Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chalk Dust and Personalities

One child is writing various signs all over the play fort a la The Little Rascals and their "he-man woman haters club," one is patiently drawing as many straight lines as will fit in precisely one patio rectangle, one is intently coloring every rock he can find blue and one has dumped the remaining sidewalk chalk out and is generally a hot mess.

There's nothing like some sidewalk chalk to bring siblings together and highlight their differences all at the same time :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On Getting True Peace

Here are some thoughts on creating true peace for your Tuesday with the accompaniment of adorable pictures of course.  I can't take credit for the thoughts, however I will take full credit for the adorableness......

"St. Augustine describes true peace as tranquility in order, order between God and ourselves, order within ourselves and order in our relationships with others.   If we live that threefold order we will have peace, and we will transmit peace to others."

"Our Lord has entrusted to us the task of bringing peace to the world, starting by having peace in our own souls, and then, in our family and in our place of work.  We should work actively to bring animosity and conflict to an end, to create an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding.  Peace in a family, or in any group of people, isn't simply the absence of arguments or quarrels; that could be a sign simply of mutual indifference.  Peace means helping others in areas of personal or common interest; true peace means being concerned about others, being interested in their plans and projects, their joys and sorrows."Our Lord wants us to foster in our hearts ambitions longings for peace and harmony in this world of ours, which seems to lack that peace more and more, because at times men don't want to have God in their hearts.  God wants us Christians to bring peace and joy with us wherever we go."

"Christ is our peace.  For twenty centuries he has been saying to us:  Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.  He wants each of us to proclaim this to the whole world, by the way we live; to the world in which we live, even if at times it may seem rather small."

"Every Christian has the duty to bring peace and joy to his own surroundings on earth.  This cheerful crusade of manliness will move even shriveled or rotten hearts and raise them to God."
 ~Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God, volume 2 (pg 480-481)

Peace be with you all and enjoy your Tuesday :)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring Evenings with Daddy


The weather has been so great this past week and with the warm temps and extra sunshine we've been spending most our evenings in the backyard--well I've been forcing the kids to spend most of their waking hours in the backyard really.  It's good for them :)  They just especially like it when Dad is home and will do fun things like pitch them the ball and push them on the swing and not pretend like he can't hear them begging for said activities while he reads a book.

David started coach-pitch baseball this year which seems like a ridiculous time commitment with two games and one practices a week plus an optional Sunday batting practice but we'll make it through--it's a lot of activity for this homebody to wrap my mind around.  He seems to like it, but all he really wants to do is batting practice.  To him, practicing any other baseball skill is just a waste of valuable time that could have been spent hitting the ball over the fence into the neighbor's yard.

He might be a little crestfallen when he realizes that an actual home run will take a considerable bit more umph.  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

On Taking An Overdue Family Vacation

We took a family vacation to Williamsburg last week which was a bit of a miracle since Chris actually took a whole week off of work and we actually went somewhere that was not another family member's home.  It was pretty amazing.  Actually, when we arrived at our hotel Chris realized it was the same place he stayed in as a boy when his family came to Williamsburg which made our visit that much more special.

I love Williamsburg.  I went to grad school at William and Mary, the whole area is just beautiful and I would totally move there in a heartbeat--unfortunately the chances of that are pretty much zero.  We could be stationed in Norfolk or Virginia Beach but I'm thinking the husband would not be on board for that commute.  Men.

We just had five days to see all the sights so we started off with Jamestown and Yorktown--my childhood favorites.  Well Jamestown anyway, when you grow up mostly in Virginia Beach you just have to accept that half of your field trips will always be there and you don't mind because it's awesome.

I think Jamestown was the boys' favorite, aside from the indoor pool and free put put golf at the hotel that is.  I'm pretty sure they would have stayed and watched the blacksmith for another hour if I'd let them....but, well, mamma was hungry and we all have to learn to make sacrifices for our loved ones......

We got to Yorktown near closing time which meant it was pretty much empty and the boys had the gentleman in charge of the artillery all to themselves.  They were so interested, he took them back and showed them how each and every weapon he had worked and let them touch them all.  Margaret, meanwhile just wanted to pick up all the rocks.  Really she spent the majority of the trip exclaiming "rocks!" everywhere we went and unsuccessfully attempting to carry them all home.  And since most of the roads were gravel in these historic areas there were a lot of opportunities for her favorite pastime.  

We lost one day of the trip to torrential rain and then we spent the rest of our time at Colonial Williamsburg.  And also swimming in the indoor pool and playing free put put golf.  If David had had his way we wouldn't have ever left the hotel.  With those options, plus all the ducks, geese, swans and turtles who were busy tending their nests full of eggs around the property ponds why would anyone ever want to leave?

We didn't spring for the full rental costumes that a lot of the children were sporting, but grandma and grandpa did make sure all the kids had correct period head-wear and weaponry.  

Margaret was obviously very excited about her first mob cap.  If she was just one year older I'm pretty sure I would have dressed her up in full Colonial attire.  Who am I kidding, I would have totally gotten us matching mother-daughter Colonial outfits.  You've got to do that sort of thing when the kids are too young to realize they should be embarrassed by you right?  Well, there's always next year.

Once John and Henry had chosen their guns, David  took grandma back into the store and chose the largest of all the guns for his own.  I couldn't help laughing about the fact that he absolutely could not decide what he wanted until his brothers had each made their choice and then, and only then, could he settle on getting the same thing--but bigger. 

Henry took his weaponry very seriously as he marched through the streets and I had to continually remind him to shoot the red coats, not the tourists.

Of course we took the obligatory pictures of the children in the pillory while they pondered their life choices and wondered where they went so very, very wrong.

All in all it was a very fun trip that went by much too quickly, but I suppose that's how vacations always feel.  I definitely want to go back before we move again.  We spent two days in Colonial Williamsburg and it felt like we hardly saw anything.  And we didn't get to Busch Gardens or the nearby state park full of fossil hunting and geocaches either.  We did however eat at The Cheese Shop, twice, so that right there marks the whole trip a success in my book.  We even snuck out for a date night which we returned from at 8 pm because we were tired and couldn't think of anything else to do but still, another amazing and overdue success.

I suppose I'll just have to get going on those matching Colonial dresses for me and Margaret and we'll be ready to head back again next spring :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

On Being Afraid of Loving Things

"I don't dare go out," said Anne, in the tone of a martyr relinquishing all earthly joys.  "If I can't stay here there is no use in my loving Green Gables.  And if I go out there and get acquainted with all those trees and flowers and the orchard and the brook I'll not be able to help loving it.  It's hard enough now, so I won't make it any harder.   I want to go out so much--everything seems to be calling to me, "Anne, Anne, come out to us Anne, Anne, we want a playmate"--but it's better not.  There is no use in loving things if you have to be torn from them, is there?  And it's so hard to keep from loving things, isn't it?  That was why I was so glad when I thought I was going to live here.  I thought I'd have so many things to love and nothing to hinder me.  But that brief dream is over.  I am resigned to my to my fate now, so I don't think I'll go out for fear I'll get unresigned again."                                                                  
~L.M. Montgomery

I'm feeling very Anne-ish lately.

Being pregnant again after losing a baby is very emotional.  I think it's a natural reaction to feel distanced from the baby, afraid to really love them because you know they too might be torn from you.  But at the same time, it is really hard to keep from loving things, isn't it?  Especially wonderful things like babies.

I've noticed a marked uptick in October baby announcements this past week.  Everyone's reaching that second trimester milestone and feeling like it's "safe" to finally announce their big news to the world.  It probably goes without saying that I don't feel "safe" yet.  We actually take the opposite view of pregnancy announcements and tend to announce all of our babies almost as soon as we know about them ourselves in order to maximize the amount of people praying for us and for them.  After all, if I were to wait until I felt like it was really "safe" to announce each new child, I think I would have just recently announced Margaret to the world.  Now that she's pushing eighteen months I'm fairly confident she's going to make it and I hardly ever sneak into her room to make sure she's still breathing anymore.  She feels safe.  Not that any of them are ever actually safe.  Not really.

I've got another two months to go before I clear that twenty week hurdle that always looms so large during my pregnancies.  I'm longing for those little flutters that will give me a bit of reassurance before facing each meeting with the doppler and the forced look of calm on the doctor's face as they search for a heartbeat that may or may not ever be heard again.  At the same time though, I'm working on unresigning myself to the fear of losing this little one too and loving them despite all of the things that might be.  
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