Saturday, August 30, 2008
I could list all the things I do for Bill to show him how much I love him, but that would be bragging. I could list all the things I love about him, but maybe on another blog post.
One bit of advice I might give to a married woman (only if asked for advice, of course) is to keep a vision in her head of her husband at his best. This vision will sustain her the 99.9% of the time he isn't at his best. It is difficult, when angry or upset, to recall to mind nice things about that person who is driving you crazy, so it is a good idea to put into writing that vision, and then refer to it as needed (daily, perhaps).
Here are ways that Bill shows me he loves me. These acts contribute greatly to that vision I have of him, plus I want him to know that I appreciate them, even if I can't always acknowledge it.
1. He makes the bed.
2. He never complains if he has to hunt for clean socks and underwear.
3. He eats whatever I serve him and is grateful.
4. He swaps his toothbrush head out for mine, so I don't have to.
5. He never complains about the tidiness (or lack thereof) of the house.
6. When he did laundry after Mary was born, he carefully read and followed directions on all garments to ensure he did a good job.
7. He "pinch hits" frequently with various household chores like the dishes.
8. He takes out the garbage.
9. He brings me the baby in the middle of the night.
10. He re-tucks scared big kids into bed in the middle of the night.
11. He makes me drinks.
12. He immediately goes out to buy me a new microwave when I set the old one on fire.
13. He calls me a saint.
14. He tells me I'm too good for him.
15. He tells me he doesn't deserve me.
16. He makes his own lunch.
17. He tells me every "bad wife" story he hears so I'll feel good in comparison.
18. He tells me I'm beautiful.
19. He gives me hugs.
20. He sits with me on my porch swing.
21. He puts together my porch swing, and takes it apart, and puts it back together again after our move as soon as possible.
22. He begs for my attention.
23. He tells me how happy he is that we are married.
24. He rubs my furrowed brow to remind me to smile.
25. He tells me that he can't live without me, but that he wants me to die first, so that I don't have to mourn him.
26. He sits with our reluctant student in the evening to help him finish the schoolwork he didn't finish earlier in the day.
27. He calls me from work just to say he misses me.
28. He emails me things he thinks I would find interesting.
29. He asks my opinion.
30. He listens to my advice.
31. He goes along with my crazy schemes.
32. He welcomes my family for month-long visits.
33. He hangs pictures, curtains, shelves etc with precision and whenever I ask him.
34. He buys me chocolates.
35. He lectures the children if he thinks they are harassing me.
36. He never refuses a request for time without the children.
37. He supports and encourages me in my running.
38. He never complains or questions my spending of money.
39. He doesn't get mad when I damage the car or get pulled over for speeding.
40. He laughs at my jokes.
Happy birthday, sweetheart. Thank you for everything you do for me and for our children.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Happy 40th, Bill! Gosh, I remember your 21st when we...
Bill, birthday greetings! Remember that time in NYC...
Bill, did you ever tell Michelle about that time we...
Bill, you and Michelle will have to come over again. I'm still laughing about last Saturday when...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
A moment later my mother's ears detected a change in her babbling. Just as we learn to distinguish a baby's cries, and know when something is seriously wrong and we need to respond immediately, so, too, can we tell when a contented baby becomes too happy. Sounds of overwhelming joy from an unattended infant are not normal and require immediate attention.
I ran down the hall and found her, standing at the open toilet, splashing to her heart's content.
Monday, August 25, 2008
...how much sleep is lost when a baby is teething (that's okay, sleep is overrated).
...how opinionated a 10 month old can be (as in, no, I don't want this toy, I want that choking hazard).
...how curious a person this young can be (as in, what's behind this door?)
...how much memory a baby can have (as in, behind that door are books).
...how much frustration a baby can display (as in, I WAAAAAANT TO GET BEHIND THAT DOOOOR!).
...how persistent an infant can be (yes, she's still trying to figure out the door).
And, I had forgotten...
...how one or two weeks of sleepless nights will feel like forever until you realize that she's almost a year old and you wonder how that happened so fast.
...how cute babies are when they do raspberries.
...how a ten month old has a sense of humor and will laugh hard if you do something funny.
...how a baby's entire body expresses joy, especially when she sees mommy.
...how little hands and arms can hug so tightly and little mouths can kiss so sweetly.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
In fact, at 4 am, the loudspeaker outside his room blares prayers in a foreign language.
He's coming home soon.
My brother-in-law in Iraq gets to attend Mass every other Wednesday. He's been entrusted with the Host, so they can have a Communion Service on Sundays.
I don't care how you spend your Sundays, but thank God you have a choice.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
But my choice in this fall's election was decided quite a bit ago. One man thinks abortion is okay and would not even vote to protect the life of children born alive and suffering the wounds of a botched abortion. The other man thinks that life, and our duty to protect it, begins at conception.
But I marveled that I spent all day yesterday checking the news wires for the big announcement. I even checked Drudge, my husband's favorite site, but one I rarely peruse. The VP candidate won't change my vote, but he might change the vote of those who don't pay attention to the issues.
Biden is "Catholic."
He also possesses gravitas in foreign affairs and comes from a working class background. He's a really good pick for Obama who needed strengthening in these areas with big pockets of Americans who can't relate to him.
But it's the "Catholic" thing that gets me. The only thing worse than a pro-death politician is a pro-death, Catholic politician. I guess it's good that Congress is closed on Sunday; we wouldn't want morality to come into play at the office.
Today was a good day to read this homily written before the VP pick was announced. Of course, if a Catholic attends Mass with Biden, it probably won't make a difference.
Father Farfaglia writes:
The bottom line is this: if abortions continue our country will collapse. If you want America to survive well into the future, we must end abortion. This is the issue.
Are we a better nation than we were 40 or 50 years ago? I'm not one to wax nostalgic, and I very much favor modern technology (like dishwashers and air conditioning and computers). I don't mean that way. I mean, are we nice to each other? Divorce, child abuse, road rage, and just general courtesy like eye contact with a sales clerk: compared to days gone by, do we treat each other with respect? Why have we changed? It's not cell phones and text-messaging that have made us self-centered. It's a general disregard for human life beginning with the killing of our most defenseless members.
And pertinent to the VP pick, although Father Farfaglia didn't know who that would be when he wrote it:
Everyone recognizes that we are caught in the middle of a culture war here in America. However, at the same time, we find ourselves in the middle of civil war going on right within the Catholic Church. How can we expect good results from the elections if our own Catholics, be they the clergy and the laity, are themselves profoundly divided and even polarized on the most fundamental issues of life? If the Church in America is still struggling with scandalous clergy and rebellious people in the pews, how can the Catholic Church provide the spiritual leadership that is so desperately needed in these chaotic times?
If we cannot recognize and protect an innocent child's right to live, then there is no point in fussing over any other issue. To worry about Social Security or taxes when a million babies are killed every year would be like a resident of the town of Dachau in the 1930's thinking the town needed a strong mayor who could take the federal government to task for running and offloading trains at night when people were trying to sleep.
A society that is not completely repulsed by the death of a million children a year has no business being upset at the price of gasoline.
Thanks to Donna-Marie for the homily link.
Friday, August 22, 2008
And, no, this didn't happen in the Netherlands, it happened in Colorado.
I just wonder how bad it has to get before there is outrage.
Hurdle 1: ignorance (no idea that such things are happening).
Hurdle 2: apathy (it doesn't affect me).
Hurdle 3: denial (we're not falling down the slippery slope).
Hurdle 4: acceptance (there's nothing I can do about it).
Hurdle 5: the new world order (it's better for us all).
There is no middle ground, folks. Either human life is precious, or it's not. Once we start equivocating over the beginning and end of life or personhood for others, we will begin to see that scope getting wider. Think I'm being silly? When was the last time you saw a child with Down's Syndrome, especially compared to how many you saw 20 years ago? Almost all babies diagnosed with Down's are aborted. The few you might see either missed diagnosis or were lucky enough to have pro-life parents. How long before parents are encouraged to go ahead and have that baby with Down's so that her kidneys or other organs can be given to another child? Wouldn't that be such a noble act?
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Like me and cakes, especially if I'm doing the decorating.
As an aside, I must explain that kitchens/food disasters are just a part of my life. The end results are generally good, but it's the getting there that is often...adventurous.
For example, the house we own in New Jersey came with several pieces of furniture left behind by the previous owner. One was a kitchen table with a metal top on a wood frame. The house was small, and I would often sew at that table in the kitchen. I quickly learned that the frequency of the metal table top matched that of a certain speed of my sewing machine.
For those of you non-science types, let me explain what that means. Have you ever heard of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge? If you want to see some amazing live footage of a bridge collapse, check out this video. What happened with this bridge is one day the winds going through the Narrows exactly matched the frequency of the concrete and steel structure of the bridge. Everything has a frequency, and the wind made the bridge oscillate just like a wave. Cool to see, especially since nobody died.
In my little kitchen, my sewing machine did to my table what the wind did to that bridge. So, what did I do? Nothing. I would sew along on a bouncing table.
One day, I had chili in the crockpot. Did I mention the kitchen was small? I had no counters, so the crockpot was on the kitchen table. I was also sewing. The crockpot was behind the sewing machine, and I was paying it no mind. I got into a groove with whatever project I was working on, and as I got up to speed, the table began to bounce, violently. I continued to sew, and naturally, the crockpot bounced right off, hitting a chair in just the right way to send chili flying from the ceiling to the floor along the wall with my few cabinets and the sink.
However, enough chili stayed in the crockpot that we still ate well for dinner. We just didn't have leftovers.
Today, for Katie's birthday, we drove over 3 hours north to visit with friends. I made her a chocolate cake with chocolate icing all from scratch. I made white flowers and she and Jenny and Peter put M&Ms in the centers. It was beautiful. She was so happy.
I told her we should take a picture of it before we put it in the car, because I was doubtful it would get to Pennsylvania in one piece.
I think we were in Delaware when I heard the thud in the way back. It was bad. I salvaged it as best I could, and we ate it anyway. I think the kids called it a "volcano cake." It was yummy. Ugly, but yummy.
I'll see if those photos came out tomorrow. After I clean my van.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
First, there was the trip to Walter Reed in morning traffic which included more than 30 minutes of attempting to find a parking space in the below ground level parking deck (aka: the depths of hell). In utter frustration, I finally gave up (we were now very late for the appointment and even had I found a spot at that point, I knew it would take me another 20 minutes to schlep 6 kids around and locate the office we needed).
Back at home, Bill called from Arkansas to tell me that his flight overseas via Dulles was on time so we could meet for dinner during his layover. Instead of "Oh, honey, I can't wait to see you," he got something along the lines of, "I HATE THIS STUPID TRICARE SYSTEM THAT SENDS ME 15 MILES AWAY TO A PLACE THAT HAS NO PARKING SPOTS." There even might have been ranting about old retired people who have nothing better to do than take up the few parking spots there are and sit all day chit chatting with other old retired people as they wait for their turn at the pharmacy (God forgive me). And I believe I concluded with, "No, I will NOT reschedule the appointment. I'm going to find a civilian doctor like we used to have."
More thoughts on that another time. Civilians beware: government run health care is bad juju.
Then on to Day 3 of
I am managing to keep my sense of humor for the most part. OK, I was near tears at the parking deck (not for the first time, I might add - it is, after all, the depths of hell). But I was able to grimly sit back and remind myself it's just a doctor's appointment for an injured knee. Nobody's dying here, just go home.
Then, on to Dulles Airport, pick up Bill, find a restaurant, enjoy a meal, walk around the mall, sit down in one of their mini-living rooms they have instead of random benches (quite nice, actually), and watch the other large families walk by. It would have been altogether wonderful except that everybody seemed to have this ominous weight hanging over their heads like a death sentence: Daddy is leaving.
He'll be back on Tuesday morning.
I love my husband. I'll miss my husband. But, come on. It's not even a week.
When we returned him to the airport, the crying was dramatic. Even the baby was wailing, but she was just unhappy about being in the car seat. It was so bad that I wondered why I even bothered to do it. Why go through all the tears and the angst and the heartbreak? Is it worth it for just a few hours of family time, a shared meal, a hug and a kiss? Is it?
Without a doubt: yes.
As we drove home, Billy started in with the what ifs? What if the plane crashes? What if bad guys take over the plane? What if dad dies?
We know not the day nor the hour. It could be on a plane today or the highway tomorrow. It could be next year or not for decades. But let me not put off a few hours of time together because I didn't want the pain of another goodbye.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Bill won't be gone for too long, but you would think he was going to be gone for weeks based on the tears this morning. The kids all managed to get themselves up to see Dad off at an hour much too early for me to want to be dealing with them, especially since the combination of less sleep and sorrowful goodbyes made for some cranky kids. And a cranky mom. I'll try better tomorrow.
As I type this, I no longer hear the sounds of children talking instead of sleeping, and I intend to head to bed just as soon as I finish my beer. Yes, I'm still keeping up with that new month's resolution, and I must say that my theory has proven to be true, for me at least. Beer is an acquired taste, and I have managed to acquire it, to a certain extent. While I won't claim to "love" beer (yet?), I am able to sit and nurse one without making faces. There's still nearly two weeks left in the month. Who knows what I can accomplish in that time?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Mary, though, didn't get the memo about the shifted night sleeping schedule, and so she was bright-eyed and sitting up in bed and babbling at her usual 530 am.
Thank goodness for strong coffee and four options for Mass so we can go in shifts (I do prefer to attend Mass as a family, but my 3 year old and not-yet-5 year old do not handle lack of sleep in any fashion remotely considered civil, so I plan to leave them home today).
We hurried home from the family BBQ because Bill is going TDY and has to pack. I wish I could say that we have a nice relaxing day of family togetherness planned before he goes, but, unfortunately, I have a very long honey-do list, and I'm trying to decide just exactly how much I can have him do without making him miserable.
Top on the list is installing the screw-in-the-wall baby gate to prevent access to the oft-used basement stairs. Mary has figured out the crawling thing, and her speed and agility increase exponentially by the hour it seems. In a few days I expect her to be no longer content with exploring whichever room I am in and instead to be heading wherever curiosity leads.
Friday, August 15, 2008
"Well, honey, that's where we're going," I replied in my isn't-this great!-voice.
"I'm too noisy," he promised.
I consider that premeditation.
Actually, he wasn't noisy. He just lay down in the aisle. And took off his shoes and socks.
I was nursing the baby (gasp!), happy that I insisted on sitting in the back pew, and grateful for indulgent elderly parishioners.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
"Mom, did you know the Russians invaded Georgia?"
Billy and I went on for several minutes calmly discussing the war. He suggested US involvement, but I told him I felt we should stay out of it. It wasn't until my friend, overhearing our conversation, pointed out that the Russians were not on American soil that I realized he thought they had attacked that state located between South Carolina and Florida.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I am rather proud of my header, so I would love it if you would do a little oohing and ahhing over that if you haven't already. Or maybe that would just feed my ego and contribute to my moral decay, so you should remain silent. I'm not sure. Oh, I know: leave a love note and then say a prayer for my soul?
And for any of you techno-savvy types, here's my list of what I'd like to do, and if you know how, just let me know:
- I'd like it if the blue floral pattern going down the sides were wavy or twisted or some other effect to make it look more like scrunched fabric than a cut and paste flat picture.
- I'd like the navigation bar and the main post body and the sidebar to be all on the same "sheet" so to speak, but with outlines around the different elements to distinguish them.
- I'd like the navigation bar to be centered and to extend from the left side of the post entries to the right side of the sidebar.
- I'd like to look like Claudia Schiffer and have a nice photo of me on the sidebar.
- I'd like to have a little link on the sidebar which says "Buy My Book Here." I'd happily write a book, too, if anyone has any suggests for a topic. I think it's all been done already.
Feel free to offer any advice on how to do any of those things.
Monday, August 11, 2008
If you read me through some feed reader, that's fine. As you were.
If you click directly to my sight, it might look a bit...um, weird. Yeah. I'm not very good at this creative stuff. So, it's a work in progress, and I really have to go tend to other things (which really means I'm extremely frustrated and hate leaving my blog looking like this, but I simply must walk away right now).
I'll fix it. Eventually.
Or maybe I'll just delete it and start over.
In the meantime, if you happen to really love to do these things, feel free to help a gal out. Email on sidebar.
The book is easy to read and easy to understand. The concepts are not revolutionary, but, for me at least, finally connect the dots of various vague thoughts that I have pondered from time to time. It is as though I had been staring at the pieces of a puzzle, and West finally showed me how they all fit together.
Although I'm familiar with Theology of the Body, I confess that I have not read any significant amount of it, and certainly knew nothing of other talks edited and compressed by Pope John Paul II due to their "adult" nature. Having recently, and uncomfortably, sat through a homily on Humanae Vitae with my two young sons, I can understand why the Pope would choose to remove much of his discourse on the Song of Songs from lectures delivered to a family audience.
It is good, though, for the Pope's deeper thoughts regarding sexuality and marriage to be made available for mature audiences. On page 54, West quotes Theology of the Body with "...the dignity and balance of human life depend at every moment of history and at every point on the globe on who woman will be for man and who man will be for woman." Is that true? If it is, and my heart feels it is, who is woman for man (and man for woman) today? And most importantly, to me, who am I to my husband and he to me?
And does the condition of my marriage matter to you?
West (and the Pope) argue that it does. "Contrary to the modern world's treatment of it, sex is not a light matter. It is not entertainment. Sex is something existential - that is, it concerns the very reality and foundation of human existence, of human life" (p 141). For many, that is a very difficult idea to swallow. Who wants such weighty thoughts accompanying them to bed?
And yet, to disregard the sacredness of sex, which is all too easy to do, leads to a general disregard for marriage and ultimately for the opposite sex. And then woman is enemy to man, and man is enemy to woman. "When the cradle of life - the family - breeds death and destruction, it inevitably produces an entire 'culture of death'" (p 159).
Heaven's Song is a book of hope that encourages married couples to seek a purer love. By shunning lust and striving for a total self-giving love, couples can "...[transform] something that is worshipped into something that is worship" (p 130). It is small wonder that West concludes his book with the encouragement to read it again. There is much to mull and to discuss, especially with a spouse.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
I can live with one TV. But I am so happy we have two computers.
Update: American Women Sabre fencers rock! Tomorrow morning we'll be watching the Men's Epee - Bill's weapon of choice from long ago. Exciting stuff.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Here is a non-blurry photo from my camera. Subject matter must have been important to the photographer.
Of all the photos, this was only one that interested me. Uncle Tom and Mary. Bonding. Uncle Tom took more pictures, but then accidently deleted them all. This is the only one we took from his visit.
First there are the goodies in the adult lounge. Then there's the fact that I'm spending 4 hours a day with the 3 and under crowd and a roomful of Goldfish, graham crackers and vanilla wafers. And they enjoy sharing.
Oh, and my morning run has been replaced with sitting and holding babies instead.
My scale is groaning.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
My husband managed to find some time to blog about my beer drinking. I had intended to keep a log of my reactions to the beer, but it never made it from head to paper, so it is gone. It was funny while I remembered it.
I did tell Bill that he reminded me of going to the eye doctor as he questions me day to day about the flavors. "Is it better now...or now?" Although I can tell some difference, at this point it doesn't matter. Bill and his brother were laughing at me as I described taking a sip in such a way as to avoid a direct hit on my taste buds.
Yesterday I had a playdate with Denise and her boys, which was nice. She got to hear me describe Bill's expectant questioning after my nightly drink as akin to a new bridegroom's pillow talk: "How was it, honey?" Oh, the performance anxiety!
Denise recommended black and tans, and said her husband thought I should skip all the light stuff and go straight for Guinness. It's so good to have support and encouragement for my endeavors - from her and other friends, from friends' husbands. Touching.
Now, off to see if the baby will let me take a shower.
Monday, August 04, 2008
We waited at the window to wave. As they drove off, Bill told me that Fritz said, "Yeah, Dad, she's probably crying right now."
So what if I was?
I did think about him all day long, hoping that he was doing okay and having fun. And missing him. In the late afternoon, I passed Billy rehydrating himself in the dining room. "How are you doing, sweetie?"
"Not too well," he confessed. He then gave me a litany of all the things that were going wrong. Mosquitoes biting him, too hot, too sunny, etc etc etc.
I took his hand. "You miss Fritz, don't you?"
He burst into tears. "It's just not the same without him," he cried. He went on about how he really wanted Fritz to come home, that he just couldn't go the whole week without him. I told him we would all be fine, that we would have to manage, to comfort each other, to just get through this difficult time. Heavens! I thought. It's a good thing he's only camping!
Billy, comforted but still unhappy, went back to his water, and I checked on dinner.
A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was Fritz's den leader. Despite checking in advance, the group got all the way to Goshen before being informed that the camp would close down due to an e Coli outbreak. Of course, everyone wants the kids to be safe, but it would have been nice to be spared all that driving.
I accused Billy, "Were you praying that Fritz would come home?"
He promised me that he wasn't praying, just hoping. I told him that he needed to keep his happiness to himself, since Fritz would likely be extremely disappointed.
A bit later, Billy said, "Mom, I can't remember Fritz."
"Fritz? The guy you share a room with? The guy who's been around since before you were born?"
"I know who he is, I just can't remember what he is like."
"Billy, he's been gone one day! You saw him this morning! You've been apart from him for a day before."
"When? When I was a baby? I don't remember..."
Somehow, when Fritz got back after 9 pm, we were able to reintegrate him into our lives without too much effort. Yes, he's disappointed, but I think he's happy, too.
Friday, August 01, 2008
If you read any decent books on men-women relationships, they'll tell you that men seek companionship. If you're a guy, you might think, "Well, duh." If you're a woman, you might think, "But I hate taking him shopping." The trick, of course, is in finding shared interests. Strangely enough, men don't think the kids or the work around the house counts.
I am not capable of feigning interest in guns or cars or military history long enough to outlast my husband's capacity to discuss them. Current events and politics and the Just War Doctrine are topics best left alone in this household. If you want to see tempers flaring and cast iron skillets flying, casually bring up capital punishment.
Cards? I handily beat him most of the time. Scrabble? He is so mean to me.
We do like to do things together. We've played tennis, and since we're both bad, it's okay. We ran in the Army Ten Miler together in 2006, and, except for the last mile or so, it was nice. Walking, hiking, biking, exploring, spelunking, going to museums, trying new restaurants, even window shopping and discussing ways to spend that lottery money we'll never win are all things we can do together. But most of these activities require a babysitter or taking the children along.
So, we watch old movies instead.
But I think it would be really nice if we could have a common love. And I'm not so sure I want a husband who loves sewing...or reading Charlotte Mason...or pouring over cookbooks.
No, I need to cross over to the other side.
Assuming that some tastes are acquired, I am going to attempt to acquire the taste for beer this month. I resolve to drink a little bit of beer every day, hopefully working my way up to a whole glass by the end of the month. Bill is excited beyond measure and has been plotting for weeks the best program by which to introduce his favorite beverage. He writes, "If I do this right, I will have a lifetime drinking partner." The prospect makes my heart go pitter-pat.
I have a feeling that this month's resolution will make for some interesting supplemental blog posts. Wish me luck.
What is a New Month's Resolution? Every month I look at where I need to focus my attention. Perhaps I've been procrastinating on certain chores. Perhaps I need to spend some extra time with one or more of the kids. Perhaps I'd like to try a new habit. New Month's Resolutions are not grandiose plans to lose ten pounds or declutter the entire house or give up smoking (of course, I don't smoke, but if I did, this would not be the venue in which I would give it up). New Month's resolutions are short-term commitments; they are easily attained goals; they focus on what is needed right now, instead of what is best for a lifetime.
Do you have a new month's resolution?
He's going camping with Scouts.
I guess he thought we'd sit around and wait for him to come home before resuming our regularly scheduled lives.
He did laugh when I suggested he not roast any marshmallows or go on any hikes lest he have fun without us. It's amazing to watch him mature right before my very eyes.