Daybook: Birthday Week:-)!

Outside my window::

::it's raining and it promises to rain some more. I'm happy to see and hear the rain. We've had a fairly dry summer and frankly, I like the change of pace a rainy day brings. 

 I am listening to::

::Nicholas kicking a soccer ball around the kitchen and family room. This practice is frowned upon. They all do it anyway. Some days, it's not worth fighting.

I am wearing ::

::a purple empire waist sweater with 3/4 length sleeves, jeans, and cashmere socks. I have diamond studs in my ears that were a gift from my husband a couple of years ago.I wear them almost all the time now. My teenaged sons pierced an ear each and now I'm guarding my earrings from boy borrowers. I hope this is a short-lived phase and those holes close soon.

To be Fit and Happy::

:: I had an enormous allergic reaction to my father's cat last week and came home with a secondary infection. Not much exercise happened. Time to get back in the saddle.

I am thankful for::

::Colleen. She is a dear and precious example of grace and faith and strength in the Lord.

I am pondering ::

::Sanctity is an interior disposition which makes us humble and little in God's arms, conscious of our weakness and trusting even to audacity in the goodness of our Lord ~St. Therese

I am reading ::

::a wonderful book that is not yet published. I have been blessed by the author throughout my motherhood journey and I consider this advance copy of her new book to be God's provision. I can't thank her enough for the honor of reading it now (when I so need it) and I am very eager to share it with you soon.

From the kitchen::

::Birthday and Name Day dinners:

tonight it was steak and potatoes and salad at Michael's request

on the 29th: Chicken Parmesan. We'll eat it at home and package it to take to Michael for after his game.)

on the 30th: Homemade Kung Pao chicken

on the First of October: Chicken Tikaa Masala

on the 2nd: yet to be determined (hopefully, not chicken)

on the 4th: Cream of Tomato soup and Grilled Cheese Paninis

I am creating ::

::an autumn template for my blog. But, I'm not sure I want to say goodbye to this template. So, I might just not worry about the changing season.

On my iPod::

::L'Angelus. They'll be in town this weekend.

Towards a real eduction::

::Ah. We're settling in nicely. The children are beginning to "feel" the rhythm and anticipate what comes next. I'm really enjoying the new notebooks that go with the Jeannie Fulbright elementary science. Mary Beth has dropped Botany in a Day for the Apologia Botany and it's a much better fit. Her notebook is beautiful already. And I got the astronomy notebooks for the boys. Even Patrick will use one and we'll supplement the text with some of MacBeth's suggestions to make it a high school course. Our geography studies are going beautifully and I'm proud of what my children are learning and even more proud of what they are caring about. The very best news of the day entire homeschooling adventure: Mike will take over the teaching of math beginning next week. There! Now everyone who knows how incompetent I am with numbers can breathe a big sigh of relief and stop worrying that we're ruining our children for life.

Towards rhythm and beauty::

::We add dance and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd into the schedule this week, ramping everything up to its fullest level. Katie is beside herself with gleeful anticipation. I'm a little nervous, but I made a really hard decision and pulled everyone out of choir in order to ensure at least two days fully at home every week.  My kids are sad and I am too, but it's better than the suffocating feeling I was having. Nine children are a lot of children--and nine children who have different needs and different abilities and ALL need me on a regular and frequent basis means that I have to make some choices that mothers of smaller families might not have to make. I'm good with that. My husband goes in early and works late. My children practice soccer on lighted fields well past dark on school nights. I'm good with that. Sometimes, I have to decline wonderful, fantastic opportunities for fellowship and fun because they just don't work with the rest of life. I need to learn to be good with that, too.

To Live the Liturgy::

::it's that very happy week in our family, where the saints and the babies are celebrated. What happy, happy memories and grateful peace this week evokes in me. 

I am hoping and praying::

::for a happy outcome for a long-prayed family intention this week. We're offering our St. Therese Novena and the Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart for this intention. If you have a moment, won't you pray with us? The prayers are on the lefthand sidebar.I would be so grateful.

In the Garden::

::the mums are bloomin', big and beautiful.

Around the House::

::the gnomes and fairies welcomed autumn to the nature table. Oh! I love this season and I'm so happy to be up and about to celebrate it with joy this year.

On Keeping Home::

::my home is not one that keeps itself or whose children keep it perfectly when mom's arms are full of sick baby. And I am not at ease keeping house when a baby wants me to hold her. So, the house looks a bit peaked this weekend and I am reminding myself that being ill-at-ease when my house reflects good priorities is a sin of sensuality. If it makes me nuts that the house is a mess because I've spent my time loving my children well, then that's my problem and I need to take it to prayer--and confession.

One of my favorite things::

::warm, spiced apple cider, a good picture book, and three little girls fighting for a place on my lap. 

Sarah Anne this week::

::Sarah-Sweetie has had another upper respiratory infection this week. I'm so sad about this! I can't help but wonder if our long stretch of isolation in the months following her birth have left us vulnerable to every stray germ now that we are out and about. then again, Nicholas is wheezing and barking like a dog and Karoline has had a fever off and on. They weren't cloistered all winter. Who knows?

How's the burnout recovery going?

::Smile. I think I have moved from "recovery" to "prevention." I was happy to meet some new readers when Andrea linked last week. And I've truly been blessed by some wonderful conversations with mature Christian mothers who are also experiencing burnout lately. It's as if our zeal and our idealism has crashed in a huge wave of utter fatigue and a little fear that the grand experiment might not turn out as we imagined.

One thing I learned during my blogging break is that it's not so much the internet that was burning me out. I cut out all blogging and most reading and I still didn't have the time and space I needed wanted. I still felt overwhelmed and frustrated. The reality is that big families are a lot of work, plain old hard work--and more of it than in an average-sized family. I wouldn't trade that work for anything in the world if it meant I'd have to trade the children with it. I love my life. But I do get tired. Christians who want to live authentically have to work diligently and constantly to be a light in a dark world. We want to be light. But we lights do get tired. For some of us, the same temperament that makes us empathetic and sensitive makes us prone to depression and burnout.  For me, there must be an ongoing dialogue with Holy Spirit to hear his voice and seek his will and lean on him for strength and grace. And it's a choice every single day to live in his light and share in his joy.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week::

::Big smile. Not a few plans. Lots of happy plans.

Today, Michael got a surprise day off. He hasn't been home since the middle of August and won't be home again until the end of the season. We seized the opportunity to celebrate his birthday with a home-cooked meal and apple pie.

Ballet begins on Monday. I just remembered neither girl has shoes that fit. Hmmm. Christian and Patrick have found a local Christian high school that welcomes homeschoolers to play. So, they have a soccer game that day, too.

On Tuesday, my first baby turns 21. He also celebrates his name day. George Mason University plays University of Maryland at home. So...we'll all go watch him play and wish Michael a happy birthday, toting cake to the field. We'll be up way too late. I will try not to be too melancholy about the passage of time.

On Wednesday, Katie turns seven. We'll have a special dinner, but the party will wait until Saturday.

On Thursday, our family will celebrate the name days of both Katie (who is Kirsten Therese) and Karoline Rose, who is a rose from the heavenly gardens sent to us as a message of love (and she knows it).

On Friday, Paddy turns 15. Details on this celebration are still in the works. Angel food cake will happen that day, too, as we party with our guardian angels.

On Saturday, we'll have a birthday tea for Katie and Karoline.

On Sunday, my curly girl turns three (can you believe it?)! She's so excited to be able to celebrate with her friends in the Atrium. She'll bring cupcakes with a St. Francis theme. We'll have our "Karoline Pie" for dessert Sunday night after her favorite dinner.

I think I better head to bed now. Big week ahead.

 A  Picture Thought I'm Sharing:


This week has me thinking about all those birthing moments--the first ones, the hard ones, the surprising ones, the incredibly sweet and joyful ones. I'm at a computer with very few pictures as I write, but I happened to find this one, taken by Michael shortly after Karoline was born. I loved this moment. And I love it still.