12.02.2011

I couldn't resist.

So the boys and I went to help my mom decorate her Christmas tree today.  As we were reminiscing about all the ornaments, my mom reminded me that she used to have an adorable, white, porcelin lamb ornament.  I remembered exactly which one she meant becuse it was her favorite and I always really like it - so cute.
She told me that it must have got taken out with a tree at one point because she hadn't been able to find it the last couple of years.  Sad story.

So, when we came home, I started looking online. Wouldn't I be the best daughter for giving such a thoughtful Christmas gift?  I was thinking "I'm probably not going to find an exact replica, but surely I can find something similar or at least equally lovable.

Oh no.  No, I cannot.

Here's what I did find though.


uh....no.

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what the what?
is it a hippo?  It can't be a lamb.
 
did a 4 year old make this?  If so, good job, sweetpea.
but given that you're not my 4 year old, I'm not about to pay $21 for that.


dollar store?  You would think so.  But, no.  $20.  And  not.cute.

this is closer to what I'm looking for...except, again, NOT cute.

What.  Is.  Going.  On?

I'm scared.

 Now, granted, not all of them are so ridiculous but I can't seem to find one that's the right look.  There were some pretty cute lion and lamb ornaments, and some beautiful crystal sheep, but they were $70, so that's out.

So, not sure this gift idea is going to pan out. 

Let me know if you come across any cute lambs.

11.28.2011

Giving Thanks

Well, Advent has already begun, but we're a little behind around here because I have been sick.  As you can imagine, when mama is sick, the little boys don't think to sweep the floor or fold the laundry.  My sweet husband took care of me, the boys, and the house all weekend so we're not as far behind as we could have been.  I know, he's a keeper.

It was a bummer to be sick for most of the long weekend with Joe at home, but on the other hand I was so grateful this darn cold came upon me when it did.  Because I'm quite certain there is NOTHING worse than trying to take care of small children when you can hardly hold your head up.

SO, in summary, the tree is finally decorated,  we got started on Advent tradtitions a little late, I am feeling a little better, and my husband is a rockstar.

Moving on.

The blog that I intended to write over the weekend is as follows.

This year we made a Thankful Tree.  (Pinterest is the origin of almost all of my good ideas.  If it's not Pinterest, it's another, much-more-creative mom.  I don't come up with anything on my own).

I wanted to find some branches from the yard and put them all in a nice big vase and make little cicrle ornament-type things, just like the one I saw on Pinterest.

Then I realized that a tree like that would last approximately 22.3 seconds in my home full of busy little boys.

So, instead a cut a tree out of construction paper. 

Each day the boys would tell me one thing that they were thankful for and I would write it on a circle and they would stick it on the tree with double sided scotch tape.

Joe and I added a few of our own, but we soon realized that the boys were getting really into this (Roman usually did at least 2 a day and sometimes 4 or 5) and we were going to have a full tree rather quickly, so mostly we just said ours aloud.

Here it is on the last day of November:


I just had to share the things they were thankful for.  So sweet, so funny, so them.  You'll see what I mean.

In no particular order:
Roman:
Ryan, Kathleen, and Eliza
Veggie Tales
Aunt Chelsey
Kyra
Uncle Tony
Christmas trees
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus
Chrissy
Danelle, Brooklyn, and Jadyn
Paulette
Aunt Theresa
Grandma Wilson
Suzee, Phil, Joe, and Adrian
Melissa Haberer
Aunt Angie
God
Baby Duke
Linda
Shadow
Aunt Mary
Grandpa Tony
Katy Hyatt
Katie Darby
Grandma Suellen
Trees with red leaves
Jesus
Libby
Christina Nichols


Judah:
treats
Father Jim
Grandma Susan
Donuts
cars
playing
Jon
Sedona
Grandpa Bob
pirate ships
the park
Maggie
Daddy
Nemo
Popcorn


Psalm 92:1-2
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night.


A few things I'm thankful for:








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mega lips = mega kiss


11.11.2011

Mama's Minivan

Y'all. 

Wednesday was a big day for our family.

We bought a minivan. 

I feel like a lost a little part of my youth just typing that sentence.

A MINIVAN.

I don't know why I have this mental mountain to move, but I do.  I know plenty of hip and happenin' moms who drive minivans, so I shoudln't have a problem with it.  But I do. 

It's some kind of weird emotional mid-life crisis or something.  But don't worry, I'm not going to start going out to clubs and dancing on tables or anything.  (Can you imagine?  I'm positive I would be laughed out.)

ANYWAY, I am done with the freaking out.  Now I'll tell you why my minivan is very nice and very practical.  I can't say that I love her yet, but I'm starting to like her.  Yes, this is a relationship and apparently, it's a SHE.  Interesting.  Didn't know that until I typed it.  I guess naming her Stuart is out of the question, Mary.  :)

Here is mama's minivan.  Well, not really.  Because I definitely don't know that gentleman behind the wheel.  But this is the 2005 Toyota Sienna in a lovely blue/silver color identical to ours.

As long as I'm inside the minivan I love it.  It's kind of like what I would imagine Inspector Gadget's car would be like.  There are all these secret compartments everywhere and buttons that open doors and a kid mirror that pops out of nowhere.  I always find myself saying "hey, what's this do?" and it's always something pretty awesome.

It's got a lot more space than I was expecting and everything about it is very convenient.

Joe had been trying to sell me on the minivan idea for a couple of years, but when it came down to it, what got me to go test drive was sheer numbers.  This van is a year newer than our Blazer was and has about half as many miles on it...we will have a cheaper monthly payment, cheaper insurance and better mpg.  I couldn't really argue with that.  It wouldn't be very fair for me to object to the wisest financial decision for our family.

Sigh.

I'll let you know if we give her a name.  And if she grows on me.  I think she will.

PS - can I really pull off starting a post with "y'all"?





11.08.2011

A Month of Little Boy Moments

Really?  More than a month since my last post? 

That's pretty lame.

So, here's what's been on my mind, in no particular order:
  • How do you keep a crazy, CRAZY two-year-old busy all day when you can't go outside?  Also, how do you keep the items in your house in one piece with said two-year-old in the house all day?  Does anyone know the answer to this question?  Because I need some help, y'all.  (I'm just practicing my southern vocabulary for Christmas with Joe's fam).  I mean, other than bungee cording baby gates, refrigerators, and closet doors shut, removing bar stools from the counter, and putting child-proof knobs on every door.  Because I've already done all of that. 
  • Parenting is pretty much 100% transition.  All the time.  I know I've said it before, but it is just so true in my life, I think especially with many small children.  We change our routine/what works every day.
  • Silas is getting pretty close to walking.  He takes about 3 steps between people, although he doesn't have much desire to attempt it without someone prompting him.  Fine by me.  He slept 10 hours straight last night!!  (I'm not going to kid myself into thinking that will happen again tonight, because, please.  That would be too good to be true)  BUT, at least for my kids, more sleep = about to do something new.  Exciting and YIKES.
  • I feel like I had a lot more to say (although I'm sure the sleep habits of my baby has you on the absolute edge of your seat).  We may come back to this topic (What topic?  Random thoughts?)
Moments with Judah:
  • calls Mr. Potato Head "Mr. Head".
  • he pretty much is either eating or destroying something.  Or spilling something.  Or tackling someone.  But I think we've pretty much covered that.  Examples (all usually while I'm nursing or changing Silas OR cleaning up a previous mess made by, you guessed it:  Judah.): 
    • getting 8 pieces of bread out of the bag.  And eating three of them.  FOR A SNACK.
    • climbing on the counter, pulling a glass out of the cupboard, and dropping it on the floor.  Of course it shatters.
    • filling a cup with water, either from the fridge door or the bathroom sink, and then spilling it on the floor (or putting some in his mouth and spitting it out).
    • carrying either of his brothers (yes, he can lift Roman) across the room or pulling them to the ground and laying on top of them.  He better play for the NFL.
  • All that craziness being said about Judah, I wish I could explain his charm in spite of it all.  He has such a very sweet side.  While reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?  I said, "Teacher, Teacher, What do you see?  Judah, what does the teacher see?" I expected him to say children but he said "fwenz!" (friends!)


Moments with Roman:
  • The first week of school we read The Story About Ping.  It's about a duck who lives on the Yangtze River in China.  The next week we were driving over a bridge and Roman looked out on the water and declared very proudly "The Yangtze River."  We had a good laugh over that one.
  • Reading a children's Bible "Mom, Jesus has a crazy mustache".
  • says "chilly bar" instead of "dilly bar".
  • calls his big wheel his "bike trike"
  • Mary came to visit a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about someone who was a boy scout.  She asked Roman "Is Daddy a boy scout?"  Roman responded "No, he's a hero".  :)
  • After Halloween Roman was, well, let's just say slightly affected by the candy.  He was running through the kitchen yelling at the top of his lungs and Joe yelled after him "Roman, is that the High Fructose Corn Syrup talking?"  He yelled back "Yes it is!"
So, that's what we've been up to...Trying to keep Judah from burning the house down and trying to detox Roman from all the Halloween candy.  Oh, and trying to enjoy the last days/weeks of a baby who can't get up and run away from me.  :)

I love them so.

10.06.2011

Falling Down

It's fall.  My favorite time of year... for a million different reasons...but I can't help but marvel at the trees.  I think the fiery red leaves are my favorite.

Have you ever noticed that some of the leaves let go more easily than the others?

Some fall while they are still green.  The sun comes pouring through the branches, the wind tugs, beckoning gently, and they flutter down onto still-green grass.

Some hold on for the cooler air, the richer colors, the brisker winds.

And some...well, some curl and turn brown, hold on into the dead of winter.  The below freezing winds howl, the snow and ice blast at them and yet they cling.

Don't they know that old, shriveled, lifeless leaves are much less becoming than those that simply let go?  The ones that let go are the ones that get jumped in, crunched by the preschooler's shoes.  If they would just let go they would be the heat and life of bonfire and the beauty of the elementary school artwork.

Don't I know this? 

That letting go is simply the gateway to a new purpose?

Which one are you?

10.05.2011

I think my dad would like the sound of that.

Roman:  "Hey, Mommy, do you have a mommy?"
Me:  "Of course!  You know who my mommy is."
Roman:  "Yeah!  Grandma."
Me:  "You're right."
Roman:  "And Grandpa Bob is your dad?"
Me:  "No, Grandpa David is my dad.  Where does Grandpa David live?"
Roman:  "Grandpa David lives in Heaven with Jesus."
Me:  "Yep."
Roman:  "Was he sick?"
Me:  "Grandpa David?  No, he wasn't sick.  He had an accident."
Roman:  "Yeah, he was a little bit sick."
Me:  "No, he had an accident.  He was driving his tractor and he had an accident."
Roman:  "Yeah.  Grandpa David drove his tractor to Heaven".

9.29.2011

Controversy Remix.

You might recall this post I wrote over a year ago (which I thought I wrote just a few months ago, btw.)  Okay, probably only about three of you recall that post, but I needed to reference it to get this party started.

Party?  What party?  I'm going to talk about how to save money/live simply/etc.  This may not qualify as a party.

ANYWAY, I have had a request to re-post this because more and more moms I know are trying to figure out how to spend more time with their kiddos.  Whether you're trying to figure out how to stay home full time or part time, I think it's world-changing when mamas understand how important their job is and want to do it well.  If you don't have kids, you can skip this.  ALTHOUGH, I think that, even if you're single, we can all benefit from advice on how to save money/live simply...right?  Please feel free to leave your tips in the comments.  I love hearing how other people do it!

**Before I add any new advice, I'd like to say that the most radical and efficient thing we've done to save money is the number one item on my previous list:  owning one car.  We currently have two cars, for which I feel truly blessed.  But, at this time last year, we only had one.  We did that so that we would have one car payment, (and one car on our insurance bill) We could pay down some debt (think about how many hundreds of dollars that frees up per month!!) and we could save to pay cash for a second car, which we did.  I think it was the hardest one for me to give up, but if you have a husband who works an 8-5 job in the same town that you live, it wouldn't be so bad.  My thought was always that if we could work it out so that I had the car 2-3 days/week, that was enough for me to not get cabin fever.

I also want to reiterate how important it is to have a husband who is not only on board with this idea but who is driving this whole operation.  I can't say enough about how amazing Joe is and how thankful I am that he has made it his priority for me to be at home.  It would not be possible if he wasn't working hard to make it happen.  Having one person at home requires sacrifice from everyone involved.  (But it's oh so worth it!)

Oh, so worth it. 

I wish I could say that there's some magic formula here or that there's just one key thing you need to get figured out to be able to stay home, but sadly, it's not that simple.  Obviously there are a million factors.  But, I really think just having a very specific why really drives the how.  Not just "I want to stay home" - but why do you want to?  For me, I have a few very important and specific reasons for staying home. 
1.  The littles are only little for so long...and it is SO fleeting!
2.  If there's one thing I want my kids to learn before they leave my home it's how to know, love, and serve the Lord.  I think that I'm the best person to teach them that.  Not because I'm awesome, but because that's the God-given purpose of a parent.
3.  I'm the primary educator of my child (just as you are yours - regardless of whether or not you're home full time) and so if it's possible, it seems like the natural thing to do.
Keep your eyes on your why!  As long as you can focus on the why - you'll figure out the how.


SO....here we go:
  • Make your own.  I mentioned that we made our own wipes for a while. Since Silas arrived, I haven't been doing that, but I did like them.  What else can you make that will save you money?  How about laundry detergent?  (that's going to be my next experiment!) Google how to DIY almost anything and you'll find tons of options. How about other cleaning supplies?  Skip the expensive clorox wipes and use vinegar and a washcloth on your counter.  Natural and Cheap.  How about cleaning the shower and toilet with baking soda?  Works better than bleach, in my experience.  Not toxic and, again, cheap.
  • Ask for gifts that keep giving.  Okay, I'm not so much one to ask for specific gifts, but if Grandma and Grandpa are looking for ideas for Christmas, ask for a zoo/science center/pool pass.  Then you have free entertainment for the year instead of a toy that will get boring after a week.
  • I have promised Joe that I will not buy anything just because it is on sale.  This is a hard one, but it's necessary.  Too many people get sucked into the "I'm saving money because it's on sale" trap when, in fact, that is money that absolutely doesn't need to be spent in the first place.
  • Don't ask:  Do I have the money?  Ask:  Is this a wise purchase?  Let's say you have the money to buy something, or even that you've budgeted for it.   That doesn't always make it the right time or the right item or the right price.  Is it wise?
  • Tithing.  I am not proud to tell you this, but we haven't always been the best about tithing.  We seems to go in phases, which is dumb.  It's clearly not optional.  (Malachi 3).  Now, I'm not saying that you should tithe because somehow God is going to make you rich if you do.  Not saying that at all.  I'm saying that it's a command and we should do it because we love Him and we want His kingdom to come, not our own.  When we tithe we remember that He is in control, and that He is our supreme good.  When we tithe we remember that He is enough and that nothing is more important than more of Him in our lives. 
  • Don't compare.  I don't feel like I need a bigger house or a better outfit or a newer car, until I see someone else that has that.  That's so dumb.  Stop it.  If you're going to compare, compare to the majority of the world who lives on just a few dollars a day.
  • Simplify.  Do your kids need lots of toys?  Absolutely not.  Especially if you're at home, the best thing you can give your kids is YOU.  Face time.  And you can come up with plenty of educational and fun activities from the odds and ends around your house.  Again, Google is your best friend.  Do you need vacations?  I would SO love to say yes right now.  But the answer is no.  Do you need...(insert so many other options here)?  It's not that you can never do any of those things again, but what's most important to you?  Can you delay the dream vacay for a few years in order to do what's most important now?
  • Plan ahead.  Think annually and monthly.  Budget accordingly.  If you want to visit the family for Christmas (And yes, yes we do!), we are going to have to have that insurance bill paid, we are going to have to save money for travel, and we'll have to take into account the fact that, for commission-based jobs, the holidays are a slower time.  So, we have to start thinking now about how we'll do all of that.
  • Examine your heart.  Usually when we're talking about money, and how we spend it, we're talking about the following things:  Greed.  Gluttony.  Idolatry.  I know that sounds harsh, but let's be honest.  Most of us live ridiculously abundant lives.  Two-thirds of the world is struggling to find clean water.  We can probably do without another pair of earrings.  I'm not saying that I/we are never going to go shopping again.  Obviously we are.  But, we can sure re-prioritize.  (This is also easier to do when you're at home and would have to haul the  kids into the store to make that self-indulgent purchase!)  It's not that I don't want to, it's that, thankfully, it's kinda hard to try clothes on with three munchkins in tow. 
  • Set a challenge.  I don't remember where I heard this idea, but it's a good one.  Each month, challenge yourselves to one radical task that will save money, and use the money saved to pay down debt (Although we don't agree with all of his advice, See Dave Ramsey "snow ball effect" for how to successfully pay down debt).  I.e.  September:  we give up coffee, October:  we give up eating out.  November:  we give up dessert.  (Do you like how all my examples revolved around food?  What does that say about me?)
  • Speaking of Food... I heard John Piper talk one time about glorifying God in our lives and he said (and I paraphrase) How can we use money to show that God is our supreme good?  That, to us, money is nothing compared to Christ?  How can we use food to show that it is nothing compared with Him?  This is a great question to keep us from being gluttonous and greedy.
  • All of this goes for your husbands too.  Again, Joe is a rock star.  He literally wore his last pair of dress shoes until their was a hole in the bottom.  I'm not sure how many years that was, but I'm so thankful that he's so selfless. 
  •  This final comment is from Joe:  As a Financial Adviser people always ask me how we have managed to have Ruth Ann stay at Home.  My usual response for humorous reasons is that we just got used to being broke!  I truly believe it is easier to have your wife stay at home if you start out on one income and never get used to two incomes.  If you can survive on one and you don't know any different, then staying on one income is easier.  When working with people I can see how going from two incomes down to one is a scary thing.  Typically the two income scenerio provides a lot of luxuries... But in all truth are those luxuries worth it at the expense of qaulity family life?  I truly believe that if you put your faith in God and trust that he won't let you starve (You might be eating Ramen Noodles and Pancakes sometimes but it is still food) he will provide.  We have been in some tight stressful situations and we have been in abundant situations but we are still here making it happen.  The greatest thing about my job is the upward mobility it has provided me.  When we had Roman I was a Financial Adviser which was enough to live off of.  When we had Judah I became a Managing Partner and now run a District Agency which provided more income.  Now that we have had Silas we are again moving up.  Right now discussions are being had about becoming a Regional Director somewhere in the United States.  God is good and makes all things possible!  As we have followed His plan for our lives He has uncovered opportunities to keep us moving forward!  So I would say the real answer to the stay at home question is faith!  I promise you it will be hard!  I promise you will have sleepless nights due to financial stress!  But life isn't about money it is about completing your vocation and if that is marriage that means your role is be the domestic church to your family!  My Dad said it best when he said the primary role of a parent is to get their kids into Heaven.  Take the time to discuss this issue with your spouse and discern what is right for you.  I'm not saying everyone can or should stay at home.  Just take the time to discern and do what is right for your family whatever that may be!  Have faith! 
Now your turn!  Please share your ideas!

9.09.2011

dolphin, destructor, and bug boy.

Silas:
  • is now 6 and a half months old.  That's half a year, people.  Ridiculous.
  • At his 6 month check up, he weighed 18lb 2 oz.
  • Right around the 6 month mark, he started sitting up alone, crawling, and pulling himself up to a stand.  I know.  This is alarming for a couple of reasons.  One, being the obvious:  that he's a six month old.  (I don't want to sound ungrateful for normal development, because I really, really am).  But, come.on.  I feel a little bit robbed of my baby days. The second reason for alarm is that he doesn't have a whole lot of balance yet, so there is a lot of toppling happening.  And then he does this really crazy ninja-type log roll.  So...scary and yet funny.  
  • Has a little stranger anxiety.
  • Now at 6 and a half months, he has TWO teeth coming in (the bottom middle two), he can wave, clap, and give high fives
  • He likes to climb onto the bottom shelf of the TV stand.  What is it with that?  Every kid is drawn to it like I am drawn to Orange Leaf.  (seriously.  If you haven't been, you need to go.)
  • He also makes this really crazy noise every time I am getting ready to feed him.  It's like the anticipation is too much to handle.  I don't really know how to explain it, but I refer to it as the "angry dolphin".  You can use your imagination.  :)

Judah:
  • says "gotch" instead of "got ya".  So funny.
  • calls black olives strawberries.  ??  Maybe they are equal in deliciousness?
  • is destructive.  That sounds really negative, but I don't know how else to describe him.  He is constantly in to everything and feels the need to create chaos wherever he is.  I imagine that, in his mind, he passes something that is nicely organized and put away and says to himself:  "What's this I see?  Order?  I'll have to do something about that..."  This thought is followed by tipping something over, spilling contents out of a container,  being loud, sitting on something, breaking something, coloring on something, etc.  He is our wild card.  We can't so much leave him alone for any number of seconds.  He is very difficult to keep up with right now.  But I am so thankful for that little stinker.  He is crazy as all get out but he just brings us so much joy. 
  • he loves to look at pictures of himself and his brothers
  • waves with his palm towards himself.  Makes me laugh every time.
  • loves loves loves to dance. 
  • is getting more and more talkative
  • big blue eyes + shaggy red curls = irresistible. 
Roman:
  • Roman and I have begun the journey of homeschooling!  We are excited to be using the Five in a Row curriculum this year and we have even joined a co-op in Ames that Roman is very excited about.  He asks me everyday if we're going to preschool, but we only meet once a week.  :)
  • Still loves bugs.  LOVES them.  he will even pretend that his grape halves are bugs at lunch time.  Yesterday he caught a katydid, today a dragonfly.  Also, he talks to his bugs.  ie.  "Are you tired, katydid?" or "Are you having a hard day, Red?"  (Red is the name he gave his dragonfly.  Duh.) 
  • He is just really, genuinely in awe of insects.  He can tell you that insects have 6 legs and a head, thorax, and abdomen.  And he will often say things like "Mom, is that a beautiful wasp?"  Who is this kid??
  • saw a baby catfish at wal-mart the other day and was telling Monica about it..."We saw baby sharks and a kittyfish"...she laughs:  "You mean a catfish?".  R:  "Yeah, a kittyfish".
  • One day I was trying to get Judah to point to different body parts, and I thought if I had Roman do it too, he might think it was more fun.  Then this happened:
                  Me:  "Roman, where are your knees?"
                     R:  "Can't you not see them?"
                  Me:  (laughing) "Yes, I can, but can you point to them?"
                    R:   (still really confused) "Don't you see my knees?"
                                          :)  I guess we're too grown up for that game at the age of four. 
  • One day Judah was really grumpy and I kept asking him if he wanted to eat or go outside or do a puzzle, or anything to cheer him up.  Roman came up to me and said "Mom, you just need to let him do his thing right now". 
  • These next couple are from quite a while ago, but for the sake of me remembering, I have to type them out.  One day, I was teasing Joe about something and he said "I can hear the mockery in your voice".  Roman pipes up "imagine that".
  • When we went swimming at the Y in Boone, Roman asked me "Mom, is this Heaven?"  Ha.
  • Speaking of Heaven, I have a more serious topic that I have to write about now:
A sweet little 7 year old boy from our church, Quinn, passed away a week ago today.  He had a tumor on his brainstem and has been quite the fighter over the last five months.  I have a special place in my heart for Quinn because when he was just one year old, he was in my classroom at the daycare I worked at.  Before I spent my afternoons with Roman, Judah, and Silas, I spent my afternoons with Quinn.  He was just learning how to walk, and had the most adorable little waddle and the hugest, cutest grin you have ever seen.  After I left the daycare, I didn't see most of those kids again, but I loved that Quinn went to our church because I got to see him and his family regularly. 

When Quinn was diagnosed, we immediately started including him in our daily prayers.  I didn't go into too much detail when I talked with Roman about Quinn.  I just told him that Quinn was sick and I would tell him if he was in the hospital or at home.  One day, during prayers Roman stopped and asked me "Mom, is Quinn going to die?"  (This seeemed very strange to me because we have had other friends and family in the hospital that we have prayed for for an extended period of time and he had never said anything about those people dying.)  "Who told you that, Roman?", I asked.  He didn't really answer, so after I calmed down a bit I told him,  "Quinn is very sick, Roman.  But we know that God can do anything and so we need to ask Him to heal Quinn's body and make him all better".  That was the end of that conversation and he never asked me that again.

Well, last Thursday we got an e-mail saying that Quinn was not doing well at all and that his family would all be coming to be with him.  So, Friday we prayed a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for him.  (That was one of our favorite prayers to pray for him, especially if we had learned about any complications in Quinn's quest).  Just a few hours later we learned that Quinn had passed away.  I cried as I stood in the kitchen reading the e-mail. 

Roman heard me and came to ask me why I was crying.  This is the conversation that we had:
Me:  "Roman, I need to tell you something.  Quinn went to Heaven today".
R:  (excitedly)  "And he gets to walk with Jesus now??"*
Me:  "Yeah, isn't that amazing?"
R:   "Yeah!  But why are you sad?"
Me:  "Well, I'm sad because I'm going to miss him, but, you're right, we are so happy that Quinn is with Jesus".
R;  "Yeah!  Because God made him all better!!"

*I thought the word "walk" was very significant for him to choose.  Quinn has been in a wheelchair for several weeks.

Here I was, preparing myself to talk about how God does answer prayers, how God is good,  but...
but sometimes the answer is no and sometimes we can't understand God's plan because we can't see everything the way that he does.  When in fact, I didn't need to say any of that. 

Four year olds don't need to be told that God is good or that he answers prayer.  They know it.  They don't doubt it.  It was very clear to Roman that God did heal Quinn's body.  He did answer our prayer. 

I'm sure that we have talked about the fact that there's no sickness in Heaven at some point, but it hasn't been something we have drilled into him.  Children are so perceptive of spritual matters and I just learn so much from Roman all the time. 

Then yesterday, as I was getting ready for the visitation, I asked Roman to pray for Quinn's family while I was gone.  He said "Okay.  But, dying's not sad, Mom."  I smiled and then asked (because I wanted to hear a child speak profound truth):  "Why isn't dying sad, Roman?"  "Because we get to to go to Heaven and be with Jesus". 

Yes. 

Then he added, "And someday, we'll go to Quinn's house in Heaven and say hi to him". 

Yes. 

I am looking forward to that day. 

Praise God that this is not all there is.

(This song has ministered to Quinn's family over last weeks and months, and was sung at his funeral)  Also, I have been loving it everytime I hear it on the radio, and I don't think it was so much a coincidence that I heard it on my way to the visitation and then it was playing on their slideshow when I walked into the church.

PS - Quinn's funeral was heartbreaking but it was also the most beautiful funeral I've ever been to.  What a blessing that his family has been constantly seeking to honor God in the midst of this tragedy.  He was glorified in a magnificent way over the last 5 months, and especially today. 


Father Jim had this icon displayed at the front of the church today (I hope this is the right one!  It works to talk about his sermon, anyway).  He talked about how icons are to the eyes what scripture is the ears.  He asked us to look at Jesus pulling on Mary's veil in this picture and to remember that we have a Grasping God...who never lets us go and who has used Quinn's life to turn us to Him.   
Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

9.08.2011

love in the home

"If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love, I am a housekeeper - not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
But have not love for my husband and children, my children learn cleanliness, not godliness.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh, the dishes for her husband's voice.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Before I became a wife and mother, I took glory in my house of perfection;
but now, I glory in God's perfecting of my family and me.

As a mother, there is much I must teach my child,
but the greatest of all is love."

-Anonymous

8.17.2011

August Fun.

Silas is going to be 6 months old in just a few days. He has been army crawling, getting up on his hands and knees and rocking, and sitting up (mostly) by himself. Toppling over is still a pretty common occurrence, so I'm always staying close by. Another new hobby of his: scooting his way on over to the floor vent, propping himself on hands and feet, and letting the ice cold air blast him in the face. I'm not sure if I should be alarmed by this or not. It seems weird. But, then again, Joe is kinda like a polar bear insisting on arctic temperatures, so the apple must not fall too far from the tree. Silas also responds to his name, and has pulled himself up to a stand one time. It was at Chrissy's house, on this adorable little cube, which is just the perfect height for Silas and Titus to do reckless tricks on. I like to pretend that was a fluke.

Judah is talking up a storm these days. He is putting 4 and 5 words together pretty consistently, and naturally, making us all laugh until we cry. One my favorite things that he does is tell me all the things he likes. It usually goes something like this: We will be rocking wrestling before nap time, and he will start the list (which is always pretty random, but you can sometimes see connections between the items). " I wike outside. I wike Grandma. I wike Maggie. I wike birthdays. I wike cake. I wike swings. I wike church. I wike cheese". What a guy. He has become increasingly infatuated with sweet baby Silas which just melts my heart. And scares the crap out of me. The kid still has zero concept of gentleness. Let me tell you how Judah/Silas interactions usually go: Silas is laying on the floor minding his own business. Judah is playing/jumping off of something/being a renegade. You see him recognize Silas' presence. He zeroes in. Judah sits down on the floor a couple feet away from Silas and scoots his little bottom right over to the baby's head, all the while yelling/growling his name. (if you've heard it, you know what I mean). Silas becomes wide-eyed and clearly concerned for his safety. Smart baby. Judah either says "hold it!" in an attempt to ask permission to hold Silas or just drags him right up into his lap using whatever limb is closest. Yikes. And that's why I can't get anything done during the day, my friends. These boys require constant supervision. :) They are oh so entertaining, though!





Roman is currently obsessed with bugs. Grandma Suellen has got to be loving this (I wish she were closer!) and I'm trying to learn enough to encourage him to keep learning about what interests him. In the last couple of weeks, we have caught butterflies, a caterpillar, a dead cicada, and an ant. He tells me about his love for bugs and how they are "so beautiful". Oh my. Roman is in a bit of a hoarding phase. Well, at least I hope it's a phase. It has been going on for a while now. I know most of his hiding spots though. For example, I couldn't find some papers that were in my Bible {under his bed}, or my hand mixer {under the trampoline in the toy room}. He will make a pile of toys in a chair and sit directly in front of it so no one can reach them. Roman's current favorite book is a compilation of four parables that we got him for Easter. He loves to retell the story of the foolish man who built his house on the sand and the wise man who built his house on the rock. Coincidentally (or not!), that was the gospel reading we chose for our wedding. Makes me so happy every time.





Speaking of our wedding, let's talk about how great my husband is.





The other day I was cleaning up supper dishes while he played with the boys in the toy room. I spoke his name and it all came rushing back to me. In the simplicity of such an ordinary moment, I flashed back to knocking on this very front door and being welcomed into this very home by his mother. I remembered praying with his family right here. Listening to him play guitar in the basement, toasting our engagement at this very table, celebrating our rehearsal dinner in what is now our living room. So much has happened here, within these walls. We started our family here ...before we even knew that's what we were doing. God is in the details. I'm so grateful for the way He has orchestrated all of these moments to create this life that we are living.





And, I am so thankful for you, Joe. I always knew that you were a good man, a Godly man, a generous man. One of the first times you spent an afternoon with my family (before we even started dating) my grandma made a comment about you having a gentleness about you. And you do. It's not always the first thing that someone would notice, because you're strong, a good provider, you're funny and you're confident and you're outgoing. But, it's the gentleness in your strength that makes you easy to trust.

It's the love in your leadership that I have leaned on all these years. The way you encourage my faith and yet challenge me to grow. The way that (three times!) your eyes have met mine in that delivery room...and in the greatest possible pain, as you brush the tears away, nothing needs to be said because I am so comforted just by knowing you're with me.

Every girl wants to marry a man who is thoughtful and kind. One who would lay his life down for his family. I just had no idea I would be so blessed to have one who would pick up groceries for my grandma; one who would fabricate the most elaborate, silly stories to make red headed boys giggle the night away; one who would always put my needs before his.

I didn't foresee any of that when I knocked on this very door.

8.03.2011

Gratitude



by Nichole Nordeman

....just a song, for days when He feels near and days when we are desperate to feel His presence.

8.01.2011

A Political Post

I don't write much of these, but I can't help myself tonight.

Have you heard about the new mandate that says insurance companies must provide contraception with no copay?

If you know me or have read this blog for very long, you can probably guess that I have a moral opinion on this matter.

But, let's set that aside for a moment.

I do have a moral objection, but I also have common sense.

Has anyone else heard that we're in the middle of a bit a debt crisis?

Even if you do not share my moral stance, is this really a wise thing for our country to be spending money on given our current financial state?

If I had the chance (to say my piece about morals AND common sense), here is what I would say.



Dear Mr. President,
First, I want you to know that you have my respect. You hold an office that demands honor and I believe that you are doing the best that you can. You took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Big job. I'm glad it's not mine and I appreciate your efforts to uphold that oath.

When you promised healthcare reform, I didn't understand that this was going to be part of it. I, personally, don't see contraception as "healthcare", since it prohibits the normal, healthy functioning of the reproductive system. There have been studies showing how it can be dangerous for women (not to mention babies!), especially when taken for long periods of time, and has been linked to breast and uterine cancer, miscarriage/early abortion, and problems with fertility.

When I pictured healthcare reform, I was thinking about individuals without insurance, the boy at my church whose family is probably losing all of their savings paying for his chemo treatments, caring for widows and orphans, or decreasing the cost of my grandma's heart medicine -that keeps her alive...$700/month. (That's AFTER insurance pays $1000/month).

It seems like we need to step back and look at our priorities. How much money is going toward providing free contraception while we are in the middle of these debt talks? It seems like an unnecessary expense. It seems counterproductive. Why is this beneficial? Who is this helping?

Mr. President, we watched you address the nation the other night. Our children watched too. In fact, Roman told me today that he wanted to "watch President Obama again".

We pray for you everyday.

7.25.2011

A Silas Video



video



Finally! Becuase it's long overdue.



Also, because who doesn't need to hear a baby laugh on a Monday?





Silas is 5 months old now. I know. Where does the time go? I'm pretty sure I say something along these lines every time I write on this blog, but seriously.



Silas is rolling both directions, and scooting all over on his back. He can turn in 360 degree circles on his tummy. Most of the time he's trying to reach his Sophie. He thinks his big brothers are hilarious. He especially loves it when Roman talks to him or sings to him. He also likes watching Judah jump off of the couch, but he is still a little afraid of him. And rightfully so. Judah comes thundering over and sits right by his head and yells his name. I would be disturbed.



Silas can get his knees underneath of him, and he can push his chest/tummy off the ground, but not both at the same time. And that's good. Because I'm not ready for that.



He has been slobbering all over everything, so I am anticipating teeth in our near future. He also likes to blow bubbles of saliva (yum) and he likes to razz.



He prefers to stand when you're holding him on your lap...you can tell he wants to get moving. He coos at you when you talk to him but we haven't had much babbling yet. Just razzing. And, like I said, lots of drool. But he watches my mouth very closely when I speak.



He continues to be a pretty laid back baby, although he has been a little grumpy the last few days (probably teeth).



He still doesn't have much hair but I maintain that it looks red. Joe still says blonde, but it's red.

I love that when I hold him and someone else talks to him, he smiles and then buries his head in my neck/shoulder, and then looks back and smiles at them again. He makes me melt.

I am currently obsessed with his chubby baby legs. I actually despise putting pants over them. My favorite sound is this sweet nursing baby.



You might say I am head over heels for this boy.

The Big Boys (and the big differences).

Roman - 4 years

Judah - 2 years


I don't know if I've mentioned how very, very different my two big boys are. If you've met them, you know.


Roman is a ham. He always has been. He wants to be in every picture but he can hardly stay in the shot long enough for me to get one because he immediately wants to look at the picture of himself. He is very intelligent. He has a crazy good memory and very accurate fine motor skills. He was a pretty high maintanence baby, but he was talking before he turned one and could put together his United States puzzle by the time he turned two. He could even tell you some of the state names. He is a people person. He introduces himself to everyone he meets and wants to keep tabs on what everyone is doing. He will remember details about someone that he met at the mall months ago and bring it up randomly during lunch. Sure, it's borderline creepy, but I love it. It will make him a great friend and husband. Or priest. Who knows. Whatever God has planned for this boy....it's something big.


Oh my Judah. My sweet, sweet, crazy Judah. I had no idea that he would be so crazy. He was such a laid back baby...cuddly and smiley for everyone. He has these beautiful big blue eyes, crazy teeth, and more charm than should be legal for a two year old. I am going to have to keep him far, far away from girls for a loooong time. :) As soon as Judah started walking, he started climbing. He has no other agenda in life than: eat, run away from mom and dad, climb something, and jump off of it. Oh, and asking for more food about 10 minutes later. So, you could say that fine motor skills are not his strong suit. Doing a puzzle with Judah is one of my favorite things because it is just hilarious. He sees right away where a piece should go, but he just can't make it fit. So, what's a boy to do? Scream, throw the piece, and move on to climbing the nearest object. I assume that the NFL will be recruiting him within the next few years. The kid is a tank. Words cannot describe his adorable deep voice. It's so stinkin cute. I wish I could write about more Judah stories, but this blog will never do him justice because it's not what he says that's funny, it's just his nature.


Roman has always been so funny because he loves being the center of attention so he'll say or do anything for a laugh. Judah just is funny. He doesn't even have to try.


Anyway, when we were at the park this morning, I got to witness the perfect manifestation of their differences. It had rained a little bit when we first got there, so everything on the playgorund was wet. We don't really have plans for the rest of the day, so I wasn't worried about them getting their play clothes wet.


Naturally, Judah ran right to the top of the slide and slid on down. Every square inch of his backside was soaked. And he totally didn't even notice.


Roman ran around trying to catch butterflies with his net for a while and and, after awhile, decided he was ready to go down the slide too. Except that when he got to the top, he said "Mom, the slide is wet."


"I know, buddy", I answered, "but it's okay. We'll just change clothes when we get home, so you can go ahead and go down."


He looked back at the slide clearly weighing the pros and cons. I wasn't sure what he would do becuase he hasn't hesitated to play in mud puddles in the past.


He decided on squatting down and inching down the slide on his feet...all the while explaining that if he got wet he would get a rash.


Oh, my big boys. I'm so proud to be their mama.

7.05.2011

Birthday Boys!






Do you feel like you haven't seen many pictures of my family lately? Because that's how I feel. So, I'm going to remedy that today. I will say, though, that I don't have many options to choose from because I have not been so good about taking pictures. Much the way I have not been good about blogging. But the other day I went to upload and saw that there were 150 pictures on my camera. I was just about to pat myself on the back and say "hey, Ruth Ann, you're not doing so bad. 150 ...that's better than you thought it would be..." Well, then I realized that about 97 of those pictures were not taken by me....and they all looked something like this:


our couch and our ceiling.





A foot and some blocks. These will be so helpful someday when the boys want to take a stroll down memory lane and relish in all the fun they had when they were small.


...and this one is my personal favorite: Roman's nose. The photographer himself. Please excuse the boogers.






So, I haven't been doing well on the blogging with only two posts in June, but June was a busy month...that will be my excuse.



June 2nd was Judah's 2nd birthday, I posted about that earlier, but here's a picture of my big two year old:
We got him blocks for his birthday. He's not so much into building, though. He's our demolition man.

...and the Elmo cake:








June 15th was Roman's 4th birthday. The big four year old:

we got him a barn and some farm animals. Big hit.



...and his minion cake (which was maybe the highlight of his life):





...and this is a cute four month old. Just because I can't get enough of him.



I am going to try to post some videos soon...but remember I only post twice a month now, apparently...so I might be playing it fast and loose with the word "soon". We'll see.

6.13.2011

clothes and hair.

For the past several years, I have been hearing fantasitc things about an organization called Pure Fashion. It's a program for teenage girls who are interested in modeling. When you think of modeling, do you think of purity? How about modesty? No? Well, then you haven't seen the Pure Fashion models.

Yesterday, I finally got to attend one of their fashion shows...and it was impressive! There were several girls from our church that were models this year. All these girls were so genuine and beautiful. It was such a blessing to see these teens that have come to know that their value is in Christ and their external beauty is worth protecting.

Part of the fun for the day was helping to style the girls' hair for the show! My friend, Chrissy, recently opened her own salon in Ankeny, Grace Family Salon. YAY! (call and make an appointment right now. I promise you won't be sorry.) Anyway, they asked Chrissy to do the girls' hair - but with there being 20ish girls in the show, well, they neede some other volunteers too. So, while it wasn't like having Chrissy (who is an artist comparable to Edward Scissorhands :)), I can curl hair and so I did. BUT, I got to use some of the awesome new product that Chrissy is using/selling in her salon...Check out Surface. I'm no expert on ingredients in hair product...but I have heard that they can have some nasty stuff in them. Surface products are made from all natural ingredients. No toxins here! AND, they smell delicious and work like a charm. I think my favorite thing that I used yesterday was the Push Powder...it can be used like a dry shampoo and adds tons of volume to your hair. It's like magic. Love.

So, there are my plugs for the day. If you have daughters or you know any teenage girls, put them in Pure Fashion. And, if you have hair, call Chrissy at Grace Family Salon. :)

6.09.2011

Where have you been all my life? Or is it where have I been all my life?

WELL.

I didn't write anything on this blog during the entire month of May. Yikes.

All three of my boys are napping (which is miraculous!) and so here I am. Finally.

Let's just catch up, shall we?

Mr. Silas is...

Well, just kidding. Now I only have two sleeping boys. But I can cuddle a baby and type, so we're still good. (Do you see the predicament? :))

Mr. Silas is rolling from tummy to back (since he was 9 weeks old...he is currently three and half months old, so that's old news, really...not that you would know since I never write on my blog...). He is also scooting around on his back, smiling up a storm, cooing all the time, and just starting to laugh. Mostly at Roman. That biggest brother is a funny guy.

Judah - my big two year old! He had his golden birthday on June 2nd and loved it. He sang along anytime someone sang him Happy Birthday. And now he just sings it to himself about once a day. I made him an Elmo cake, which he loved, and he got new blocks, cars, and water flutes. This little boy is loved. He is chatty all the time but we usually can only understand about one word per sentence. He goes on and on in some made up language that sounds like a variation of Japanese and then ..."strawberry" or "cookie". It's usally food. When in doubt, you can pretty much garuntee he's talking about food. Judah also loves to go to church and talk about God. He is fascinated by Father Jim and runs up to him immediately when we walk through the church doors. He stands right as his feet and stares up at him with a big grin on his face. He usually doesn't say anything, just smiles. But during church, he is very vocal. Anytime Father opens the book, extends his arms, and begins a prayer, Judah has to do the same. It's pretty adorable. But then he ends up LOUDLY saying "Far" (father), "church", "ho speart", "Jesus", "God", "Amen". It's quite the worship experience. But it brings us so much joy. Silas was the one born of the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, but Judah might end up being our priest. :) Judah has a passionate love for the movie Madagascar, and more specifically, the song Move It, Move It. Probably about 10 times a day, he will walk up to me and say (in his deep voice) "...uh...move it?" It makes me laugh every time. So, about 10 times a day, we have a little dance party to Move it, Move it.

Roman is going to be four next week. Could someone tell me how that happened? FOUR?? He has been to Vacation Bible School all this week and is loving it. He gets really excited about singing and dancing to the songs.
Some of my current Roman faves:





  • Roman: "Mom, are you going to feed Silas?"



Me: "yes"




Roman: "you are a nice feeder".






  • he calls his piggy bank a "penny pig"


  • Me: "Roman, how many hands do you have?"



Roman: "two"




Me: "yes! How many mouths do you have?"




Roman: "One!"




Me: "good job! How many hairs do you have?"




Roman: "RED!"






  • When he learned that our friend from church, Katlin, was going to be spending a semseter in Rome, he said "Katlin, are you going to be a priest??"


  • I'm sure most of you have heard the story, but for the sake of me remembering in 10 years, I have to make sure I put this on the blog. About three and a half months ago we brought tiny baby Silas home from the hospital. As we were getting the boys ready for bed our first night home, Joe was sitting in the rocking chair with Silas and he asked me to go get some scissors so that we could take off all of our hospital bracelets. Roman and Judah were jumping on their beds. I came back with scissors, clipped off Silas' bracelet, and then I heard the sound of absolute terror. Roman was suddenly screaming and crying so I turned around, assuming he had fallen of the bed or something. But then he shouted "She cut his finger off!!!" He really thought that I had amputated one of Silas' fingers. It was very sad and scary and CONFUSING. But we finally got him to count all of Silas' fingers and assure him that I would never hurt anyone. (I didn't know we needed to cover that, but apparently it was NOT clear to him.) Even the next few days he would occasionally ask me if I had cut Silas' finger off. NO. Just so everyone is on the same page, the answer is no.


  • I taught him the song Pharoah, Pharoah the other day when we were reading about Moses. (How the heck do I remember all the words to that song??) Now he asks me to sing it all the time.






Oh, there's so much more to say about my beautiful boys, but I will have to save more for later.




As for me, lately I have been spending wasting my time on the follow things in no particular order: watching Modern Family, The Voice, and The Event. Figuring out Pinterest (due to my very savy tech skills, it has taken me a while. Now I'm just trying to not become addicted).


I have been also done a few worthwhile things with my time: obviously spending time with my fam, trying to figure out how to clean my house with three children, reading, writing and leading our high school girls' Bible study!, and probably some other stuff.


I am really just starting to figure out how to handle our family of five without feeling completely overwhelmed. I'm not going to lie, adjusting to three has been a challenge. I think that's why I've taken such a long blog hiatus. I'm just trying to keep up.


People ask me how I do it...and I feel kind of silly when they do. It's not like I'm the first person to ever have 3 children. It's not like 3 is a large number of children. It's not like I'm really even very successful at it. yet. :) It's not like they are ridiculously close together. I feel like there are so many other amazing families out there that they could be asking, but I want to give a few honest answers to that question here. Because, while it's not that I have a super large family, I have heard from numerous people that adjusting to their third child was the most difficult for them.


So, here's how I do it. You can either read this because you would like to see how you might like to do things... or to see how you would not like to do things. I won't judge you either way. :)



  • I memorize scripture. Large chunks of it. (Psalm 1, Psalm 46, the Magnificat) Because I have been failing miserabley at having a consistent, daily God time. But if it's on my heart, I can take it with me wherever I go. Or shout the verses over screaming children to maintain sanity. Either way.

I wish I was kidding.



  • I try to be out and about. As difficult as it is to chase Judah around the library, at least we're having a good time, getting some fresh air, and maybe some adult conversation (between running after toddlers, of course!)

  • summer. summer = parks, pool in the backyard, walks, and more outside adventures. Winter is not so easy. If only I could control the weather...

  • I try to talk with other stay-at-home moms frequently. I need to be better about this because it's always refreshing when you're sharing a specific vision for your families.

  • I read the blog A Holy Experience. So encouraging every day.

  • I need to post this on my wall. I love love LOVE being at home with my boys. But sometimes I want "me" time. I want quiet...and sleep... and the ability to run errands without 6 potty breaks, the chaos that is loading and unloading 3 boys from the car, and bribing someone to "just sit quietly for 5 more minutes". I need that post to remind me of what's important in life, and why I do what I do.

  • John 3:30. Most of all, what gets me through the day, is reminding myself that He must become greater and I must become less. Being a mom is a daily reminder that our call as believers is to let go of self, die to our own desires, and let God be enough. He will sustain us. He is enough. I can't love my children or my husband enough. Only HE is enough. I can't make myself happy with things or free time or even with friends and family (amazing as they are). Only He is enough.

Only He is enough.

4.29.2011

Beatification







One of my sweet friends and blog readers asked me a question recently that I thought I would share and answer here.



She says: "I am not Catholic and have been hearing about Pope John Paull II's beatification that is coming up in the very near future. I thought perhaps, when you have a free moment, you could explain what that means."



First of all, fantatsic question. I would be happy to explain what I can. Of course, I am no expert, so please don't read this as a comprehensive answer to the question (or as infallible truth!)



Second, if anyone else has questions that they would like me to take a stab at answering, I would be happy to do that. Especially regarding Catholicism, I love to be asked questions because it opens the door for more understanding and unity within the body of Christ. And I trust that we can share respectfully here, even if we may not see everything perfectly eye to eye.



So, to answer the question...

Pope John Paul II will be beatified this Sunday, May 1. The timing is very significant. This is the second Sunday of Easter, which Pope John Paul II himself entitled "Divine Mercy Sunday". In 2005, it was the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday when our beloved JPII passed from this life to the next.


Beatification is simply part of the process of one being canonized a saint in the Catholic Church.



The process of canonization goes something like this:


1. Someone has to die. (I supposed you already guessed that.) Ok, in all seriousness now...the the process begins a minimum of 5 years after the death of someone regarded as exceptionally faithful. (Although, Pope Benedict XVI waived the 5 year minimum in the case of JPII due to his awesomeness. And, yes, I'm sure that's how he worded it. ;) )


2. The local bishop begins an investigation on the candidates life...he looks at virtue, orthodoxy, how he lived, any writings by that person, etc. Then a Vatican panel reviews the investigation.


3. After approval by the panel, the Pope names the candidate "venerable".


4. Next comes beatification. Beatification requires that a miracle take place as a result of the venerable person's intercession. (For example, in the case of John Paul II: there was a nun suffering from Parkinson's disease. A few weeks after JPII's passing, she began asking his intercession on her behalf and was miraculously healed.) If a miracle occurs, we can assume the person is in heaven and praying for us). With beatification comes the title "Blessed". So, after May 1, we will refer to our late pope as "Blessed Pope John Paul II".


5. One more miracle and then comes canonization. This is when a Blessed person receives the title of "Saint".




A few things to remember:


  • A saint is someone who lives in Heaven. There have been and will be countless saints throughout time. You have probably known many and hopefully you will be one someday. It would be impossible for the church to canonize every peron who is granted eternal life with Christ. The Saints that are recognized by the Church are just some of the exceptional examples of Christians who are worthy of remembering and imitating.

  • Catholics do not worship saints. We honor holy men and women who have joined the great cloud of witnesses.

  • Catholics do not pray to saints. We ask them to pray with us and for us.

  • We do not attribute miracles to the power of the saint themselves, but to the power of God through their prayers. It would be like asking a friend to pray for you. If a miracle occured, you would not think your friend healed you, but you would be forever grateful to that friend for their prayers on your behalf.

  • Canonization does not make someone a saint. It recognizes that God has already made them a saint.



SO, I think that pretty much covers it. I think. To all my Catholic friends - did I leave anything out or could I have said something more clearly? Please comment if you feel you can shed some more light on this topic.



To my non-Catholic friends - did I answer comprehensively enough? Let me know if you need clarification.


Also, let me just say I love JPII. LOVE him. And so...I leave you with this. May his words minister to your heart




"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are an Easter people and hallelujah is our song!"

"It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fulness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices; the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."

4.27.2011

Three.

I feel as though I owe you all an apology! I have been slacking on the blog writing. Not that I'm trying to offer excuses, but here's what I've been up to (in case you were thinking that Roman and Judah had me locked in their room or something. Don't laugh...it's probably not that far-fetched).

We have been enjoying every newborn minute with our sweet little Silas. He continues to be about the most low-maintence baby ever. He has such a sweet disposition and really rarely cries. He is adorable and content and doted on by big brothers all day long. We just adore him.

We have had lots of guests, which we have LOVED! Joe's mom came to stay with us for three weeks, which was a huge blessing. Like words cannot describe how much I appreciate her and miss her. I definitely cried when she left and I will never forget the ways that she just stepped in and cared for our family so selflessly.

We celebrated Silas' baptism on Easter Sunday. It was beautiful. Joe's whole family was here and we enjoyed their short stay immensely. Angie is still here which is good...I would be going through serious withdrawl if they had all come and left so quickly.

As far as daily life goes, I have to be honest. The transition to three kids has been a challnege for us. That sounds ridiculous after I just told you what a great baby Silas is...but it's true. It's not so much Silas, or even "juggling" three kids...it's how the big boys have been/are still adjusting to sharing mom and dad with another little one. They LOVE love love Silas which we are so thankful for. They just seem to be a little more grumpy when they don't get immediate attention. Some of that is ok. They need to learn that they are not always the center of attention. But they also need to be reassured that they are always always loved and that mom and dad always care about their individual needs.

SO, if anyone has suggestions on how to help the big brothers adjust, I'd be so grateful.

Also not helping that situation is that Judah is trying to give up an afternoon nap. Um...WHAT?! He's not even two yet. I feel like that's totally not allowed. Except that I can't really make him nap. And I only have about a half hour of rocking/wrestling in me before I give up.

And yes, I have tried letting him play in his room until he falls asleep but he just plays for an hour and never goes to sleep. So...yeah.

On top of all the excitement at home, I am also in the process of co-authoring a bible study for high school girls. Not with a goal of publishing, just for use with some very sweet girls that need Jesus, just like you and I. We are going to start using it/teaching it this summer. If you would be so kind as to pray for grace to cover my fumbling words, I would very much appreciate it.

I want to tell you a hundred funny and charming stories about my boys, but I can barely keep my eyes open. So, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite things (And I promise to try to write more soon!):


Roman:


  • love the way he talks to Silas in a syrupy voice and says things like "hey sweet baby. Yes, you're a good boy! I love you pumpkin!" (I wonder where he learned that...?) :)

  • says really funny things when he's trying to explain how he feels...i.e. "I'm angry because I'm sad".

Judah:


  • asks for food all the time. i.e. we are putting together a zoo animal puzzle when he stops and says "cake?" I tell him we don't have any. He persists in asking for a variety of other foods..."chips? cheese? strawberries? goldfish?"

  • loves shoes. He found Roman's spiderman snowboots the other day and insisted on wearing them around the house all morning.

Silas:



  • cooing and smiling

  • wants to nuzzle right under your chin all the time

  • getting big! 12lb 8oz at his 2 month check!