. Every older person loves you. Every baby loves you. Every little kid loves you.

You celebrated your 5th birthday in November. HOW are you five? Please don't have any more birthdays and always stay five. You are the perfect friend, sister, daughter, helper, student, etc., etc. Really. Everyone who meets you, loves you.

Mechie use to sing a song to me that went,
"To Know, know, know you, is to love, love, love you."
When I think of you, I think of this song. To know you, is to love you. You are pure sweetness still. You have an inner holiness that is very noticeable. You delight and pride yourself on being good. You will tell me, "I prayed for you last night." I will hear you say to your siblings, "Remember, we are going to listen to mom right away today."

Your best traits are your properness, cheerfulness, and contentment. You rarely ask to do anything. You just play. You compliment me all day.

I worry about you because of your allergies. You are severally allergic to all kinds of nuts. You are usually good about asking, but I still worry. Your skin is very dry. I have tried all kinds of lotions, ointments, etc. It makes me sad you get so itchy and I can't help you.

Montessori has been a perfect fit for you. You have blossomed. Jeannie told me what a delight you are. She said you are "Industrious" and quite the leader in the classroom. I wish I would have caught on camera how darling you were last week telling me that the coffee at school was empty and you had the opportunity to make more and serve Jeannie her coffee. You were literally coming out of your skin with excitement. Precious. You walked in the door exasperated and said, "MOM, the coffee was out!" I couldn't figure out for a second why you were so excited. You then went on to say if it is out a student gets to make more and serve the director. Adorable.

Rose, I am so very grateful for you. Thank you for being born. Thank you for waking up each day and for being wonderful. Thank you for being my daughter and trying hard each day to get better and improve your little self. Thank you for being a good older sister and for caring so gently for Vianney. She loves you. I love when you call her Irene. You will say, "Mama, Irene wants to give you an Irene hug." Then you say, "Mom, why does Irene give the best hugs." I love and see all the you do to help me. I have watched you fold your clothes in your drawers without being told. I am so proud of your reading. You love the American Girl dolls, Sissi, and all princesses. You L.O.V.E to dance all day. It moves in your soul. I have looked several times in my rear view mirror to see you singing with your eyes closed. Music fills your soul. You color me a picture every day. You sign it "To Mom. Love, Rose." I have saved all of them. You have started saying to me every night, "Good night. Have another baby. I love you." You are very into vocabulary right always asking me what such and such means.

I was practicing piano with you tonight, but was really watching you. You were counting very forcefully to yourself and trying so hard to get it perfect. Oh, I just love you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hot Pink Velour Jump Suits

I got up this morning to two very sweaty people under the age of 1 1/2. They both had gone and worked out in their new HOT PINK Velour jump suits. Of course, I couldn't be mad at them because they did look incredibly adorable.

Honestly, though, somedays I have way too much fun dressing my girls. I love it. I love all things beautiful, frilly, and fun.

See her little arm around her little sister.

They got right to their studies. She is a good teacher.

Clairvaux listens intently to her teacher's instruction.

She is getting just enough hair that I can do a little old man comb over.

Father Barron on New Year's Resolutions

If you've not discovered Fr. Barron and his brilliance, it is well worth your time. John and I say daily, "Did you listen to Fr. Barron?" He's so good and right on.

I was thinking so much about resolutions today and thinking how silly it is for me to resolve one thing for the whole next year. For me, it is much better to go day by day at getting better and attempting to grow in holiness. Then, I found this little piece by Fr. Barron that spoke to my soul.

He challenged us to make these three Resolutions for the New Year.

1. Make time to improve our prayer life every day.
2. Forgive an Enemy
3. Comfort the Afflicted

Most of today, I was thinking how I wanted to improve and begin to conquer all the desires on my heart. One day at a time. Each day. Some will revolve around John, others the kids, our neighbors, strangers. Some days will be as simple as praying all four mysterious of the rosary, finish a book in a week, write a letter to my grandmother, send John out to lunch with his mother, bring John's mother flowers on his birthday to thank her for bringing this wonderful person into the world, bring our neighbor fresh bread, pay for the groceries of a random person in the store, pay for another person's gas at the gas station, eat no sugar for a day in reparation for sins, bring John treats at work, focus specifically on a certain child for a specified day baking, reading, talking, and listening with them, turn off the computer and television for an evening and do nothing but spiritual reading, after the children are in bed, spend an evening focusing on John and doing nothing else. If he is running on the treadmill, I will sit and visit with him. If he is reading a book, I will sit next to him. No planning school, no picking up, nothing. Just him. The gift of time.

For more wonderful bits by Fr. Barron, go to Word on Fire.

We've had a load of snow these past couple days. We've watched a lot of great movies so these scenes have been often.

Tomorrow's resolve: I will make fresh bread for my neighbor and pray for her intentions.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Top Gun - Highway to the Dangerzone

Guess I probably shouldn't listen to this while driving our Surburban down the highway.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tea Time

I've long felt I was born a couple generations too late. I willfully admit I do love modern conveniences especially in regards to homemaking or child delivery, but I do have such fondness for traditional customs.

Introducing...Tea Time.

I have loved warm tea since I can remember. I am not a coffee drinker, but could sip tea all day. I have wanted to make tea time a part of our day forever and have tried off and on, but since watching "Felicity" (an American Girl movie) the girls have become obsessed with it. The movie depicts a great scene in which Felicity is learning the proper way to drink tea at an etiquette class. Oh my. That is all the training Lillie, Rose, and Zellie needed. They practice all day.

I thought how nice it would be to have our afternoon snack with tea, but I wanted John to be in on the fun so we started having tea or some other warm beverage after dinner with a little dessert. It really is too much. He had his head down laughing the whole time especially at Zellie and her properness.

Here are some of the rules we are teaching the kids.

1. A gentle woman must behave perfectly at the tea table both as a hostess and as a guest.

This really has inspired me to take the time to pull out all my pretty dishes and serving apparatuses. They love all the little bowls, tiny spoons, and our new tea pot.

2. You are not drinking because you are thirsty or eating because you are hungry. Tea and biscuits are offered as a sign of your hostesses' hospitality. If you refuse them, you are refusing her generosity.

3. A polite way to show you've had enough is to turn your cup upside down and place you spoon on top. You then reply, "Thank you, I shall take no tea."

4. This is the proper way to serve others at the tea table.

me: "Miss Boever, would you care for tea?"
them: "Yes, thank you, Mama or Mrs. So and So."
me: "Milk or sugar, Miss Boever."
them: "Milk, please, Thank you, Mama or Mrs. So and So."

Of course, we let you-know-who in on the fun.

This has been a great way to teach them manners at the table especially if they are a guest at another person's home. I would love to improve my tea accessories and manners. Thrift stores are wonderful for finding such treasures. I checked out a couple of cookbooks at the library that have provided great recipes for tea snacks.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What did you say my lovely older sister?

What did you say?

Come a little closer please!

Friends forever.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

She turned the corner

Vianney was very sick for a week. We think she turned the corner today.
She's back to reading, but we had to get her new specs. This might be the best picture I've ever taken. I love everything about it. Teeth. Binki. Hair behind eye wear. Stop it. Now.

Do you see her zipper a bit down? I was at mass this morning and John said she walked in the room and proceeded to violently unzip her jams and nurse her baby while standing and walking and jammies just slightly unzipped. I do not do that. Promise. Really. I have no idea where she got the idea.

Although, being sick takes it out of girl...back to bed she said.

What did you say my lovely older sister?

What did you say?

Come a little closer please!

Friends forever.

100 Years

THIS is my New Years Resolve.

I have found myself getting a lump in my throat more and more each time I look at my children. It is all going so fast. Most of the time, I want it to slow down. My mom asked how much time would be enough with them. I told her I can't have enough. I love our days together. I can honestly say I don't mind Clairvaux getting up at night. It is her year to do that. She is only a baby once in her lifetime so for now I will give her that little year of nursing in the night. I don't mind Dominic getting to have a bowl of cereal at night. Really, we only have 18 years to do that together and then he will be gone living his own life with his own family.

More and more, I am seeing how short this life is. I've watched my own father pass on. I watched John's grandfather pass on this year. I am watching before my very own eyes my children get taller, grow wiser, and mature into their own independent selves. As it should be, but it is still painful. I've always been aware of time with them probably too aware.

The lyrics of this song are really about how fast last goes and we really do only have such a short time here on earth.

"100 Years"

I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
Half time goes by
Suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you’re on your way
Every day's a new day...
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

I am going to live in the moment. I plan to celebrate today and only today. I will not look forward or backward. I don't want to be sad or anxious anymore about their future or our future. For heaven's sake, I can't change it. As Marilla said to Anne in Anne of Green Gables, "Man cannot Change what God has determined." God already has their lives drawn put. He knows the plans he has for them.

I was once visiting with my cousin about child rearing, discipline, and homeschooling. She said the most profound thing. She said it is so easy to get caught up in all their comings and goings. Which discipline tactic to use, what activities to get them involved in, how best to parent, etc., that we have forgotten our first job is to LOVE them and show them God's love. Novel. I love it.

That is what I will do. I can do that. I can do that well. This year, my focus is LOVE. I am going to focus less on "lesson teaching" and more on just loving them and speaking their language. I must be what I want them to be.

How do I plan to implement this practically? It is so easy as a mother to get into lecture mode or teaching mode. It seems that we always have to be teaching them something from everything. I want to focus more on the individual person and reaching into their heart to open it. If they fall, I want to ask if they are okay instead of telling them to shake it off. If they are upset about something, I want to empathize with their disappointment and realize that to a three-year-old not getting to wear the purple princess crown is devastating. If I want them to have good manners, First, I must have exceptional manners. If I want them to treat each other kindly and lovingly, I must treat them kindly and lovingly.

We must be what we want them to be.

I read a quote this week that said, "I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care." I loved this. It doesn't matter much if I can spout out facts to them about any topic until they know how much I care about them and have their best interest in mind.

In my eight humble years of parenting, what New Years advice can I pass on to you?
Come home. Literally. Come home. Your children will be grown and gone tomorrow and you can never get this time back. Be with them. Hold them. Read to them. Walk with them. Just sit with them. You will be a very fulfilled in your older years that you spent this time with the flesh of your flesh. Before I came across this song, my motto for this year was going to be "On my death bed..." For a month now, I would say that at the beginning of each sentence and then fill in the blank.

On my death bed, I will be glad I stayed home with my children when they were little.
On my death bed, I will be glad I delighted in my baby in the middle of the night and watched her hold her feet.
On my death bed, I will be glad we baked together and I didn't care if they made a huge mess.
On my death bed, I will be glad we colored together at the dining room table.
On my death bed, I will be glad I sat with my sick baby all day and held her. She needed me.
On my death bed, I will be so glad I loved John to the extreme in every part of our marriage. What a great reward! I say to myself a lot, "I want no man loved more than this man is loved." Of course, every wife should say that and feel that about her husband. My vocation is only to this man and I want to do it to perfection.
On my death bed, I will be glad I stayed up late to decorate a cake to surprise a certain child. Their face was so worth it.
On my death bed, I will be glad I had that conversation until 4:30 in the morning. I will rest in heaven.

I could go on and on. I once heard that we should parent with the end in mind. That is what we plan on doing. I am going to live today with the concept of the end in mind. Does that make sense? It does to me. Meaning, in 100 years from now I will be so glad that I lived that day beautifully.

What are you going to do with your 100 years? I plan on squeezing the heck out of life. I am going to. I am not going to miss a thing. I will be 34 years old this year. That means I've lived 1/3 of my life technically. I will see the beauty in everyday life and be so fulfilled.

Miss Victory

All our children had a wonderful Christmas, but we all had to admit Zellie had "that" special Christmas. She's an easy one to please. I've mentioned before her LOVE of Molly the American Girl. She especially loves the end scene in the movie where Molly is Miss Victory in the school play. It is a darling tap dance the girls do in the movie and our girls have it down by heart. So Zellie received her own pair of tap shoes and a red patriotic dance outfit. Oh My! As my mother said, "She has been transformed."

She also received the movie of Molly the American Girl. She is pictured below here watching her idol.