Thursday, July 3, 2014

potato salad and blogging

tonight, in preparation for our big family 4th party tomorrow, i made a huge potato salad. i've never made one before-it seemed intimidating. so many different kinds/styles to choose from. and they always seemed like a lot of work. as i made it, i felt that, "well now i'm definitely a grown up" feeling that i feel sometimes about the oddest things. i think maybe i've talked about that before. well, it was a lot of work, although it also made a LOT of food, which is good for our big family.

as i worked in the kitchen with some great music going, i thought of several things i wanted to write about. and then it hit me- it has been so long since i've written, i've almost completely stopped writing blog posts in my head or developing ideas as i go about my days. the few that i have, i usually joke about with a friend, and i suppose that is enough of a release to let the idea go. i used to think of ideas all the time, scribbling them on scraps of paper or on the chalkboard wall. when i cleaned off my "desk" several months ago, i found a whole pile of ideas. i think i even started using a notebook one time. i read several really great short stories that a friend had written, and was really motivated to write, but then i think johnny got a tooth/stopped sleeping or some other life happens thing. writing is a lot of work and i am slow at it. i have also thought about pulling drafts out of the archives and just posting them as is with maybe a little back story or quick summation. i don't know.

but tonight, i wanted to write. the potato salad tucked in the fridge, i turned off the music, split a cheap, watery, delicious beer with tim and sat down. the bugs and the pops out the window on this unusually cool july night are too good not to enjoy just a little bit. instead of checking facebook first like i always do, and getting distracted and never making it over here, i ignored those 6 notifications and messages. i just came hear and typed, without thinking too much about it. then i went and stole the other half of the beer from tim.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

all together now

because of timmy's work schedule, we rarely get to eat dinner together, except for his days off. man i miss him at dinner. i always took that major luxury for granted because growing up, we always ate dinner together as a family, and with tim's first couple jobs, or at least by the time we'd had ben, he was always home for dinner. and my boys eat sooooooooo dang slooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. like, i can nurse the baby, feed the baby non milk food, eat my own dinner, and clean up the kitchen, and they're still not done eating. there is a lot of coaching/reminding to eat your dinner. i usually try to stay at the table with them, because if i get up, they get up.

but tonight we were all together. john paul was in a good mood in his high chair, happily gobbling bites of avocado and smiling at the silliness of his family. i mostly sat back and watched it all.

the boys were telling jokes. oh, the joke telling. i think this a normal stage of kid development, but they're very much in the phase of telling jokes that rarely make sense and then laughing hysterically at each other (or themselves), only reinforcing their poor joke telling.

tim has this amusing-because-it's-so-bad habit of making up jokes that he formulates out loud, making the punchline either really obvious because you've heard the whole thought process or totally mind boggling that that's the punchline after all the puzzling and confusion. tonight it was, as i said, after much formulation, "what do you call a sleepy man who has eaten a spicy steak?....... a flamin' yawn." but to get to that punchline.... oh how i love that man. he also has a real gem about a "meanderin' orange".

this "joke" set max off on a whole series of joke/riddles. "what do you call a clock that doesn't tick?" ben figured him out from the start, " a tickless clock". "a barkless dog". "a bounceless ball". to which each time, max marveled, "man ben, you are so smart." with tim present to exchange amused looks, what would normally be kind of annoying after the 5th "joke" is endearing and cute.

tim then offered, "what do you call a girl turtle?........... shelly. " ben countered, "what do you call a female triceratops?................ HORNY!" tim and i both laughed heartily. then he said, "or hornTy if you want."

laughing at kids jokes is a dangerous thing. i often genuinely laugh at the completely nonsensical ones because they catch me off guard, but then that makes them think they make sense and they follow the same miscalculated joke equation over and over again, wondering why they are no longer garnering laughs.

i love my guys. i love them all so much easier when we are all together.

yah, i know this is pretty choppy, but you get what you get and.... i'm tryin'.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

on writing

tonight, i originally started a post titled, "THAT kind of mood". i kept writing and erasing. this paragraph is as far as i got.

today was rough. i still feel, some days, like, "oh yah! *this* is what life with a baby was like." but not all days are this hard. i try to remind myself this. i try to offer my frustrations and annoyances up for people who are struggling with much bigger, heavier things. i keep my guardian angel busy finishing Hail Marys because i often get distracted after the first couple words or am too tired to finish them. i often fail. exhaustion colors my world dark very quickly.

i want to write here. i like to tell stories. i like to make people laugh. and sometimes it's a good outlet for my frustrations. or to hash out the rolling arounds of my brain. but man. to find that sweet spot of time and energy. so elusive. and like i said in that attempted post, exhaustion colors my world dark very quickly, so i'm trying to ween myself of computer late nights.

i always feel a little bit of relief when i find a blog that just drops off into time and no where. a few that i follow(ed) have closed up shop, even letting go of sponsors, because they needed to direct their energy elsewhere.

so i ask, when do you write? all at once, or in bits and pieces?

Monday, November 11, 2013

asian lady beetle maze

i need to dust off these cob webs. i feel stagnant and uncreative and as much as i keep telling myself, "instead of spending time on the computer, i should work on projects in the evening" but then i waste two hours TWO HOURS on the computer with nothing creative to show for it and a heart full of envy. blah.

tonight, as i tried to settle johnny (yes, we call him johnny. but when he's being manly or professional, we call him john p. peppercorn among many other ridiculous things) in for the seventh time, i laid down in our bed to nurse him. with the glow of the night light behind me, i started to make shadow puppets on the wall and ceiling to entertain myself, as i often do. you'd think i'd be good at shadow puppets by now, but i'm not.

then i noticed an asian lady beetle on the ceiling, trying to navigate the maze that is popcorn ceiling texture. this too amused me. after a lot of slow travel, it seemed to say, "eff this!" and flew to the wall.

the other day, when the sun was gloriously shining, i put a blanket down for the babe and i to rest on. max walked around doing max things, stopping every few minutes to ask if something was on his back. the south side of our house/our sunning spot was covered in the beetles, which max named "bare lady bugs". but until he explained his reasoning for the name, i thought "bear" lady bugs. that max, he says interesting things.

so, as you can see, my life is wild and crazy these days.

insert pictures of shadow puppets and happy sunny things.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

johnny all clean

i don't want to spend forever perfecting this post, i just want to get my thoughts down so i don't forget a very good night.

last saturday evening, my little john paul was finally baptized!!! it drove me crazy to wait so long to get him all cleaned up, but it was nice to get to celebrate with our family in a way that we wouldn't have if we had done it sooner. because...

on satuday night, we also had a surprise anniversary party for my parents. we had the gathering at st. anthony's in garden plain, and began the evening with the regularly scheduled evening mass. the pastor, fr. sam pinkerton, an old friend of our family, let my cousin, fr. chad, who was there to do a special blessing for my parents afterwards and also to baptize my bug, read the gospel and preached the homily.

let me set the scene: st. anthony's is a beautiful, traditional style church with elaborate stained glass, statues, stations of the cross, painting embellishments-beautiful and lots to look at. we sat in the row with tim's parents and the boys were down by them, too far from me to feel like i needed to watch. when i glanced down at them, they were snuggled up to grandma or gazing around at all the new sights of the church. (our church is pretty plain.) tim was next to me and snuggling john paul and soaking up all the baby goodness he could from our sleeping boy. when i looked around the church, i could see family and dear family friends mixed in with the regular congregation, there to celebrate my parents. so much beauty. my heart was full.

and then fr. chad read the gospel-Christ gives us the Our Father, and had a homily that i felt couldn't possibly have been a better fit for the day of john paul's baptism. it was such a gift to hear fr. preach. i've heard him give talks and say daily mass, but i can't remember any other time i've had the pleasure of hearing him preach, and let me say, the man can preach. (i'm not biased one bit.) nothing he said was anything we hadn't heard before, in fact, he talked about pretty simple concepts: trust, prayer as a conversation with God, perseverance, but in that setting, with those people, and the way he preached it, i was so filled.

in the Our Father, i struggle with the "give us this day our daily bread" part. can't i pray, "yearly bread" or "lifetime bread"? trusting in God providence each day is simple and difficult. i know He loves us and watches over us, but i like things to be easy and just want a smooth path laid out for me.

trust in God's plan for us. he talked about his mother's hobby of cross-stitch. each stitch is planned and precise. as a kid, laying on the floor playing or watching tv, he would look up at his mom working on a project, and from underneath, the project was a mess of threads. from her perspective, looking down at her work, it was making a beautiful tapestry. so many times in the last several years, our life seemed like a big mess but i desperately hoped God had a bigger picture he was working on.

perseverance. we have to keep taking our prayers to God, knowing that he always hears them, but as a good parent, answers them in his time and not always in the way we want.

the last several years, as tim started his new career and we struggled in so, so many many, my nightly prayer with the boys, among other intentions, was, "for wisdom for mommy and daddy to make good decisions for our family". was this the right job for tim and our family? were we making the right financial decisions? when should we try to add another child to our family? every night i prayed and for so long, it seemed like we weren't getting anywhere. but slowly, the boys got a little easier, tim's schedule became more manageable, we felt like we were making progress, and all of a sudden, we were both on the same page about another baby.

and we were blessed with one.

then more trusting. i have never considered myself a worrier, but with this pregnancy, it seemed like more than any other time in my life, i realized just how very NOT in control we are of our lives no matter how much we try to be in control. regardless of all of my best efforts, i couldn't guarantee a healthy baby or healthy me. for those first three months, on one side of my chalk board wall in the kitchen i had written "all will be well" and on the other side, "every little thing is going to be okay".

for the last year, on and off, i had been reading sheldon vanauken's A Severe Mercy. i never read books in starts and stops, but for some reason, with that book, even though i really liked it, i would read it for a bit, and it would really speak to me, then i would put it down for a while. i don't want to ruin the book because it's a good one and if you haven't read it, you should, but right when i was first pregnant, i got to a part where a character was contemplating mortality and realizing that with Heaven as our goal and hopeful destination, no matter what happens on earth, "all will be most well." so i repeated that to myself often.

with obama's re-election and so much uncertainty is our country and world, i often thought about what the future will look like for our children. i tried to reassure myself with Blessed John Paul II's simple words, "Be not afraid." so much we can't control. so much we really just have to turn over to God.

so on the night that my little one was to begin his sacramental life in the Church, it was so beautiful that fr. spoke of the things that i, whether i wanted to or not, had to work on during my pregnancy and will always have to work on.

after mass, we surprised my parents and oh were they surprised. they've always said that they didn't want a party and several (or most) of us kids didn't think it was a good idea, but i'm so thankful one dear, bold, sibling pushed on. the slide show one brother prepared and the toast that another one gave really made us all stop and think about the accomplishments of their 45 years together in a way that we wouldn't have other wise with all the busyness of our own lives and little families. to celebrate them and their perseverance. their trust. and all the fruit that it brought forth. eight children. seven marriages. 26 grandchildren on earth and more in heaven. that's a lot to celebrate.

i told tim at the end of the night that i wish i could have had a pause button to stop it all and soak up every last bit of all of the wonderfulness. but life keeps thundering on. so as the last scent of chrism wore off johnny's head today, i wanted to pause here and try, in a very, very small way to capture the beauty of his and our family's night.

Monday, July 22, 2013

a night in the life of tim and mary

i was going to just write this in my journal, because these are the things i don't want to forget, but decided to write it here in case it amused anyone else.

tonight i was outside watching the gorgeous lightening storm after sunset when tim pulled into the driveway. he walked over to me and after chatting a bit, he told me how much i had scared him when he pulled up.

t: "i was rockin' out to my music, pull up, watching the lightening, and then i see you with your back turned to me. i was terrified you were going to [tim imitates a zombie slowly turning around and staggering towards his car]."

m: "thanks for not shooting me in the head."

t: "oh man, mare. don't become a zombie. i'd hate to have to shoot you. actually, as scary as you are in real life, it probably wouldn't be so hard. you'd be terrifying!"

oddly, i took that as a compliment, but still had to pinch him.

tim's really good at doing voices, so he then made me laugh hysterically as he narrated the storm in a voice that would be inappropriate for me to try to describe.

and now, while i'm writing, he's scanning netflix for a movie to watch. one of his suggested categories, based on his past viewings, is "dark suspenseful foreign revenge movies". we rarely watch movies together.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

a prayer

as i snuggle my beautiful new boy, i sometimes start to feel guilt about my blessings. two wild and handsome big boys, and now this new little one. three sons. why do i get these blessings when others so desperately want even one child? or more children.

i used to be so overwhelmed by guilt over my blessings. we live in a world where a lot of bad things happen to innocent people. i can't even hardly listen to NPR anymore-the world news makes me cry. one day while i was talking to my mom about this, she reminded me that, when we pray the morning offering, we offer to God our "prayers, works, joys, and sufferings".

i acknowledge that i am completely unworthy of these gifts. i thank God for all that He has blessed us with. and when those feelings of guilt start to creep in, i offer up my joys and say a prayer.