Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Modern man and Sainthood

It's easy to believe that the progress of life with its new capabilities and possibilities makes it harder for people to be saintly.  The theory is that life is more complicated these days, and that the complications include blocks to saintly life.  Really, that is untrue.  Men connect with God in the same ways today that we always have: through prayer, thought, meditation, Church services and events, and learning.  This modern world of ours has seen its fair share of sons and daughters elevated to the holy cannon.

Many contemporary saints are overlooked because when people think of saints they think of people like the Apostles, the St. Georges, the St. Thomas Aquinases, and many others whose lives are so far removed from us their memories are stamped on our minds.  

But it is possible that recent saints and holy men and women can teach us a great deal about how to fit society and the swirling mass of experience into our lives and fight the increasing belief  that our lives and experiences should fit into societal conventions. 

I would like to take some time on this blog, maybe once a week, to highlight a modern saint or holy person and what they can teach us about being in the world and not of the world.

I have to think a bit more exactly what this will look like.  And please don't hold me too stringently to the idea of once a week, I may not make it every week.  Also, I need to come up with a title...But I already know who will be the subject of my first post.  Guesses?    (Dad, you can't guess, you know who it is.)

Also, feel free to suggest someone.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Oldest child perils

It must be very difficult to be an oldest child.  I am the second of four, so I don't really have much frame of reference for it.  But, based on how many times a week I pose a question about our son's life or upbringing to my husband and we both say, "I don't know," I'm sure it's no barrel of laughs.

I picture an adult Elijah one day speaking with friends, or a spouse, or a psychiatrist saying "My parents are great (at least I hope he says that) but when I came along they really had no clue what they were doing."  NO FREAKING CLUE

The biggest quandry right now is feeding him.  We have moved away from exclusively feeding baby food and are introducing different solid foods.  My problem is, now that it's not just a matter of getting to the bottom of a puree cup and being finished, I really don't know how much to feed him.  Today at lunch, for instance he had a couple spoonfuls of corn, a crumbled piece of cheese, some Gerber crunchies and his milk, which he took out of a sippy cup for the first time today.

Elijah is a child who will eat until he pukes, so I really don't know when he's full and just eating because it's there.  Thank God we have his year check up with the pediatrician on Wednesday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Elijah turns one!

It's entirely possible that at this time last year, I was sleeping.  I had been awake for at least 24 hours you see.  Nathan and I had driven 7 hours and stood in a hospital room in awe as our son Elijah was born.

Yep, Little Guy is one year old.  It's still surprising to me.  We spent the day in high fashion with a party with friends and family at our house.  We felt very blessed that so many people came to help us celebrate Elijah.

So, I made this.  I wanted to do a lot more crafting for the party.  I even attempted to make my own invitations, but it did not go well and I gave up.  I was going to give the party a "farm" theme, but decided that themes didn't really matter that much to me this year since he won't remember.  Though, I did find a bunch of farm themed items at Party City later.  Instead we just went with a blue/green color scheme.  The cake was delicious and made by a friend of mine from high school.

My grandmother was one of the first people to arrive.  She is also one of Elijah's biggest fans.  They had so much fun playing together in the relative quiet before people really started arriving. They played peek-a-boo across the room and he loved it.

 But, I like this picture better!

Oh, the smash cake.  Wait for it....

He was a VERY big fan of the smash cake.

He even got down to the cake part.  It may look a little extreme, but I am very glad we decided to strip him to his diaper before the smash cake.

This is what the living room looked like before we settled in to eat and talk and enjoy each others' company.  That's my dad in the chair.

This picture looks hilarious to me with Scout in the high chair.

By the time everyone arrived, more children were at our house than ever before.  Counting Elijah there were six little ones here ranging from 9 months to six years.  It was so neat!

They mostly hung out in the sun room where we had toys and crayons and paper for coloring.  They also spent time in the kitchen where the food was.  We had Casey's pizza.  Elijah got many lovely presents which of course I don't have pictures of because I was opening them.  It was such a fun day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Raising a boy

Somehow, in my heart of hearts, I always knew my first child would be a boy.  I don't know how I knew, but I think there were signs.  After we started the adoption process and I looked at my yarn stash to start making hats and booties, I noticed everything I had was either blue, green, or brown.  It was much much easier for us to come up with boy names than girl names.  And when I found out Birthmother was carrying a boy, I was elated, but unsurprised.

All that being said, I don't think I was completely prepared for raising a boy.  I rejoiced that I wouldn't have to run the Disney Princess gamut every time I tried to find a toy.  I got excited about trucks, tractors, and superheroes.  I loved picking out clothes with dinosaurs on them.

But I think there are somethings that would be easier with a girl.  How does a mother teach her son what real feminine beauty and grace is?  Does the son even care?  I hope Elijah will want to grow up wanting to marry a good and virtuous woman.  The kind of woman I try to be.  I pray she is less sharp (not intellectually), less malicious and more pious than I.

How do I show him this kind of woman in daily life?  I suppose I start by curbing my tongue more often (never easy for me.)  I continue by praying for blessings on those who hurt me more and thinking about ways to hurt them less.  I pray more: with him, for him, over him.  I hope he learns what real women look like and I hope he appreciates it.  I pray the woman he marries is modest and intelligent.  I pray she is able to see the flaw in modern perceptions of beauty and promiscuity. 

I pray that Nathan and I are able to teach Elijah to love his eventual wife with kindness and gentleness.  I hope he learns from his father what a real man is, what a good father is.  I hope he loves his wife the way Nathan loves me.  I hope he enjoys his family the way Nathan seems to. 

All these things I pray to our Lord Jesus for my dear son, Elijah.

Friday, January 18, 2013

7 Quick Takes

One year ago today we got a call from our adoption agency telling us there was a woman in a neighboring state who picked us to adopt her baby boy.  We called her that night.  I can't believe it's been a year since we first talked to Birthmother.  Then I turn around and realize he's walking around furniture now, and I believe it!

I haven't had much to say lately, have I?  I suppose it's because we have settled into a little routine around here and the days go by almost before I realize it's noon or I'm getting ready for work.  Elijah is into everything and I had to rescue him yesterday from eating Christmas ornament hooks we had forgotten were on the coffee table.  (oops!)

Ever since we finally went down to only streaming on Netflix, I have actually been impressed with what they have online.  I've heard a lot of people complain about their online selection lately, but I've found just about everything I want.  Not only that, but they recently added Wallander, the English version which aired on PBS.  It's a very well done series, but I will say, don't watch it unless you want to be traumatized.  Seriously very dark stuff.  I wouldn't be watching it, but I 've had a silly crush on it's star, Kenneth Branagh since I was like 5, so I deal with it and pray for no nightmares.

Can you really look at this picture and tell me this child doesn't need a haircut?  His father seems to disagree.

I'm on the second day of my last week of work before vacation.  I can't wait!  We are not going to do anything but stay home and have a party for our one year old little boy!  

My very good friend Bonnie in her 7 Quick Takes today has expressed a desire for snow so that her science teacher husband can have a snow day.  I have to say, Bonnie, this is one of the only times I'm glad you live two hours away.  I pray for no snow...ever.  Seriously, I hope it never snows again.  And I'm not out to get the farmers who live around me.  I pray for rain.  It can rain every single day for all I care.  But no snow. Not. ever.

 For more Seven Quick Takes check out Conversiondiary!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes

I haven't had time for a big "Christmas Post" but we hope you all had wonderful Christmases.  Thankfully, I had Christmas Day on my weekend, so I got to spend the day with my family.  We opened presents at our house and then went to Mass where I lectored.  Then we went to my mom and dad's to open presents with my sisters and parents.  Elijah got all kinds of new toys and I enjoyed my traditional "Christmas stack of new books."

Then we headed off to Nathan's parents' where we enjoyed another meal and spending time with his sister's family.  Elijah got even more new toys and clothes.  It was a wonderful day, vomitting infants notwithstanding.

Elijah's two big gifts from us were walk/ride and a new sled...maybe we'll get some snow so we can use it, but I won't be heartbroken if we don't.

If you have any regard for musical theater, or even just Les Miserables in general, you should go see the new movie.  It's awesome, more awesome than I expected. 
One of my much-hoped for Christmas gifts this year was a day planner featuring Saints I saw at our local Catholic bookstore.  Everyday features  whose feast day it is and every week one saint or feast day is highlighted.  I looked into it, and if we went by the old tradition of naming our son based on whose feast day he was born on, we could have named him Timothy, Titus, or Polycarp. 
Most votes so far have been going to Polycarp.

Speaking of my son and the day he was born: in about three weeks, he will be one year old.  I cannot believe it.  Actually, considering that he wants to hold his own bottle all the time now and can just about stand without holding onto things, it's pretty believable.  

About a month ago, I lost my cellphone.  It's in the house somewhere, I just have no idea where.  Since then, Nathan and I have been sharing his phone.  He only keeps it with him on days Elijah and I aren't going anywhere, so, usually just my weekend.  But I had an incredibly productive Wednesday this week and I managed to buy a new phone.  Not only that, it's actually a smart phone, something I never really wanted.  The only reason I actually have it is so that I can take pictures of Elijah and text them to his aunts and uncle who live in different states.  

It's still a Tracfone, so it actually costs minutes to send and receive texts, which is annoying.

Wednesday was also the day Elijah and I and my parents went up to Woodstock and applied for his social security card.  I tried it once before, taking with me his birth certificate and the final adoption decree we received from our lawyer when everything went through.  However the copy we had was not certified.  So I had to ask the lawyer to get us a certified copy.  And all that means is that the courthouse in Chicago stamped it.  Very annoying but over with.  Now we just have to wait.

So this news is probably not new to you and I stole it from a Facebook post by a good friend of mine, but please pray for 7 Quick Takes' host Jen Fulweiler who is pregnant and in the hospital with pulmonary embolisms in her lungs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 1

January 1, 2004
Nathan and I went on our unofficial, official first date.  We were friends in high school and went on a bunch of individual dates in the past, but this is when we really started dating.  My brother had just gotten back from Italy so he wanted to cook for everyone (a contagious condition over there).  Nathan came over and ate with us and then we went out to see Mona Lisa Smile.

January 1, 2005
I just got back from studying in England and was having a lot of fun getting to spend time with Nathan again before being sent off to Macomb to finish my junior year at Western Illinois University.

January 1, 2006
Our very first full day of being engaged.  My mother woke me up by coming to my room and asking to look at my ring and then thrusting the phone at me with the command "Call your grandmothers."  After a wonderful few days of preliminary wedding planning, I returned to Macomb again to finish my senior year.

Skip forward six years

January 1, 2012
I honestly don't remember what happened last year on this day.  I was probably at work.  It is remarkable only because we had no idea that in 17 days we would get a phone call about a woman who chose us to raise the baby boy she was carrying.

January 1, 2013
Nathan and I and our little guy, who will be one in a couple weeks, drove to Iowa to visit Elizabeth and Eric and watch some college football.  I'm almost never off work when everyone else is, so we took advantage of this rare day.  Everyone but me goes back to work tomorrow...I've manage to finagle a 3 day weekend for myself.

Nathan and I have been together nine years we've traveled quite a bit, gotten married, moved twice, had six jobs total, become an aunt and uncle-twice, and began raising a beautiful and hilarious baby boy!