Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Week in Boys - Wedding Edition

We travelled to Chicago for half of last week and the weekend to witness my brother-in-law wed his beautiful bride.  And as far as road trips go, this one wasn't all that bad.  Minus David getting stung by a bee before the trip (seemed just fine) and then his foot swelling to a crazy size while on the road and developing a scary fever (it broke that night and he was fine, thank God!), my mother-in-law spending a day at the E.R. after slicing her hand on a broken glass, a heat index of 114 degrees, crazy storm the day of the wedding (power outage included), and normal pregnancy exhaustion and back pain... Besides all that, it was a wonderful time...  The boys were great in the car and beautifully behaved the whole trip. vAnd my husband and I even got to dance a song without a little in between us!  We couldn't believe when we got out of the reception that it was 12:15 A.M.!  And the boys made it and danced through almost the whole thing!

So here's a few pics of my handsome little guys:



John Paul 
John Paul was privileged to read half of the Prayers of the Faithful during the Mass. He did really well! And then he spent most of the reception dancing the night away with the other kids present.



Michael 

Michael wanted to dance with me and boy, does that make a mama's heart melt :)




David
I cannot believe that David stayed up as late as he did without breaking down.  Crazy.  And he was a joy during dinner and afterwards.  We had some lovely tablemates that were just wonderful with the boys.  David danced a bit and spent a good deal of time with his cake and then playing hide and seek under the head table...hey, he was happy and dinner was over so there was no one sitting there at the time :)



Monday, July 18, 2011

This Week in Boys - Sunday Funday Blueberry Picking

This summer really hasn't gone as I pictured.  We've spent more time in the past few months at doctor/hospital visits and other appointments than we have in the past 3 years!  We realized the summer was slipping away quicker than we could savor it with the things that we wanted to do.  So, we've made more of an effort to plan ahead and for us, that means that Sunday is now Sunday Funday and we've been trying to do something to make this summer enjoyed, remembered, and savored.  So, last week it was the beach and yesterday we went blueberry picking at an organic blueberry patch.  With a price of $1.79 a lb., the half hour drive was SO worth it!  We now have 14 lbs. of blueberries awaiting our use in the freezer.  It was HOT, though.  Really, really hot.  I spent half the time waiting in the van with David because we were having a hard time handling the heat.  But we missed the strawberry picking season around here and we were NOT going to miss blueberries, if I could help it (and if I had the help of my awesome blueberry-harvesting husband...which I did)!


John Paul





Michael -



David



And a few more, just for fun...




Monday, July 11, 2011

On "Hoping for a Girl"

I'm not one to complain about comments regarding family size or the fact that I have all boys.  Nor am I someone who is just jumping at the chance to be offended.  I don't really like the conversations among mothers with largish families that gripe about comments they receive.  To me, most of the comments are benign and they sort of come with the territory.  I see them as a great opportunity to strike up a conversation or give someone a little piece of the Gospel to think on.  Up until now almost every comment I've received in the grocery store, at church, from the neighbors, and elsewhere have been complimentary and for the most part, kind.  There have been more than a few "Three boys?? Wow, you've got your hands full!"  That one has never really bothered me.  I DO have my hands full and I'm glad that they are so.  Anything else I've pretty well been able to let roll off my back and say a silent prayer (or grumble).

However, now that this new little one is showing him or herself, the comments have been flying in wherever I go.  Again, not necessarily a bad thing.  People like to connect and converse and that is great. I like talking to people, especially about my family.  (You're waiting for the 'but' here, aren't you?)  BUT, the comments about my childrens' gender have started to get to me, like really really get to me.  "So are you hoping for a girl?" or "were you trying for a girl?", ESPECIALLY when it is front of my awesome little boys, has already become routine.  I've gotten this now from complete strangers, clerks, old men at church, and friends.  Why would that bother me?  Think for just a moment about the implications of such statements...

*Am I hoping for a girl?  No. I'm hoping that this little one is the exact gender that HAS ALREADY BEEN DETERMINED BY GOD.  How messed up would it be to hope that John Paul or Michael or Luke was actually a girl?  I really don't see the difference.  This child has already been created and is already a little boy or girl.  

*I like having three boys.  In fact, I love it and I know this is exactly what our Lord wanted for our family.  My boys are beautiful and awesome and your question seems to imply that I should somehow feel 'gypped' that none of them happen to be female.  Would I love having four boys?  Without a doubt, yes. Would I love having three boys and a girl?  Without a doubt, yes.

*My husband and I are open to life.  We consider each child a blessing and a gift.  With each baby we've been given, I have been more and more in awe of what an amazing and undeserved gift that that is.  It is unconscionable to me to think about demanding that such a gift come in a certain gender.  

*I know several people struggling with the sorrow of infertility.  Through them, I am reminded how fragile and undeserved this gift of a child truly is.  It seems the height of selfishness and greed to complain that any of them were not the gender I thought best.

*It has happened several times now that another mother or father (sometimes with their own kids in tow!) will tell me how they "wanted x but got y instead" with a forlorn face.  Really. My heart breaks and I feel sorry for that child listening to their parent describe to me how they have disappointed their parent simply by being the gender they are.  

*I suppose I am ultra-sensitive to all these types of comments due in part to the fact that I come from a family of six girls and one boy.  The boy was number 2 in case you are wondering.  My entire life it was made clear to me by strangers and family friends about my "poor" dad and brother and how disappointed they must be to not have another boy in the family.  That does an ugly number to a little girl's psyche.  While I laughed it off or made jokes, I see now how it was ingrained in me that somehow I wasn't good enough for my dad the way I was.  It didn't even matter much if my dad and brother REALLY felt that way, just the words spoken often enough were all it took to slowly seep into my being.  I spent much of my life identifying myself as a tomboy and when my dad left us, I felt like I was somehow responsible for taking care of my mom and being the 'man' of the house.  Rather than think that my own personal experiences negate my argument here, I think they actually prove my point.  Those comments said in the presence of children (and not sufficiently argued by parents) can have a lasting and hurtful effect on a child.

I truly recognize that most of those comments are not malicious in any way but even so, they can still cut deep and leave a scar on a little child. They also underly a "child-as-commodity" philosophy that seems to fly in the face of a culture dedicated to life. And they can rile a defensive and maybe slightly hormonal mama bear to say or do something that maybe she shouldn't.  So, um, stop asking.  Please.



Sunday, July 10, 2011

This Week in Boys...A Day at the Beach

We spent our Sunday at Beaver Island beach...

John Paul 
John Paul brought his homemade wooden boat so he spent a significant part of our beach time floating his boat and then using it to haul in seaweed for their sand creations.


Michael 
Michael was the only one who actually went all the way into the water (well, Brian too) and he loved it!  The rest of the time was spent working with his brothers on their sand wall, hauling water back and forth, and admiring every boat that passed by.




David 
John Paul dug a little "hot tub" for David and he was very content to play in that for several hours...as well as flock to Mama and Papa whenever any sort of food product was brought out. Who needs seagulls?





Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

A quick peek at the Independence Day party we hosted for several of our friends...all wonderful homeschooling families with about fifty people celebrating at our home! It was a lot of fun and with everyone outside, it certainly didn't feel like that many people! It's great to plan things potluck for this size...almost a necessity, really, and adds to the community feel of the day. It's fun to get to try everyone's special dish and we had more than enough food for everyone. Dinner, fellowship, water balloons, sprinkler, baby pool, bonfire, and even a parade by the kids...a very fun time! I just wish I had caught more of the fun on camera. We are so blessed in this country and may God continue to bless our country at this time when we need it so very much!

I love our bunting! Once we get the porch painted, it'll pop so much more.









Sunday, July 3, 2011

This Week in Boys

John Paul
John Paul has begun his second "armory" treehouse complete with a really cool rope ladder.  So far this summer he has read Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and is now working on Swiss Family Robinson.  He just turned seven a few days ago and I am amazed at the level at which he is reading.  I love it and I love to see him curled up in his special little spot hidden next to the couch with his latest book.  He's been working on his archery skills in the backyard and also has dug a two foot hole way on the back of our property that is meant to be a tunnel at some undetermined point in the future.


We got our first ever batch of meat chickens the other day! Apparently in a few weeks they won't be nearly as cute and (according to friends) we won't mind sacrificing them for the freezer :)

Michael 
Michael has been getting more and more daring.  He made it up to the new treehouse with Papa's help and was very proud of himself.  He's also made it known that he would like to learn to ride without training wheels...we're working on it!


David 
After a brief respite, David has rekindled his love of books.  He could read on someone's lap for hours.  The first thing he often says to Brian when he gets home from work is "Read, Papa?"  Very adorable. He loves our collection of Eloise Wilkin Golden Books that he received from his Godparents and is still a big fan of the several Eric Carle books that we own.  We had more medical tests last week and a big one this week.  I'm grateful that he is of the age now where I can talk him through it and he sort of understands, even if he isn't thrilled with it.  He's my brave little guy.  I so wish I could take this cross from him but I pray that somehow God works all of this out for his greatest good. It's so hard.





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