Providing for Children

As a financially challenged large family the question of what activities and “normal” American experiences to provide for our children is especially magnified. What opportunities least stress our financial and time limitations?Which are best for their development? Will they be social outcasts if they don’t own an ipod, cell phone, or team uniform? My catholic-rural-mom-of-eight ideal on what constitutes real world knowledge has significantly changed from my former South Floridian and secular liberal state university student perception.

If I rate my children’s education and social development on their knowledge of Hollywood creations, sport team stats, current music hits and politically driven environmental theories my children would fail miserably. When I die and face God I do not fear he will tell me I failed as a parent because my kids were not culturally popular or “in”. The development of their souls and their ability to do God’s will is challenged by trying to “be cool”. In order to blossom into strong individuals with the ability to stand against wrong and to perform good works requires being counter cultural.

I hope to provide an environment which develops a healthy knowledge of God’s beautiful creation. By understanding God’s physical creation, it is easy to foster a sense of respect and awe for the world we live in. It saddens me that so many children fear our world and feel as if they are hurting the world merely by existing. People have been disconnected from the earth and no longer understand the beauty of being part of it. They see it only from the outside and falsely, perhaps even arrogantly believe they can and need to control it.  Not realizing their God given place in creation they worship it instead of God. Animals, trees, even dirt become more important then eternal human souls. Children feel guilty for being human. Many believe that eating the flesh of animals is sinful and cruel; the same flesh that protected God’s people during the Passover, the same flesh that our Lord shared with His disciples. This mentality is manifested in the elevation of pets to the status of people. Loving a dog is seen as more important than loving one’s neighbor.

By limiting the influence of modern culture and exposing my children to true art (not pictures made with dung), beautiful music (without lyrics about using other people’s bodies), and quality literature (not the feminist, new age spiritualism, casual sex is healthy garbage) I hope to inspire their imaginations. By giving them opportunities to be part of the cycle of life by raising their own food, caring for animals, experiencing nature with all its beauty I hope to instill in them a sense of responsibility to care for creation. By giving them a constantly growing knowledge of their faith I hope to cultivate souls that love God and choose to do his will. By providing them with an education I hope to develop minds capable of thinking for themselves and having empathy for others. By loving them and their father I hope to set an example of how people are to treat each other. I pray my children will have the conviction to go out into the world and be a force of strength, goodness and joy for a weak, lost, sad society.

How others see my children does not matter, so long as they have faith, hope and charity; along with the ability to act with prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Oh ya, when I forget this and freak out that my kids don’t “do” enough please wack me upside the head. Thanks

Party Crashing Devil?

Today’s assignment for the little girls’ school was to make a birthday card for Mary (Our Savior’s Mother). Amelia and I were discussing where to set up the cards and a statue of Mary when Jane popped around the corner. In a very matter of fact voice she asked, “What if the devil comes steal the cards?” Amelia backed me up when I said we would have to invite Michael the Archangel to protect them.

Differences between the first and the eighth birth.

1st Very afraid of the unknown, read lots of pregnancy books and go to birthing class.

8th Anxiety over the very known! I don’t mean to trivialize what our Lord went through during the Agony in the Garden, but when you are preparing to give birth after experience the pain of previous births you somewhat understand the fear of pain but still having the desire to suffer through it for the miracle. Labor is fun compared to Jesus’ suffering, so I don’t sweat blood; but do often wish the cup could be taken away!

1st Unsure of what to expect and don’t know how to best handle post birth complications.

8th Know what you want and find out that by politely, confidently, and not defensively speaking up you get what you want without any arguments.

Even though a natural birth was wanted, panic and feel that labor pain needs to be avoided. (Had drugs with the first three, epidural with the next three and finally naturally with the last two)

8th Learn the that by offering up every contraction for a specific intention and focusing on that intention during the contraction will allow an incredible peace and spiritual strength to endure the pain to be received. (Notice it doesn’t take the pain away only helps to tolerate it) Of course having the kids come out really quickly helps. I must also admit that I have not mastered offering up “after pains” and enjoyed my purple pills post birth; maybe with the ninth….

Expect husband to read your mind, be all comforting, take care of everything just the way you would.

8th  Learn to just ask for what you want, remember your commitment to care for his needs too, appreciate all the little things he does that you didn’t notice before because you were to busy expecting him to be you!

Look at baby for hours and wish someone could see and appreciate every baby movement or noise with you.

8th Look at baby for hours and have many other little someones who love to see everything the baby does too.

Morning Fight

Scene: Mom in bed suffering from morning sickness (yes, even in my eighth month…uhg). Several children in the next room can be heard arguing.

Laura 6yrs: I don’t like you!

Jane 4.5 yrs: You don’t like Jesus then!

Laura (confused sounding): I like Jesus. I don’t like you and I am not playing with you anymore.

Jane (quietly and with cocky attitude): Then you don’t like Jesus.

Paul 7 yrs: Jane is right you don’t like Jesus.

Laura (upset and defensive): Yes I do! I love Jesus!

Searching for Baby Jesus

littlepeoplejesus1We have the greatest nativity for children.  It is a Fischer Price Little People set and the children play year round with the figures.  We had a late start to decorating this year. Three days ago after the ten millionth, “When are we going to decorate?” I promised as soon as the kids picked up their rooms we would begin decorating. In order to make room for the tree, all of the Little People were packed into a trunk and put in the boys’ room till after Christmas. When everything was tidy (I use that word lightly), Lucas and I went through the trunk and removed all the Nativity items. To my annoyance an angel and baby Jesus were missing.

We began our search for baby Jesus and soon all children were involved in our quest. We checked Church bags, couch cushions, the shoe bin, purses, the baby’s toy box, behind books on the shelves, in the doll house, in the play kitchen and Jesus was no where to be found. Before I go on, in my defense I must mention we have all been sick with a virus and I have not been getting much sleep. Now fully frustrated and the sun having already set I announce to very sad children that we can not celebrate and decorate without baby Jesus. Until baby Jesus was found we were not taking anything out.

Early the next morning, I was greeted by decorating nag ten million and one. I crawled out of bed assigned locations to each child and the search began again. By lunch time I was starting to lose hair and the younger children lost interest and began to mess up our once “tidy” home. We had to end our search to take the younger children to the doctor and by the time we dropped of dad thirty minutes away at work, went to our appointment an hour and twenty minutes in the opposite direction, purchased antibiotics with a long wait time, feed the kids dinner at Aunt Susie’s (conveniently located between our home and the doctor), picked up dad and returned home it was almost midnight.

One would think the search was over, at least till the next day, but no I was obsessed. I needed Jesus to find rest. I decided to check the boy’s room myself. It was not a pretty sight. For sometime now my boys have been shoving and stuffing instead of cleaning. I discovered my eldest son is a serious pack rat. Clothing was in toy bins and desk drawers. The dresser housed everything but clothing. Under pillows even more knickknacks were stashed. I decided to dump their stuffed animal bin (the easiest thing to clean out in the closet) There on the bottom was the missing angel. I replaced the stuffed animals and put the other items found where they belonged. This one bucket took thirty minutes to sort. Convinced baby Jesus must be somewhere stuffed in the wrong place and determined the boys must clean out everything themselves. I crawled into bed and thinking of all the possible places we might have overlooked fell asleep. Well before the sun came up I awoke to children screaming. “Mom found the angel”! “I bet she is hiding baby Jesus until Christmas”. “Yahoo, we can decorate now!” Please remember I am not always a monster, but I had no sleep and the sun was not yet shining. I roared from bed, “Baby Jesus has not been found”!  One brave soul quietly asked from the other room, “Can we decorate anyway?”

Remembering that this was after all baby Jesus we were looking for, children were given breakfast before I started dumping drawers for kids to sort and clean. The younger girls helped with laundry and keeping Joanna entertained (build forts with the piles of clean clothes mom already folded so Joanna can crawl over them and “attack” you) while Amelia and I went thru all of the girls’ drawers and toy bins. The boys complained, procrastinated, tried blaming each other; but eight hours, six bins, six dresser drawers, one night stand, and seven desk drawers later their room was almost spotless. I say almost spotless because in a moment of rare sanity, realizing I had serious Jesus finding issues, I let Lucas use three desk drawers to put all his papers, scraps of paper and torn magazines in and let the clutter on the dresser top remain until after Christmas”.

Earlier in the day when Amelia and I were searching dad’s office for Jesus we joked around that the house was so messy Jesus was hiding until we cleaned it. The thought lightened the mood in the house and we shared our theory with the other kids.

As Lucas and I finished the last dumped drawer of items most of the other children watched a movie. Sarah joined us in the boys’ room and wanted to “help”. She was not very discriminating about where she was putting stuff so we gave her the task of again searching the little people trunk for baby Jesus. After removing several items she joyfully shouts she found baby Jesus! Lucas jumped up and went to see. Sarah laughed a naughty laugh. Yes, at the innocent age of three by only a few days, my daughter knows how to tease! No baby Jesus.

We were finally down to a shoe box worth of items when Sarah again turned to us and said she found Jesus. Having heard her cry wolf before, we didn’t believe her. I asked her to show me and she said, “It to hard for me I can’t” (translation: “I don’t want to”). Convinced of her dishonesty we shrugged our shoulders and returned to our work. I sighed defeated and told Lucas when he was done we could start to decorate without baby Jesus. As this scene unfolded Amelia walked into the room spotted what Sarah had seen in the trunk and with a joyous triumphant voice shouted, “BABY JESUS”!