Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

It is a brief quiet spell here before the second wind of hustle and bustle, and I wanted to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, one filled with many thanks and blessings.

And a peek at my little turkeys. :-)

For all my many blessings, I thank you, dear Lord.

And Skipper's hand because he'savoided the camera thus far (more like holed away reading  a book, heehee).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Morning Reflection (11)

I meant to wake early to get this post written and published, but the morning ended in lazing about in bed, squashed among three of the four kids, and the cat on top of me to boot. It felt nice, especially after a much too late night.

I was awake for no reason. I folded some clothes, packed a few boxes, but mostly I found myself awake and not feeling tired. In the background I put on the movie, The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan. It has been years since I read the book so I only had a vague recollection of the story and had an open mind going into the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I loved the running commentary from Tobey Maguire's character, though at times I thought he shouted his lines too much. Carey Mulligan did a good job as Daisy, certainly true to character and I did not much like her (Daisy, not the actress). Joel Edgerton played Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, and despite his unlikeable character, he somehow moved me to pity at the end. And of course, the Great Gatsby himself, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. I have been a huge fan of DiCaprio's, way back before his Titanic performance that launched him into the teen fan base, from What's Eating Gilbert Grape and The Basketball Diaries. During the movie, I actually felt bothered by his performance, almost as if he was not up to par or was not quite sure how to play the character. It took the ending and a little reflection to realize that this was intentional, as he was playing the part of a man who made a new identity for himself.

As for the scenes and music, it worked well, very well. Initially, the music really threw me off. I mean, the music was by Jay-Z for goodness sake. Jay-Z in the 1920s, and certainly the first song threw me off, but thereafter, it blended and fit in with the movie style. Speaking of style, the entire movie I kept thinking, this reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, the modern version starring DiCaprio. The colors were brilliant, the scenery fantastic and nearly surreal, and yet a dismal, gray cast over the poorer walks of life. When I compared the two movies, I found the same director, Baz Luhrmann, and the same screenplay writer, Baz himself as well as Craig Pearce.

While I did enjoy the movie, the glimpse of the very lavish (and very poor), the book brought to life, and even a peek at World War 1, I do feel I should mention that the movie does contain sexual innuendo, drunkenness, and one particular vulgar party (no skin necessarily but extremely obvious drunkenness and sexual relations). The story line is based on a few love affairs so this is no surprise for those who have read the book. Compared to most modern movies, however, the scenes are quite tame.

Ok, so my morning reflection has become one long movie review. Not that it matters. This last week was another of cleaning and unpacking, nothing too crazy, except for having the plumber cancel because he cut off his finger! Yikes, can you imagine?

I will leave you with a few kid notes...

Miss Z received her first black eye thanks to walking in front of her swinging sister. Crazily enough, this was our first black eye ever as parents. Miss Z loves the new house and it my little shadow and helper. She's such a sweet girl, as long as she's tied to my hip.

Miss Bear has certainly defined drama queen lately. I cannot keep up with the mood swings, but when she's good, she's golden. I will concentrate on those moments. Here she is loving a dog statue left behind by the previous owner. Miss Bear loves animals and is dying to have a dog or a "baby kitten" or a rabbit or a mouse or even a toad to sleep with. She's fearless in picking up critters, even bugs. Another thing that has really popped out this last week with her? She is talking and talking and talking. It is never ending and she is making all these stories up, which is fun because Critter only makes stories up occasionally and Skipper, never.

Check out this smiling face. Critter was super excited to help out in ripping out the carpet. He's been very quiet lately, though I have noticed a little bit of sneakiness on his part and more make-believe, especially in tormenting his sister, who is too easily tormented. Oh, the job of big brothers - to play so nicely or to tease so mercilessly. Critter's also my creative one. Yesterday he spent a lot of time painting, turning out painting after painting (watercolors).

More smiles! Skipper has taken charge of Miss Z lately: watching her, playing with her, keeping her from crying, reading to her. He helps so much and it is so sweet to see him with her. My boy is so tall I often forget he is only 8. A few more inches and he will be taller than me! He has entered a bit of a whiny stage, God help me to not react. He has given me a bit of worry healthwise. Hopefully it is just me and my imagination. It is nothing big, just a lot of little things over the last few months (increased headaches, telling me his eyes bother him, paleness and dizziness that comes and goes very sporadically, and his last virus brought out diabetes symptoms - major peeing and drinking, eating, and a few pounds weight loss but then it all disappeared and he's regained his weight - all very confusing). I am not a patient person and tend to worry too much when it is just a feeling. I really should have learned by now not trust my feelings, but I am human, and a mom, after all.

Well, this sure is shaping up to be longer than I intended. Have a wonderful week, readers!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday Morning Reflections (10)

Dawn is breaking with its deep pinkish hue. The house is quiet, but will soon be bustling. We were up late last night. Miss Bear had dance and then we ran out to the store to place a carpet order for the new house (yay!). On the way home, my husband wanted to stop by the new place since the kids and I had been out there nearly all week cleaning, but poor man, he had to stay home and work.

Last week was a good one. I think it all started when I called Fall Break for school and focused all attention on cleaning the kitchen in the new home. Yikes. That took pretty much the entire week. But, aside from carpet and painting, it was the biggest challenge (in my mind). So, now, my hands are so dry and my feet are killing me - the kitchen floors are ceramic tile. I need to buy some good support shoes for inside only, I think.

It was also cold last week. To start the week off, we did not have propane (the previous owner ran it waaay down). In the meantime, we enjoyed building our first fire in keeping our home above 50:

And on Monday night (out with my Mom and the girls on a rare shopping trip - to Kohl's), it snowed for the first time!

We woke up to around an inch of snow (and plenty of ice). I snapped a quick shot of the new house covered in snow:

To Do Today... Quick trip to the local grocery store. Pack up more stuff and take it to the house. Rip out carpet and sweep down. Cook food - all day as the four year old never stops eating (even more than my non-stop eating eight year old, both skinny as rails). Keep cleaning the house and putting away. Next up, is the little desk area near the kitchen.

On School... Nothing doing. Officially, that is. This year I have had a hard time settling in with a good schedule. We're trucking along but it hasn't jived the best (but definitely better than last year!). So I find it funny that when I declared fall break and that I would require nothing other than the odd reading and helpfulness while prepping the house and moving, we had a morning of beautiful schoolishness - one of reading aloud and discussion after. And then days now of rediscovering old things and learning. We must have been too schoolish and bookish before or perhaps they just hit that phase of high learning activity and will soon settle down again. I hope not, I enjoy them all afire with learning.

In the Kitchen... Our meals have been pretty on the fly all week as we use up what is left in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, stopping at the store every few days for little stuff to help round out meals. I did make a simple, easy and tasty pork chop crock pot meal. I cut up potatoes, carrots, and onions and put in the crock along with the pork, but I do think I would have preferred the rice with this dish.

Thanksgiving! I cannot even believe Thanksgiving is almost here, and then Advent. I have my plans all made out, but it's the doing that is the trouble for me, especially with going back and forth between two houses. Baby steps...

Real Life... This picture pretty much sums up my kids. Skipper, the oldest, ever the helper (and no doubt smiling on the other side of that hood). Critter, in the shadow of his big brother, not quite sure how to take the lead. Miss Bear, drama all the time and a face prone to more frowns than smiles (she wanted to push Miss Z). And finally, Miss Z, loving the attention, a smiley, happy toddler - most of the time.

Please pray... my Grandfather was taken to the hospital via EMS Thursday. He's had a rollercoaster year for health, and was doing a ton better, but this may be the last ride. In all the years I have known him, he has only spoken to me once of "something after this life" so prayers of conversion and for God's mercy are much appreciated.

And finally, I just love the fall pictures I snapped on my phone the other week:

Blessed Mother of those whose names you can read in my heart, watch over them with every care. Make their way easy and their labors fruitful. Dry their tears if they weep; sanctify their joys; raise their courage if they weaken; restore their hope if they lose heart, their health if they be ill, truth if they err, and repentance if they fall. Amen.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

More from Elisabeth Leseur

From my reading this morning...
"There is a veil between such souls [those who do not believe] and God, a veil through which only a few rays of love and beauty may pass. Only God, with a divine gesture, may throw aside this veil; then the true life shall begin for these souls.
"And I, who am of so little worth, yet believe in the power of the prayers that I never cease to say for these dear souls. I believe in them because God exists, and because He is the Father. I believe in them because I believe in this divine and mysterious law that we call the Communion of Saints. I know that no cry, no desire, no appeal proceeding from the depths of our soul is lost, but all go to God and through Him to those who moved us to pray. I know that only God performs the intimate transformation of the human soul and that we can but point out to Him those we love, saying, 'Lord, make them live.'"
"Lord, make them live."

Saturday Morning Reflection: November 2nd

On this day, the morning of All Souls, the sky is dark and the air chilly. Awake since 5:00 am (for absolutely no reason), I set time aside to think of the past week.

It was a long week. LONG. The Halloween candy did not help. I am ready to ban all sugar until Christmas. The kids love it though, don't they? Halloween, I mean, not just the candy. I love the enthusiasm and the excitement of dressing up, but that is about it.

The kids wanted to do a Star Wars theme. I took the easy way out and bought costumes. I love to create, but this year... no time, no energy, and I did not want the stress. Guess what? They are still so cute and could care less whether an outfit is bought or homemade.

On Health... Since I have blogged about it before, I will give a quick update. The headaches? So much better, especially now that the hormones are stabilizing. Some of it was a result of breaking the headache cycle, some of it was physical therapy and continued stretching, some of it was diet change, some using the right kind of medicine, and taking daily magnesium (800-1200mg/day).

Do I still have headaches? Yes, but instead of near-daily migraines, I have had three BIG headaches since the end of August. By big, I mean days on end of pain or experiencing hemiplegia (the stroke-like symptoms) or sudden, severe pain. So that is just plain wonderful.

Unfortunately, I still do not feel all that great. I am extremely tired. As in, abnormally tired, not just mom to four tired. I fall asleep if I sit or lay down, when I read to the kids, after only being up for an hour or so, and nearly when driving. Scary!

All basic workups are normal so that is nice but what's the deal? I have a sleep study to do in December. That should be loads of fun. And, the doctor seems to think I have asthma, which is totally new to me. I have been experiencing breathing "issues" for awhile now, especially since May when I almost called 911 while on vacation (yikes!). Most recently, I had an attack on Wednesday. Thankfully it was controlled soon but has left me out of breath since. The albuterol the doctor prescribed does not seem to do much.

All this to say, it is a vicious cycle of not feeling well, not being able to function normally let alone exercise, and it takes its toll.

The diet has been off so maybe it is contributing? So back to the Paleo diet (no eggs though). I have had the most success on this diet - as far as energy and healing stomach issues and feeling the best.

To Do Today... I need to hit the grocery store. Alone. I love my kids, but this momma needs some solo time after this week. I am not much of a shopper but I love to grocery shop. I love, love, love the produce section.

We also have some outside clean-up to do, and some calls to make to figure out who will be our propane provider for the new house.

Big News... Yep, the house is officially ours. After more difficulty than I would have liked, the lady seller finally signed and is in the process of moving out. She may even move out completely this weekend, but does have until next Saturday. We plan on moving in over Thanksgiving, woo-hoo! I am not rushing it though and we will move in small increments since it is just across town. Besides, we have carpet to replace and a few to-dos prior to moving in.

On Thinking... That I think too much. I want to say too much too, and that is part of my reason for silence (on here and in general). I have felt a need to remain quiet, a caution of using words too quickly and without thought. Words are powerful.

I am also in the middle of (finally!) reading The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest. I love it. If I were a highlighter type, nearly every word would be marked and I am not even 1/3 of the way in.

This book gives me hope, and a mission. You see, my husband was raised in the Catholic faith. Actually, in the parish and Catholic school right here in this town where we live, but he no longer practices. Not only that, but he is seeking out information to destroy all Catholic - heck, all Christian - theology. On one hand, I am glad that he is still searching and not totally apathetic, but on the other hand, it is so difficult to watch (and listen to). I cannot keep up with him in his search. He hops from one topic to the next, and has what he terms an open mind, but it's open to all things but the willingness to accept God.

All this to say, this is a stress of the heart, and many times, I feel too overwhelmed about it, that all I can do is pray and ask God to open his heart, that I trust he will come to know the faith again. I may have a horrible, non-debate oriented mind and memory, but I have a longing for him to know God, and that has to count for something.

In her journal, Elisabeth writes:
"What a woman so often lacks is true judgement, the habit of reasoning, the steady, individual working of the mind. Philosophy could give her all that, and strip from her so many prejudices and narrow ideas that she transmits religiously to her sons, to the great detriment of our country."
And, Jesus to St. Faustina:
 "Who God is in His Essence, no one will fathom, neither the mind of Angels nor of man. Get to know God by contemplating His attributes."
And so, I am slowly and painstakingly diving into whatever it is that that means. Philosophy and logic -- not me at all, but I love my husband and I love my children, who I know will one day look to their father and then ask more questions than they do now. For now, they pray too, sweet children.

On the lighter side... 

Yesterday, we had fun playing a cat and mouse game. The kids wanted to play over and over. One was the cat and the other mice, as they acted out the parts of the song, which Skipper and I took turns singing. Miss Bear really got into being a creeping cat. That girl is very physical.

Speaking of Miss Bear, see what we found hanging on the bulletin board at the dance studio last night:

Two delicious fall recipes: a creamy roasted red pepper soup (yum, yum!) and a fall tradition around here of gluten/dairy/egg-free frosted pumpkin bars. I guess I should have made them before today so I could have eaten a piece. Ah well...

And finally, a cute shot of a little girl who just loves the camera and to say, "cheese!"

God bless your week, and I hope to come on here more often.