Catching Up

In true Herald Angel fashion (that’s us, not the real ones) I might be a teensy bit behind.  So, please, don’t remind me that I never posted any Christmas pictures.  Further, do not ask how I could name a blog after angels so involved in the Nativity when I neglect to post about it.  Shame on me.

First Update:

LITTLE IS SIX WHOPPING YEARS OLD!!!!!!

Since her birthday fell on Holy Thursday this year, Man of the House came home for lunch and we had cake and ice cream then instead of after dinner.  It was nice to have that time with her then without the pressure of trying to hustle out the door for Mass.  We did not have a party–I’m a boring mom–but, she did have a friend over for a sleepover the week after her birthday.  I think the highlight for both girls was eating pizza while watching Tangled.  I very much appreciate that they were so easy to please!!  I don’t expect that characteristic to last forever.

The tradition, in the eagerness of my fresh, young motherhood, of constructing and decorating the “Birthday Shrine” for my kids is getting a little exhausting.  Probably in part because my kids have birthdays right around the two greatest feasts of the year.  I’m sure it’s also because I like being over the top.  Whether it was wisdom or laziness (or a peculiar combination of both), I put the shrine for her in our bedroom, knowing 1.) that she would be up before dawn and 2.) there would not be enough time to pump coffee into our pathetic, jaded parent bodies to patiently bear her sweet eagerness.  It worked out pretty well.  I think I may have started a new tradition.

Here’s a little smorgasbord of photos from her big day:

Thankfully, not showing any signs of being disappointed in my lack of decorating.  Phew.  Did I mention that I had the camera on the nightstand ready for her grand entry?  The things  we do for two extra minutes of sleep!

It tasted even BETTER than it looks!  We broke our fast to celebrate her birthday, but HOLY COW it was hard to wait until Sunday to eat it again!  This was a chocolate lover’s dream!

Riding her new scooter to the park!  She is only half smiling because she was exhausted but would not admit it.  🙂

Second Update:

I now hate winter with an even greater vengeance!  I cannot express enough how glad I am that it’s over!!!  The downer:  It was the coldest, rainiest spring ever, and summer doesn’t last forever!  (Dear God, please help me to be less pessimistic so that I can actually enjoy the summer without thinking about how fast winter is coming again!)

Third Update:

We have discovered The Cloche, which has made bread and pizza making amazingly delightful.  I can never go back to cookie sheet pizza making…Okay, except when I just need to get it done.  At any rate, this is a great tool and worth the price.  Now if only we can keep from breaking it…

Doesn’t it look scrumptious?  Man of the House crafted this one.

 

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It Takes A Woman!!

It had been awhile since I’d seen Hello Dolly.  We enjoyed watching it together as a family this weekend.  I’d forgotten about Horace Vandergarden’s number, It Takes a Woman.  Please, tell me I’m not the only one who finds it absolutely hysterical!  My favorite line:  “And she’ll work until infinity!  Three cheers for femininity!”

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Choosing A Mary (or Two)

Mary Poppins has been on my mind a lot lately.  I think it might have something to do with what I read the other day about the “Ideal Woman”.  You know how it goes: Suzy Homemaker, clean and organized, beautifully decorated home, hair done (with no oatmeal in it), nice outfit with matching shoes (They do make an outfit, after all!), a song and a smile on your lips, ever patent with your children, a nice, healthy, well-rounded diet…etc.  I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds “Practically Perfect In Every Way.”

                                                                  See.  So lovely.

I fall short of that.

Why exactly do we put so much pressure on ourselves?  I don’t really know.  Thankfully, my own  desires and expectations for my personal womanhood are constantly and slowly being transformed.  Recently, as I’ve been more aware of this transformation, I’ve realized how much I want to share that with other women.  Deeply moved when I hear other women being hard on themselves, I ache to offer encouragement.

The vision we as women tend to have for ourselves, though good, is not always God’s vision, or is often only a part of His vision for us.  That’s hard to accept at first, because we are comfortable with our vision, and we can see it in it’s entirety.  God’s vision-that’s a little scarier.  We can only see it partially.  Maybe we can’t see the beauty in His vision.  Maybe his vision is bringing us suffering that seems utterly unbearable.  But, His vision for us and our womanhood is wonderfully perfect (Much better than “Practically Perfect”).  It’s perfect for us.  And, though He wants us to be perfect (“Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”), it’s in an entirely different fashion than most of us think…

As Catholic and Christian women we strive to follow the Blessed Mother Mary with her “…profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual mental prayer, her mortification in all things, her surpassing purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness, and her divine wisdom…” (St. Louis De Montfort).

And we fall way short of that-often becoming quite overwhelmed and disappointed in ourselves!!

But that’s okay.  For one thing, God knows we are sinners and so does she.  But the falling and rising again in striving to emulate Mary are still most pleasing to God.  For another, Mary is not just a model or image. She’s our Mother!  And, she’s a tender one at that.  She even understands our messy house  and our struggling marriage.  She gave birth in a dirty, smelly barn.  Joseph wanted to divorce her.  Their child was not of his flesh.  Can you even imagine being married to a man less virtuous than yourself??  And, let’s face it.  Though she was perfect because she was sinless, her motherhood was still wrought with human weakness–She lost Jesus in the temple, and it took her quite some time to realize He was missing.  As far as her example goes, we’ll always fall short.  Yet, each of us as women of faith so beautifully reflect her.  And she shines through each of us in different ways, so that when we look at each other with love, we see our Mother right there in the hearts of the women we are surrounded by.

                                                       Amazing…we each reflect her in our own little way!

The image of Mary Poppins is just that: an image!  She’s not real.  Yet, we so often set before ourselves ideals that are not only unattainable, they aren’t even real!  And we can, and often do, fail to see other women as they truly are.  It doesn’t stop there.  We start to compare ourselves…to the false images we’ve made of them.  I’m not exempt.  I admit, there are times when I see other women, and I marvel that they seem a whole lot closer to perfection (internal and external) than I am.  This is bad.  It often leads to resentment that is ridiculously unwarranted, and I miss out on who these women really are. And therefore, I miss out on the gift that they are.   Furthermore, I don’t give them a chance to reveal where they are broken, and those broken places are most often the places where God’s glory and beauty most radiantly shine through.  And if that’s true of them, it’s true of us too:  That we are beautiful in spite of our weakness and brokenness.

In fact, maybe we should make that our image of womanhood:  Weak and Broken!

I was struck by the homily at Mass this past Sunday.  It was given by a newly ordained priest.  He offered to us his vision of his priesthood:  That he can be like the Host he holds in his hands, the Host he consecrates.  The Host that becomes really and truly Jesus Christ present in all His glory, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. That he can be weak and broken so that the power of Jesus Christ, the power that was perfected in taking on human weakness, can work through him.

There’s God’s vision for our perfection!!  “Power made perfect in weakness!” (2 Cor 12:9)  Let me offer another Mary we can look to, one who was very much weak and broken…


                                                          Mary Magdalene

A great sinner, yet she became a saint.  A woman not necessarily of high ideals, but full of passionate, passionate, passionate love!!!!  Love which “covers a multitude of sins”!!


If you find yourself struggling with brokenness and weakness, with feelings of inadequacy, not able to keep up with the demands life places on you (material as well as spiritual), overwhelmed by your sins and shortcomings, struggling to keep going-to keep working at deeper intimacy with Christ, take heart.  You’re not alone.  You have two, beautiful, compassionate, LOVING Mary’s to turn to. You have Mother Mary!  You have Mary Magdalene!

And, I’m rooting and praying for you too. 🙂

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3/4 year already!

Things have been no less exciting, unique, or beautiful the fourth time around, that’s for sure!  I don’t always feel like I have enough time to drink it all in, but I see the preciousness all the same.  Little Star will be nine months old tomorrow, and I marvel at how quickly that time has gone by and all the milestones she’s reached already.  Little Star is well acquainted with table food and prefers finger feeding herself.  She has mastered the tripod crawl.  (But, what on earth is up with my children??…Only ONE of my four have crawled on both hands and knees!!)  And, just today she learned to stand up in her bed.  Cute.  However, there is one problem.  She doesn’t know how to un-stand and lay back down.  Made for a looooooong day as far as getting her to sleep.

She continues to daily grace us with peace, joy, and laughter.  Now if she can just get those first two teeth in so she can get back to her normal amount of laughter!

The tripod.

Biggest.  Splasher.  Ever.  Right there!

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A Mini Zoolander

The Target Photographer had a blast with Little.  Sears Photographer–a little newer at her game, and she wasn’t quite as convinced as I am that this little man is completely adorable.  But, in spite of that and Littler’s utter refusal to smile (what a Stinker!), the result of his photo shoot proves that he’s hot stuff, even without his real smile!

See what I mean.  “Blue Steel” here!

Watch out!  He’ll be sporting a seersucker for Easter!

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In the midst of the daily grind, there are always beautiful/humorous/surprising sweet little moments that can be a tremendous source of grace and joy–IF I let them.

Moments like:

Children saying grace together before lunch without my prompting–even including “For the souws of the faiful depowted.”

Littler’s flower drawings.  One in particular.   He showed it to me and asked me to guess what it was.  I think I guessed a daffodil.  He said, “No.  It starts with a ‘wa'”.  Not able to think of a flower that begins with a “w” I gave up.  He said, quite matter-of-factly, “It’s a wose (rose)!”  Of course!!

Watching the Little Cherubs share parts of their donuts without being asked.

“I ate all of my dinner.  I didn’t like it, but I ate it without even making a face!” ~Little

“I’m having such a hard time sleeping.  I can’t wait for my birthday!” ~Little

“You’re such a good boy!”  And you’re a good Mommy!” ~Littler

Littlest’s Tea parties!!  🙂

“Winter is killing me.  Isn’t it ever going to be warm again?” ~Littler

No matter what Littlest puts on in the morning, she will wear her princess dress 90% of the day–no matter how dirty it is.  It currently has ketchup stains smothered all over the front.  Will she take it off long enough for me to wash it??  Nope.  The day just isn’t right without it on.  Ever heard of Fancy Nancy?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9VgL9FH7r9Y

Littlest is the two year old version of Fancy Nancy!

And let’s not forget every smile, coo, babble, and snuggle of Little Star.

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“I don’t know who he is, but I DON’T like him!”

A couple of weeks ago I walked into our local Target Portrait studio with a coupon for a photo package for $8.99.  Yes, I had read the fine print and understood that I would have to pick just one pose.  No problem.  I had just taken the younger three cherubs to separate portrait studios offering a similar deal and selected one pose fairly quickly.  Well, guess what you get when you have a fantastic photographer, a beautiful, beautiful little girl, and a fancy, and I mean FANCY dress in which to pose??  Take a peak at what I had to choose from:

I barely understood

the amazing,  intensely personal

love of God for me

until

I held

HER!!!

As she grows, I continue to marvel that the immensity of my love for her is only a drop in the infinite ocean of God’s love for her and for me.  I always imagined myself with a lot of little boys and one girl.  So far it’s the opposite.  My girls are precious gifts to me in so many ways.  One of the most profound is to see that I really am God’s little girl-That’s how He loves me!

I stole a quote of the father of a wonderful family we met in Little Rock.  He said of his first newly born daughter regarding the man who would marry her: “I don’t know who he is, but I DON’T like him!”  Pretty much sums up our thoughts.  🙂

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