Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It all started a week ago.  Augustine had been sick for a few days, Luke was out of town, and I was getting no sleep!  It all caught up with me when I woke up in the middle of Tuesday night with swollen glands and full sinuses.  Awesome. 

And then Wednesday night happened--a very difficult night.  It was Luke's last night away.  Augustine woke up at 10 pm, just as I was headed to bed.  Not his typical "wake up to eat and go back to sleep" wake up.  Oh no, he stayed up for T.H.R.E.E. hours.  Believe me when I say he has never done that before.  After trying to get him back to sleep for awhile, I broke down and brought him downstairs in tears.  I had never felt so tired {the accumulation of Augustine being sick on and off for the past few months, Luke being out of town, and now me being sick}, and I didn't know how I was going to make it until Luke returned around 10 am the next morning.  So there we were, at midnight, watching kid tv, Augustine snacking on a bowl of dry Cheerios and a cup of milk.  Augustine did most of the watching--I did most of the crying.  In fact, I called Luke several times, as he was on a long, overnight bus ride home from Orlando, FL.  I told him things like, "I might die I am so tired," "I guess we will just stay awake until you get home in the morning," and "I think this is your last season playing soccer {i.e. traveling}."  Oh, yes, I was in rare form and not thinking very rationally.   

As you may have guessed, Augustine did go back to sleep that night and I did survive until Luke returned {barely...}.  As soon as Luke walked in the door, we exchanged a much needed hug and kiss, and then I left for the doctor.  It turns out I had a sinus infection, as well as self-diagnosed sleep deprivation. 

The doctor gave me an antibiotic, told me to take Mucinex D for the symptoms, and recommended Tylenol PM to help in the sleep department. 

I don't know what happened while I was asleep {if you can call it that} that night, but I haven't been able to taste or smell anything since early Friday.  When I say anything, I mean anything.  It's not one of those things where you can only taste your food if you blow your nose immediately before you eat.  It's not one of those things where you can smell and taste things but not very well.  I literally cannot smell or taste anything at all in any degree, even when I can breath perfectly fine through my nose.  And, yes, it's scaring me!

At first I just noticed it at meal times.  Do you know what it's like to go out to eat and order something new... and then to eat it all, never knowing what it tasted like?  And then half an hour later wondering why you have a stomach ache?  I do.  {I also know what it's like to spend $10 on a mimosa that tasted to me like pulpy, gassy water--grrrr!  I did not know the mimosa was going to cost $10, by the way, but I digress...} 

For the past few days, food has really lost its flair.  I can only gauge it by two things: temperature and texture.  Not even cough drops, coffee, or alcohol {I imagine that could get dangerous...} phase me. 

Once I realized I really couldn't taste anything, I started noticing how much I missed smelling the world around me.  It's very strange to wake up in the morning and not have any external motivation to brush one's teeth because one can not smell one's own breath.  It's equally strange to kiss one's husband not knowing the status of one's breath...or one's husbands' breath.  It's been really hot here lately, and when I go in to hug people, I wonder if I smell??  We had friends over for a Memorial Day barbecue and I wondered what my house smelled like...what my kitchen smelled like...what the food I was serving them smelled {let alone tasted} like??  I sprayed perfume on myself the other night and then, desperately, held the spritzer right under my nose and sniffed with all I had:  nothing {thank goodness it wasn't something toxic!}.  My poor little guy has sat in more poopy diapers in the past couple days than he has in his whole life because I just can't smell him {though it does make changing the diapers a bit more pleasant...}.  I miss smelling Augustine's sweaty, sun-screen face in the afternoons and his clean hair before bed. 

Who knew I would miss my nose so much?

Alas, I just ate a big bowl of ice cream.  It felt nice and cold, and I appreciated the gooey-ness of the cookie dough bits and the crunch of the peanut butter I shamelessly added, knowing full well I wouldn't be able to taste it...but it is just not the same without all its glorious flavors.  This condition could be good detachment for me and my sweet tooth!  But in all seriousness, has this ever happened to anyone?  How long did it last, and will I ever get my senses back??  It has been five whole days now, and although I am hopeful, it would help to hear if anyone has ever gone through this....and recovered! 

Thanks...and please enjoy all the tastes and smells the world offers you today!!            

Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes (4)

Check out more Quick Takes here.

1)  I don't think I have ever been so tired for so many consecutive days {and nights}.  Between visitors, fevers, vomiting, starting our days at 5 am, and teething, no one in this house has slept great for the past month.  Why haven't I been blogging much lately?  Because I have been trying to catch some much needed zzzz's while Augustine naps.  Four to five hours of sleep at night is just not enough, and I am really hoping more sleep is on my horizon--and soon!

2)  Rather than running to bed early last night, Luke and I went out on a date.  We bowled and had a few beers, and it was wonderful...but the party ended when we got home {or, became a party of three, if you want to look on the bright side}.  Upon walking into the house, our babysitter informed us that A had "just started crying."  Aye, aye, aye.  Let's just say that was only the beginning of a very long night...

3)  My husband is awesome.
4)  Today marks the 21 year anniversary of my Mom's death.  It just doesn't seem possible that it has been that long!  While my Mom deserves her own post, I am too tired...and as a Mama of five, who birthed two children less than a year apart, I know she would understand. 

5)  This week I rearranged our living room furniture, and I am really loving it.  It feels more cozy, and I reserved an entire area for A's toys and playthings. 

6)  Speaking of his toys, Augustine loves vacuuming with me {i.e. he insists that I carry his while I vacuum} so much that yesterday I bought him his very own vacuum.  He is ridiculously cute with it and has not stopped playing with it since we got home with it.  Today Luke called and said, "How is A doing with his vacuum?  Does he have a healthy relationship with it yet?"  Lol...and no.

7)  My younger sister finally made it Facebook official, so now I can share it on the blogosphere that she is expecting another bundle of joy in December!!  Woo-hoo! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Music and Memories

This morning Augustine and I made a trip to the library.  Visiting the library is a new thing for us, and my favorite section has quickly become the kid's musical cd section {aside from the pregnancy/nursing/mom section, which I can never get enough of!}.  Music is a part of each morning for me and the little guy, and we always welcome a little variety--thank you library!  

One of our cd picks today was Love Songs Lullabies, featuring tunes like "What a Wonderful World," "The Way You Look Tonight," and the inspiration for this blog: "Morning Has Broken" {performed by various artists, but most notably in my life, Cat Stevens}.  

The moment the familiar song began playing this afternoon, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I can't listen to Cat Stevens {or James Taylor or Carole King for that matter} without feeling nostalgic. 

I have few memories of my short time with my Mom, but songs by those artists have a special place in my heart because they remind me of her. 

I don't a specific memory that elicits my emotion--just a generalized familiarity of the songs and the knowledge that I first heard them at home by my Mom's side.  I flash back to my childhood living room--I can still picture the old record player and how it sat upon the low wooden shelf spinning out my Mom's favorite music.  But mostly, I just remember those familiar tunes, and they always take me back to a happy place. 

Knowing what I do about my Mom, it's just the kind of music I would imagine her to like. 

Any small connection I can make to my Mom is such a gift.  Who knew something unspoken of, and as simple as music, would help me feel my Mom 21 years after her death?       

Maybe my Mom put on music each morning when I was little, like I do with Augustine now.  And I hope someday when he is older he will hear the songs we used to listen to and, for reasons unknown, be drawn to them the way I am to my Mom's soul music of the 70s.      

I love you, Mom!  Happy Mother's Day!  Pray for us!!

Confessions of a Peculiar Mom

Lately, I have been feeling like I don't quite belong in the realm of modern parenthood. 

It's like I know there has been/will be some other place and time in which everything I aspire for as a mother was/is considered normal, but 2011 in the United States of America is.not.it.  

My admittedly eclectic vision for how to best raise Augustine is not what is being touted to the masses of mothers these days.  Perhaps my ways are influenced by reading too much or thinking about things too much or being persuaded too easily, but at the end of the day I can only do what I think it best for my baby, even if it's difficult to find others who agree. 

I suppose every mother feels this in some capacity--a resistence from family or friends or society to her parenting ideals.  So, I guess in that respect, I'm not so different from the rest. 

But, I just need to confess {i.e. acknowledge}, unapologetically, some of my abberant ways: 

I want to breastfeed Augustine until he weans naturally, which could be when he's two...or three...or four.  I don't want to let my baby cry it out--even if it means continuing to nurse him in the middle of the night.  I am having doubts about circumsizing our future little boys {if we have any}.  The idea of co-sleeping with our next baby is becoming less repulsive.  I actually love nursing Augustine to sleep for his naps {it wasn't always that way}.  I don't feel the need to get out and leave Augustine with other people to care for him--I want to be with him all the time {and I want people to stop making me feel like that's not good for us}.  The idea of sending Augustine to school is not appealing to me, and I want to be able to say that without being reminded that four years and two more kids from now I will "probably" be pushing him out the door.  Having a natural childbirth was not a crazy whim--it is what I wanted for Augustine, and it is what I will want the next time we have a baby, too.  I think breastfeeding is one of the most natural and special things about being a mom, and I haven't feel self-conscious about feeding Augustine when he is hungry, regardless of where we are.  Vaccines scare the daylights out of me, but I still vaccinate Augustine for the most part--after doing a lot of reading.  Sleep is important; Augustine's bed time is important; Augustine's nap time is important; exceptions are made, no doubt, but I don't want to hear that "schedules are just for the parents."  I really struggle with the role of fictitious characters {e.g. Easter Bunny} in our holiday traditions.  Augustine doesn't eat sweets yet and probably {hopefully?} won't drink soda until he is served it at a friend's birthday party when he's a tween.    

 Judge if you must.  Sometimes I just feel like I am my baby's Mama, this is my first go at it, I am going to make mistakes, I am going to change my mind, I am going to do some things differently with future children, but just let me embrace it {and do it my way}. 

I'd say he's turning out just great, wouldn't you?
I don't want to be jaded by criticism.  I don't want the experience to be cheapened by other's horror stories.  And those looks that say "I told you so" or "You'll learn" are really not necessary.  Because that is just the point.  I will learn.  I will learn what works best for me and my family, and right now, this perfect mess of peculiarities is it.                

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bright Maidens: Mary's Hands

Read more here.

Bright Maidens Week One: Why Mary?
Mary's Hands

{I do not own the rights}

Several years ago, a friend shared a dream he had about Mary that changed his relationship with her forever. 

Being a convert to Catholicism, after a six-year career as a Protestant pastor no less, the Church's teachings on Mary had always been a bit of a stumbling block for him--even after his conversion.  But fortunately, after having this simple dream, and through a lot of prayer, he was able to develop a relationship with Mother Mary and embrace the Church's teaching regarding her. 

In his dream, my friend could just see Mary's hands.  The tender, nurturing hands that had cared for Jesus as a baby and child--it was she who bore him, bathed him, clothed him, fed him, held him, and taught him how to pray.  The hands that prepared his meals, cleaned up after him, cuddled him as he nursed, and consoled him when he was hurt.

And it just clicked:  If I want to get closer to Jesus, there is no better way than to get close to His Mother.  "My soul magnifies the Lord," Mary says in her magnificat.  She magnifies the Lord, proclaims His greatness, points toward Him; she does not, as some would suggest, take the place of the Lord, detracts from the Lord, or lead others away from Him.

No one had a more intimate relationship with Jesus than His Mother.  No one knew Him better or spent more time with Him.

My husband said this morning, "I think your greatest argument for Mary is your relationship with Augustine {our son}.  I never knew that such a love could exist between a Mom and her son." 

He is right.  I can attest {and you mothers out there will agree},  that the love between a mother and her child is intense.  And if my experience with Augustine is so incredible, I can only imagine what Mary's relationship with Jesus was {and is} like.

It is actually confounding to me when I hear people try to downplay Mary's role in Jesus' life, in our lives, and in the world.  In case you missed the memo folks: by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary conceived and bore Jesus (aka the Savior of the world), in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesy (Isaiah 7:14).

That's kinda a big deal.

On Christian talk radio this morning, a pastor made sure to go out of his way to debase Mary.  "Mary is hardly mentioned at all in the Bible," he said.  "The last time she is spoken of is in Acts.  She is not mentioned in any of the epistles."

And what, mr. talk radio guy, is your point?!

Mary may not be mentioned beyond the book of Acts {by name, that is--there are obvious, and significant, references to Mary in Revelations, as well as in the Old Testament}, but let's consider some of the occasions she is mentioned in the Bible:

*An angel appears to Mary announcing she is going to be the Mother of God and addresses her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." (Luke 1:27; 1:30-33)

*Upon learning this news, Mary courageously responds, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."  (Luke 1:38)

*In charity, Mary {pregnant with Jesus} journeys to visit her cousin, Elizabeth {also pregnant with John the Baptist}.  And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"  (Luke 1:41-43) 

*In all humility, Mary acknowledges her role in God's Divine Will, "My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked with favor on his lowly servant.  From this day all generations shall call me blessed.  The almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name!"  (Luke 1:46-49)

*Mary gave birth to our Lord and Savior in a manger, prompting a chorus of angels singing the Alleluia chorus (Luke 2:10-16)
*Jesus began his public ministry at the beckoning of His Mother to preform his first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana.  (John 2:3-10)

*Mary is ever faithful to her Lord, present at the foot of her Son's cross as He died for the salvation of the world.  (John 19:25-27)

*Mary was in the upper room with the disciples during Pentecost--the descent of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-8)

BUT {let's not forget} Mary's not mentioned in the epistles, so she must not be a big deal?  Right?? 


Clearly, Mary is a big deal.  She was present at the most significant moments in our Lord's life; present as a humble servant, always pointing others to her Son. 

Able to love perfectly, Mary in incapable of anything less.  She wants only to love our Lord perfectly and to help us to love Him, too. 

(all emphasis added)