Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life in the Danger Zone

“Security is an illusion. Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing at all.” --Helen Keller

Around here we live life on the edge.
*Now we know how all those fingerprints and smudges got all over the window... Dh had almost gone so far as to accuse me of making them as I watched out the window for him to come home :)

We also take risks.

*A rambunctious two-year old pushing his one-year-old brother in a rickety toy cart through a mine field of misplaced toys and wood furniture, not to mention six other people-- what could possibly go wrong?

Most dangerous of all, though, might be dh with a new mop!
* A mop that steams and came in a box that reads, "Goodbye Dirt, Hello Cleaner Home!"

Yes, we love danger! (and clean floors)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Called

It isn't because the timing will be convenient,
or because we have our house under control.
We haven't tamed the chaos,
and we still aren't sure how we'll manage college.

We also have some other concerns,
especially on maintaining a house that is calm,
and collected,
and content.

Still, we've wondered if our family is complete,
and we feel compelled
to yet again consider
a little one in a far-off country.

It is simply because we are called.
Called*...
And, yes, we must be a little crazy.

It is because, by the grace of God, we can
and because we are talking about a child.
A child who needs our care,
our compassion,
and to be cherished.

So last week we wrote the first check.
We're making the connections,
and signing a few contracts,
and planning our third trip to the Asian continent.

We can and we are called to help one more precious child in China.


*And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. -Matthew 18:5

*Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chores

We start 'em young around here :)

My afternoon plans now include bathing a little boy and cleaning my downstairs bathroom.

Juju's Name That Tune

Installments 1 and 2 here.


** A word of warning, her big sister Bear gives away the title during the last 2 seconds of the video.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bophie Turns Five

It is hard to believe this sweet girl is already five. For some reason it seemed she would always be my little one. Quiet by nature, she can get lost in the hustle and bustle some days. She is no longer one of the "littles" and yet not quite one of the "bigs" either. Somehow this suits her though. She enjoys playing quietly on her own and would rather not be the center of attention.

She has recently begun the task of learning to read. The only thing holding her back is Mom getting the time to sit down with her. Her love of reading is already apparent, however. Her one request for a birthday gift was a "kid Kindle" to go along with our Christmas theme. We found one, and she has been reading for days.

My girliest- girl, Bophie loves all things pink, pretty, and frilly. She has worn her new princess dress from Grandma every day I would let her. On other days it is always pink, pink, and more pink. Again, this suits this quiet, sweet, little girl. She is my sensitive one who cries at the slightest correction, doesn't talk to anyone she doesn't know well, and generally is happy being unnoticed.

Happy birthday Sweet Sophia. Thank you for blessing our family with your singing, your dancing, your love of all things beautiful, and just being you.

(Thank you Aunt Amy for all the beautiful pictures!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pushing Buttons

Last week we were talking about the silly way Juju pronounces Bophie's name. She calls her ooo - wee. Lately though she has taken to calling Bophie ooo-wee-yah. It's so cute, ooo-wee has become a new name for our little Bophie. (** ooo has the sound of oo in hoot)

While very cute, Juju is also quite easily bothered. Here she is letting us know she'll have no part of that beautiful salad on her plate.


As I was telling dh about the added syllable, Bear walked into the room. She said, "I like to call her ooo-wee too."
Bophie is our resident princess which will be highlighted in her belated birthday post which I am trying to finish:)

She paused then added, "Unless I'm mad at her, then I call her Sophia Magdalene!" Said in a manner that strangely mimics my own intonation.

Then she paused again and added, "But if I'm really mad at her, I call her oo-a-licious, mag-duh-la-nee-o, cause she really hates that."

I guess we need to revisit that whole talking nicely for Lent thing...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Hard Post

Lent is around the corner* here and to be honest, I'm incredibly thankful for this holy season. I am awed by the wisdom of the Church in giving us the simple gift of the liturgical year and, specifically, this season of sacrifice.

For the past few weeks I've read blog posts, email messages from our homeschooling group, bulletin inserts, and talked to friends about ideas for celebrating Lent with our children. There have been many creative, beautiful ideas for projects to do with the kids during the forty days of Lent. I have been inundated with so many ideas I don't know where to start. I don't want to start too much and leave it undone, but I also want to do all I can to make sure my children learn that this season brings its own type of joy, joy that is not available in our mainstream culture that so often spurns any type of sacrifice.

Despite my love for Lent, I have been hesitant to commit to any projects for my children and family this Lent. I haven't even really enjoyed hearing about all these ideas. I couldn't put my finger on why I was having such trouble preparing for Lent. While these projects are beautiful, they require preparation and with Lent a week away, I need to get started. Then today as I was praying it occurred to me, I need Lent. I NEED LENT, probably more so than my kids. I couldn't decide what to do as a family because I wasn't preparing myself for the season of Lent. I can't lead my children in the pursuit of virtue until I am certain I am diligently pursuing it myself.

So here's the hard part, I am going to let you in on what I am going to do personally for Lent. If I put it out there, it means I have to really own up to it. Lately I have noticed my children speaking more and more harshly to their siblings. It's driving me crazy. There is little patience and their tongues are quick to offer some cutting comment to one another. As much as this bickering bothers me, I am more bothered by the fact that I instigated it. It is precisely my tone of voice and often my words they are using towards each other. I have even lately tried talking to the older ones about the example they are setting for the little ones. Each time I say that, a little voice in the back of my head reminds me I set the ultimate example for all the children and oftentimes it isn't a good one.

Proverbs 15:1-4 says:
A mild answer calms wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise pours out knowledge, but the mouth of fools spurts forth folly.
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one crushes the spirit.

This sent a pang of humility deep in my heart. My children are often not answered mildly. In fact there are quite a few harsh responses. I allow the chaos and demands of life weigh on my heart and it reflects in my responses to my children.

St. Basil the Great said, "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil desires, and avoiding all gossiping and swearing. To abstain from these things-- herein lies the true value of fast!"

I am going to work at speaking more kindly, especially when overwhelmed or frustrated. I am going to set the example for my children. A priest advised me to come up with a concrete punishment for myself when I speak unkindly, gargle with salt water, do push-ups, deny myself some treat. I'm going to try it and this Lenten season seems the right time to start.

*I've obviously had this post rattling around for some time. It's been busy, I've been distracted, I'm really in need of the discipline of Lent.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1, 2, 3, 4

This morning it occurred to me that right now, for just a few more weeks, I have:
a one year old,

a two year old,

a three year old,

and a four year old.

Both Bophie and Joseph have birthdays coming up so it won't last long, but it's pretty cool when you think about it.