God granted me a new capacity to love.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
God granted me a new capacity to love.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
In the past (and certainly growing up), I loved the big man in the red suit. But now that I am a parent, I am really starting to see Santa Clause in a different light. You see, for the life of me, I can not figure out what he has to do with Christmas--with the birth of our Lord and Savior. It is not really Santa's gft giving that is the concern for me, as gift giving is an appropriate birthday gesture, and we are celebrating a birthday--the Lord's birthday, I know, but I can't think of a better reason than that to celebrate...and exchanging presents is an acceptable part of that (don't you think so?).
BUT, you will have to explain to me where the notion of a jolly, cherub looking, totally commercialized old man flying through the night sky led by a team of reindeer and miraculously slinking down the chimney of every little boy and girl's house to deliver mounds of gifts without ever mentioning the name of Jesus (or his birthday) came from...
Yeah, I couldn't do it either (...and the case for the Easter Bunny is even worse!).
Therein lies my dilemma: How do I welcome Santa Clause as a part of our family's Christmas tradition when I think he is a load of bull?? (A fun load of bull, albeit).
He's totally watching me...
(I realize there is a vague connection between Santa Clause and Saint Nicholas that has been severaly distorted over the years, but Saint Nicholas has his very own feast day on December 6th, which seems to be a more fitting day to honor him).
Thankfully, I have at least another before Augustine will know the difference either way, but for now I feel inclined to just do away with Santa all together...
. . . i s t h a t c r u e l ?
I admit, it seems completely counter-cultural (and almost mean) to squash the "magic" of Christmas right from the get go...but in this day and age, our culture's attitude toward Christmas could use a little countering, and I do hope Augustine will find the "magic" of Christmas in the story of Jesus' birth.
I can hear you laughing.
Ok, so maybe that is a lot to expect from a young child surrounded by images of Santa, reindeer, and elves every which way he looks...but I at least want to give him a half chance at focusing on Jesus, even if his favorite part of the day is
At least he will know the day is about Jesus' birthday...and not about a manipulative, three month bribing saga between him and a chubby, magical man in a red suit. Right?? (I am sure I will be eating my words about two years from now when all I want to do is threaten little Augustine that Santa won't come if he is not a good little boy...).
And yes (before you think I am the most mean Mom of all), Augustine will receive gifts on Christmas either way. As I mentioned earlier, I think Jesus' birthday is a fine time to exercise generosity and charity, as we present those we love (and perhaps a few we don't even know) with some special gifts. Though some of my extended family members do wait until Epiphany on January 6th to exchange gifts, as that is when the Wise Men came bearing gifts for Jesus. Such a practice would not be practical for us at this time, given that we don't live close enough to family to see them on January 6th, but it's not such a shabby idea.
BUT I don't plan on making it a secret that none of his gifts--whether wrapped under the tree, left unwrapped near the mantle on Christmas Eve (like Santa did at my house growing up...and I LOVED it), or hidden in his stocking--are from Santa. Why can't they just be from Luke and myself? Please tell me I am not heartless.
If we really do decide to give Santa the boot, we will not raise a home wrecker who goes around the kindergarten class telling all the children that they are silly and illogical for believing in Santa, but neither will we spend the entire fall convincing Augustine that there is an elf around every corner watching him and reporting back to Santa about his behavior.
Ahhhhh, thank you for listening to my cathartic ramblings (really, this is getting a lot off my chest)...
So, now I need to know what you all think:
What are your Christmas gift-giving traditions? What meaning do they hold for you? For those who are raising Santa lovers, is it just the most awesome thing ever to see their faces on Christmas morning? Would they be totally let down if then knew the gifts were from you (be honest with me)? How do you keep the true meaning of Christmas alive? Am I worrying for nothing--is Santa harmless?? Help! I only have a few more years to get this all figured out :)
P.S. I am not a Scrooge. Christmas is my favorite holiday, I listen to Christmas music as soon as socially acceptable, and my all-time favorite movie is Elf. In all honesty, there is great chance that at this time next year, I will be blogging about taking Augustine to the mall to sit on Santa's lap...
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Then there was no turning back!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Augustine dressed up as Saint Nick (not to be confused with Santa--wink, wink) to celebrate his feast day.
Luke and I decided to start a Saint Nicholas tradition in which we would buy Augustine (and, God-willing, his brothers and sisters some day) a pair of wintry pajamas and a Christmas book each year on December 6th. We don't plan on suggesting to our kids that the gifts magically appeared, as though delivered from a saint who has been dead since the year 346 (though I have no doubt it could happen that way if God willed it :)), but our little ones can look forward to waking up to a few small gifts from us in remembrance of a man who is, fittingly, the patron of children.
Anyway, we had a fun time with it for our first year. Luke and I went to Barnes and Noble together and picked out an age-appropriate Christmas book for Augustine. We figure as he gets older, the books will become longer, more in-depth, etc, and by the time he is a teenager we should have quite the collection of Christmas stories to bring out every year at the beginning of Advent! We will also have a whole lot of winter pajamas!!
Augustine may not understand the concept of celebrating a feast day yet, but he does enjoy reading his book with us, and he looks cute as can be in his new jammies. More importantly, we are creating Advent traditions that will stay with our family--and may even be passed on to our Grandchildren--for years to come! That is pretty fun.
Happy Saint Nick Day!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
H is for: Health. As a hypochondriatic child, I spent way too much time worrying about getting a chronic illness. These days, I am as thankful as ever for good health but try not to worry about it as much!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I hope Augustine never loses his great obession with the dishwasher! If so, he will make his wife very happy one day!
...Oh, and I much prefer his help cleaning the kitchen to his "help" cleaning the bathroom! Yesterday (and today!) he dipped his hand into the toilet water--which is a lot to handle for an OCD germ Mom!!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
And...she was right! Seven years later I am a Mom, and I sit here at 10:38 am, having been awake for almost four hours, and I am still in my pjs...
He still loves me in sweats!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
So, when are you going to have another baby?
Is Augustine going to get a brother or sister soon?
Are you pregnant?
Are you trying to get pregnant?
Are you going to have 11 kids like Luke's Mom?
And, I love that I can reply, in all honesty: I don't know. (Well, except to that last one. To that one, I say, "No"--or "I hope not"--or "Please, no, God." Not that I wouldn't have 11 kids if that's what God really wanted--I would. But I am pretty sure it's not part of THE (i.e. God's) plan, if you know what I mean).
I like the answer "I don't know" because really, I don't know. And, really, it's all up to God.
But for those of you who want more elaborate answers to the preceeding questions, I suppose they could go something like this:
"Whenever it's God's Will."
"I don't think so...well, maybe...I guess I could be...but probably not."
[and then someone usually throws in something 'funny,' like: Practice makes perfect, right? or You can always have fun trying!]
And, "[let's just laugh because that's an ackward question]"
...and obviously, they can't be serious--I'm already 28, folks!
The truth is, if and when we are blessed with another baby is not up to us. I know it's kind of a downer, but I acknowledge that Augustine may be our only baby [and before he came along, I knew there was the possibility that we would not be able to have any children of our own--neither of us have medical issues to suggest that, but there's always that chance, and several of our friends have struggled with infertility issues]. I don't have these thoughts because I want to antagonize myself but because I want to accept, and trust in, God's Will for my life and the life of my family. I find peace and freedom knowing that it is all in God's hands. Regardless of what the future holds [...even if it's 10 more babies!], I pray that Luke and I will peacefully accept it as God's plan for us.
We will keep you posted if any of our answers change... ;)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Everyone that we aquire gets lost, broken, melted in the dish washer...or in the latest episode, knocked into the toilet.
A (BIG) part of the problem is my dear husband.
Yes, his job practically requires him to have a water bottle on his person at all times, so I suppose his opportunities to lose said water bottles are greater than your average joe's, but it's getting a little out of hand.
"Water bottle" shows up on his Christmas and birthday lists each year, and we also pick them up intermittently when we come across a good one at the store...yet if you open our cupboards and look, you will not see a single one!
You will see one or two (the only one or two we currently possess) on the counter waiting to be filled the next time Luke leaves the house--which, within a matter of weeks will probably be stranded on a soccer field somewhere in central Virginia.
And if you venture upstairs you will find MY water bottle, which resides on my night stand...and occassionally on our bathroom counter. It is the one and only water bottle that I have first and full dibs on (because I worked really, REALLY hard for it...all of you who have had children know the one I speak of) and, at nearly 10 months "old", it has outlived every other water bottle we (...Luke) have ever owned. It's huge, it has a handle, it has a straw, it's just great!
It nearly met its death the other day though.
I was sweeping and moping our bathroom floor, and I left the mop leaning against the bathroom counter.
But it slid down the counter and knocked my prized waterbottle right into the toilet! The toilet had bowl cleaner soaking in it at the time, which I haven't decided was a good thing or a bad thing (I suppose given the alternatives, soap certainly isn't the worst case scenario...). I rescued it right away, but at first, I thought the bottle was done for--as I was thoroughly grossed out. But after thinking about it for awhile, I decided to run it through the dishwasher, not think too much about it, and drink out of it again before I could change my mind.
and if you have other opinions on what should have been the fate of my water bottle, specifically if you know a lot about germs, please keep them to yourself. What I don't know can't hurt me, right?!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I just hope he doesn't bite...
In fact, until a couple weeks ago, there was no grass in our front yard.
There was moss and clovers and dirt and weeds and rocks--but no grass.
You see, we sorta live in the woods. Not really--there are nothing but paved streets and once you turn the corner out of our neighborhood, you are right in the middle of suburbia--but you do get that feeling sitting on our front porch. There are trees--short trees, tall trees, bushes--everywhere, and much of the ground is covered in dirt and sticks and leaves. (One time, Luke and I actually pitched our tent in our back yard and camped out in "the woods!"). We also love lighting up our fire pit out back and gathering around the warm flames to roast s'mores, drink wine, and relax with friends. And the GIANT tree in our backyard is the perfect home for the rope swing Luke put up. With all the marvelous colors, this time of year is especially beautiful, not to mention the nostalgic crunching of leaves beneath my feet during long walks along our neighborhoods many paths.
Luke proudly mowing our LAWN for the first time ever!
I don't want to be comfortably numb! I don't want to be numb at all. I want to be passionate and on fire and in love with loving God and others.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Cute little sock, right? This is what I saw when picking out the socks at the store (they were in a big package).
To put things into perspective,
The sock on the very left is the one he is just growing out of. Next we have a cute sock from his drawer that is still a wee bit too big. Then, of course, we have the mammoth Old Navy sock. And there on the right is my sock...no, not that giant white one in the middle, the slightly bigger one all the way over to the right.
Friday, October 8, 2010
My Prince Charming
- a massage from me,
- a new pair of running shoes,
- a guy's night out,
- and a dinner cooked by me (as opposed to a dinner cooked by him if I had won).
- a Saturday free of diaper changes;
- and a Saturday free of feeding the little man (solids, that is...I am still on milk duty, although it would be fun to watch Luke try...).
And I think I can still talk him into the boots...my birthday is right around the corner!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
(The other day I was making a to-do list, and I wrote "mail September birthday cards" on it...um, yeah, thankfully, our family doesn't have any September birthdays because the cards would have been a month late!).
And now that October is here, Thanksgiving is just around the corner...and then Christmas...and then Augustine's first birthday!
I cannot believe how fast the time is passing...
And it's not going to slow down for us anytime soon! Here is a quick look at our (big item) social agenda for the next few months:
Middle of October = Quick trip to Massachusetts for Luke to give a talk (my husband gives talks on occassion--of the Christian nature--to younsters...did you know that about him?).
Beginning of November = One of my best friends, Amanda (and her husband and baby), is coming to visit for my birthday!
End of November = Thanksgiving in Massachusetts.
End of December = Christmas in Colorado.
December 30th = Augustine's Birthday! (Party in CO? Sure, why not!)
Early January = Another birthday party back in Richmond? YES!
I might as well just call this "month" Oct-em-ber-ary!
In other words...it's a list of awesome quotes by incredibly holy men and women. I am always super inspired by their wisdom and insight, so I thought I would share some of my favorites with all of you!
Saint Terese of Lisieux: "You alone, O Jesus, could satisfy a soul that needed to love even to the infinite."
Saint Maximilian Kolbe: "Shall the urge for complete and total happiness, inherent to human nature, be the only need to remain unfulfilled and unsatisfied? No, even this longing can be fulfilled by the infinite and eternal God."
Saint Katherine Drexel: "May your faith be increased so as to realize the fact that you are never alone, wheresoever you may be, that the great God is with you, in you."
Saint John Vianney: "The soul can feed only on God; only God can suffice it; only God can fill it; only God can satiate its hunger. Its God is absolutely necessary to it."
Saint Jane Frances de Chantel: "Oh, how happy is the soul that freely lets herself be molded to the liking of this divine Savior!"
Saint John of the Cross: "You considered that one hair fluttering at my neck; You gazed at it upon my neck and it captivated You."
Saint Catherine of Sienna: "When we love something we don't care what sort of abuse or injury or pain we might have to endure to get it; we are concerned ony with satisfying our desire for the thing we love."
Saint Dominic: "I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you more effectively than during my life."
Saint Augustine: "We have been promised something we do not yet possess. It is good for us to persevere in longing until we receive what was promised, and yearning is over."
Saint Gregory Nazianzen: "Each of us can say to the tempter, 'Unlike you, I have not yet become an outcast from heaven through my pride. By my baptism I have become one with him. It is you that should fall prostrate before me."
Saint Cecilia: "To die for Christ is not to sacrifice one's youth, but to renew it. Jesus Christ returns a hundredfold for all offered him, and adds to it eternal life."
Saint Irenaeus of Lyons: "The glory of God is man fully alive."
Saint Justin Martyr: "The greatest grace God can give someone is to send him a trial he cannot bear with his own powers - and then sustain him with his grace so he may endure to the end and be saved."
Thursday, September 30, 2010
4) Apparently I have allergies--specifically to the foliage in Colorado (Or maybe to the hay at the pumpkin patch?? Or maybe just to grass...we don't have that in our yard in VA...). I had a runny nose during our trip, but it cleared up when we got back home.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I love to crawl under my table and play with my cd player--I even open it and take my lullaby cd out...and bang it until Mom comes and takes it.
3) Mom started planning my 1st birthday party this week!!! I will actually probably have two parties--one in CO since we will be there for my actual birthday and one is VA a week or two later. Mom decided to do an elephant theme--surprise, surpise. Let the DIY decorations and favors begin!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Me in my Woombie! (photo taken three months ago)