Friday, September 28, 2007

Overcoming shyness

Both of my older kids tend to be on the shy side. Jonathan has really been coming out of his shell over the last year and a half and Elizabeth is very firmly, will throw a fit kicking and screaming if we try to coax her out, planted in her shell.

We had the first parent-teacher conference at school today. Jonathan is doing great but the teacher said he is timid and seems afraid to speak up when called on even if he knows the answer. He's also a bit reluctant to join in with kids if they are already in the midst of play, though, she said he is okay if he initiates the play. I'm not surprised at any of these things. I've seen similar behavior at story time at the library or at vacation Bible school or other social settings.

So, how do you gently encourage a shy child to overcome his fears? I'm not expecting a cure-all or something that will change him overnight, but I would like to try to help him. I'm fairly shy myself and I would like to empower my children so that they don't feel so uncomfortable in social situations like I do. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I never would have thought it

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

Now I just have to figure out how to collect the money! :)

h/t: newhousenewjob

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Search engine hits

This blog so far has gotten a whopping two hits from search engine searches. What cracks me up is what these internet surfers were looking for. I hope they were satisfied, but I really think I need to change the content of future posts on this blog. There seems to be a theme growing...

Search key words:

diaper change (see this recent post)

toilets that spontaneously flush (see this post from the early days of my blog, a whole month ago!)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Aren't Daddies Great?

Mommies just don't seem to be as creative as daddies when it comes to inventing fun ways to play with their kids. Or, at least I'm not. I just can't seem to make a bucket full of legos or a pile of blocks do what Eric can make them do. Nor a roll of painter's tape.

I headed out to the grocery store this morning so Eric had all three kids at home. When I was leaving he was in the middle of laying down masking tape on the floor along the baseboards that he wants to get painted this weekend (the culmination of a home improvement project that we started a year and a half ago!). When I got home from the store, I found this...

It's a whole town's worth of roads and it's been keeping the kids busy for hours! They've been creating buildings out of legos and driving their cars around and around. I never would have thought so much fun could be had with a few cents worth of painter's tape.

Elizabeth especially loves it and all of her favorite cars have gone cruising. Featured here are (from right to left) Sally, Lightning McQueen, Luigi and Herbie.

And, apparently I'm not allowed to take a picture of anything without allowing the kids to pose for one as well. So, here they are...

I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Beauty & Women

Jen at Et tu? recently posted her thoughts on the question of if women should want to be considered sexy and it has had me thinking for the last couple of days. It's a question of both how women perceive themselves and how they want to be perceived by others. I think I agree with Jen that women should not want to be defined by the modern notion of sexiness, even in their own marriages. And, usually, if a woman is focused on being sexy, then she is focused on how she is perceived by others and not working on her own perception of herself or the truth of who she really is.

As for myself, I would like to be perceived as lovely, elegant, poised, classy, and beautiful. I think that I can achieve these regardless of how much baby weight I have yet to lose or how many gray hairs are on my head. It's more a question of how I think of myself and how I carry myself. Truthfully, however, at the moment I perceive myself as tired, clumsy, muddled, and distracted. But, thankfully, these are temporary states as I continue to refine myself into the poised, classy lady that I want to become.

I love the You Tube video that Jen includes in her post of women in art over the centuries. It is stunning and the women are beautiful and elegant, the polar opposites of how women are portrayed in modern day media. The artists paint not only their faces, but are somehow able to also capture their souls. I think that is the problem with modern media, women are treated as objects who have been stripped of their souls. I want to teach my children to perceive all people first as souls, regardless of if they meet them on the street or see them on TV or on the cover of a tabloid at the check out counter. (And, regardless of if they meet them in a moment of clumsiness or poised confidence.)

I hope this post makes some sense to someone. During the course of writing this I have gotten the baby to sleep and he has woken up again three separate times! But, I know all of you understand and will forgive me for being a bit incoherent at times. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Elizabeth is not a girly girl

Elizabeth sees me carrying the baby quickly back to his room, making a bee line for the changing table. I'm holding Gustin away from me and I'm sure that I was saying things along the lines of "Eeew" and "Oh, my goodness!". Elizabeth's curiousity is peaked. She comes running after me in haste.

Elizabeth: Mommy, did he poop?

Me: Yes, he did, Sweetie.

Elizabeth: Did it leak?

Me: (grabbing the sixteenth wipe of the diaper change) Uh huh.

Elizabeth: Can I see?

Me: (not sure if I should laugh or groan!)


Ten minutes later after getting a clean shirt for myself...

Elizabeth: Mommy, my poop did not leak out of my panties.

Me: (suddenly very alert) Is there poop in your panties?

Elizabeth: No.

Me: Let's go to the bathroom and check. Right now.

One minute later...

Me: Elizabeth, there is poop in your panties.

Elizabeth: I know, isn't it funny!?!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SIDS Paranoia

So, now that Augustine is rolling over all the time, my SIDS fears have escalated even beyond the state of paranoia in which I was already living. I've always struggled with being a worrier, but when a friend of a friend's son died of SIDS at the age of 5 months and then a dear friend's beautiful two year old little girl died in her sleep of unknown causes, the fear of SIDS and SUDC shot through the roof. I strictly adhere to the "back to sleep" rule, but now Augustine is rolling over all the time from his back to his tummy, even while he is sleeping. I check on him constantly when he is sleeping and if I find that he has rolled over, I quickly flip him back over (after frantically checking if he is still breathing) and often wake him up.

I know that fear does not come from God. I should have more faith that He knows what is best for my family. But, at the same time, I know that if an infant sleeps on his back, the risk of SIDS goes down significantly. I fear the guilt I would feel if something did happen because I did not act on the this knowledge I have.

So, how do you deal with the fear of SIDS? How do you keep it from disrupting your life (and the peaceful sleep of both yourself and your infant)?

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Beautiful Day

Today is a beautiful day! The sun is shining without a cloud in the sky. It's warm, but the intense heat of summer seems to have broken and I'm looking forward to the fall. There is a freshly frosted homemade chocolate cake on the counter ready to celebrate Eric's return home tonight.

We went to mass this morning at Jonathan's school and I love starting the day by receiving the Eucharist. The recessional song was not one that I recognized, but it must be a favorite for the school. All the kids boisterously joined in the singing and there were hand motions to go with the song as well. After mass we waited on the sidewalk to say goodbye to Jonathan and we watched all the classes file by. A group of 6 or 8 second grade girls started singing the recessional song again with all their little hearts as they passed . They skipped and sang all the way back to the school. It was so precious and charming! I was so glad that their teacher did not scold and shush them back into neat, quiet, straight lines.

Yes, today is a beautiful day. And, I'm going to make a point to slow down and enjoy every second of it!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Four months old today!

Gustin is four months old today! And, what does the busy four-month-old do is his spare time these days? Well, he holds onto his toes. He's just recently discovered them and they are the most fascinating things. He can lay on his back and hold onto them for minutes at a time. But, the best is when Mommy folds his legs so he can get his toes all the way up to his mouth. That's guaranteed to elicit squeals of delight and some of the most precious moments in Mommy's day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I stand corrected

Elizabeth: No, Mommy, it's row-ka-mee cheese, not macaroni and cheese.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Day 3 is done!

We made it through day 3 of Eric's overseas trip. And, so far it has gone very well! I've had plenty of challenges (fussy infants, more bad dreams, overflowing diapers during mass, etc.), but I am handling them better than I expected. The last month has been really tough emotionally for me, as I mentioned before, but this week, even without Eric's help, I've been feeling really good. I know it is through the grace of God and because of the people praying for me that I have been blessed with this additional mental/emotional fortitude. Thank you so much to anyone who offered up even a small prayer for me! I'm so thankful to be a part of the amazing Mystical Body of Christ!

P.S. I'm offering up prayers and sacrifices this week for you other mommies who persevere through times without your husbands at home. I've also been thinking about and praying for women who are widowed or who have husbands who are overseas in the military. God bless you all!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

One down, six more to go

So, I made it through day one of Eric's 7 day business trip overseas. He has meetings in Scotland beginning on Monday and ending on Thursday. But, because of the time it takes to travel that far and flight schedules, etc., he had to leave this morning and won't return until late Friday night. I know many of you awesome mommies have had to deal with Daddy being gone many, many times, but this is new territory for me. Eric has had a few shorter trips, two or three days at a time, but never anything this long. I have been dreading this trip for the last month. So, I'm really a little bit relieved that it has finally begun so now I don't have to dread it anymore. Does this make sense to anyone?

So, if you get a chance, say a little prayer for me. I'm most nervous about surviving the evenings without Eric here. I think I've been dealing with some kind of post-partum/hormonal thing because I seem to be very stressed out and edgy lately and by about supper time every day I'm about ready to pop (or burst into tears). I'm really going to miss Daddy's help with supper dishes, the whole bedtime routine, Elizabeth's continued bad dreams, and Gustin's evening fusiness that really had ramped up over the last couple of weeks. Thankfully, tonight went well, though. So, we're off to a good start.

St. Christopher, please pray for Eric and his co-workers. They are in the air over the Altantic right now!

Cute picture of the day

Just because it makes me smile!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

He's rolling over!

Augustine rolled over for the first time last week and we are anxiously awaiting a second successful attempt. I love this stage that he is in now. We are passed the hardest days of infanthood and now I'm loving watching him grow and learn new things every day. No matter how many kids you have had, I don't think the excitement of watching the newest baby grow ever goes away.
Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of little Augustine!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Refreshingly imperfect

We had a wonderful trip to Eric's hometown this past weekend. It was so relaxing and gave me time to think and breathe.

Saturday morning was the annual Dove Festival and we of course attended the parade. The kids came home with an insane amount of candy and I came home with some things to ponder on.

Eric's little hometown is so different than the suburbs that I have unconsciously become used to over the past seven years. We live in a fairly middle class neighborhood in an area that ranges from middle class to upper middle class to affluent. Our local parish is massive and has a similar demographic. We are involved in several different organizations at church where we have met most of our friends who are all Catholic families with young children.

But, as I sat on the town square waiting for the parade to begin I was able to observe a very different community. I watched people greet each other as they walked along, not able to go ten steps without seeing someone they new. I can go to the grocery store for months and never run into another person with whom I am acquainted. I saw people from every economic class and age range and they were all interacting with each other. There were people with crooked teeth, discolored teeth, or no teeth at all. It was much more interesting than the uniformly straight and brilliantly white smiles that we encounter at home. Many of the people there would be considered poor, but they were good people, hard workers and seemed happy with their lives. Around here, the word "poor" is so often considered synonymous with "drugs", "violence", "crime", and "filth".

I saw the local man who always wears overalls no matter where he goes, whether it's working his farm, going to church, or to a wedding. I heard names like Pearl, Aline, Mavelda, V.B., T.P., Lou, and La Verne. The local weekly paper featured a farmer whose apple trees produced specimens that were a whopping 13.3 ounces. There is also a local elderly man who can routinely be seen driving down the street on his riding lawn mower. His driver's license was revoked years ago due to failing eyesight so he putters around town on his lawn mower, which is still legal for him to do.

The local Catholic church has about 50 parishioners and are awaiting a missionary priest that is coming to serve them. The deacon presided over a communion service on Sunday and they continuously thanked God that they would soon have a priest and would be able to celebrate mass.

I feel so grateful that my children get to experience this quaint little community. I feel like their horizons are broadened most, not by living near a big city, but by visiting a small, old fashioned town with all it's quirks and characters. It's so refreshingly imperfect.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'd like to write a meaningful post but...

... my mother in law will be here in about four hours and the house is still a wreck! So, I'm off to go un-wreck it. Is there a patron saint of tidying and household chores?