Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Catch up

I'm back. Almost.

The week before I broke my ankle, I had attended Holy Unction.  There were four priest present.  I was seeking healing, grace, mercy, possibly 'magic' that cannot be for a fairly persistent thyroid problem that has been a life long struggle for me.  Anyway, then I fell off that chair and my life was upturned along the way.

The result was that I was immediately put in contact with an amazing endocrinologist.  You know, the answer to your prayers kind of endocrinologist.  For the first time in my life since I became aware of my condition, I have a great! thyroid panel.  I haven't felt this good since I was 10. It's really amazing.  Thanks be to God.

Having energy has assisted in my recovery more than I can express.  Waking up feeling good is such a gift.    I mean, look, I'm 37 weeks pregnant so there are some less than ideal sleep going on and the weather is wreaking havoc on my ankle, but I'm not complaining.  Or at least, when I remember what a gift I've been given, I stop and give thanks.  It's my miracle and I am loving it, but also amazed that Jesus keeps  coming to me when I know He knows my faults and failings better than anyone.

I met with one of my midwifery/obstetric team members today (breaking your ankle just kills your chances of being left well enough alone.  I don't mind the extra attention in this instance though).  I am hoping and praying that they will allow me to go to term and move away from their current recommendation to induce labor.  I have a poor track record as far as labor is concerned; as in, I do not go into labor.  (Ever.  No, really. Just take my word for it.  Seriously.)  I'm hoping for the best as my thyroid has never functioned as well as it does currently.  I'll keep you posted.  I'll get the verdict next week. and let you know.

Our priest and his family joined us yesterday evening for the blessing of our home and dinner.  I cooked.  No really, it's a big deal.  I've made one other meal since coming home.  I love home blessings.  I love the preparation.  The opening of our home, all the rooms, clean, straight and orderly and well lit.  We light all the candles.  The house just glows awaiting the prayers of purification and its own baptism in the waters of the Jordan.

We always forget something.  This year we forgot the the rosemary branches.  They aren't mandatory, but they have their place in the tradition.  Still there is nothing more lovely, more hopeful, more exquisite than the Sacraments (the big ones and the little ones) and they are all my favorite.  And I love this one.  I love all the kids tromping through the house led by the light of the vigil lamp and the priest  and everyone singing and blessing and praising, worshipping all at once.

And after we broke bread together.  Pizza for the kids, and House Blessing Ragu for the grownups. fantastic fellowship and the rowdy bunch.  These are the moments that I want to stay with me for the rest of my life, these blessings, these little moments of friendship.

When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan 
The worship of the Trinity was made manifest 
For the voice of the Father bore witness to You 
And called You His beloved Son. 
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, 
Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. 
O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself 
And have enlightened the world, glory to You!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

24 days to go . . .

and I'm in a brain fog.  I wish I could rally to get some last minute things done, but I'm not succeeding.  Here is a photo journal of our latest escapades.

we went to the Stock Show

I saw my future (just kidding)

the kids ran wild

my new favorite lunch

we made some ugly dolls and the boys learned to sew

the girls were silly

really silly

we made bottle cap brooches for St. Valentine's day

our co-op order came

E. took 45 pictures just like this one

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In Defense of Being a Kid

from the Wall Street Journal . . .
Amy Chua, the “tiger mother,” is clearly hitting a nerve—especially among the anxious class (it used to be called the upper class), which understands how much skill and discipline are necessary for success in the new economy.

What Ms. Chua and her critics agree on is that childhood is all about preparation for adulthood. Ms. Chua claims that her parenting methods will produce ambitious, successful and happy adults—while her critics argue that her methods will produce neurotic, self- absorbed and unhappy ones.
It took economist Larry Summers, in a debate with Ms. Chua at the World Economic Forum in Davos, to point out that part of the point of childhood is childhood itself. Childhood takes up a quarter of one’s life, Mr. Summers observed, and it would be nice if children enjoyed it.
Bravo, Larry.
Children are not merely adults in training. They are also people with distinctive powers and joys. A happy childhood is measured not only by the standards of adult success, but also by the enjoyment of the gifts given to children alone.
What are the unique blessings of childhood?
Read the rest here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives.
All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it.
That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.
St Seraphim of Sarov (1753-1833)  h/t St. James Kids

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The O.D.F.M.

So many baby name books are rubbish.  I'm not certain how some managed to get published!  Meanings are often an afterthought and the worst offenders simply make them up.  One book actually stated that Michael was of unknown origin and had no particular meaning.  The same book declared Belinda to mean 'grace' when a quick google search will tell you of the possible meanings (bright serpent, immortal beauty, pretty) grace plays no part.  Often poorly researched, they amount to little more than a republished census list with little thought to history, etymology, culture, much less cognates or even reliable definitions.  It was not until I was pregnant with E. that I found a baby name book worthy of the paper it was printed on.

The Oxford Dictionary of First Names, a.k.a. the O.D.F.M, is that tome.  In between it's covers you can find name history and origins, names from many different cultures, diminutives, but most importantly cognates!  Never do the editors defer to the gas station keychain name origin lottery (will it mean grace, beauty, graceful beauty?  Spin the wheel and find out!).

Take the name, Elizabeth.  In addition to the history of the name and trends associated with it, there are also  34 short and pet forms and 10 cognates listed.

Anyway, it is fun to read, learn about other cultures names, and sometimes you learn something unusual.  This entry, tickled my funny bone:
OMAR (m.) English: biblical name borne by a character mentioned in a genealogy (Genesis 36:11).  It has been occasionally used since Puritan times down to the present day in America. More often, however, it is of Arabic origin, as in the case of the film actor and internationally famous bridge player Omar Sharif (b. 1932 in Egypt). (emphasis mine)
Only the O.D.F.M. would assume we're all stacking our Fantasy Bridge Leagues with Omar Sharif.  Laugh out loud.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

. . . She Shall Be Saved In Childbearing. . .

. . .  if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Maternal Caress by Mary Cassatt

I am realizing how far behind I am getting ready for the new little.  The sorting, cleaning, a replacing of many things, plus the establishing a new sleeping situation for E. (4) who has been family bedding with us for the last five months and B. who needs to transition to the boys room.  

6½ weeks to go.  So many things to worry and fuss over.  I know I need to stop, drop (everything), and roll (my prayer rope through my fingers).  Everything will get done, one way or another.  

We have settled on a St. Irenaeus as the patron of this little girl.  As much for his apologia, as for our desire that this child should embody the peace that this name means.  We are waiting to see what day she will be born on before we decide on a middle name.  

What a year we have had already!  My beloved and I have almost always managed my labor together and mostly alone.  Husband-coached childbirth takes years to achieve.  Suddenly we've been thrown a loop in our routine.  Will I be able to walk pain-free and unassisted when the time comes?  What impact will The Ankle have on my labor?  I am now considered "High Risk" and I'm hoping this is a distinction that is more pro forma than reality.  These are anxieties that I am holding at bay (barely). 

There isn't much we really need.  Maybe a new car seat.  Some newborn diaper covers and a few more more newborn diapers.  A small layette and some onesies and sleepers.  I made one sweater, I'll make another along with some more hats and some baby booties.  It feels bigger than it really is.  

When I dwell too long on these things, I feel my heart lurch and run into to overdrive.  I think this is the faith, charity, holiness, and sobriety part of my salvation that I need to work on.  

What rituals and things do you have to have as you prepare for birth?  What prayers or meditations are helpful for you?