It’s a fool what looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart
(…before The Man Makes Them Illegal)
I am a capricious person. I will, for no good reason, decide that unknown, untried objects/persons/events are either acceptable or not acceptable. Which “explains” why I dislike the entire state of California (despite never having been there and marrying someone who lived there for a fair portion of his childhood), but think that Zorb is the best touristy activity known to man (again, despite never having been in a Zorb nor knowing anyone who has).
I’m fine with this personality trait. I find it endearing. Other people, probably not so much.
Like poor Ken. He’d gone on a “The Shocking Awful Truth About Every Food Item You Put In Your Mouth” documentary kick a while back, and started coming home from the health food store on a daily basis, wielding some new, exotic health food.
I immediately hated everything he brought home.
Nope, didn’t even need to know what it was.
I particularly hated these things called “chia seeds” that he came home with, going on and on about how they were this amazing energy source, high in amino acids and vitamins blah, blah, and blah.
He lost me at “gelatinous”.
Plus, he’s a weirdo wannabe hippy who is the only person in the world willing to ingest something dubbed “Aztec Superfood”. …
I come from a family of four.
On grocery days, my mom would pull into the garage, car full of food, and suddenly, a change would come over the family. We became louder, bigger, more. I don’t know what it was, or how it happened, but to this day I have the happiest memories of the unexpected, friendly chaos that ensued when the groceries arrived and we all gathered to put them away. It was as if my family of four became a foreshadow of the family of seven-soon-to-be-eight that I would have as an adult.
It was awesome.
So now, years and years (and years and years -ahem-) later, I’m surrounded by this family that I love so much that it breaks my heart every day because they fill it so full. But sometimes the friendly chaos becomes a little….well….well a little much.
Too much. Too shrill. Too intense.
And that’s when I know it’s time for us to take a break.
Not from each other, since I usually come to this realization on the weekend, which is sacrosanct in the family- Thou Shalt Not Leave the Family (for too long) On the Weekends. But a break is needed from the house, from the chores, from the routine. We all need a chance to take a breather.
I think this is common for every family, no matter what the size. At some point, the family needs to have a group battery recharge. …
“Lotus, I have to write something. What am I going to write about? I can’t think of anything.” I’m whining a little bit here. To the nine year old. You know it’s been a long day when the chain of command breaks down like this.
“Write about cherries and strawberries and ice cream.” She didn’t even have to think about it. It was as if she’d been waiting all day for me to pose that question to her.
Long slow blink. She grins, showing that ridiculously adorable mixture of adult and baby teeth.
“Oookaaaay. Sure. Cherries and strawberries and ice cream. But in what context?”
“In the context of them being delicious.” Giggling. Then more giggling.
“Right. But there should be a plot. And a message. I feel like I should start striving to have a message in my articles.”
“The plot is that a cherry princess got kidnapped by a strawberry giant from a far off land of ice cream. Delicious, flavorful vanilla ice cream. And that’s the message, too. Vanilla ice cream can be really delicious and flavorful. Like when Daddy makes it.” More giggling. It could be argued that at this point, the girl had dissolved into giggles.
Long slow blink.
“You know what? I am going to write that. Now go to sleep, and no sneaking books under the covers so I get distracted from my ice cream and strawberries to come up here and de-book you.” I kiss her goodnight.…
The Holy Spirit speaks through signs and wonders.
In fact, a quick sweep through my house revealed the following signs I clearly needed to heed:
(something about being a better housekeeper…?)
(this sign is, “someone needs to closely supervise The Jude during all bathroom visits”)
(literal sign, courtesy of the nine year old: Let’s keep the temple clean, y’all!- misplaced modifiers notwithstanding)
(this one’s easy. 67 degree weather + muddy yard = quintuple bath night. Kids are dirty, you’d really like them clean. Got it, Paraclete.)
But it isn’t all soapy mirrors and two hours of grooming. Wonders appeared, too:
It may be snowed over again next week, but for today, the promise of spring was more than enough.
And the biggest wonder of all? I got my copy of the sold out, book trailer so hot YouTube banned it, can’t wait to go read it, Sex, Style & Substance today. A day earlier than expected!
Later, y’all. I’ve got five kids to bathe and a book to read while doing it.
During my conversion, one of the best, most logical teachings I came across was that of Purgatory. Though I didn’t have the terminology for it at the time, Catholic understanding of the process of final Sanctification explained how God could be both merciful and just. A merciful God forgives us for all our sins. A just God doesn’t allow us to continue into eternity with vices and disordered attachments.
So Purgatory, that state of being where we are purged of all those unwholesome habits and longings, made sense.
But the indulgence thing confused me. Being a nice Protestant girl, the only dealings with indulgences I’d ever had were in high school World History class, where we learned all about the scandal of selling indulgences etc. etc. That image was further driven home by the local Renaissance Faire, which featured a fat monk wandering around the grounds selling “indulgences” to the fair goers.
I found myself fascinated with the actual practice of indulgences; I think I probably could rattle off three dozen different indulgenced actions just sitting here right now with end-of-the-day brain fry. The practice is a beautiful, highly misunderstood, and generous gift from God.
However, I think there are some glaring omissions in the Handbook of Indulgencesthat need to be remedied. Therefore, I humbly submit the following actions be included in the list:
Indulgences for Parents and/or Caretakers of Children*…
For embarking on the behavior modification known as “potty training”, partial indulgence.
(And Other Messes)
You know how you have productive Lents and not-so-productive Lents? Or, as I like to call them, “good Lents” and “bad Lents”?
Despite my best efforts to the contrary, this is shaping up to be a “good Lent”; it sure doesn’t feel good- so it must be productive. I suspect that God took one look at my heart on Ash Wednesday, full of meager and half-hearted plans, and decided that He had better things in store for my soul, in the form of trials, temptations, and persecutions. Oh goody. Yes, He’s also given me the spiritual gift basket of graces to accompany the former, but still- trials, temptations, and persecutions are hard (insert whiney voice here).
I was like to die today when I opened the missalette and realized it’s only the second Sunday of Lent. I had been certain Father was going to process to the altar, all resplendent in rose vestments and thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus, there would only be one more week left. But oh no. No, I still have three more Sundays to endure before the light at the end of the tunnel is spotted.
I’m not going to make it.
Observe: the kids took it upon themselves this past week to dial up their behavior from “standard” to “advanced”. I won’t go into the sordid details, but the highlights have included matches, a window befouled by bodily wastes, and various cosmetics applied to people and objects best left unpainted.…
We have four bedrooms in this house. Ken and I, predictably and selfishly, have claimed one of them (the one with an attached bathroom- we’re no dummies!) and the other three are for the minions.
Since we have only one girl, Lotus finds herself in the enviable position of being the only person in the house without a roommate. If this newest baby decides to break the boy streak we’ve been on lately, Lotus will eventually know the joys of shared bedroomhood. If the baby stubbornly insists on carrying the Y chromosome, then we’re going to have to do some room reconfigurations for about the millionth time.
Currently, we have Gabriel and The Jude, the four year old and three year old, shacked up together. They’re only 15 months apart, so we figured they’d be in the same developmental boat in regards to bathroom, sleep, and nightlight requirements.
They also apparently have the same food requirements, since for the past two months, they’ve been waking up extremely early in the morning (think: the earliest a morning can be without it being last night), sneaking down to the kitchen, and grabbing anything that could remotely appeal to the discerning palate of the under-5 crowd (Gabriel’s already got a history of doing things like this). I’ve found the sugar bowl in their room, stashed under covers, its contents empty and only a telltale sticky graininess left on the floors to give them away. …
So tomorrow is payday. Which, as many of you immediately understand, means that all meals today will fall under the category of either “creative” or “desperate”, depending on your point of view. I prefer “practical”, since I’ll be darned if I’m going to subject myself to the horror that is a stopgap grocery shopping trip with five children under the age of ten.
While 7 months pregnant.
Oh no. I’ll just suck it up and make peanut butter crackers and carrots for lunch, and our bi-monthly meal of “let’s clear out the refrigerator and freezer for dinner” dinner. Those of you who’ve seen The Birdcage may pick up the reference when we call those extra creative meals “Sweet and Sour Peasant Soup”.
Lunch and dinner are easy enough, but breakfast is another beast entirely. We don’t generally eat cereal around here. Cereal, I’ve found, costs an awful lot for a single box of something that will be utterly consumed in one setting (even the big boxes don’t last more than a single meal around five hungry kids), and still result in a chorus of “but I’m huuuuuunnnnnngreeeeeeeeee!!” a mere 45 minutes later. Since we homeschool, our mornings are slower than they would be if we had children to get on a bus in time, so I’m able to make a hot breakfast that will hopefully keep the minions full for up to three hours. For three glorious hours free from people clinging to me demanding to be fed, I’m willing to put some effort into breakfast.…
Joaquin, my firstborn son, is a very sweet soul. He loves babies and old people. He is the most patient and humble person in the house. He loves making people cards and and paying them lavish compliments.
He also loves tanks, catapults, light sabers, swords, Nerf guns, soldiers, knights, and ninjas. His ultimate bedtime story would involve a knight saving baby Jesus from a Lego castle created by an evil wizard in an armored tank.
If you come across such a story, let me know, ok?
He’s a sweetheart.
Like the time we visited Sea World, and while the adults enjoyed their complimentary beer in the “brewmaster club” (which I just learned is a fabulous tradition they’ve since killed- a moment of silence, please), an exhausted and sleepy three year old Joaquin looked around and asked in an angelic voice, “Where are the womens to bring me some food?”
While I found that one hilarious, the gems coming out of six year old Joaquin’s mouth this past week were slightly less so.
On Thursday, for example, as I wrestled with a malfunctioning computer program, Joaquin walked up behind me and asked what I was doing.
Irritably, I told him that I was trying to fix something on the computer. A not-six-year-old would have picked up on the tone of my voice and slowly backed away. …
Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor and a weird sense of timing.
Take my garden, for example. Last fall, during the time that everyone associates with closing up the growing season and putting the garden to bed for the winter, we instead got hit with Winter Storm Alfred. Alfred brought with him a little over a foot of snow and ice- on October 30th. Almost the entire state of Connecticut was without electricity. Power crews were called in from all over the country to help. It took them eight days to get to us. Some people were without for almost two weeks.
By the time we’d dug out of snow, ice, trees, and various outbuildings that had been smashed by the storm, the last thing I felt like doing was prepping the garden for winter. Shoot. We’d already had all the winter I could handle- in a five week period.
But I still felt guilty every time I saw that neglected patch of earth, and so when Ash Wednesday turned into a sunny-and-highs of- 56 blissfest, I knew I should get out there. Even if it was too late to winterize, I could get a head start on my peas, which always go in on St. Patrick’s day.
This will be the third summer we’ve lived here, and the second year I’ve planted a vegetable garden in its soil. We moved in late March of 2010, and the first thing I did was notice that some previous owner had long ago cleared out a modest patch in the sunniest, flattest part of the yard. …