Monday, January 28, 2013

For Me, Being A Good Mom Means . . .

Saying "I'm sorry". This is essential.

Many people seem to think that because we homeschool, I have been blessed with more patience than the next mom. While I wish this were true, it is so very, very false. I have a daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute battle with not losing my patience and my temper.

This morning, I was trying to get the three kiddos out the door, ironically to go to Mass. I think for all moms, getting out the door in the early morning can be very hectic, to say the least. This is usually the craziest, most stressful part of my day.

I have read many tips on how to make this part of the day easier. First is to prepare the night before, so we set out clothes and pack backpacks and such the night before. Next is to get up earlier. Well, I do this the best that I can. I get up at 5:00 on weekdays so that I can get out for a walk with Kahlua and my friend Jennifer each morning. I get Joshua and Noah up at 6:45 and Veronica up at 7:00. I'm really not willing to get up any earlier or get them up any earlier. Sleep is important too. But despite my efforts, getting three kids out the door can still feel like a hurricane is violently making its way through the house.

How many times do I need to say, "Get your shoes and coat on"? While we have taught our children REPEATEDLY that they need to obey right away, the execution can be quite lacking at times.

What can be more frustrating than trying so hard not to be late and having a child doddle and not listen? After asking Joshua many times to get his shoes and coat on, I discovered him sitting on the floor with Legos in his hands. ERG! He then began to argue with me and yell at me that he was not actually playing with Legos. Oh really? Is that why your shoes aren't on and you have Legos in your hand?!

Now, of course there needs to be some discipline and consequence for his neglect of my instructions and talking to me in such a disrespectful way. However, this does not mean that I should fly off the handle, begin yelling my head off and completely lose my temper. One of the things we are really struggling with right now is teaching Joshua not to be so reactionary and inflammatory when he gets upset. Hmmm. I wonder where he gets that.

After calming down (about twenty minutes later after some more lecturing in a firm voice, but without yelling) , I explained that while his behavior was unacceptable and needed to be addressed, I should have initially reacted more calmly and should not have lost my temper. I said I was sorry for that and asked for Joshua's forgiveness. He forgave me and apologized as well.

Again, this is essential. We must reconcile with our children when we treat them unfairly and when we act in a way that we are teaching them not to behave. This is for three main reasons.

First, if we want our children to apologize and ask for forgiveness when they have hurt someone, we must set this example.

Second, if we don't want our children to yell, say hurtful things or speak disrespectfully to us or to others, we can't do those things ourselves. Children are smart and will see through our hypocrisy. They will not take our instructions seriously if we do not follow them ourselves. Apologizing when we have messed up gives the lessons we teach more merit.

And lastly, we must apologize and ask for forgiveness so that we heal our relationship with our children.

I go through this process with my children often on a daily basis, for it isn't rare that I blow up over something that I shouldn't have. I have had to apologize to a one-year-old that is only confused, frightened and hurt by their mother's temper, tiredness or foul mood.

I have had to apologize to the dog.

This is hard and humbling to admit, but it's true and it's real. My patience and my temper is something that I have had to work on since day one of motherhood. Okay, well maybe day 23. I have made a lot of progress, but it is slow and gradual. This is something about my personality that I will probably have to always work on. And that's okay.

That's what saying "I'm sorry" and asking for forgiveness is for.

PS - All moms are good moms. I am not just saying this as lip service. I BELIEVE it with all of my heart. I fear that my title for this series, "Being a Good Mom Means . . ." impliesd that I believe that you are only a good mom if you do it the way I do. Of course this is not so. There are infinite good ways to mother. I believe with all my heart that each mother is given the children God called her to mother and that God gives the specific children to the specific mother with the specific skills needed to mother those children. This series is simply supposed to be a sharing of what I have learned in the past eight years. It is now more appropriately titled, "For Me, Being a Good Mom Means . . ."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Camp Christmas!

Time for a new post. The unlike-me, political posting has been up for long enough and it's time for something more cheerful. However, I am glad to see that it had about 200 views and maybe I helped a little in spreading the word about what is going on.

I shared a posting and pics about the wedding last weekend, but said that I had more photos to share from other events and would be doing so in reverse order. So, here we go.

Let's talk about Camp Christmas. What's that, you might ask? Well, some of you may be frequent readers of Jenny's Thoughts, where this has already recently been explained. But in case you don't know, for a few years now we have spent the weekend around New Years at our dear friends, Mike and Jenny's house. Yes. We all move in. This means that Jason and I, Adrienne, Joshua, Noah, Veronica and Kahlua moved in with them and their three kids for three nights.

The reaction some have had to this can be quite amusing. It seems that some think this would be a loud, chaotic circus; some awful, unenjoyable, much-too-long experience. Okay, well it may be a loud, chaotic circus. There's no denying that. Six kids, one teenager, one dog and four adults drinking? That's like the epitome of a circus.

But if you think that the weekend would drag on too long, that we would get sick of each other or that it would be too close for comfort, you couldn't be more wrong. We didn't want to leave! And I'm pretty sure we never wore out our welcome. They did invite us back for dinner two weeks later, so that's a good sign :) Really--Everyone needs friends like Mike and Jenny, who are the most gracious, welcoming, laid back and fun hosting friends you could ask for.

We spent the days cooking yummy food, drinking yummy cocktails, playing games, taking the dog for jogs and talking. Jenny and I discussed at length our intentions to become the women we were meant to be in 2013, just like we have the past few years. We went to Mass at St. Joe's and took the children to see the Winter Wonderland in Bellevue.

Then, on New Year's Eve, we put the children to bed and Adrienne had sweetly agreed to babysit. We joined my family at my parents' house and then went out on the town in a party bus. Oh, yes we did. We had done this for my sister, Kristen's 21st birthday party last March. It was so fantastic that we decided that it was a must for New Year's. It's really the only way to roll. 24 of us dancing and drinking on a bus with a designated driver? Yes, please! We popped in at the Pike Place Pub and Grill for a while, watched the fireworks from Queen Anne's Kerry Park and ended the night by stopping at Dick's. The whole night was a hit -- my family is already talking about booking for next year!

Overall, Camp Christmas was another great success and on New Year's Day, it was hard to go home. It really was a blessed and merry way to bring in the New Year. Cheers to 2013!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Second Modest Proposal

In 1729, Jonathan Swift's famous essay A Modest Proposal Began  . . .
IT IS A MELANCHOLY OBJECT to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors,crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants, who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

I think it is agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap, and easy method of making these children sound, useful members of the commonwealth would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars; it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them as those who demand our charity in
the streets.
In 2013, I humbly (but of course not as eloquently or poetically, but just as passionately and satirically) continue . . .
Rather, I would like to modestly propose that instead of letting this vast resource go to waste, we put it to great use! Instead of letting these unwanted, inconvenient babes to be born and become a great nuisance to our society, let's off with them and see what they can do for us.

I propose that from the aborted fetuses, we formulate ingredients to put into beauty cream and skin care products so that we no longer have to put up with the horrifying tragedies of wrinkles, blackheads and pimples!

I propose that from the aborted fetuses, we formulate medicine to put into our wanted, convenient, loved children so that they may not get sick!

I propose that we take these aborted fetuses and butcher them up, sell them, pack them and FedEx them to be used for medical testing. Our tax dollars could be given to an organization, let's just call it "Intended Procreation", so that they would support women and allow them to rid themselves of these babes. Then this imaginary organization that I just made up, "Intended Procreation", could profit even more from selling the now dead fetuses. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a selfless organization that would serve us in this way?

I propose, since I really, really enjoy soda pop and crackers, that we take the tissue from these dead, unwanted babies and experiment new flavors and new sweeteners on them. Then my Pepsi and Nabisco products will be even BETTER! Who knows? Dead babies may taste good!

I propose, that even when a late-term baby is actually born alive, we still use it for testing and experimentation. We won't waste the money or time on anesthesia for it, will cut it open and perform experiments for the greater good! It wasn't wanted anyway.

Well, actually, we heartbreakingly already have. Don't believe me? Click (and click and click and click and click . . . ) below.

If you are interested in fetal free products, here is the web site of a company that I discovered today surprisingly based here in Seattle:

Aborted Fetal Cells in Beauty Cream

Oklahoma Bill Trying to Make It Against the Law to Have Fetal Matter in Ingredients of Our Food

Pepsi Stops Using Aborted Fetal Cell Lines to Test Flavors

Obama Administration OK's Pepsi's Use of Aborted Fetal Cell Lines in Testing

Vatican's Statement on Vaccines Being Derived From Aborted Fetuses

An Article from the publication Ethics & Medics about vaccines being derived from aborted fetuses

A Response Letter From Merck Confirming that Vaccinations Come From Aborted Fetal Cells from Two Different Abortions that Occurred in the 1960's

A List of Products That Use Aborted Fetal Cells

Planned Parenthood Possibly Profiting From Selling Aborted Babies for Testing

Selling of Aborted Fetal Parts

Dissection and Basically Torture of Unanesthetized Late-Term Aborted, But Live Babies

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alicia's Wedding

The past few weeks have been jam-packed full of fun. I have so many wonderful photos to share! I have wanted to publish new posts since Christmas, but haven't had the chance. So I will be sharing photos in reverse order, beginning with last night . . .

Last night was the wedding. My darling cousin Alicia was an absolute stunningly gorgeous bride and married her beloved, Seth MacGillivray. The entire day was a wonderful whirlwind beginning with the photographer arriving at our home at 7am! The bridesmaids, Joanna and Alicia all got ready for the big day in our home, which was a true joy and blessing. Jason, the boys and Kahlua all went and spent the morning at my brother Damian's house, making the house a little less chaotic. Veronica stayed with the girls so that I could prepare her for her day as flower girl. I was the maid of honor, making our family twice as honored to be able to be a part of such a special day.

Once we were taking pictures at the DAR Rainier Chapter House on Capitol Hill, I began to get a little nervous about how Veronica would do during the ceremony. We had practiced at home a lot, having Veronica walk down our hallway "aisle." She never really mastered walking and sprinkling flowers at the same time. It would be more walk, stop, sprinkle, walk, stop, sprinkle, etc. She loved practicing and was always disappointed to be done. Veronica would ask, "More practice? Flowers?" When my answer would be no, she would state her favorite, therapeutic, comfort word, "Soon." Lately, my reply has been, "If that makes yourself feel better."

Anyway, yesterday during pictures, I was beginning to see the consequences of skipping Veronica's nap time. She was still doing pretty well, but I felt a bit like I had a time bomb on my hands. Little things were beginning to upset her, such as when I had the audacity of trying to place a piece of orange in her mouth rather than letting her do it herself. When I asked if she was going to walk and put her flowers on the floor, her answer changed from what had been an enthusiastic "yes" to a whiny "noooo." Uh-oh.

But she did wonderfully. Slowly, she toddled down the aisle and dumped a bunch of flowers at the end. Then after being offered a treat, she gladly went to sit with Daddy.

The ceremony was touching and beautiful. My amazingly talented sister, Kristen, gracefully sang My Jesus, I Love Thee. Alicia and Seth were so sweet and touching, and Seth's enthusiasm at the end was unforgettable.

The reception was so much fun. We had never been to a wedding with our children before. Obviously, it makes it less like a date, but we had so much fun together as a family. And guess what? Our kids can dance! Joshua especially surprised me, because as long as their was music playing, he was dancing with moves I had never seen!

Noah spent about half of the time observing. Jason, my dad and I all tried to get him out on the floor, but I think that only made him less willing and he stubbornly went back to the table. But once we left him alone for a while and it was his decision to come out and dance, there was no stopping him. He even joined Joshua, Veronica and many others up on the stage.

Veronica loved the dancing. After the end of each song, she would ask, "More?" She likes to shake her bootie! She also pulled out some thriller moves as well as her ballerina dancing. I am really hoping to have her take ballet lessons next year because I'm pretty sure she would love it, and of course so would I. She even became pretty enamoured with one of the groomsmen, watching him very closely and even letting him spin her around the dance floor. This morning, Veronica has been reminiscing about last night and occasionally calling out "Oooh! Oooh! Party! Party!" I have no idea where they get their love for music, dancing and partying.

As I saw my children, my husband, my parents, my siblings, Joanna, Alicia and Seth and so many others all celebrating together with so much joy, my eyes teared up several times. It was an evening none of us will ever forget and below are many pictures to help us remember.

Alicia and Seth - love, blessings and cheers to you and your lifetime together. May all of the joy from last night spill over abundantly into all of your days.

Perhaps reflecting on what her wedding day will be like . . .

There you get a little peak of Veronica walking down the aisle


Joshua in party mode

Reaching the meltdown point very late in the reception.

Noah getting his groove on

My little ballerina

Veronica, with her chosen groomsman