Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Posts that Never Happened

There were a few posts that I hoped to write this last week, and they just didn't happen. When Charles has an easy, off-service rotation (like now), and the weather is easy breezy (except when it is thunderstormy), my time is spent playing outside, sitting on the deck, making more hands-on dinners, and, well, not on the computer.

I decided that rather than let these ideas rot in my head until they are no longer relevant, I'd just give you little summaries of the posts that were not meant to be. (And let's be real -- it's probably better that way!) (And, after taking 4 days to hit publish, this is all last week's news, but oh well!)

On Gwyneth Paltrow, Groceries, and Food Philosophy

I thought very seriously about attempting the SNAP grocery challenge, but decided against it for several reasons. The most pressing being that I thought it seemed silly to buy food that I wouldn't normally buy to fit the no food you already have aspect of the challenge. I've got stuff at home that I plan on using up/defrosting this week thankyouverymuch.

Instead, I spent about $70 on a small trip to the grocery store, mostly for fresh produce and dairy. I forgot one item; I splurged on a couple of others; I'll probably have to buy more whole milk because kids. Combined with what I already have on hand, we'll have 5-6 dinners, as well as daily breakfast, lunch and snacks.

As a family, we choose to spend what we need on groceries. I pay attention to prices. I have a freezer full of "stock up" stuff. But because I firmly believe that careful meal planning reduces our overall food bill/budget by minimizing waste and limiting eating out to times that we plan to eat out, we consider grocery expenses a "necessary evil." And we're blessed to be in a position to do so.

More importantly, though, I think the real impact of all of the brouhaha over Gwyneth's "attempt" at the challenge and the discourse that has followed, is that how we think about food is as important as how much money we have to spend on food.  People want to eat the way they know to eat. Some expect fancy dinners, certain preparations, or lots of limes. Others, like most of the (generally educated and religious) moms I've seen share their thoughts on this, are closer to my food philosophy: as much fresh (and frozen) produce as possible, meat, dairy. Real food, but family food: fewer frills or specialty ingredients, but generally healthy and economical. Still others don't know much besides highly processed food and sugary drinks, and use their food budgets accordingly. 

None of that solves the very real problems of hunger, food insecurity, and climbing rates of diet-contributed lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, but I think awareness is key. We need to understand problems before we can really solve them.

On Infertility

Last week was Infertility Awareness Week. Everything posted at Mama Needs Coffee on the subject was brilliant, but I had wanted to express some thoughts of my own.

While I am blessed to have not experienced infertility, I have seen people I love struggle to get pregnant and stay pregnant. I have prayed and cried and rejoiced at their sides. I am the product of infertility. It took years for my parents to get pregnant with me, and almost five more years before my sister was born.

But also, I am human, meaning I've said the wrong thing and done the wrong thing, too. I'm sorry for that. But what I've never stopped doing is loving the people that I love through it all. And I think that is true of most people who share my experience, feeling powerless as we watch our friends or loved ones ache. That, I'm sure, is the source of too many ill-advised but well-meaning comments. Anyway, if anyone reading this is or has been in that situation, please know you're loved and prayed for, even when those who love you make knuckle-headed comments.

Birthday Boy

Just a preview for now, because I'll get around to posting more pics from Peter's birthday . . . eventually!

Because that face! OMGosh!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Restless until . . .

I find rest in Thee.

Today, I feel . . . restless.

Not exhausted because I never get any sleep/rest/time off restless. Like Restless in Seattle? Reno? Rome? That's unrested. No, I feel unsettled. Restless. Like I feel restless at rest.

As I write, Charles is taking a high-stakes test. Maybe I can blame that. 

I know what I need is to rest in the Lord. To seek His will through prayer, peace, quiet. I had the most lovely (end of) Lent, in part because I buckled down and really gave my heart to Jesus in prayer. But today, I feel restless in prayer. 

How many times must I (re)learn?

I know the peace will come with time and patience. And buckling down in prayer.

In the mean time, here are some recent pictures from my phone that aren't really fit for posts of their own! :-) 

Mr. I-can-self-feed. I can. Mama, look how well I'm doing.

He's such a good Daddy.


Clare picked the pink and purple stuff. Of course.

Splash Down!

Until later . . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Birthday, Baby Peter

Dear Peter,

It's hard to believe that, today, you are one year old. This year has slipped by so fast that is scares me. Is this what they mean when they say that it goes by too fast? I want to savor each day of your waning babyness -- your baby snuggles and smiles and coos -- as they give way to the toddler that you are becoming. 

What everyone knows and loves about you is your personality -- you are so happy and full of joy that people are often surprised to hear you cry or fuss. 

You bring so much joy to our lives -- your smile can't but make a bad day good in an instant. It is sunshine, pure, golden sunshine. 

I love hearing you laugh, especially when you're laughing with your sister, sharing jokes that we grown-ups just don't quite get. I hope you guys always share that bond -- that you always have each other to lean on and laugh with. 

You are physical, tactile, and always ready to go-go-go. You want to be playing, and you especially want to play outside. You have an adventurous spirit, and are, generally speaking, a risk-taker. I love that about you, even when it worries me. I'm a Mama and just want you to stay safe.

But I know you'll be okay. You're a smart kid, and the combination of smart, adventurous, and good-natured is going to take you far in life. 

I know that I feel saddened by the passing of time, but I'm also so excited to see what happens next. I'm excited to watch you grow into a wonderful little boy, to get to know you more and more, and to watch you blossom in the year to come.

Happy Birthday, Little Buddy! I love you a million.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!

Alleluia! He is risen!

I didn't really mean to totally take Holy Week off from blogging, but it was a lovely, fruitful week, so I'm glad I did. We spent a lot of time preparing for Easter, praying, and talking about Jesus on the Cross. Clare asked a lot (and I mean a lot) of deep, impactful questions. That meant I spent a lot of time thinking about (and explaining) the Passion of Our Lord. What a lovely, wonderful blessing!

We also observed zero Easter activities until the Big Day, save for putting stickers on plastic eggs Saturday morning. All things considered, I decided that dying boiled eggs was just not worth it this year. Maybe some day. But seeing how the stickers-on-eggs thing went, I think I made the right choice. ;-)

Trying to get her to show off the egg.

The Holy Spirit had a hand in preparing Charles' work schedule for Holy Week, so even though he was still on service, we were able to go to Holy Thursday and Good Friday services as a family in the evening. Charles was chosen to be among those getting his feet washed on Thursday, so that was extra-special. Clare also decided to have a tantrum in the last 90 seconds of Mass that evening -- during the silence after the consecrated hosts have been moved to the Alter of Repose for the night -- because we gasp! made her put her shoes on. I know. I know.

I only mention that, because on Friday, instead, Clare fell asleep on Charles' shoulder during the Gospel reading. She slept through the liturgy, in the car, and in her bed until about midnight, woke up to go potty, and then slept until morning. 

We've determined that our kids are not quite ready for the Vigil on Saturday, so once they were in bed that night, I got the house all Easter'd up. 

Baskets, banners and blooms -- oh, my!

Clare was unbelievably excited when she woke up on Sunday and it was Easter. She was jumping up and down and squealing and seeing everything. It was magic -- I wish I had known to film it on secret camera. It was that spectacular!

Peter was much more stoic about the whole thing.

After Mass, we tried to take pictures. We probably should have done it before, but wanted to get out the door early, knowing that it would be a full house.

Like herding cats. (Dress and shirt: Children's Place)

Then we spent the day playing, eating, and being together. We talked to our families and just basked in the joy of Christ's Resurrection. 

He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!