Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wahhh! Wahhh! Wahhh!

If an item requires six C cell batteries, it ought to require ear plugs as well.

The older boys pooled their funds to buy this little number for John. It's cool - very, very loud - but so cool.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Things Add Up

I lay a slumbering Ainsley in her crib and cringe as I remember how squeaky her bedroom door has become. To my surprise, it opens and closes soundlessly.

I zip across town late! late! late! and cringe as I remember I'm driving on fumes. I glance at the gas gauge and see that the tank is full.

I stumble into the kitchen to brew the morning Joe and cringe as I remember that we're out of milk and other necessities. I glance in the fridge and pantry and see that we have been resupplied with milk, juice, and Little Debbie Swiss Rolls.

I return home from a lunch with the gals and cringe as I look at my watch and realize I have been gone far longer than planned.  I glance around the house to see happy kids and a cheerful hubby.

Generous, hard working, kind - a good husband is the gift that truly does keep on giving.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Da Man Knows He's Important

The boys are picking sides for hide and seek as I am taking Ainsley in for the night.

"Tim, stay close to John," I instruct.

"It's Kolbe against me," Tim informs me. "John's my minion."

"Yeah," John pipes in. "I da man!"

"That's minion, not da man," Tim clarifies.

It's all the same to John.

Just Call Them Sid

The older boys have cooked up all manner of nefarious schemes should Barbie's leggy frame ever darken our door. In the meantime they have a little fun with pinchy and Dolly.


I've just discovered that I have been drinking fat-free half and half for the past five days. Can bad moods take place retroactively?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Happy Weekend to you!

See Soulemama to play along.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small Successes


Join the readers of Faith and Family as we encourage one another. A few highlights from our abode:

1. I finally returned a gift from Christmas 2009! I have been staring at it for twelve months. Thank you, L.L. Bean, for your generous return policies. Amazon should be so flexible!

2. Tim earned his Signalling Merit Badge. I feel like I should get an honorary badge myself! He had to master like a zillion different forms of communication. So glad it's done. Way to go, Tim!

3. My stint as the pecan chairwoman is over! Several scouts will go to summer camp absolutely free!  After selling hundreds and hundreds of pounds of pecans, I actually went out and bought shelled pecans to do my Christmas baking.  It was $12.00 well spent.

What about you?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Baby at 43, A Baby at 45

The older boys are pining for another baby.

They adore John and Ainsley. Well, to be strictly accurate, Tim adores John and Ainsley. Kolbe adores Ainsley and (mostly) tolerates John. Except when he doesn't. Anyway. They are anxious for another. As we were loading up the van the other morning, Kolbe raised the issue.

"We have to keep up with the Balduccis," he said. "Aunt Rachel has six kids, and she's younger than you!"

I thanked Kolbe for pointing out my advanced maternal age, but mentioned two facts:

1. This is not a competition.

2. Aunt Rachel is younger than I am.

Naturally with kids, older is better; older means more capable. They don't quite grasp that the rules are a little different when it comes to fertility, i.e. older means less capable. I pointed out this article to them. Ainsley really is a rarity. Women don't readily conceive at 44 and 46 and 48.

"Seven in ten thousand women have a baby at 45," I told them. "We just happen to know all seven."

It's true - we do know about seven women who have had babies past 45. Our friend and neighbor had her tenth at 49.

They are sure that I am covetous of Aunt Rachel and her proven ability to be fruitful and multiply. I need to explain to them that yes, indeed, I am covetous of Aunt Rachel, but my jealousy has nothing to do with such weighty matters as bringing forth eternal souls. No, no, my envy stems from two unrelated but well established facts:

1. Her house is less cluttered than mine.

2. Her daughter tolerates hair accessories.

Shallow, I know, very shallow. I avoid covetousness when  more ponderous issues are involved.

As I have shared before, we grappled with secondary infertility followed by a long season of sub-fertility and repeat miscarriage. These experiences helped me come to grips with the fact that this is not a competition. Children are eternal souls not trophies or merit badges. They are not given to the deserving. We need only glance at the newspapers to realize that many, many wretched human beings conceive and bear and mistreat children. Conversely, I need only look through our backyard to see the home of a woman who would  make a better mother than I, but instead bears the lonely cross of infertility.

Children are a gift. Fertility is a gift.

As we exchanged vows fourteen years ago, Dave and I promised to accept children lovingly from God.  We could not have imagined the joys or the trials that we would encounter on what turned out to be a rather strange and winding road.  Through it all, we have attempted to leave the door open for God to move as He wills. We haven't slammed and bolted the door. When it appeared to be closed, we didn't grab a crow bar and start prying.

Someday I might write about the anguish I experienced when my infertility specialists would pelt me with technique after procedure they well knew I would not pursue. We're going to make you a baby, darn it! I miscarried and miscarried and miscarried and in the midst of it all felt I had to justify why I wouldn't use condoms while hormones built up in my system or choose selective termination should fertility drugs work a little too well. When I found myself cramping, anemic, and overwrought in every sense - physically, emotionally, spiritually - I needed comfort, not controversy. Truly it was a walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

I can vividly recall two times when the thought of being pregnant unnerved me to the core. During the agonizing three hours I spent pushing one Timothy Lyle into the world, I distinctly remember thinking that I could not possibly, ever, ever, ever put myself in the same predicament again. Never. It was as lucid and absolute a thought as I have ever had. It was also one I reversed about two minutes after delivery.

I had a similar though not as vehement  thought when Ainsley was about six weeks old, and I felt that I had one nostril barely above water. My thinking was something along the lines of: Bahhhhhhhh! I could get pregnant!

By any measure we are nearing the end of my child-bearing years. I can truly say I am content (except for the fact that my house is cluttered and Ainsley won't wear hair bows).  The door is open. May God move as He wills.

Skeptic Riding Shotgun

Kolbe and a friend are in the back of the van engaged in a deep conversation about the existence of Santa Claus.

Tim, riding shotgun, leans over to me and says, "Unless Santa hacked into Mom's Amazon account, I'm not buying it."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

I find a dog-eared catalogue lying around. It's full of circled items. smiley faces, and little notes such as "Maybe Tim," "Great for John," and "Tim - Awesome." Among the many finds for Tim is The Encyclopedia of Immaturity.

"Yeah," Kolbe informs me, "You can learn to say 'poop' in seven languages."

What further endorsement do we need? Meanwhile they sit in the living room watching Bob the Builder in Spanish and laughing their heads off.

Let the Side Show Begin

Oy vey. Let me say it again: oy vey.

This morning we were off to altar servers' practice which begins with 10:00 Mass. Dave was doing construction at a friend's house, so I was running the show solo. These days John is doing very well at Mass. Good behavior? You get to light a candle, maybe eat a donut if it's your lucky day. Bribery works wonders. Even more effective is abandoning the loud and unheated cry room for the front of the church where John can actually see and participate.

So we've been on a roll of late.

Today we witnessed a little deviation in that trend. As in he bit me in the middle of the homily. I took Jaws by the hand to deal with him in the narthex and whispered to Tim to watch Ainsley.

I tried to be inconspicuous as I led my recalcitrant toddler to the exit, but the church is big and nearly empty. I avoided making eye contact,  but couldn't help but notice the surprised expression on one man's face. Funny thing was, he wasn't looking at me. I turned around to see Ainsley aimlessly toddling down the aisle unaccompanied.

Oh well. At least no one was shrieking.

When Tim finished up, I reluctantly agreed to drop by the downtown library. I say reluctantly not because I don't love the library, but because I don't especially love it with two small children one of whom likes to rip every blinking book off the shelves. I don't think the librarians miss us.

I pulled up to the front of the library. Let me emphasize that my parking space was smack dab in front of the library. I let Tim, Kolbe, and John out and told them I would meet them inside. I grabbed the stroller, got Ainsley situated, and walked in to find a stern-faced guard giving Tim what for. Tim caught my eye and pointed my way. The guard immediately came up to me and gave me a rather firm dressing down for leaving my children unsupervised at the library (for all of one hundred and eighty seconds).

I apologized, shushed John, and told the kids they had another one hundred and eighty seconds to find books because we were exiting the premises pronto!

For the record, the kids' behavior was nothing short of stellar, I made a donation to the library, and John offered a sweet and unprompted "Sank you" as we beat our hasty retreat.

Yes, sometimes I feel like we are a side show. Then again, maybe we bring a welcome diversion to an otherwise mundane morning.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let It Be

John, anxious to watch Clifford the Big Red Gog: It's done bewinding, Mama.

John, anxious to partake of the Goldfish: I'll get a betainer, Mama.

John, unable to recall a friend's name: I can't bemember it.

Be - a useful but oft overlooked prefix.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 

Happy Weekend to you!

See Soulemama to play along.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Who's In Charge?

Me: John, would you check on Ainsley?

John: She's in the baffroom. I wocked her up.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Career Options

It's a shame to be a mere three years old and have to face the fact that certain careers fields are simply not an option. But let's just state the obvious: John will never make it as a spy.

His face reads like a book. If he's purloined his brother's stash of chocolate or absconded with some sharp and breakable object from Dad's dresser, he might as well post it on Facebook.

The first hint of foul play has to do with location. See John under the dining room table? He's up to no good. Hiding behind the living room chair? Take stock of your valuables. I see a shrouded figure huddled in the corner and wonder if I'll have enough semi-sweet chips to glaze my cheesecake.

He used to climb behind the kitchen bar stools. They are taking a long breather in the attic as they were tall enough to make the entire kitchen accessible to one John Patrick and wobbly enough to make me wonder how soon we would be headed to the ER. Out they went!

Espionage is not an option. Acting, on the other hand, could be his calling.

John had a recent check-up. His pediatrician asked if I had any concerns, and I mentioned a few challenging behaviors we are confronting on a daily basis. The doctor lifted an eyebrow and peered at John over his glasses.

There sat cherub-boy on the exam table -  smiling, swinging his legs, lisping "Hiyah, Dr. Moorwah."

The good doctor gave me a skeptical look and said, "So he has tendency to be oppostional?"

Who are you going to believe, I wanted to ask.  Me or Eddie Haskell? What can I say? Eddie's performance clearly outdid mine.

 Just hand him the Oscar.

Friday, December 03, 2010

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. 
Happy Weekend to you and yours!

Visit Soulemama to add your moment.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

She's Number Four

Tim honed his fine motor skills manipulating well built, developmentally appropriate wooden toys.

Ainsley reloads ammo in the Nerf-N-Strike Vulcan.

I guess that's a step up from John who was known to load ammo into the peanut butter jar, dump batteries into my morning cup 'o Joe,  and toss pens into the milk carton.

With such dexterity, he'll probably be a plastic surgeon.


My friend Ami blogs over at 40daystochange.wordpress.com. Ami is a friend of many years, a sorority sister, a Michigan alum, a mother, a wife, a banker, a lawyer, a writer, a runner, and a knitter. A woman of many talents.

A few weeks back, this piece of hers caught my eye just before I was heading off to a meeting. I printed off a few copies to share. Suddenly my phone was ringing  with other friends who wanted a copy or the link. One neighbor left a message saying the piece and the accompanying link to a post about time affected her profoundly.
Ami begins:
We all can identify something as our top priority, and we might tell ourselves and others that that thing is the top priority.  Maybe God is your top priority.  Maybe family is.  Maybe it’s something else. What do YOU identify as your top priority?
After you choose your IP or Identified Priority, you can take a brief quiz to evaluate how you allocate time, spend your money, and handle interruptions with regard to your Identified Priority.

Check it out. Definitely food for thought for those attempting to live an intentional life.