Monday, October 27, 2014
Back in July, I ran into Babies R Us. I had the 3-year-old, 2-year-old, and baby in tow. We had about 15 minutes before we had to pick up the older three kids from their Vacation Bible School. Of course, the whirlwind pace of our shopping trip was making everyone cranky (especially me!).
But, we were on a mission. The baby had a major blow out in her car seat and I forgot to put a spare outfit in the diaper bag. I was determined to grab something cute on sale and have her clean and smelling better before we reclaimed the others!
I quickly looked for the clearance rack. Some adorable rompers caught my eye. The price was right and they met the comfy requirement. I selected a navy blue and pink one with ice cream cones...perfect!
As I threw it into the shopping cart, I had a vision of my baby wearing the romper. In the daydream, everything was just right. She was sitting in her Exersaucer (which she hates) in my clean, cheery, sunny kitchen, and she was smiling while watching me make a delicious meal. We could hear the other kids playing happily in the backyard through the open window.
The outfit and the daydream were sold. I couldn't wait to create that scene in my kitchen that very day!
Needless to say, the only accurate part of the daydream was that the baby looked adorable in the outfit...until her next meal! I made a meal in my cluttered kitchen...but it just edible (not delicious), and the only sounds that I remember hearing were sibling quarrels. There was no yard play because of scary thunderstorms.
This happens a lot. I briefly imagine something "perfect." It's been happening as long as I can remember: From first kisses as a teenager (most that never transpired!) to buying a house with my dream kitchen overlooking my dream yard (I really like my kitchen and yard, but...!).
So, my life isn't as perfect as my daydreams. I know that I'm not alone. Every once in a while though, I have the consciousness of mind to recognize a, "THIS IS IT," moment. As in, this is EXACTLY what I've always wanted, hoped for, prayed for, dreamed of (even if the particular circumstances had never crossed my mind before).
The picture above captured one of these moments. It was Sunday night after a very busy weekend, and we had just finished the crazy bedtime routine. Everyone had been bathed and teeth brushed. We had gathered in our bedroom to say our family prayers and read one book (sometimes it's more, but I was anxious to get everyone down!). I was sitting near the bed nursing/rocking the baby.
And then, it happened. My husband lay on the bed in exhaustion. I told him to wake up and hang in there...we were SO close to finishing the day! And then the kids started lying on top of him. One of those unplanned things. Everyone was happy (well, maybe not Daddy!) and everything seemed...perfect. My kids were so cute and so sweet (miraculously no tears or complaints of being squished!), and we were all together while cozy and snuggly in our warm, safe house. My only thought was, "Stop time now!"
The best part was that the camera was randomly next to my bed so that I could capture it. The baby's not in it, but five out of six happy kids is a victory!
Lord, sometimes I feel discouraged because life isn't matching my best laid plans and intentions. I think I miss some peace and contentment because I'm picturing something different. Thank you Lord for knowing what is best for me. Give me the grace to accept it.
And, thank you, thank you for the precious heartwarming moments that affirm me and uplift me. Please help me to recognize your hand in all the circumstances in my life...especially the out-of-control ones that come up incessantly with young children! Amen.
I had another vision today while buying some cute Halloween crafts at Target. I'm excited for the kids to get home from school so I can create the scene. Anyone want to make a bet that'll it happen!?
I wouldn't either. If I let my expectations go though, I might just be surprised? Here's hoping :).
NOTE: This is my October piece that I wrote for catholicmom.com. I'm just reposting here!
Thursday, October 23, 2014
|Lucy and Justin all ready for school!|
I am so delighted and humbled that people check my blog regularly. Really, thank you!!!
The reason that I am not blogging as much has a name. Her name is Lucy. She is a 2-1/2-year old tornado :). She simply will not give me a break in the afternoons. At the moment, she is sitting at the kitchen table with orange paint (the only color left!), a yellow glue stick (who knew they came in colors now!?), and some almost-hard Playdough. This is better than climbing on chairs and counters, which is one of her favorite things to do these days! I'm hoping for 10 minutes at most before she's trying to climb into my lap again :).
So, this is just an FYI post. I have many things that I would like to write about...and in fact, I often write blog posts in my head when I'm out and about! The problem is actually sitting down and writing them.
I can't write them after 8 p.m. because I fear it would not make any sense. The other night I was hemming my son's uniform pants around 9 p.m....while drinking a beer. My husband called to check in (he was working), and he asked me if I really thought this was a good idea. Ha! There are not many things that I do well after 8 p.m.! Miraculously, the pants turned out okay (although I'm not sure that the hem won't fall down next week!).
So, thanks for stopping by! I will try to write when I am able. I pray for the grace to enjoy and appreciate my daughter (and for her safety...constantly for her safety!) every afternoon. She is very easy to love at other times of the day...just not so much when I'm dying for a minute to myself! This "stop the nap" thing (when they are too young to sit and watch TV for an hour) is the hardest transition for me...dare I say even harder than bringing home a newborn!? I know that it's a phase (and a short one at that!). I just wanted to let my readers know why I am MIA these days!
Praying that the peace of Christ will be with all of us. Perfect timing...I better get back to the kitchen!
|Here I am offering Teresa a cupcake on her birthday!! She is ONE and a love. She's having trouble with her ears (chronic infections so we're off to specialist next week), but I'm enjoying her last days of babyhood!|
|I know it's a fuzzy picture...I was having camera issues that day! Happy birthday anyway!|
Friday, October 17, 2014
|The Trouble Twins|
My 2-1/2-year-old (who refuses to nap), Lucy, is running around in her bathing suit. Yes, it's fall and probably 65 degrees out. But, it wasn't worth the battle. You get it, right? She also is carrying around and applying six lip glosses (the kiddie kind that is nontoxic, thank goodness!). She has colored her hands with markers. And, she keeps getting on a chair to go into the kitchen cabinets. Can you say accident waiting to happen!? I remember not that long ago (March maybe?) when I wrote a blog post about my favorite age (age 2). I'm rethinking this...big time!
I guess I should be glad that she's not trying to climb all over me. I love snuggles most of the day, but I try to steal some "me" time when Teresa is sleeping. For the record, I spent the entire morning actively engaged with her (Lucy)...so she is not deprived of affection and attention!
|This baby turns one next week!!!!|
Skip ahead to the mud party in the bathroom while I was trying to grab a bite of lunch. God help me!!! I love these children, but all my efforts to maintain order (and a somewhat clean) house are defeated! It makes those alcoholic apple ciders in my fridge look mighty appealing!!!
I apologize for the vent post. When I tuck these babies into bed in a few short (okay, who am I kidding!?!) hours, I know that I will thank God for an amazing day with them like I always do. I am tremendously blessed...it's just easier to remember this at 9 p.m. than at 2 p.m. :)
I was stopped at a red light this morning at a corner where they are building a new Rite Aid. Lucy and Teresa were happy in the backseat, and I was listening to a beautiful song while enjoying my windows down. I watched a man lay bricks. He was working so efficiently and so carefully, and even in the short time that I was at the light, he made great progress. I couldn't help but feel (momentarily) jealous. When he finished his shift, he would have something beautiful (and something that will stand the test of time) to show for it.
What will I have at the end of my shift today!?! This is rhetorical. I know that my work is important. I know that I am carefully laying "bricks" also...just with a much slower (and messier) outcome. :)
Have a great weekend everyone! I will be enjoying one of those alcoholic apple ciders later when my trouble twins are safely tucked in their beds. Now I must go investigate the crash in the other room...
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Despite the cool drizzly weather, we had a great time yesterday! It was Columbus Day and the big kids were off of school. We dropped the little kids off at preschool, and they had a great time visiting their old teachers. It's a wonderful feeling for a parent when people are excited to see your children :). After preschool, we headed to a fall wonderland with tons of hay, sliding boards, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, face painting, etc.! The kids had a BLAST!
I couldn't help but remember last Columbus Day. I was 38 weeks pregnant and miserable with high blood pressure, contractions, low blood sugar problems, etc. My husband had to work so I took the five kids to a fall fun fort (like the place we went to yesterday, but just a different one!). It was a hard day for me. My children had a great time, but I was unable to enjoy it with them as everything felt hard and like so much work.
But, the memories of that day made yesterday so much sweeter. I loved watching my sweet Teresa enjoy the day right along with her siblings! And I felt great...small (ha...compared to last year anyway!), energetic, and just happy. My load was light.
It was a day that I counted all my blessings. I was so happy to be alive and enjoying a beautiful fall day with my children! Thank you God. Please bless us and protect us, and please, Blessed Mother, bring great comfort to all who are suffering.
Amen! Still savoring my favorite season....
Friday, October 10, 2014
|Trying on Halloween costumes! They look so cute...too bad they were fighting moments later!|
Wednesday and Thursday I ended up putting the laptop away and praying the Rosary with her (Lucy) snuggled on my lap. I think that was a very good use of my time. I love cuddling with my children...I just have to remember to embrace the moment and not think of other things that I could be doing! I had a lot to pray about. For starters, I had just read about another 2-1/2-year-old girl named Lucy who is fighting for her life (she has leukemia). And, I read about several infants this week who passed away (did you follow Shane's Bucket List at all? Such an inspirational reminder that all life is sacred). I wanted to pray for their parents. Anyway, it just felt right to hold my child and pray. Precious moments!
|My cutie still prefers baby food to "real" food!|
When he got home from work last night, I told my husband that he needed to TALK to me. After the kids were in bed, I asked if we could have a no technology night (it's so easy for us to get on our laptops to check "a few things"...and suddenly it's bed time!). We did watch some TV together (we were both too tired to have much deep conversation!), but it was nice to have someone listen to me. And, the best part, he actually recommended that I go out with my friends!
So, tonight I am meeting a bunch of friends at Panera Bread for some kind of fall drink (I'm ridiculously excited to pick between caramel apple cider and a pumpkin latte!). Beer or wine would be my first choice, but I'm fighting a cold/sinus infection and I don't think that'll help me heal!
But, I think that laughter and connection is just the ticket to help me (physically and emotionally!). Have a blessed weekend everyone :).
Monday, October 6, 2014
|Librarian at kids' school asked for "Selfie with my shelfie" pictures to kick off reading challenge!|
Yes, the three of us. Teresa is baby number six and the only baby ever to sleep in our bed (and not all night...only when she wakes up after 4 a.m. and I'm desperate for her to go back to sleep...quickly!). I'm counting on the fact that she'll sleep through the night after she's weaned...at least that's what's happened five times before!
I also have a bad head cold. This made it even harder to get out of bed! Once I put on some heat (I could anticipate the kids complaining about getting dressed!) and some COFFEE, I was feeling better. Five out of kids woke up in a pretty good mood...despite the low temperatures.
The 6th child to wake up was a grump. She (Gianna) had lots of ailments (sore throat, sore leg, sore arms, sore neck, etc.), and she couldn't believe that I was going to send her to school anyway! The nerve...
Flashback to being a child and begging my mother to stay home. My mother was very good at discerning when we were really sick. If she determined real cause, we would get the royal treatment (no wonder we wanted to stay home!). From my father, I inherited a ton of guilt about being out of school. Even as an adult when I was teaching, I often went to school feeling terrible to avoid feeling guilty. Yes, I realize that this is irrational :).
|Here's the baby who gets the extra snuggles!|
Kids have bad mornings. I am very grateful that (so far), they are usually on different mornings. Cecilia was very grumpy on Friday morning, but she was delightful and very independent this morning. Joseph was as agreeable as Joseph can be today! If there is ever a morning when they are all grumpy, I will surely write about it (if I survive!).
Gianna remained grumpy and it was torture to get her fed, dressed, teeth and hair brushed, and coat on. She did not want a kiss goodbye. I wasn't going to push it. In fact, I was very excited to see her go so that the house mood could improve (woops, did I admit that!?).
The door closed as my husband went to take the three oldest to the bus. I returned to getting breakfast for the younger kids. See ya!
And then, the door opened again. I held my breath...
|Lots of soccer this weekend and I loved it because it was fall weather!! Last weekend it was in the 80s...the heat really affected the kids (and the parents on the sidelines!).|
No wait, she looked...nicer. She gave me a big hug as she apologized. She asked if we could try harder tomorrow morning to be nicer to each other.
My defensive instinct was to tell her that I WAS perfectly nice this morning. I didn't feel well and I was still taking care of everyone... SHE was the problem. She was snotty, rude, dramatic, unmotivated, and lazy. Luckily, I spared her the lecture because the bus was going to arrive...and I realize the power of mom's response. I did not want to be the cause of a bad day.
I hugged her back and smiled as I told her enthusiastically, "YES! Tomorrow morning is a re-do!" I wished her a great day and she skipped to the door while blowing me kisses.
I felt good about the self-control that I showed in that moment. High five to me!
But, upon reflection, I must admit that I could've done a much better job. I could tell as soon as she walked into the room this morning that she was in a bad mood so I "turned off the love."
Instead of telling her to "get over" her aches and pains this morning, I should've given her a big hug and said good morning. I could've helped her morning by laying out her clothes like I had done for the other kids (I didn't because I was frustrated with her). I could've LISTENED to her (even if it was complaining) instead of dismissing her.
Gees, I should've been the one asking her for forgiveness!!!
I thought it showed great maturity for an 8-year-old to ask for forgiveness and to try to make it right for next time. I hope that she is getting that from me. This motherhood thing is crazy hard (to quote the "Mom's Night Out" movie!), and I can only take so much before snapping. My kids hear me say that I'm sorry...a lot. I ask if we can start something over...a lot.
|Joseph started calling Justin and Lucy, "The Trouble Twins." Trust me...it fits!!!|
but, not holding my breath that he'll show the maturity that Gianna showed :).
Thursday, October 2, 2014
|Lucy's "silly guys" are outside our house again! Love this time of year!!!|
I was the dental hygienist who cleaned my teeth this morning, I would have hated me. I would still be talking about the snotty lady with the 8:40 a.m. slot :).
For the record, it is that most challenging week of the month for me when my hormones take over (better known as PMS!). I'm also coming down with a cold and Teresa and I didn't sleep well last night. These are not excuses or justifications, but at least it makes me feel better :).
I was sitting in the waiting room with Justin. We both had appointments to have our teeth cleaned at 8:40. Around 8:55 (not too bad, I guess), I was called back. However, the dental hygienist did not call back, "Trish Bolster." Rather, she kept saying over and over again, "Pat? Pat? PAT?"
I knew she was calling ME. However, I didn't answer. Since I was a girl, I have despised being called, "Pat." Yes, my name is Patricia. And, there is nothing wrong with Pat. In fact, I was named for my aunt, Patricia (Pat) Margaret Mulhern, who sadly died of a sudden brain aneurysm at age 25.
But, Pat is not my name. Only one person in my life has called me Pat. It was Mrs. Irons, my 7th grade social studies teacher at St. Catherine of Siena School in Norwood, MA. Sorry if I'm calling you out, Mrs. Irons (I actually have NO idea where she is today!). I corrected her (even though I was very shy) and my parents corrected her. She then called me Tricia for exactly one day before defaulting back to Pat. Not that I'm still bitter :). WHY does this bother me? (no answer)
Anyway, after she called, "Pat BOLSTER," I finally stood up and told Justin to follow. She asked if I hadn't heard her. I told that I'm not used to being called Pat (check my chart lady...I've been coming here for almost ten years and my preferred name is right on it...I know this because no one has ever called me Pat before!)! She didn't seem too pleased.
But at least my teeth are clean. :)
|I love my boys!|
Lucy would nap everyday (like she is right now...hooray!), I would be much saner, happier, calmer, you-name-it!!! All of my girls have stopped napping at 2-1/2-years-old...pretty much to the day. Lucy turns 2-1/2 this week. And, this is only her second nap of the week (it's Thursday). Last week she was napping just fine. Two and a half-year-olds NEED naps.
But, my girls (luckily my boys both napped until 3-1/2ish) decide they are big enough to stop (and they drive their mother almost insane because they are too young to sit and watch TV for an hour or two (the only TV allowed all day is during nap time) so Mommy gets ZERO break). I need a break. Not to mention the declining mood of the toddler as the day progresses!
And, yes, I have tried all kinds of solutions...but I spend my entire "break" when Teresa is sleeping trying to get Lucy down, so it's really not worth it...I'm even more stressed! If I'm not blogging much these days, you'll all know why :).
|Happy Feast of the Guardian Angels! Thank you angels...please watch over us!|
I was God, I don't think I would be very happy with how I respond to my children in stressful situations. In fact, I would punish me...harshly...for not being the mother who my precious children deserve.
Case in point: My husband was teaching a class on Tuesday night. So, it was just me for afternoon homework for 3 kids, dinner, and clean up (and I really lose it if there's not a little bit of order, so I ask the kids to pick up a few things...reasonable, you'd think!?!). I was getting worn down anticipating bathing six children and getting everyone to bed on time (so I could enjoy my reward...a glass of wine!).
Gianna (8) and Joseph (6-1/2) were being VERY silly. Most of the time, I love the close bond that they've always shared. Watching them together makes my heart sing. But, not on Tuesday evenings when I'm the only adult!
At 7 p.m., I asked the two of them to clean up the backyard for me (riding toys, baseball bats, etc. everywhere!) and then head upstairs for their showers. Let's just say that they were less than cooperative. And, because they had support in each other, they were extra bold and uncharacteristically rude.
I did not respond well. I do not physically hurt my children, but words can sting too. Let's leave it at that. I got their cooperation in the end. And, I did apologize and explain (for what it's worth) that I really need their help when Daddy is not home. They seemed to forgive me and everyone got to bed peacefully and on time.
I do not forgive myself as easily. And, in all honesty, who knows what long-term damage I am doing to my children!?! God help me.
There's a line in a song that makes me feel all better. It's the song, "Overwhelmed," by Big Daddy Weave. There's a link below (I think...I've never been any good at this sort of thing!!!).
The line is this: "God, I run into your arms...unashamed because of mercy."
Thank you God for your mercy and for never giving up on me. I pray for the grace that I need to be the person that I am called to be (even when someone calls me Pat, even when my toddler doesn't nap, even when my kids are disrespectful). Amen. :)
You are still reading, then I thank you!!! Many blessings on your day. Guardian Angels, pray for us!