Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Grass IS always greener where we water, but don't forget to water it....

So last night I couldn't fall asleep.  

I could blame it on the 10 pounds of cookie cake my husband and I scarfed down like scavengers (it was left over from our anniversary on Monday) because I've cut down on my sugar intake (I only use a tablespoon of my awesome creamer) and no other sugar on most days, so perhaps when I consume 500% more than my daily allowance it hypes me up...  

But I think it was something more.  

I was preoccupied with thoughts.  

And they weren't the best thoughts.  

I was rereading a book I bought many years ago, called, Musings from a Catholic Mom.  At least, that's what I think the name is, it's actually in my bathroom upstairs and the tiniest little night terrorist is still asleep in my room, so I don't DARE go back up there until she wakes up.  At a normal hour. 

Anyway- squirrel warning, I've resorted back to earlier post baby birth sleep disorder (YES that's a real condition,  PBBSD). I've been getting less and less sleep because of a multitude of reasons I've reasoned myself to believe. 

1.  The baby is teething.  (she's 9 months old and just got her first tooth, second one is on the way)

2. The baby is cold.  (my husband keeps the house set on 62.  I dress her as warmly as possible, but some nights even I'M freezing.)

3. The baby is having bad dreams.  Can they even dream at 9 months?

4.  She knows I love sleep.  

5. She has decided that waking every hour or so and just letting out a wail for about a minute or two (long enough to really wake me and the hubster up) is the new her...

So there it is.  I'm getting little sleep at night and last night after reading a few pages of that book, I laid in bed thinking about what I read.  

Danielle Bean wrote the book when she had six little ones (I believe she has 8 children now, the book is 10 years old).  She was writing this particular chapter about all the places she had to go one day and all the stares and comments she got.  It resonated with me.  Eerily, the comments, stares, and feelings she had were almost identical to what I've received out in public.  

So I laid there in bed thinking about those things when the strangest thought popped into my head. 

"How were you a failure today?"

Excuse me?  What?  (Don't worry, I do this a lot- converse with myself in my head- it's way better than doing it out loud and causing stares....)

How did you fail your children today?

Wow.  Those words really stung and I had to sit there and ponder who was putting this thought into my head- was it my crazy brain or something darker?

But just as quickly as the question was put in my head, the answers to it started flooding my brain.  How did I fail my children today? 

Oh, let me count the ways, I almost seemed to mock myself.

Didn't get much sleep the night before so I was grouchy.  Snapped at the child who dumped cheerios all over the floor.  Barked at the child who for the 88th time, asked me to do something for them that I forgot to do (of course, good reason to snap at someone else, right?).  Yelled for them to be quiet because once again, the tiny terrorist was getting her best sleep at 7 AM.  

Through out the day?  I stared at my little black box when I should have been interacting with the two year old.  I just watched the tiniest one crawl around instead of talking and playing with her.  I avoided two phone calls from people I really need to talk to, just because I was too mentally exhausted to keep up the front that I'm doing Ga-Ga-Ga-G-R-E-A-T!!!  (said in Tony the Tiger voice...)
Through out the day I grouched and complained about the messes all over my house left by my children.  Shoes I've asked them put up a million times.  Toys I've asked to be brought down to the basement a billion times, clean clothes still sitting at the table.  Washing clothing that I SWEAR I just washed the day before, they did NOT wear this- they literally just STUCK IT BACK IN THE DIRTY CLOTHES BASKET!!!!!!

When they got home (all but one got home on this particular afternoon, which is a rarity these days) I continued the grouchiness of complaints.  Do this, do that, why did you not do this?  Why did you NOT do that?  What ARE you doing?  Where ARE you going?  

Dinner was a disaster, bathtime a nightmare.  Grouchy momma was in full swing and by the time they all went to bed, it was time for me to head there as well.  
So total, I spent ABOUT 5 minutes alone with out any children needing my constant attention (or lack there of).  I was spent.  Exhausted from zero  sleep, exhausted from complaining (hey- it's a tough job) so when this question was put out there in the vastness of my tired brain?   I immediately broke down.... I failed my children terribly!  How many times did I tell them I loved them?   How many times did I tell them I was proud of them?  How many times did I ask them about their day and sit and listen to them talk to me about school? 

Not as much as I complained.  Grouched.  Barked.  Yelled.

So there I was, when I really needed to be asleep, so that the small blocks of sleep that I actually can get won't be lost forever and I turned on my side facing my super hero husband and there the question was posed again.  

How have I failed my husband today?


I made his salad for his lunch today....  

But that's where it stopped.  I was just as grouchy to him because he had to take the giant school bus (ok, it's just a 15 passenger van, but it seems like a school bus) to get the brakes changed and that left me with taking kids to swim, picking kids up from field hockey, and getting kids to

Let me say that with a bit more whine....

There.  Much better.

So laying there, with that question posed in my brain, I suddenly felt extremely guilty for all I had NOT done and all that I HAD done that wasn't so nice to my kids and husband.  

'Wow, God.  You must be really disappointed in me today....'  I  meekly thought to myself.  Here I am, blessed beyond what I deserve, and yet, I can't see just what I preach everyday.  That the grass is greener right where I water it.

But that reminded me of that book I was reading before bed.  It seemed to me that Danielle Bean was being bombarded with the questions, the pitiful glances, the harsh stares and was on overload (again, I haven't finished rereading that chapter so I'm just adding my own opinion to this....)

I'm being bombarded with things right now.   Perhaps I haven't been watering what needs to be watered.... 

We've spent the last two months or so, with FOUR kids in consistent activities almost every single day and a fifth kid in a semi consistent activity.  So 8-10 weeks of constant business starting at about 3 o'clock every afternoon and going sometimes until very late in the evening.  I've had very little family time, very little husband time, and the worst?  Very little me time.  

I need me time.  I know that sounds extremely selfish of me to say, but I am a better wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, etc, when I get good amounts of me time.  Quiet time alone in prayer, a quiet lunch with just me eating and breathing.  (I find I don't do much breathing when I'm on autopilot and in crazy mode...)  Outings with my friends.  Anything where I can decompress and unwind and just relax, and just be me.  Crazycatholicmomma.    

I know that not many people agree with me.  I remember once, getting into a "discussion" with someone on social media about how important it was for me to have that "me" time and the person told me God gave me my family and I should be with them, not selfishly thinking I "needed" me time.  It hurt a little, but only because this person assumed they knew me and they didn't.  Not everyone needs alone time, or me time or get away for a little time, time... hahaha.  That read funny....

I know myself well enough to know that there are times when I have literally tapped every ounce of patience out of my body.  Remember my 'drink from the cup' blog last week?  Well, just like the many things that come our way that we must drink, we must also recognize when we need to be recharged. 
God didn't come down last night and tell me what an awful mom or wife I've been.  He didn't have to.  He knows it hurts me to be that way.  He also knows I can do better.  He knows I'm trying and that's so important for me to remember.  Not that I need to fall back on that as an excuse-'well, I AM trying,' no, I need to remember that I need to do better.  Accept those days when I'll fail, big time, but wake up the next day and try harder.  

Now today?  Well, I started out rather grouchy, the tiniest one had another really bad sleeping night.  I woke up exhausted, and came down and looked rather hairy- literally, but I tried to remind myself that I love these little people with my entire being.  I love that big furry guy who is my super hero husband more than life itself.  These people are so important to me and I need to not only remind myself, but remind them every single day. 
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Ha.  yes....

So, yes, it's raining.  It's yucky outside.  I've had the least amount of sleep I've had since we started this rodeo of seven crazy kids, but I'm going to try.  I'll muddle through my PBBSD syndrome (ok, it might not be a real disorder....). I'm going to try to be positive today. I'm going to try and not lose my temper when they do something that bothers me. I'm going to try to correct without snapping.... That's a tough one for me.  I'm going to try to rest today without devices around me.... the resting part might be tough, these two monkeys still at home are on completely opposite schedules....but I might let the ole boob tube entertain the two year old during the 9 month old's nap....  Hey, Elmo is a learning show....

But it will all be good.  Cause it's another day I've been given an opportunity to be a part of....And I'm going to water it and appreciate how blessed I am! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Can I drink from the cup?

This is going to be one gigantic stretch and believe me- I can't really see how on earth I'm going to connect what I'm going to talk about, but start praying right now, as I am, and maybe we'll both see God's hand in this as I think I kind of do....

Can I drink from the cup.  That was the theme of the gospel reading this past Sunday.  Mark 10:35-45.  I'll try to copy and paste the passage if my feeble, exhausted, brain can pull it together before I lose my train of thought.

James and John were wanting to sit at Jesus' right and left.  He basically asked them if they were prepared to drink from his cup.  Jesus' path was not an easy one and his followers would be on that same path if they chose to drink from his cup.  Persecutions, martyrdom, and the like would take most of his disciples and James and John seemed to more concerned with having a high and mighty place to sit by Jesus instead of the focus at hand.  Why Jesus was there....

Why was Jesus there?  To save us of course.

To save us from damnation.

To save us from our sin!

That's not to say people chose to follow him.  Or follow his teachings.  As we can see, people even in biblical times found his teachings to be too difficult and walked away.

Today was a really rough day for me.

Actually, it's been a rough few months.

Ok, it's been a rough almost 9 months.

Who am I kidding.....I'm sorry, it's been a rough 18 months.....

If we look back a year in a half ago, we started on a journey that was completely unexpected.  I know, there are people out there who want to believe with all their hearts that they know who we are, know what we're like, have already determined we are freaks and crazy people for being open to life.  Comparing us to the Duggars (doesn't that get old for people?  Cause it really gets old hearing it....I'm no where near going to reach their numbers....or prayerfully, their public life...)

We've heard all the comments, time and time again.  Are you done?  Will you have anymore?  I can't handle the (fill in ANY  number here, we've heard them all) I have!!!  Can't imagine how you handle all yours....

So when lucky  number 7 surprised us, I was taken aback  but God was working on my heart the entire time.  You can check out my past blogs and read the journey we took to the birth of our awesome little Luci and my very near death experience I had to see how amazing that journey was.


Cause it's always going.

The cup is constantly being poured out and I'm forced to either drink from it, or let it spill all over me and make a mess on myself with it.  (and you KNOW I'm not a messy person....)

By forced, I don't mean God is forcing me, but He is placing these things in my life to choose one way or the other....  I can sit here, in my self pity and continue to feel like the worst mother on the planet and wait for my "worst mother of the year" award, or I can take the many trials and tribulations and learn from them and get up, ever so slowly, and probably looking more like I need one of those little walkers with the tennis balls on  them, and keep plugging away in this world.

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The trials seem to be more apparent to me these days and I am not sure why.   From the personal crosses I've been trying to bear, to the crosses I now see my children having to bear as they get older and try to live a good and holy life.

There have been so many moments of grace with those crosses and that's what I've been trying to focus on.  I started this blog about five times and each one was titled, "Focus on the Positive."  Something kept stopping me from finishing each one (and mostly it was two little somethings age 2 1/2 years,  and 8 months).

Today though, I had a really, really bad day.

Matter of fact, it almost made me do some completely irrational and stupid things.

Like chase down the idiot who decided he wasn't waiting on me to pass two garbage trucks.  TWO.  On a busy road.  He took it upon himself to start passing me just as I was pulling out to pass them after I made sure I wouldn't get hit head on (you see, there's something about being in a head on collision as a teenager that makes me a TAD HESITANT to just drive in the wrong lane... I know, crazy....).  I nearly ran into him as he sped by me.  Signalling of course, because that makes what he did totally ok.  I'm getting sarcastic-time to take a  deep breath and not rehash my anger again.)

I actually yelled and scared my 2 1/2 year old and then I got behind the guy and took a picture of his license plate.  You know, cause I was going to create a "shame NY drivers" website (which has probably already been created) but I was angry and scared and shaking and I wanted JUSTICE.  I wanted that person to know what they did was not only stupid, but incredibly dangerous and put the lives of two of my little peanuts in danger.  I was furious.  I wanted revenge.  AN EYE FOR EYE!

Completely irrational I know...

But I was so mad and ready to move away.  Right there!!

New York and all it's terrible drivers could stick it!  I was done.  I called my husband, a  voice of reason, and even  he was mad for me.  It's not easy to see so many people take such unnecessary risks and put other  people in danger and he has probably had more than enough as well....

He asked where I wanted to live.  I said somewhere far, far away.  A nice remote, isolated area where I will feel safe.... A cave.  A cabin in the deep, deep, deep woods.

Anywhere but where we live.

Where are you going with this, Crazycatholic momma?

Hold on.  I said it would be a stretch.

So after we decided we were moving to a deserted island, I calmed down and drove to my final destination on my errands.  Hobby Lobby.

Something about that store just fills me with an amazing sense of peace.  It's so lovely and full of  crafts and holiday items and fun things I would love to buy, and right now?  There are a billion items for Christmas.  Trees, ornaments, decorations, wrapping paper, bows, lights, wreaths, you name it.  They have it.

As I took the stroller down each aisle and heard my 2 1/2  year old oooooh and aaaaaahh outloud, I did the same thing inside.  (ok, and outside, too.  We both were ooooohing and aaaaaahhing together!)

I was taking deep breaths and feeling more and more at peace and human again.  I even took a picture and sent it to my husband and told him, "I'm in my happy place..."

My  Happy Place

As the peace came over me, my rational self came back and my irrational self slowly diminished.  It's not a side of myself that I'm particularly proud of.   It's rather embarrassing at times.  The voice of reason gets drowned out as crazymomma goes into psycho mode....

But as the peace came back, so did the clarity of events of the past year in a half.  We can say we've had some pretty tough things happen and surprises we didn't expect, or see coming.   Some health issues that were a bit of shock, and an expense that we didn't plan for.  A stint with some depression that probably ran one or two people out of my life.  Some issues with our children that have been really tough to deal with, but nothing that we couldn't handle with God's grace.  

Because you see, with every single set back, I began to notice something.  There was a grace moment.  

I always tell my kids that God sends these moments everyday, all day long if we just opened our eyes to them.  

Nowadays, we're so bombarded with our little hand held devices, computers, TV's, busy schedules, and lack of quiet time, we don't always see those  grace moments.

The moments that God shows us that yes we can drink from the cup.  

I have never been so aware of how difficult it is to be a person of faith in this world as I am today.  I don't  just mean a 'Sunday go to church' faith person, I mean someone who clearly tries, (and fails constantly) to live their faith in this world. 'People will hate you.  Know that they hated me first.'  

That's from John 15:18-27.  A fantastic gospel.  'If you belonged to the world, the world would love it's own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.  Remember the word I  spoke to you, 'no slave is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you....'  

It goes on and is really just so comforting.  Jesus' words are like that.  Comforting.  

He later speaks in chapter 16, verse 33, 'I have told you this so that you  might have peace in me.  In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.'

And thank you, Jesus, for doing just that.  I take comfort in that.  

When drivers drive like maniacs.  People compare us to the Duggars.  Friends grow distant and move away.  Children struggle in their own faith lives.  People disappoint us.  Jesus has been here.  Done that, and is waiting for us  to be with him in Heaven.

When we drink from the cup, we can stand strong and have courage.  

It won't be an easy path.  It won't be a completely happy path.  There will be tough times.  There will be joyful times.  There will be difficult times and almost unbearable times.  We  will want to quit the race, but we can't.  We must persevere and keep going.  

It will be God's path.  And if we keep our eyes open and on Him, we will see those beautiful graces he places ever so subtly in our lives.  

For example, I just got on my phone to look up the exact scripture for the John 15- all I typed in google was,  'scripture verse......'

 And google finished it for me with, '.......if the world hates you.'

God moment for today?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Potty training, baby cruising, Christmas in October, and other Horrors....


I was feeling like MOM OF THE YEAR yesterday morning....

Wanna know why?

I thought my 2  1/2 year old had potty trained herself.


I thought, "I have this parenting thing in.the.bag."

Honestly.  I even put it on Facebook that it was crazy, weird, never planned on doing it, blah, blah, blah...

Giving me her "peace sign and kiss" after going potty on the toilet...

There is where I should have ended this party.

Because despite the beautiful morning of using the bathroom, peeing every time and even pooing on the toilet,  I should have known it was too good to be true!!!!!

Yea-she's adorable alrite....

You see, after an entire morning of pooing and peeing perfectly?  She decided enough was enough.  And pretty much spent the entire afternoon and evening pooing and peeing on everything BUT the toilet.  And let me tell you, I can do a lot of things, I mean, things I never imagined I would EVER do as an adult, or human  for that matter, but there are at least ONE pair of Olaf undies in the trash, and a bit o pride along with them.....

Nothing says, "this parenting is so easy,"  like a humiliating moment.  Not saying her regression indicates a humiliating moment, but wow, you get a little cocky with this parenting and wouldn't it be fitting that the child you're parenting puts you back in your place and reminds you that you are no where NEAR perfect, that each child brings his/her own challenges and hold on, momma,  cause the roller coaster just got a little crazier....

So, this morning, in true crazymomma fashion, since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing OVER AND OVER AGAIN and expecting different results, I put more panties on that little peanut.

Needless to say- after spending the entire morning cleaning up URINE in various places of my home, she is officially back in her cute little Luv Diapers....  Whatever- don't give me that line that I've now contributed to her future on Jerry Springer- cause she's gonna be on that show for completely DIFFERENT reasons- none related to the fact that her momma wised up and decided she in fact, was not ready for undies and my house, is in fact, not a giant litter box....

So, back to the drawing board with that little nut....

But WOW.  This morning I took it hard.  I'm talking, pride hard.  Like, let me look and see exactly where did I mess this up?   I was almost in tears after the third little puddle because we had honestly, just sat on the toilet for TWENTY MINUTES.....  

See, when you potty train, you have to take them CONSTANTLY, so they'll get used to going and you do all these bizarre tricks (which don't work, but we do them anyway) like reading a book, (my most favorite are the "potty books" people have actually spent money on), or turning on the water, or sitting on the floor and begging, pleading with the little terrorist to please use the bathroom....

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Hahahahahaha....oh  lordy, so true....

All in vain.  The bribing of M&M's that worked so beautifully yesterday morning?   She laughed.  Scoffed even.  I was depleted.  This little, bitty, 23 pound peanut, had me over a barrel and the sad thing was, I was letting her win.... gladly.  

But isn't that how life is?  Sometimes we just want the prize.  We want the prize without actually having to do any struggling or suffering or anything.  We want the easy button and we want it immediately.   And don't you think for one second I wasn't pleading and bargaining with God all.morning.long.   

It sounded something like this:

Lord, I've managed to potty train 5 other children.  Why is this one being so stubborn?  Please?  Lord?  Do you hear me?   Don't you agree with me?   Won't you please  help her pee/poo on the toilet?   I do so much for you.  How about if I do more?  I'll pray more.  How about if I promise not to yell when my kids do something?  How about if I make an extra donation in the collection basket this week.  You hear me, right, Lord?   

Well, He was having nothing to do with helping me with  potty training today, and rightly so.  He's charged me with the care of this little Tazmanian Devil and has certainly promised to listen to me, but in no way has He promised to make raising this terror any easier than it has to be.  Some life lessons are important to learn.  

Like Pride.  Pride is especially important to learn.  We tend to let our society suck us into believing that we are all gods and that things should just work because we exist.  I believe that's the problem with so many people today who suffer from depression or anxiety.  We've let ourselves believe this lie that things should just work and go our way without complication so much so that the first time we face a complication, our worlds literally fall apart and we can't cope.  

Thankfully, I have some amazing people in my life who not only are my biggest cheerleaders, but they are my biggest support team and they assure me daily, that no, it's not  always easy.  No, you aren't always going to "win the big one" or have perfect days everyday, or even, dare I say, get a child potty trained the moment you think it should happen.  I'm always saying I'm like clay in God's hands yet, I struggle with accepting that as a parent of my own children.  

Today, though, my husband sent me the most amazing, amazing text after I had officially given up and put the diaper back on my little Taz-

Look at his words!

Do you see that?  That my friends is true love.  I LOVE that man and thank God every minute I can that  he placed him in my life.  He truly completes me.  He makes me want to be a better person.  I am blessed....So  much so,  I'm able to go on with day, and chop that potty training miracle as just that.  A tiny little miracle to give me hope, that one day that little terror will be in underwear for good....until then, though....there are lots of other fun and exciting things  going on at the crazymomma house up north....

The baby is absolutely moving with unstoppable speed these days.  So much so that I'm terribly afraid that she'll be walking by 10 months at the latest- 9 months at the earliest (she's 8 months and some change).  It's absolutely hysterical to watch this little tiny peanut cruising around the couches and squealing when her siblings call her.... I posted a video of her such cruises.... the Taz two year old is asleep (probably dreaming about the different ways to cause momma to clean up pee...)

So the baby is crazy.   The two year old is crazy, and now that I'm liberated and free and can just toss these two yahoos in the bus and go shopping whenever I want, I need to hit some stores and see if there are ANY Halloween decorations left.  The picture below shows what we found when we went to BJ's last weekend.  Seriously.  Halloween dragons and Christmas trees....   Who decorates these stores???  And honestly, can we just try to save Christmas decorations for November 1st?  Or, dare I say it, October 15?  23rd?  30th??  I just don't understand.  It's like when I need winter clothing for my kids.  If I don't hit the stores July 31st?   It's gone.  Nada.  Nothing left.  And forget snow shoes/bibs.   I needed to order those bad boys in April.  That's when they're all on sale.  Now they're jacked up 88% more than they're worth.... Guess it's Wegman's shopping bags for your feet, kids....

Just kidding....

Dragons and Christmas trees.   Just wrong....

Enjoy your hump day..... and do some praying today- you might be pleasantly surprised  what comes of it....

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Excellent analogy....