Saturday, November 27, 2010

I want to remember this...

A few weeks ago we attended a gathering at a friend's home and David noticed a sign she keeps in her kitchen - something to the effect of "Remember the romance of thrift." He asked her about it and she told him it comes from G.K. Chesterton. Well, I found the quote online today (although I do not know what work of his includes it):

"Thrift is the really romantic thing; economy is more romantic than extravagance...thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste...."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Church song for a mother

The past two days I have taken a little bit of time here and there to sit down, pick up a hymnal, and sing a couple of songs. This evening while I sang one song Teresa was climbing and hugging on me and I received the grace to connect the words of the song with my relationship with my daughter.

The song is "The Servant Song" by Richard Gillard (1977):

Brother, let me be your servant
(alternate text: Will you let me be your servant)
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too

We are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers (trav'llers) on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night-time of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you
Speak the peace you long to hear

I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through

When we sing to God in heaven
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony

Brother, let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I may have the grace
To let you be my servant, too

The Holy Spirit used that moment to remind me that I am to be my child's servant, to be Christ for her. When she is afraid, I can share the light of Christ with her. When she is upset, I can bestow His peace. We're on the Christian journey together, sharing our joys and sorrows, learning from each other and eagerly anticipating our reunion in Heaven. That's just awesome. Lord, help me to remember and to live this!

Music (and especially singing) have played a huge part in my spiritual growth over the years; I loved "praise and worship" at my high school youth group and college campus ministry meetings; I sang in the Chapel Choir at my college, the music ministry in my NJ prayer community, and my parish choir here in Charlotte for a year before our marriage. Since then, well, I've slowly but surely sung less and less. I've pulled out my guitar maybe 3 times in the past 2 years. And our parish has transitioned to almost entirely chant during its liturgies - sacred and lovely, yes, but not singable for the people in the pew.

My spirituality/prayer life has really suffered in direct correspondence with this lack of singing. Sometimes I feel that I don't have half the vibrant faith I had 4 or 5 years ago. Perhaps it's all part of the maturing process, or perhaps I need to do whatever it takes to revitalize my faith ASAP. Singing like this (casual, no pressure, with heart open to God in prayer) is a step in the right direction; perhaps daily song should be my Advent practice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Three new things from Teresa today:

1. When I tried to get her to eat more lunch she declared, "No want!" and I was just so impressed that she used the word want for the first time that I let her get down from her seat.

2. She successfully unbuttoned her little coat and took it off. I've been putting her in layers lately (the days start cold and warm up and she has an abundance of little jackets/sweaters/sweatshirts), so she's had time to practice. As I sometimes do when Teresa does something only very slightly naughty, I said, "Teresa-bo-beesa" (a fragment of the song I sometimes sing her - you know, the one with "banana fana"?) and gave her a sly grin.

Which leads me to...
3. Teresa once again removed her coat, but this time she brought it into the room where I was sitting, tossed it on the couch and said "Boo-bee-resa!" with a sly grin. She was "scolding" herself for me. How thoughtful. hee hee!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Frosted Garden

Morning frost has visited our part of the country and left its mark on the garden:

Those were my green and wax beans - about half the plants had inch-long baby beans growing on them. Oh well!

Interestingly, my spinach, lettuce, and carrots are holding out. The lettuce stems turn to ice, but the leaves are still edible. My mom told me carrots can last quite some time in the ground - she even found one that survived a whole winter (under snow and everything). I'm not sure when I should pull mine up - they're still pretty small right now.

I don't think those peas in the back are going to make it, but they haven't died yet.

In anticipation of the frost, my neighbor cut all her lovely zinnias and brought a bunch over for me. They are so cheerful in a vase on my kitchen counter! David admired them, too, saying this one reminds him of the Sacred Heart:

PS "Floating row covers" are on my wish list for frost protection next spring/fall, but I've read that I could simply use old sheets and tie them over the plants every night. I didn't try that this time because I was too lazy. :p

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weaning Teresa

I can trace a slow decrease in Teresa's frequency of nursing from around her first birthday, but she was still nursing 5 or 6 times during the day and once or twice at night when I became pregnant (she was about 17 months old). With the pregnancy came increased sensitivity - by the 5th week it was definitely painful every time Teresa latched on. So I began to desire a more fast-paced progression toward weaning.

I've always been committed to nursing my babies for what most in our culture would consider a "long time"; I definitely hope to give each of my children the benefits of a year or two of breastfeeding. I thought the 2nd birthday might be a good stopping point, but I wasn't planning on being heavy-handed about it...I like the idea of child-led weaning. This pain really challenged me, though, and I started offering Teresa alternatives (drinks, food, etc.) with increased determination when she asked to nurse during the day. By the time I was 8 weeks pregnant, she was down to 4 nursings per day and slept through the night more than half the time.

One of the most difficult times to dissuade Teresa from wanting to nurse was during Mass. She'd gotten into the habit of asking once or twice every time we attended Mass, whether it was a Sunday or a weekday liturgy (we go to church 2 or 3 times a week these days). I think it was a combination of her seeking distraction from her boredom and her having access to me sitting still for a long stretch of time. When I began to dissuade her during Masses, she raised a fuss and became a distraction (to others and to us!). But I persisted and now it's been a week or more since she has asked during a Mass.

So I'm 13 weeks pregnant and we're down to nursing twice a day: before nap and before bed. If I'm not here (as when the babysitter put her to bed last night), Teresa can go to sleep just fine without nursing. But if I'm here, which is 99% of the time, she demands "more nurse!" I've tried rocking and singing, but they don't suffice...yet. We'll see! Teresa's 11th tooth poked through in the past 3 days, so I'm trying to have compassion on her when she's begging for the comfort of a quick nursing (it's only a minute or two, anyway). I am grateful that it hurts less now.

Do I think Teresa would be okay without me for a whole day and night now? Yes. Do I want to leave her with someone that long and go somewhere alone or with David? I don't know. It's still difficult to imagine - I've never been apart from her for more than 9 hours since she was born.

Photo from Catholic homeschoolers' All Saints party

Thursday, November 4, 2010

12 weeks pregnant

I haven't been much of a blogger in the past year or two, so I rarely post information in a timely manner. I'm much more likely to use Facebook to share news. It's not likely I'll become a regular blogger again, but this week - why not?

Yes, I'm pregnant! I'm due mid-May 2011. This time around I don't get an ultrasound until 18-20 weeks, so all I have to show for this pregnancy is the positive home test. Ta da!

The test confirmed our blessing on September 7th. I had my first OB appointment at 8 weeks (nothing too interesting) and my second appointment on Tuesday (at 12 weeks). I got to hear the baby's heartbeat, which is always a joy. My nausea has been about the same as it was with my last pregnancy, starting around 6 weeks and just now starting to subside (I hope). I don't get sick, but I feel ill and headachy and have no desire to eat until the afternoon. I don't get too exhausted, but that's probably because I'm blessed to get about 8 hours of sleep most nights and a little nap several times a week (while Teresa naps). It's SO NICE to be home this time, rather than slogging through my work in an office. :D

Here's an interesting tidbit about the pregnancy test: it cost me 20 cents. Sure beats $9, right? At Katherine's suggestion, I checked online for cheap pregnancy test strips. When you're not sure about your return of fertility and might want to use several tests before one comes back positive, it's good to get them at a low cost. I discovered several packages up for bid/sale on eBay, including a set of 5 for 99 cents - with free shipping! I snatched them up and waited for them to arrive in the mail - from Hong Kong. Nothing fancy, but they work. I had one negative one (previous cycle) before this positive one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sick, dance, potty video

This one is kind of funny: Teresa has started saying, "sick" when she wants attention and hugs (probably because that's what she gave me whenever I said I felt sick with morning sickness). We don't think she really feels sick, just needy.

At the end of the video Teresa indicates she needs to go to the bathroom. You bet - I turned the camera right off and took her. :)

A notable day

This little cutie-patootie, at 20 months of age, had a very good day. She wore the same pair of panties from morning to naptime and naptime to bedtime. She let me know every time she needed to go potty, with only two or three false alarms.

She did wet her diaper during or right after her 2.5 hours nap this afternoon, but that's okay. She was very excited to get her "panties back on!" after I cleaned her up.

Something curious happened in the evening: Teresa (who had been eating and eating all afternoon), spit up a little on a book she was holding. I saw her do it and immediately said, "Are you okay?" She put the book on the table between us and ran out of the kitchen. I cleaned the book and then followed her all the way back to our bathroom. This little girl who has never thrown up, never received instruction in the proper place to throw up, and never seen anyone else get sick...she was standing over the toilet and coughing into it! Nothing happened, but she asked to go potty so I set her on the toilet and she went. How did she know to do what she did?! The only thing I can think of is that she has seen David and I spit into the toilet, and she figured she was spitting. What a clever little girl.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wiping washer

Teresa was finished eating supper, but I was not. So I tried to think of something interesting to occupy her (so she'd stop asking me to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" - she calls it "Bitsy" - or trying to climb in my lap). The dryer buzzed and I decided to have her start emptying it into the laundry basket. She can usually do that for a minute or two.

She was thus occupied when she decided she needed to wipe something. She came back into the kitchen. "Wipe... Wipe... Wipe." She walked up to the pile of clean cloths I keep on a short cabinet and picked up the top cloth. I got up and followed her, curious as to what she was going to wipe.

This quiet video reveals her mission:

I always leave the door of the washer open for a day or so after it's been used. It needs air to dry out. Although I should clean the door and gasket more often, I only do it rarely. So it's been a long while since Teresa has seen me do that. This girl just has the urge to clean sometimes!

The other day her little blankie got a spot of something on it. She brought it to me, "messy!" I told her it was dirty and needed to be washed. She got a cloth and started wiping her blankie. Let's hope this desire and initiative sticks around until she's old enough to do real chores!

She knows who the important people are

Yesterday I set our church bulletin on the couch and walked down the hall to do something. Teresa pulled a colorful brochure (advertising our parish's upcoming concert series) out of the bulletin and came toddling toward me, saying something. It sounded like "fodder eat."

She opened up the brochure and pointed to a picture. Yes, our pastor, Father Reid.

She only sees him once or twice a week and almost always hides her face with shyness when we go up to greet him, but she listens when I tell her who he is and can identify him in a little picture. That makes me smile.