Friday, March 21, 2014

A Mother's Thoughts on Tattoos, Piercings, Plugs...

You know, I am pretty aware that I am old fashioned. I know I am traditional and that a lot of folks won't care what I have to say on the topic of tattoos, piercings and oh, my - those awful ear gauge deals.
When you have a baby, and she (or he) is this perfect, beautiful baby, you always picture her that way. Anything that comes along to mar her beautiful skin breaks your heart a little. Over time of course kids get scars from trips and falls, surgeries and so many other ways, and each thing that mars your child's skin is a little bit of a heartbreak. You hope it won't show. You hope they won't be teased about it.
Then, they grow up and for some reason, get minds of their own, even though you still see a sweet, darling little six year old. With the cute hair and the sweet smile and yes, that unblemished skin.
Then they go and pierce something. Or get a tattoo. They don't understand that you don't understand why they would purposefully scar themselves with something unperfect. Something not of God, and not in keeping with the pristine and beautiful skin they were born with. Also, there is something that just - at least to me and I think many people who feel the way I do about tattoos and piercings - just looks unwashed, or at a minimum, classless.
It might sound silly. It might not be any of my business, but here are my thoughts on the whole thing...consider them guidelines to really, really consider before you permanently mark your body. Forever. Like, it's never going away without some sort of surgery.

1.Consider placement. After all, it is MY generation who will be doing the majority of the hiring for most of your career. If you must pierce or tattoo, keep it someplace easily covered. I promise, this is for your own good.
2. Please, please, please do NOT carve into your body ANYTHING you have ever seen on a bumper sticker, an internet meme or in a comic strip. Just don't. It's cheap.
3. Take a turn through Google images before you go and get what you consider to be the "oh so unique and one of a kind" tattoo. Chances are it's not that unique or one of kind. If you have to do it, at least be original about it. I really do get the desire to commemorate some person, event, etc. I would be inclined to buy you a plaque or set up a photo session, but I do get it. If you just HAVE to do it, at least make sure your new body art is as unique as you are.
4. Only add to your body things that add to your beauty  - that goes for men, too. If you do something that takes away from your natural beauty, people just wonder why, shake their heads and assume you have some issues. For real. That includes those huge gauge things I keep seeing, the barbells in people ears, eyebrows, noses and for heaven's sake, necks, etc.
5. Do your research! Make sure the place you go is clean - like uber clean. No mother wants to worry about you getting Hepatitis because you didn't check the place out. Also, make sure the person doing the tattoo/piercing actually knows what they heck they are doing. Is there anything worse than paying someone to permanently scar you BADLY? your homework. Make sure they know EXACTLY what you want.
How is this pretty? Pretty gross...
6. Think about what you will look like at 40, 50, 60 gah...80 with scars from piercings and gauges, and how saggy and absurd your tattoos will be. Just. Think. About. It.

Try to remember that you ARE AN ORIGINAL. There is no one else like you on the planet, so there is no need to tattoo, pierce or plug any of your parts in the name of originality. Look around - your entire generation (and some of mine, heaven help us) is carving chunks out of their ears, tatting themselves up and piercing everything. While many still seem to think it is cool, it is no longer new or original. You don't need to add anything to be original - you were made that way, in God's image.
Such a cutie - why, oh why the gauge?
Some may try to misconstrue my "perfect, unblemished skin" comments as vain or all about outer beauty - and it is to some extent. But, what I am getting at is - I think you should try to be the TRUE, unblemished version of yourself as much as possible. Because you were perfectly made. You cannot be improved upon by man made jewelry or 'artwork' - even if it is beautiful art - it cannot ever be as beautiful as what God made.
The tat is pretty, but not as pretty as she is...

Just something to think about. I am pretty sure I am gonna get flack for this one, but hey, it's been a while since I said something that was sure to get me into trouble soooooo.....

God bless!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Dad...

My dad is lots of things. He is a husband, father, grandfather, brother...but he is also this dynamic, amazing, loving, fun, water skiing, camping, boating, ocean loving, grandkid tossing, all around fantastic human.
When I was growing up he was the provider, the math tutor, the politico, the car fixer, the tickle monster (not in that order), the catechist, the oceanographer, the spider killer, the Nancy Drew reader, the driving instructor, the mailbox replacer (long story), the handyman, and most importantly, just Dad. He has always been this larger than life figure. He has always been my moral compass...because ya know, if Dad thinks it is wrong, it really is wrong, and if Dad thinks it is okay, then you are on the right track. My siblings and I all tend to get Dad's read on something if we need help making a decision.
My dad is still all of those things...and lots more. He is getting ready to retire at a very young 70. For some reason, this has been giving me a ton of anxiety and it actually took me nearly a month to figure out why. Of course I think he needs this time - it is their time - his and my mom's - to go and do what they want. See things, visit people, run around and have some fun.
My dad's dad retired, and from what I can remember, soon had a stroke, and wasn't able to do much. He died when I was just five years old, and I have more impressions of him than actual memories. Probably because he really didn't seem to be able to do much after he had the stroke.
My mom's dad retired, built a house, then had a stroke and died. It was longer than that, I know...but that's how it felt. So, I guess I feel like my dad retiring is so, so scary. I want him to be this young, energetic guy forever. Can we please just keep him like this forever?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Like, The Third Time I've Said This...

I miss blogging. I think about it all the time, but never seem to get here. I think out posts in my head, but never type them out. Right this minute, I have so much stuff to do, and so much going on, but I really miss this little corner of the web.

We've had the usual going on around everyone else in this part of the country, we've been sick on and off since December. The baby - who is really a toddler, keeps getting random illnesses. We've done a horrible job this winter with getting people to PSR on Sunday mornings and to Mass. It's always something being passed around.

I hate the living daylights out of homeschooling - again and still. I really feel so overwhelmed and under-motivated. I tend to get that way when I feel like there is just too much. I think six school kids, a preschooler, a toddler and a household to run, plus working part time is just more than I can handle. I have always known my limits, but ignored them, and then done something poorly. All the way through college, in an effort to finish sometime in that decade, I would take more classes than I could handle, but I tried to make sure I had a "pass class" - a class I could just skate in. Otherwise, I would just not be able to cope. I do the same thing, now. I skate on something, and tend to rotate what that "something" is...unfortunately, it tends to be school. I really, really don't want to be a homeschooler. If we had a viable option, and it were just up to me, we wouldn't be doing it anymore. Unfortunately, we just don't have a lot of options here that work for us. I think we will probably keep homeschooling, but next year I am going to farm out everything I can...especially for my highschoolers. There have to be classes and things they can do without me.

Yeb and Priscilla are becoming really good buddies, and I love that. Maybe his reversion to babyhood was so he could grow up with her?

Kenzie has a boyfriend. A beau. He's a really great kid with all the credentials, ya know? Smart, Catholic, kind, gets her, motivated. All that stuff. She's set the bar pretty darn high for all future romantic interests.

My Jonah is growing up...he is so TALL. He is so good, and handsome, and loves his baby sister so much. All the kids love Peege, but he LOVE loves her. He comes up when she is sleeping in my lap and just lays a hand on heart trips over itself when he looks at her, then looks at me and gives me that goofy shy smile of his. Gosh.

My Jenna is teaching herself to draw. She is AMAZING already, and draws a lot of patterns for fabric, and the skinny clothing model figures and clothes. I need to find lessons for her...

Kolbe is a full blown GUY. He's 11, and smart, and kind of a smart ass, but great and fun, too. I am not sure what he does all day, because I don't see much of him. He's always got something brewing.

Benny is 6. Very, very 6. He wants to go outside all the time. He doesn't understand why he can't play in the street alone. He wants to ride his bike and he will be just outside or be right back, okay, Mom? Nope. Sorry, pal. Not old enough to wander the streets alone, even in our small town. Drives him crazy that he always has to have a big brother whenever he wants to do something. Ah well...

Luke and Ben are getting ready for soccer soon. Lukey is so excited, but he is a bit on the chub side of things. I think he will be huffing and puffing for a few weeks...this will be so good for him, and we are ready to get the HECK out of this house, y'all! Oh my - what a winter. We all feel as though we have been trapped inside these walls forEVER. We've had a couple tiny tastes of spring so far, which have been met with short sleeves, windows flung wide and bare feet. I think our entire state is ready to say goodbye to snow and cold.

We have some hard things happening in our extended family, a very, very ill family member in need of prayer, so if you pray, please offer some up for Pam and her little guy. I know they would appreciate it.

As always, I have to be grateful for my Douglas. He keeps us all moving forward. I have been struggling with some anxiety. It took me a while to figure out what was causing it, but he has
kept me from falling to pieces for the last three or so weeks... I kinda dig that guy. I was just reading my old post about him. I am such a sap, but just thinking about him makes me cry. I truly wish everyone had a love like him in their lives. I pray all our children will find it...

I have a couple of posts floating in my head...I always do. One is about my dad...he is retiring. I don't like it. I 'll have to get back to you about why but my kids are waiting for dinner...

Pics in the sidebar to catch you up...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Trying To Get Back To This Place...

Peegers aka Princess Leia and her Da...
I think about this little blog all the time. I miss it so much...posts flit in and out of my brain all the time. I never have hands free to jot them down, or I am in the middle of school, or work, or nursing or cooking...but I miss it.

I recently decided to post to Facebook something I am thankful for every day this month, which has of course jogged my brain even more.

  I know I have said it before, and I have wanted to get back to this before, but I am really hoping I can do days are so short and my to-do lists so long...I wouldn't trade any of the things on my to-do list though. Well, maybe the laundry. And teaching kids to read. I am HORRIBLE at teaching kids to read. My brain can't understand why their little brains don't already know how to do it...I lose patience. Anyway...

One of the things I spend so much time on these days is soaking, absorbing and just relishing my sweet baby. I always, always soak up my babies. It is an intentional thing for me. I will never be one to wish away babyhood for sleep's sake or for less work or trouble.  I don't want to miss anything, so I hold, I rock, I nurse. With Miss Priscilla Grace I have been even more aware that this could possibly be the last baby I ever have, so that kiss spot under her chin gets lots of kisses. I take time to kiss that sweet face and breathe in her sweet baby breath. She is so full of spunk and sass, but is so lovey and sweet. She especially loves hugging her brothers. She wraps those little arms around their necks and pats them on the back or head...she is full of love and ready to dole it out to anyone who smiles her way. I am loving every. single. second.

Another is my Yeb. He is such a little weirdo. He had a pretty severe regression after Priscilla was born. He really didn't talk much, and when he did it was total baby talk. He cried a lot and general wanted to be treated like a baby... to the point where we were considering having him tested. I mean, it was BAD. It took most of a year to get him to a point with lots of love and attention and a pretty strict insistence that he act his age to get him turned around. This of course, happened right after I filmed a segment for Dr. Ray's show about how I have never seen an older sibling actually regress after the birth of a new baby. As far as I know that segment never aired - THANK GOD!
While the regression isn't as bad anymore, he's still pretty weird. He has a foot fetish, probably born of the fuss I make over his still cute feet. If you come over, don't take your shoes off, or you will have a Yeb trying to give you a foot massage, or just trying to cuddle them. When he's not cuddling feet or pretending to be a Jedi, or showing you his "sweet dance moves", he is almost normal, at least, for one of our kids.

With these two rather high maintenance characters, plus another half dozen or so, time has been in limited quantities for me lately. There is never enough time for anything, but honestly, I feel like we are doing the most important things; hugging babies, playing with kids, reading stories, doing school, making meals, and basically being together. So what if clean underwear is hard to come by and the upstairs bathroom still needs to be painted 6 months after the remodel?

We'll get there, eventually. In the meantime, you can find me sitting with my baby, holding her while she sleeps, nursing and admiring the length of her lashes and the slope of her nose.

Because I am lazy, but would like to share so pics of all the people who like, still live here and stuff...

Fall Fun...Yes, The Force is strong with us...and whatever... I love every second of these wackos, too.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer is NOT Over!...

Ahhh, here in Ohio the weather this summer has been weird. We have had exactly one week of hot weather, a lot of rainy and cool weather, and some pleasant days. It has now been cooler for a while and people are starting to act and dress like summer is over. PEOPLE! There is still plenty of summer left! Put down the school supplies and back away...I just can't face school supplies just yet, not when there is so much summer left!

This week is one of our area's best weeks all summer - probably all year, actually. Hall of Fame week is loved by almost all Cantonians, as well as those from surrounding towns and cities. It starts off with fireworks, a hot air balloon fest, fashion shows, luncheons, and goes straight on through the Grand Parade, Induction and the Hall of Fame Game. It really is so much fun. My favorite part is the Grand Parade, so many inductees come back year after year. Everyone loads up on coffee and donuts and grabs their spot on the route. It is pure summer time fun, folks.

We also want to try and hit an amusement park this summer. We are thinking Kennywood - it is only about an hour from our house and has lots of rides for big and little kids. Should be fun.

We also have a flurry of end of summer birthdays around here, starting with my Jonah turning FIFTEEN. I honestly can't believe it. He recently spent an entire evening talking to a girl. A girl who is not a sister, nor a best friend of a sister, or a cousin. First time ever. So weird, I guess that he is that old, but he is very shy. Every time I ask about her, he gives me that shy-smiling grin of his. I think he might have thought she was pretty cute. I have asked him what he wants for his birthday, and he always replies "cash". Gone are the days of begging for the newest Lego, I guess. He is saving up for some new gaming system.

Then comes my Jenna's 13th birthday. We had a big, all girl surprise party for Kenzie's 13th, but Jenna has asked for a special photo session with her cousin who is the same age. We are going shopping for coordinating outfits, and they  have the session planned out on Pinterest. I hope they have a lot of fun! Such as sweet and special way to mark their 13th year as best friends and cousins.

In September my Sweet Priscilla Grace (who is now known as any of the following: PG, Peegers, Rissa, Cilla, Gracie, Gracie-Pants or Grace-Face - depending on who is talking to her) has her very first birthday. We have a sweet birthday party planned, with all our family and friends. I know she won't remember it, but I sure am having fun planning it! My sister is helping me make invitations and decorations, and it is going to be so sweet and fun. I can't wait! Although, I am not so anxious for her to not be my little baby anymore.

See, there is tons of summer left. We even still have swimming lessons left to attend! Is there anything better than sitting by the pool for 45 almost entirely uninterrupted minutes while you watch your littles learn to swim? Not in my book. C'mon summer! We are still here soaking up every minute!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Being a Teenager...

My kids are growing up. I will soon have THREE teenagers in this house. One just got her drivers learning permit. One is now heading out on his own to visit friends across town, riding his bike and making new friends of both male and female variety. And the last one? She has been my baby girl for so many years. The fact that she is turning 13 at the end of the summer is mindboggling.

We've been down this road before, we have two grown daughters. We were so blessed that they were and continue to be "good" girls. They have lovely, wonderful friends, have made excellent choices for their lives.

Last summer one of my daughter's best friends from high school was found dead of a heroin overdose. I still think about it all the time. I didn't know her particularly well, she was a "school" friend...she and my daughter we close, doing plays, musicals and choir together, and making crazy plans to move to New York to become big stars. But her death haunts me. I am not sure why, except that it hit so close to home. She had a tiny son. That little boy now has to grow up without his mama, and for what? For drugs? I don't understand why so many young, talented, beautiful, smart kids with their entire lives in front of them get involved with this evil, life stealing poison.

How do we keep kids off drugs? The 1980s question still has yet to be answered. It seems to be almost unanswerable, as kids from every walk of life seem to get involved. What have we done right with our first two? I am not sure we could even tell you. We talk about it. A lot, actually. I think my kids have seen my heartbreak for other mothers over the loss of their children to drugs. They have heard me refer to it as poison. And I think they have seen a lot first hand.

When I sent my daughter, Meg, back to high school her freshman year, the very first day of school a boy just a year older offered her drugs. She came home crying. I felt like I had offered her to a pack of wolves. But she went back. She spoke up against drugs and alcohol, for religion, for life, on so many occasions that she didn't have a lot of friends. But, her last year in high school? One of the boys who was mean to her for her outspokenness came back to tell her that even when he was fighting her, he was listening. Because of her words, he thought. And then he quit doing drugs and drinking alcohol.

My Kenzie and I used to love GLEE. It's gotten weird, but we were still keeping up with it because of the old characters. If you watch TV at all, you know that Cory Monteith, who played Finn died of a drug overdose recently at the age of 31. He was a beautiful, talented young man. He spent all of his life from the age of 13 battling his addiction to drugs. Such a waste of life. It's heartbreaking, and yet we see it everywhere.

As my Jenna approaches her 13th birthday, and my other teens are beginning to stretch their wings a bit, I have been thinking about the things we did to educate their big sisters about drugs. The kids know that drugs are poison. They know they kill. And yet, so many try it anyway. Why do they do that? As homeschoolers, we are somewhat insulated against the random school drug dealer, but we can't keep them in the house forever. They have to know how to say no. They have to be equipped with the knowledge that the stuff is poison, and the strength to defy anyone who would offer it to them. How do you do that? How do you give that to them?

As I wonder about all this, and try to figure out how to arm my kids against all these evils, I pray for the soul of the girl who was my daughter's friend, for her little boy, growing up without his mama, and for all the people who get involved with drugs - that they have the strength and knowledge to stay far away from all of it, and to help their friends stay away.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Falling in love....

I have always had a romantic heart. Probably so much reading, and old movie watching as a kid, combined with the fact that I am a complete and total sap. I love everything about falling in love, weddings, babies, children, grandchildren...all of's just good stuff. The mushier, the better, I always say (and get picked on for it). Honestly, if I could spend the majority of my time doing anything, it would be helping other people get that  - the love, the wedding, the babies. As it is I spend a goodly amount of time praying for people to fall in love, or get that baby or whatever it is that they truly want in their lives.

I want that for my kids. I want them to grow up and fall really and truly in love - whether it be with a spouse or a vocation or both. I want my daughters to grow up and get knocked off their feet by some fine, young man whose life's goal is to be a partner to her, and help her and their children get to heaven. I want them to be swept off their feet. I don't want them to settle for anything less.

I know I have told the story about how Doug and I fell in love, and I know my children know it, but I don't know if they have any idea what was truly in my heart at the time, or now. When Doug and I first met, we were a broken hearted pair. We had both been betrayed in a fairly heartless manner, him more so than me; but God had bigger and better plans for both of our hearts. I just know that everything happens for a reason, according to His plan...

....for instance, when I was married the first time, there was no time to be married in the Church. This was God's providence. He knew this was not the man for me, and so the sacrament was not received.
When Douglas got married the first time, it was in A church, but not the Catholic Church, and with the agreement that should things ever get messy, they would just get divorced before it got ugly (which automatically invalidates a marriage in the Catholic Church). Not his idea, but he went along with it, thinking it was a strange thing to say before getting married.  Probably should have been a red flag, but he was very young, and honestly, didn't want to heed any red flags, though they were numerous.

We both went on to have daughters, they were born just 7 months apart, in fact. And we were both separated by the time our daughters were 2 years old, or there abouts. This gave the two of us something in common - other than these life experiences we really didn't have anything in common, and might never have crossed paths if not for those little girls. God is very mysterious in His planning, indeed.

When we did meet, it was not quite love at first sight, more like extreme interest. By the second time we met, we had been talking non-stop on the phone for a of those conversations was probably the moment I started falling for him, big time. He was sewing Elizabeth's pants...he knew they needed sewing and just did it...I found that to be amazing, after the non interested, wanted to give my daughter up for adoption fiasco of an ex-husband.

When we did fall in love, it was an all-consuming, mind bending, heart full, walking on clouds kind of love. I swear, honestly and truly, I felt like the only person on earth who had ever felt this way. I couldn't imagine other people in love just going about their day as if nothing was different, so they must not really be in love, they just thought they were. So after running around, grinning like idiots for a few months, and running up enormous phone bills (we were long distance at the time), we got engaged. And then a few months after that, married.

We have had so many ups, and some pretty serious downs. Some babies with health issues, the losses of 6 of our sweet babies, and the struggles that come with being a blended family, but all of these things simply brought us closer. We are the very best of friends. We are lovers in every sense of the word. When something happens, he is the first thought in my head. He is the first thought in my head when nothing happens. He was the only person who could reach me through my grief when we lost our little twins, and he is the person who made me see that God was there with me all along...he insisted that I see Him, that I know God was there. I want this kind of love for all of my kids. I don't want them to settle. I want them to find that one person who God has planned for them. I really hope they can be patient and not have too much heartbreak in order to find that person. I hope they have learned from us how to love a husband or wife without ceasing, how to stick it out through think and thin, and how to just be so comfortable with that person that the absence of him or her makes you uncomfortable.

 I wish all of these things for you, my children. And even with all of that, I wish for you the wisdom of knowing that as much as you love your husband or wife, they can never be that fairy tale love...that all consuming love for which so many people search. The only place that all consuming, completely unconditional love can be found is in the arms of our Lord. Don't expect a husband or wife to have the capacity to love like that, the way we humans seem to crave. Only Christ can love like have big expectations, and fall in love - hard. But please, fall in love with someone who wants to help you get to heaven, so you can rest together in the love of the Lord someday.