These children will be the death of me.

These children will be the death of me.

We’ve been having a difficult time getting going in the morning. It seems like, no matter what I do, somebody (and by somebody, I mean the 3-year-old and/or the 11-year-old) throws a wrench into the flow, everything gets all jacked up, and we’re late for school. Uh-gain.

Anyone who has tried to get more than two people ready and out the door by a certain time each morning knows just how crazy-making it can be. This particular cross is a legit reason, in and of itself, to homsechool, in my humble opinion.

Anyway, in an effort to retain what thread of sanity I have left and to hopefully improve my blood pressure, I’ve been working on streamlining our routine for the past couple of months. Here’s what we’ve been doing:

  • Clothes are selected, backpacks are packed, lunches are mostly made, and shoes and jackets are located THE NIGHT BEFORE.
  • Breakfast is over at 7 o’clock sharp, unless you’re age 3 and under and just woke up.
  • The three away-from-home school kids each rotate through dressing, teeth-brushing, hair-fixing, and last-minute lunch prep after breakfast. We have a rule that no two kids may be doing the same thing at the same time, because that’s just asking for trouble.
  • I help the 2-year-old and the 3-year-old get breakfast and get dressed, unless, by some miraculous occurrence, I can get one of the older kids to help.

The above plan has been working-ish, but we had a major problem this past Friday morning resulting in me falling on the garage steps and sniffling all the way to school and texting my husband that, yet againSOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!!!!!

After talking it over with my other half, the new routine was implemented today: all schoolkids must be dressed and have their lunches completely made before they eat breakfast. And Mommy is in charge of the babies, as usual. Sounds promising, right?

Except … today our schedule was hijacked because … wait for it … I had to go to the bathroom.

What was I thinking??!

Mere moments after I put the 11-year-old in charge, the 3-year-old was running full tilt up the stairs into my bathroom with her eldest sister in hot pursuit.

Man. Someday I will be able to toilet in peace.

Anyway, I will spare you the gory details, but the end result was me, blood boiling, fake-smiling my way through buckling car seats, and pretty much yelling at the older kids regarding listening and caring and helping. Yeah. I get the irony.

I think I might have asked them if they wanted me to suffer from a heart attack and die. Not my finest moment.

Once the kids were safely off to school (five minutes late, but who’s counting?), I texted my BFF and said, “I never knew how far from holiness I really was ’til I started having kids.”

There’s just nothing like having to wake up early after a restless night’s sleep to feed, clothe, corral, nurse, transport, educate, negotiate, soothe, bathe, train, love, discipline, and nurture five sweet, demanding, unbelievably loud and infinitely beautiful little souls to show you just how doggone self-centered you really still are. Especially when the kid who just had a rough time at the doctor’s office wants your snack. After he’s already eaten his.

But I digress.

Having children is like turning on a ginormous spotlight and putting a big, fat mirror in front of your face while hearing a voice sneer, “Neener-neener! You thought you were getting it all together, but this [insert crazy stressed Mom behavior] is how you really are!!”

Reflecting on the tumult of the morning and my response to it, I thought, “These children will be the death of me.”

I sat with that thought for a moment ” … the death of me …” It sounds simply horrible, doesn’t it? Perfectly wretched! But, upon further reflection, I considered what those words really meant and figured, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED.

Anything within me that isn’t love needs to die: the despair; the pride; the selfishness; the anger; the need to control; the fear of failure; the ego-centrism; the entitlement; the lack of gentleness, generosity, and compassion. Just like a really good clearance sale, everything must go.

The Bible tells us that God prunes those whom He loves. And to get to the essence of who I am as His child, to be more a more perfect reflection of Him, I must be pruned. A lot. Which means He must love me an AWFUL lot. Because the pruning? It often feels terribly awful and horrifically painful. Because those who bear the pruning sheers aren’t always gentle, and I’m not always (okay – hardly ever) predisposed to receiving the trimming I need.

But my Heavenly Father knows me well enough to know, as I like to joke, that it would take these five little people to get loud and crazy me to crave silence with Him in Adoration, and to really and truly lean on Him as I’d never leaned before – almost so far that I thought I’d fall over. He knows. Because He knows me. And He loves me. And He’s patiently waiting to see the good fruits that will be borne from this time of pruning as I remain in Him.

I think it’s time to go get some gardening gloves.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Remain in Me, and you will bear much fruit.” -John 15:5

i-am-the-vine

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The day Love showed up

The day Love showed up

Today was just going to be one of those days. I’m sure you know the sort.

The baby crawled into bed with me at way-too-early o’clock and proceeded to kick me like he was auditioning for The Rockettes for the next hour.

My back let me know in no uncertain terms while I was changing said baby that it would go out on me without any provocation WHATsoever.

There was no coffee in the house – zilchnot even instant (and exactly how was I supposed to manage my domestic church, let alone fight the zombie apocalypse, without any caffeine???)

The cute new toaster burned my toast and, adding insult to injury, somehow managed to indiscriminately catapult the aforementioned charred slice into the dust bunny village on the floor between the refrigerator and the counter. Woof.

The dishwasher, in complete and utter disregard for my wishes to the contrary, flatly refused to load itself (what was its damage, anyway??).

Everyone wanted my snack (despite the fact that they’d already been fed, and I’d finally managed to scrape the last 1/16 cup of vanilla yogurt into a bowl for myself).

And, to top it off, my attempt to pleasantly yet firmly instruct the children to sort, fold, and put away their freshly-laundered clothing was apparently akin to torture that sent at least half of the beleaguered tykes into an ongoing screeching ritual so cacophonous that even a howler monkey would have grabbed his earplugs and headed for the hills.

But wait – there’s more! Other songs on this broken record included: Who Was Staring at Whom, She Smashed My Finger, Spilled Milk Dripping on the Hardwood Floor, and The Inconsiderate Booger Wiping Incident.

Then …

Something happened.

Somehow my desperate prayers (half-hissed through clenched teeth ranging in content from “help me bear this gracefully,” to “get me the heck out of here!“) were answered in an unexpectedly precious way.

Towards the latter part of my craptastic afternoon, I heard a quiet knock upon my bedroom door. Standing there, wearing who-knows-what ensemble undoubtedly inspired by the movie The Croods, was my first-born son. “Mommy?” he queried. “Yes,” I responded, half-listening as I smoothed the comforter down over the foot of my bed. “This is for you,” he said, as he handed me a slightly wrinkled piece of paper.

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Ohhh …”  I breathed, half whispering to this sweet, precious boy, who has long been an effective balm for his mama’s weary heart, and half addressing The One Who knew exactly what I needed at exactly this moment in time. “Thank you so, so, so much. I love you, too.

I hugged my son for longer than was probably comfortable for him, but if he was bothered by it, he mercifully didn’t let on.

Because of this precious moment with my little man – one fleeting piece of kairos in an otherwise jumbled-up mess of a chronos sort of day – I realized that perhaps it was not just one of those days after all; maybe it was something much, much better …

… a day when Love showed up.

 

“This is the day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad.”

-Psalm 118:24

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Just another manic … wait – what day is it again?

Just another manic … wait – what day is it again?

This past week without the Internet and a landline was crazy. Very unfamiliar, and quite enlightening in a way, but also crazy.

And today is seemingly no different. Yes, our Internet is back, but there’s always something. When will I admit that “crazy” is kind of our family’s default mode? The denial is strong up in here.

Denial is a river in Egypt, capeesh?

Anyway, poor husband’s back seems to be thisclose to going out completely, and has been since yesterday afternoon. But I did manage to concoct some yummy food for the rowdy crew.

Chicken cacciatore - it was really tasty once the chicken was actually cooked through. Minor detail.
Chicken cacciatore – it was really tasty once the chicken was actually cooked through. Minor detail.
Brunch is more my speed.
Brunch is more my speed.

The homeschooler awoke at 5:15 this morning puking her guts out, the boy baby keeps running into things and falling, and I missed the girl baby’s first day of preschool because of aforementioned puking homeschooler (sorry – I said “puking” twice in that last sentence). But she got there safe and sound. Here she is!

Mah (sniff) baby!
Mah (sniff) baby!

Annnd … wait for it … I have started to feel a bit icky myself. Perhaps it is the sheer power of suggestion, but I have a feeling it might just be my turn. The tummy bug kept our two away-from-home schoolers from schooling a while back, so it is possible.

Well, cheer up, gentle reader! We try to praise the Lord in all things around here, bad backs and puking kids and ill-tempered people (ahem) notwithstanding.

Yay. Praise His Name.

Also, also: there is still time to win a wonderful homeschooling book by my friend Rebecca Frech! Enter in the comments below, or here or here and I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday, the Feast of St. Monica. That seems as appropriate a day as any; I’m sure that, as the mother of the infamous (not always) Saint(ly) Augustine, Monica had her fill of craziness. She may have made him a saint, but I’m willing to consider it was possibly the other way around.

St. Monica with a crazy kid who turned out awesome - ora pro nobis!
St. Monica with a crazy kid who turned out awesome – ora pro nobis!
Be blessed, friends!

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7 Quick Takes – Maiden Voyage! #7QT

7 Quick Takes – Maiden Voyage! #7QT

 

It’s my very first link-up EVAH! I figured it would be appropriate to begin with the hallowed 7 Quick Takes, since Jen is one of the big reasons you’re being subjected to blessed by my random musings again. So, without further ado, let’s roll!!

— 1 —

This Lady is the REAL deal.
This Lady is the REAL deal.

Gotta lead with Mary Most Holy since it’s her day, y’all! Happy Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Get ye to Mass on this wonderful Holy Day of Obligation Opportunity! Out of town? Need to find Mass locally? Go to here now. No excuses. ‘Salright? ‘Salright. 🙂

— 2 —

Time for a cute baby pic! This little guy got some awesome chocolate bundt cake (mixed in a blender, no less) because it was his Feast Day yesterday. Sooo many reasons to celebrate! Oh, and check out the super sister photobomb. This makes my Mama heart happy. 🙂

Personally, I think he's *slightly*  yummier than the cake. Yep.
Personally, I think he’s *slightly* yummier than the cake. Yep.

— 3 —

On Monday, Divine Mercy Academy is off and running for its first official full year of homeschooling! We have one full-time enrollee, two students who will join us after school away from home, and the Destructo Twins preschooler and toddler babies. It’s about to get REAL up in here. Did I mention we are Divine Mercy Academy? THERE IS A REASON. Jesus, I Trust in You!

Last year's class
Last year’s class
Because we need ALL the mercy!!
Because we need ALL the mercy!!

— 4 —

Today’s Gospel is one of my all-time favorites. It contains the gorgeous Magnificat prayer of Our Lady, and describes the beautiful encounter between Mary and Elizabeth. I’ve got many posts percolating around the Visitation, but for now, here’s my favorite painting by Mariotto Albertinelli. It still takes my breath away.

What real sisterhood looks like.
What real sisterhood looks like.

— 5 —

My dear friend sent me this little gem this week. I immediately thought: “Oh, so THIS is how productivity works. I just have to write things down. I’ll be sure to share this with the dishes and the laundry.”

The Key to Productivity! What I've been missing all these years ...
The Key to Productivity! What I’ve been missing all these years …

— 6 —

Speaking of productivity, my house has not recovered since I was gone to the shenanigans at the end of July. I have some major cleaning, sorting, and tossing to do this weekend. For some reason, I hold on to things for far too long for REALLY IMPORTANT reasons, such as: “I could USE this in six years!” or “This was exPENsive!” or “Someone will NEED this … probably!” Luckily, one of my friends recently provided me with a mantra of sorts to help whenever my Justification And Keeping gene (“JAK”) looms and threatens my decluttering quest. Repeat after me: “That’s what a hoarder would say.”

— 7 —

I’m really looking forward to this evening. Some friends and I went through the amazing 33 Days to Morning Glory consecration process a year ago today and will celebrate our anniversary with Mass, reconsecration prayer, and an intimate celebratory dinner. After the upheaval of the last couple of years, I know this to be true: “Totus Tuus Maria” just makes sense and brings me peace in the storm.

I'm all in, Mama.
I’m all in, Mama.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

For more stunning, delectable Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Go Fish!

Go Fish!

Well, she did it – our 8-year-old wrote a fantastic report about why she should be allowed to buy a pet fish. We had to hold up our end of the deal, of course, so we are therefore (ahem) happy to introduce you to “Skylight,” the newest member of our family.
 
Oh, and check out the photo of the happiest girl in the world, below (right):
Meet "Skylight," the newest member of the family.
Persistence pays off - our 8-year-old and "Skylight."
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