Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sleepy librarian today...

I'm almost done with The Preacher's Daughter, I was able to read a bunch last night before Lost came on. I also had a glass of sangria; I sort of needed it. Hank was just very needy and...high- pitched last night. Three and a half years later, and I'm still not used to the sheer volume of children. But I digress. After he was snug in his bed, I guzzled my glass of sangria (Franzia boxed variety, don't tease, you know you secretly like it too) and dug in. I am just totally in love with this new Amish fiction genre, and with this author. Tonight I'll start on Book 2, The Englisher, and I'm downright excited about it. This is really getting my creative writing juices going, which is a good thing. I write often, of the scholarly variety, given that I'm tenure-track. And that's good, but it's not *meaningful* to me. This blog is meaningful to me. But I'd like to expand on the personal writing that I do. And reading more stimulates that desire. This is all good.

So anyway, we watched Lost, and went to bed after a long evening of dealing with toddler stuff and stressing about our upcoming house re-financing. Right after I turned my bedside light out, Hank pads into our room. This happens every night; we set up a pillow and blanket for him on the floor, and he curls up there. Last summer started That Thing About Parenting That Everyone Warned You About And You Foolishly Didn't Believe Them, Part 2: Sleep Deprivation, Toddler Style. After *finally* sleeping through the night (I actually weep just thinking about his first year of life and our sleep situation) all of a sudden, monsters lurk in every corner, and shadows threaten to jump out and bite at any moment!! And...they're too scared to sleep by themselves. Again. After a nightmarish summer of disrupted sleep and me ending up on his floor many nights, with a stiff *everything* by morning, we came up with a solution whereby Hank comes into our room without waking us and sleeps on a makeshift bed we create on the floor. The floor doesn't seem to disable his muscles the way it does adults. Anyway, it's worked, and we all get sleep. Therefore, nothing else matters. All parents know precisely what I'm talking about.

So, Hank is sleeping angelically next to my side of the bed. AT 1:30 am, he bursts into tears. I startle awake. I thought maybe he was having a bad dream, until he cries out "MOMMY! I *ALL WET*!" Oh sigh. Someone (me) had forgotten to take him to the potty prior to bed (it was just one of those evenings) and he was completely soaked. Pull-Up, jammies, socks, blanket, pillowcase, even the actual *pillow* were soaked in pee-pee. An immediate and complete strip-down was in order. He was very cooperative, luckily. We got him set up in fresh clothes, with a new pillow and blanket. He complained about the first blanket I gave him ("where's my red blankie?!" Toddlers decidedly do NOT like change), but then he did fall asleep. Blessedly.

Naturally, I did not. An hour later, I finally fell back to sleep. By 6:30 am, I awoke, completely exhausted and cranky. Hank was good for us this morning though, and I made sure to spend extra time with him before I left for work. That cheered me up a bit. Once arriving at work, I immediately pumped myself full of tea to try and get a caffeine surge. I had a student appointment scheduled at 10, and as is annoyingly common, he forgot to show. I'm also awaiting a phone call from another librarian that missed the last appointment we had to speak on the phone about an online tutorial that I coordinate. Doesn't anybody keep planners anymore? I guess that's the Type A in me coming out. I'm a very organized librarian :)

At any rate, Mike has class tonight, so it'll be Hank and I watching Scooby Doo and playing choo choo train. He likes to be the "ghost train" and chase my train around the tracks while he makes scary ghost noises. He's too precious. And after he's asleep, I have a date with an Englisher...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Amish Fiction

So, while perusing Library Journal the other day for collection development purposes, I happened upon a full-page ad for something that piqued my personal interest right away.

I love fiction, always have. I like regular old romance fiction, I like romantic suspense and other mystery thrillers. But I've always had a soft spot (as is unsurprising) for religious fiction. And the thing is, titles in religious fiction that I consider to be "keepers" are harder to come by than I'd like. This is all just personal opinion, but it seems to me that a noticeable number of authors of Christian fiction are not able to craft a good story intertwined with the moral worldview they are putting forth. For whatever reason, the stories just don't "work" for me sometimes. They're either too preachy without enough character development, or too much intensive action without enough attention to the characters' faith lives. And trying to find contemporary Catholic fiction...good heavens, the field is more parched than Hank after a 30 minute toddler meltdown. I'll address that in a future post. I have no qualms with reading Christian fiction based on a non-Catholic belief system, and there certainly is a proliferation of such titles. Christian fiction is a hot genre, certainly; just take a perusal over at Christian Book Distributors. But as a Catholic, I'm just selective about which titles I choose to read.

The apocalypse? I'm not opposed to that :) But Left Behind? Absolutely, positively no way. I will not support authors who are so brazenly anti-Catholic. That's an extreme example, however. There's some good non-Catholic Christian stuff out there in the form of fiction. I actually really loved Jan Karon's Mitford series, particularly At Home in Mitford, all featuring a good-natured Episcopalian priest ministering in a small North Carolina town. And I know exactly why. I like contemporary stories of people of faith in everyday situations that I can relate to. I don't really read deep theological treatises. Even that is an overstatement; I don't read them at all, ok? :) Personal stories, those are my things. Both in fiction and non-fiction.

So, back to my original train of thought, sorry about that. The train is so very often derailed these days...This ad in Library Journal. It was about a new book in the (apparently) very popular sub-genre of Amish fiction. Yes, Amish fiction. Did you ever? I was captivated even by the cover image. Brought to mind were feelings of simplicity, serenity and unpretentiousness. This particular title is the debut of a new author and is the first in the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Well. I immediately leapt into super librarian mode and checked the public library catalog (my best friend). They're ordering it. God knows that I need to work on the virtue of patience, but I was on the trail of a fascinating new book, He understands. Thus, I zoomed right over to Amazon to be greeted with positive reviews. I read them, and checked out the author's website.

I was utterly charmed by my whole research process. As soon as I sat down to dinner with my husband, I told him of my new find. His reply? "Amish fiction? How many people can possibly be reading them, I mean, there's not that many Amish people..." "No, no, honey. They're about Amish people and/or set in Amish country, but they're not marketed to the Amish. They're marketed to people like me!!" Freaks? Super bookworm religious librarians?

No :) Amish fiction is hot stuff, people. It's like... one of the bestselling trends within Christian fiction. Time magazine even featured an article about it recently. The next day, upon sitting down with my tea, I did what all curiosity seekers with a new obsession do. I Googled it. I happened upon a fabulous blog that I've bookmarked, My Christian Fiction Blog. The author has a whole series of posts dedicated to Amish Fiction. Why do people (Christians, mostly) like to read these books? They call to mind a simple life, quiet, genuine faith, and close community. In other words, they make us happy. They help us to escape. And apparently, there are some prolific authors within this genre that are fantastic storytellers. I learned about Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, Mary Ellis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Beth Wiseman.

Naturally, I had to look them all up on the public library catalog and on Amazon, and my obsession reached its zenith. The public library also knows how popular these books are, and they had the full run of Beverly Lewis's books, many of them checked out. On my lunch hour, I rushed over to scoop up the first 2 books in one of her short series', this one called Annie's People, and away I went. I *love* it. I'm utterly in love with the writing style and the characters. In this particular series, an Amish girl is trying to decide between officially joining the church of her birth and her love of art, which her faith prohibits. Her non-Amish pen pal is on the run from a bad relationship and comes to stay with Annie's family for a time. Annie is sorting through her feelings about her faith, her future, and is dealing with some other personal problems and mysteries present within her Amish community. Totally, totally hooked. Love, love, love. My Amazon wish list is now burgeoning over with new Amish titles. I also treated myself to the original book that brought on this happy enterprise, A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston. I justified it by telling myself that I needed 1 more title to garner me free shipping on Amazon anyway; I was already ordering the latest in the John Paul II High series (not a prayer that the public library is going to have that one) and a CD for my husband. I am one happy librarian...

Monday, April 27, 2009

The life of a Catholic toddler...

My little button, Henry, has improved his Mass behavior such that he's come with me for the past couple of weekends. My goal is to take him every week, but there have been a few stretches of time such that bringing him was impossible. *Parents of young children the world over breathe a sigh of wistful camraderie* Crying and carrying on, throwing of sippy cups, defiant disobedience, melting down while forcing body to go limp = all ejectable offenses from Mass. At least with this mommy. But since Easter Sunday, he's proven himself a bit, and so this weekend, we packed him up and headed to mass. Instead of our regular parish, we decided to mix it up a bit and go to a local, gorgeous basillica. Much road construction on the journey made us a few minutes late (pet peeve of your CL, sigh) so we had to grab any seats that we could, which ended up being those in between section pews where the aisle is right in front of you and you have no kneeler. You know, those seats :) Immediately, after we had, as clandestinely as possible, made it to the pew, and joined in the opening prayers, Hank announces "I HAVE TO GO POTTY." Once we sit for the readings, I sent him off with Mike to the bathroom. Blissful, uninterrupted time commences. And then Henry returns...

"I go'ed potty." Fabulous. For the most part, he read his books (Scooby Doo; not exactly pious, but hey, what can I say? Whatever keeps the dumpling reverently quiet is good with me). He climbed around on the pew and my lap a lot, playing with my hair, which I hate, but again - the quiet thing. He was quiet, so I let him be. He makes a haphazard sign of the cross at the appropriate times, puts the money into the collection basket, and loves to shake hands at the sign of peace. My child is a young Catholic prodigy :) His favorite part is going up for communion, even though he went up only to spy on the running baptismal font rather than receive the eucharist. All in all, he earned a B for his performance. Not bad at all.

This morning on the other hand, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the toddler bed. He burst into tears at my choice of outfit, and sobbed for 20 straight minutes. "Henry, honey, this is not a negotiable issue...You *have* to wear pants. You can't go outside in only your underwear." "But I wwwwaaaannnnttt tttttooooo!!!" Fun times.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Daily Mass...

Back when I was in law school, part of what drew me into the adult practice of my faith was daily mass. I was going through some stress at the time, and when I saw that daily mass was offered on campus, it made me stop and think. I had been going to Sunday mass only sporadically since I moved out of my parent's house (too lazy, I'll just be honest) but the thought of daily mass gave me pause. As an undergraduate, I attended a Catholic college, and I frequently went to daily mass there (in addition to regular Sunday mass, at that time). It was held in their beautiful chapel, and I loved the quiet intimacy of it. In contrast to longer Sunday worship, daily mass is generally 20 minutes in length. It's a quick opening prayer, abbreviated liturgy of the word, liturgy of the eucharist, closing prayer, and... - BAM! You're done :) But it packs quite an intensive punch, especially in the middle of your busy work day. I loved going then, and I remember teetering on the precipice that autumn day over 10 years ago, deciding if I should go or just head to lunch.

I went. And my life was never the same. I can't explain why it touched me so much more profoundly that day, but I will forever be grateful. The mass was held in my secular, private university's ecumenical chapel, and I gotta be honest - it was ugly :) Dark paneling and gargoyles abounded. But the spirit that pervaded was warm and wonderful. Mass was held in this side nook, and as is typical for daily mass, only a small group of regulars was in attendance. The priests were from a neighboring parish, and were genuine and kind. The liturgy was reverent and meaningful. I was hooked. I went every single weekday that I had class, and anytime I had to miss due to a scheduling conflict I was despondent for the entire day. It not only changed the depth of my spiritual life, but my entire worldview. I was suddenly a quietly, but firmly, "religious" person, and many people in my life seemed surprised by my overnight spiritual awakening. Of course, I've always been a bookworm anyway, so pile on the nerdy qualities :) As an adult, it's rather refreshing to be able to take pride in your interests out in the open, instead of feeling like you need to hide such things about yourself, which is so often the case in the pressure-filled environments of our lives in secondary education.

But I digress. After I graduated, my commitment to my faith stayed strong, though going through typical periods of spiritual ups and downs. My Sunday mass attendance did not waver, but I was never able to get to daily mass on such a regular basis again. Here and there I would attend, often for weeks at a time, when possible. But the convenience of the college chapel was not duplicated in my life after law school. And I've always missed daily mass.

The past couple of weeks, I've made an effort with the Catholic student center's (otherwise known as the Newmen Center) noon mass here. I've never been able to go on a daily basis since I've worked here for a number of reasons. Daily mass is only offered 3 days a week, for one thing; but also, my librarian schedule of multiple reference shifts, classroom instruction, and committee meetings per week often conflict with even those 3 opportunities. Lately though, with my daily rosary, the pangs for daily mass have come back. So, last week, I had a clear Wednesday on my schedule, which happens to be one of the days that mass is offered in the Newmen Center. I went. Mass there is held right in the office, so it's not exactly a transcendantly beautiful setting in terms of aesthetics. The "artwork" is so hideous that I have to forcibly avert my eyes, lest I become physically nauseous (I swear on my honor that they look just like that screen that comes up on your television just before an important public service announcement). But once again, the quiet intimacy of the liturgy drew me in, and I'm now going to at least one daily mass during my work week. And once again, the effects on my countenance and spiritual life are apparent immediately. Yes, I'm grateful for my ugly little Newman Center, right here in my fabulously ugly university. Because the eucharist is there; and without that, what else is there?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I have 2 sisters; we never had little boys in the house growing up. I even had mostly female cousins. So, when my sister had 2 boys, and I had 1 so far, this was uncharted territory for us. Simply put, I'm not used to little boys, and let's just say...their equipment. I'm not going to go into too much detail here, it's just that in the potty training process, things are obviously different. There are things there about boys that I hadn't known before, and I wish I didn't know now. Here's a sampling of the things I learned from having a boy baby and toddler:

1) When changing the diaper of a boy baby, you simply must have something on hand to toss on top of their little fire hose lest you get a stream of urine right in your face. I found those itty bitty baby washclothes to be perfect for this purpose.

2) When potty training a boy toddler, (which usually involves teaching them to pee sitting down first), there are all sorts of creative ways that you, once again, can get a stream of urine where you really don't want it. Let's just say that I'm not a very good aimer. Hank will even declare "Mommy, you not good at aimin.'" It's all very nefarious; apparently, there is a way that the stream can make its way *between the toilet seat and the toilet itself* leak out onto the bowl, and onto the cute little legs (and super hero underwear and pants) of one CatholicHenry. This happens nearly every time.

3) When letting a toddler boy attempt to aim by himself...well, you just shouldn't do this.

4) When ignoring point #3, and attempting to teach a toddler boy to pee by himself, standing up, you must impart to him the importance of only allowing pee-pee to go into the toilet bowl, otherwise Mommy will be unhappy. This is especially important in the mornings, when the stream is most likely to have a mind of its own.

5) When working with a toddler boy involving potty issues, you will realize that they are already quite taken with this part of their anatomy. An actual conversation between Henry and I a few days ago illustrates this point quite nicely: "Mommy, look it moves!" "Yes honey, that's ok. Just leave it alone." "Look Mommy! It moved again!" It all harkens back to older male infants, starting at approximately 6-9 months, who will wait until a diaper change (or until company arrives, and is in the middle of your living room) to grab themselves, wide-eyed with wonder.

I'm certain that I have more things to learn still ahead of me. I'm just trying to get through this test as best I can, and with dry clothes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Paint Colors Galore

So, feeling springly motivated, I indeed stopped off at Sherwin Williams on my way home from work yesterday. I happily walked over to the sample area, and started withdrawing strips. Before I knew it, my hand contained at least 10 green strips. Even the colors that on the online color visualizer weren't green, were in fact green. All of those yellows that I thought were "lemongrass?" All green. I swear it, there's something wrong with me. I have an unhealthy obsession with the color green. I tried to mix up my selections a bit, and headed home. Here is where the true difficulty comes in - convincing my husband to agree with my wacky choices. Of my carefully chosen samples, he liked a medium shade blue based green for Hank's room called Nurture Green. That was fine, so we went with it. The tougher part was our room. Much negotiation took place. I'm in love with this lime-y springy, grassy color (yes, green; so kill me) called Gleeful, which he rejected out of hand. I finally got him to agree to two possible choices: a buttery color called White Raisin, and an earthy, clay-like terracotta called Spiced Cider. After much morning conferral with my sister, I think I'm going to go with the Spiced Cider. Our house isn't that big, and although I like dark colors, I worry about them making the smallish rooms feel even smaller. But this isn't overly dark, plus we have huge white trim and mouldings in our house, which balances darker colors nicely. I'm still plotting about my Gleeful. I think I'm going to do the hallways with it, and it's sister lighter color, Springtime. I'm just going to buy the paint for that project and not tell Mike :) Hey, it's the hallway. Why would he care?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feeling Spring-y...

I'm currently devoting energy that I should be spending working on the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer. This thing could assist a willing participant in wiling away an entire afternoon, let me assure you. But anyway, each spring and summer I paint one or two rooms in our house. For anyone who has never seen our house, it's a very cute 1930's brick jobber with a lot of traditional charm. When we bought it, the previous owners had lived in it for decades, and the decor was decidedly 1970's hideous. We've systematically ripped out wall-to-wall carpet (gold; need I say more? Oh, and it was covering *hardwood floors.* Gold carpet had even infected *the kitchen.* I shudder just thinking back on it), steamed down peeling geometric-patterned wallpaper, and painted dirty "white" walls. Given that we have a toddler, and that I work full-time, finding time to paint is no easy feat. So, I reserve it in small increments for the nicer weather and take some time off from work to accomplish my task. The past two years, we've tackled the larger living spaces: living room, dining room and kitchen. This year, my goal is the bedrooms.

I had planned to paint Hank's room blue. Don't all little boys covet blue rooms? Not my son, apparently. He has requested green; truly, he is his mother's son. I would paint every room green if I could. It's such a soothing color. Anyway, he wants green, so I'm thinking of a mossy, dill-like shade for him. For our bedroom, I'm putting far too much thought into paint, I'm thinking. As is unsurprising, I secretly want it green. However, our living room is already Artichoke, Hank's room (right next door) is going to be Dill, and someday I'm going to paint the upstairs bathroom Bonsai Green, to match the accent color in the tile that's in there. That's a lot of green, even for me. Oh, and our comforter set is green. I'm a lunatic. But in my current issue of Women's Day (don't make fun) I saw a picture of a room done in spring-y, botanical green, and it really got my creative juices flowing. Yes I know, I can't do green - the overkill thing. But it got me thinking about maybe a complimenting yellow. Our kitchen is yellow (I know, I know, doesn't she like anything except the same colors, again and again?!) but that's a deep, Tuscan yellow. This spring thing has me thinking happy lemony thoughts.

My Color Visualizer procrastinating led me to the following possibilities for our bedroom:

Lemon Verbena
Lemon Chiffon

Am I being too seasonally affected? These are all very spring-ish colors. I hope that I don't hate them in November. Ah well, we'll see. At any rate, I'm plotting a Sherwin Williams trip on my way home from work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bad day yesterday...

Yesterday, I was feeling the librarian blues a bit. I just had a bad day at work, and was having a hard time picking my spirits up when I left the office. Henry and I had the house to ourselves in the evening, because Mike had to teach. He wasn't too bad - we had dinner, watched an episode of Scooby Doo, and played with his new train set. When I put him to bed, I decided to start on my new resolution to say bedtime prayers with him.

CL: "Ok honey, why don't we say prayers."
Henry: "Ok mommy! I want to start."
CL: *surprised* "oh, ok honey. You start."
Henry: "I pwedge awegiance, to the flwag, of the United..."
CL: "No honey, that's the *pledge*. We're going to do *prayers*. That's when we thank God for things, and ask him for things that we need."
Henry: "oh. Otay, mommy."
CL: "I'll start honey. Thank you God for mommy and daddy."
Henry: "And thank you God, for Henry."
CL: *tears up* "Yes sweetheart, thank you God for Henry. And for nana and papa, and grandma and grandpap. And for all your friends."
Henry: "And thank you God, for my teachos."
CL: "right. And keep everyone that we know and love safe. Let's pray a Hail Mary. Hail Mary..."
Henry: "Hail Mawy!"
CL: "Full of Grace."
Henry: "Full dove Gwace!"
CL: "The Lord is with you."
Henry: "The Word is with you."
CL: "Blessed are you, among women."
Henry: "Bwessed are you, among wimmen."
CL: "And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus."
Henry: "And bwessed is the fruit in my room, Cheez-its."
CL: "Holy Mary, Mother of God."
Henry: "Hody Mawy, Moder of God."
CL: "Pray for us sinners..."
Henry: "Pway for us sinnos..."
CL: "Now and at the hour of our death, Amen."
Henry: "Now and at the hour of our deaf, Amen!!"

We made the sign of the cross and clasped our hands in unison.

Henry: "mommy, can we do that again? That chooch stuff?"

It really, totally and completely, made my day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Post-Lent 2009

So, on Holy Saturday night, I had a dream that I broke down and had Diet Coke just hours before Easter officially began, and I was greatly upset. I awoke relieved, glad that I preserved my anglic status (*snorts*) and abstained from my favorite beverage for 40 days. Lunchtime, post-Easter mass, I poured myself a tall, ice cold, refreshing glass, and dug in. Sweet Mother of God, did it taste good. The meat, not so much. I had Easter ham, and it turned out well, but being a vegetarian comes a lot easier to me than being Diet Coke-less.

Hank was thrilled with his haul from the Easter Bunny, and was adorable all weekend playing with his new train and batcave. I was up in his bedroom with him, fixing the wooden train tracks *again* (toddlers are so frustratingly heavy handed) when he picked up the crucifix hanging from his rosary beads, which I keep hooked on his bed. He looked at the crucifix in his palm lovingly, making my heart melt. And then he spontaneously proclaimed:

"I pwedge awegience, to the flwag, of the United States of Amerwica. And to the Wepubwic, for which it stands, one nation, undo God, in-di-viswible, with wiberty, and justice for ALL!!"

Clearly, I need to pray with the child more.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I'm going to be off Good Friday and Easter Monday while my in-laws visit, and I am *very* much looking forward to some time off from work. I do love it at work, but a break is always necessary to keep the creative juices flowing :) So, now that's it's nearly the official start to the Tridiuum, how did the CatholicLibrarian do on her Lenten resolutions?

1. Abstain from meat: *halo* I did totally awesome. *angelic beam* Problem is, I really didn't even start to miss meat until a few days ago, so it's not like I suffered or anything. But I experimented with new seafood and generally did a good job avoiding chicken for 40 days, which I do genuinely like. *proud of self*

2. Daily Rosary: another gold star :) I slack a bit on the weekends, but I've been squeezing in a full rosary during the week on my commute to and from work. I've *really* enjoyed this, and plan to keep it up after Lent. I feel much more peaceful.

3. Devotional reading: Here's where the failures begin :) I'm just not good at keeping up with daily devotionals, despite my resolve. So, my Lenten devotional was pushed aside in the mornings sometime around the third week of Lent.

4. Scripture reading: I finished the Gospel of Matthew, and read the book of Genesis during the first half of Lent. *halo* Then I took a break, and haven't picked it back up. I do want to try again on this one, because I was making good steady progress reading a chapter a night. Not quick progress, but steady is good enough for me. I plan to move to the Gospel of Luke next, and then the book of Acts. After that, back to the Old Testament book of Exodus. I admit, the Old Testament dipping is the reason for the break; I just don't get into it as much as the New Testament. Not that it's not as important, I just don't relate to it as well.

What else did I say I was going to do? I can't remember. So obviously, whatever else it was, I failed :)

Overall, it's been a very nice Lent. I feel spiritually renewed in a way that I haven't in a while. I'm looking forward to Easter mass Sunday morning, and playing Easter bunny for my Hank :) This year, the bunny decided to splurge a bit. Hank is getting a wood train set and a little batcave for the caped crusaders. It's going to be a lot of fun...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Life with a toddler...

As one can imagine, life with an older toddler is a constant series of ups and downs. Several recent illustrations demonstrate my point nicely.

An 'up': Sunday, I was feeling particularly sleepy from exhaustive potty training over the weekend, and just general house chores and other tiresome activities. I curled up on the couch. Hank, showing signs of inheriting my nurturing gene, leapt into action. Next thing I knew, he had brought down his favorite fleece blankie and his own bed pillow. He covered me delicately and tucked the pillow under my head. He rubbed my back for a minute, and then disappeared into the kitchen. "Daddy, Mommy needs juice!" Knowing that I don't like orange juice, Mike came in to investigate. Hank is the juice lover, and since that's what he would have wanted if he weren't feeling good, he figured that's what mom would want too. I politely declined the juice, and Hank looked concerned. He hustled up the stairs, and comes back a few minutes later balancing a little bathroom cup filled to the brim with water. "Here you go Mommy! Drink this wato, it make you feel betto." It was all so sweet I could hardly stand it.

A 'down': At approximately 4:45 am this morning, I'm woken by a rustling Hank who is sleeping on a pillow and blanket next to our bed (there is a long, excruciating toddler story attached to this that I will spare you from). "I want to watch NOGGIN!!!" I close my eyes, praying he goes back to sleep. "I WANT TO WATCH NOGGIN!!" I ignore him and re-cover him, and in a few minutes he simmers down and falls back into a stupor. By full morning, he wakes up cranky and miserable. He's not too bad while we're in the house, but out in the driveway, disaster ensues. "I want (see a pattern here?) to play in the car!! No mommy no, go back in house!! I WANT to play in the CAR!!!!!" After spending 5 minutes stuffing him against his will into his car seat, I attempt to calm him down so that my ear drums won't rupture on the way to daycare. Eventually, he complies. When we arrive at daycare, things don't improve. Hank rushes ahead of a little 2 year old to press the automatic door button, coveted by every mobile toddler and pre-schooler in the daycare. The 2 year old bursts into tears and begins a full meltdown. I notice that it is the son of the office secretary and am mortified. Now my kid made another kid cry. Great, just great.

An "I'm not sure": "Hon, you're officially the poo person!" Well, fantastic. Isn't that what we all aspire to be? The person in charge of poo. Can I put that on my CV? I bet if I discussed it in my next Statement of Service it would prove a lot more interesting than the other stuff I concoct to go in there. Anyway, this weekend, Hank went poo for us on the potty multiple times, and apparently he responds best and really lets loose when it's Mommy that assists him. *sighs*

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm on Facebook!

After waffling on this for years, I've finally joined the 21st century and become a member at Facebook. Like with all things, I was reluctant, gradually persuaded, finally pushed myself to do it, and quickly became obsessed. I literally spent the entire afternoon yesterday setting up my page and making it cute. I'm pretty much a lunatic with things like this. But so far, I'm *thrilled* with it! So, so much fun. I love hearing about what everyone is doing during their day, and my friends and family all seem to update their Facebook status more often than Twitter. Thus, my nosiness gets more bang for its buck this way :) I'm very, very happy, and anyone who hasn't already received a friend request from me, send me one :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The joys of parenting...

I've been writing a lot about Hank lately, and it's true that he's been on my mind quite a bit. And not just because my home life is currently dominated by his bathroom trips :) We've reached a point in our parenting journey that I'm really, really enjoying. I know that we have a lifetime ahead of us, but even in just 3 and a half years, we've come a long way. I've been feeling philosophical about it, and thought I'd ramble a bit :)

I have to be honest. When Hank was first born, my hormones went through the roof in a way I never thought possible, and I was insecure, uncertain, and overall very depressed. I loved my son, would die for him in an instant - from the moment I first found out I was carrying him until the day I do finally leave this life. But I was unhappy. My identity was centered around myself in a way that I had never realized before. I am: a Catholic, a librarian, a family-oriented person, a happy wife, a book lover. Being a parent made me realize pretty quickly that I'm very, very selfish. Suddenly, taking a solo trip to another part of the house for even 5 minutes was an impossibility. Unless you wanted to listen to that little newborn wail of: "WAH! WAH! WAH! WAH!" the entire time. I walked around all day in a daze, bereft without the comfort of my usual daily routine and happy conversations with my librarian colleagues. I regularly had spit-up on my shirt for an entire day without even realizing it, and my blouse was constantly unbuttoned from nursing demands. I'm certain I gave the UPS guy a free show unwittingly a few times. The baby was always fussy, didn't sleep at night for more than an hour or two at a time, and I cried I mourned the loss of my old carefree life, wherein I could read a book chapter or watch a 30 minute television program uninterrupted. Or, even more of a pipe dream, sleep an entire night without 4 plus disturbances. It was a dark time. My memory of that period is clouded by the fragility of my mental state and my fears that I was an unnaturally terrible mother.

And then...the cloud started to lift. Gradually, things got a little better. Mike and I started to relax more, and be able to handle things a bit better. There were a lot of setbacks along the way (hello mobility! teething: for the love of GOD, why won't he stop crying?! did I mention mobility? "He's got the Windex AGAIN! Get him!! He's crawling away!!") but overall, it gets better and better. The kids get slightly lower maintenance, but more importantly, the parents get more secure and adept at handling the myriad of mini disasters and delights that children bring to our lives. And suddenly, having a huge part of your identity be as a mother or father isn't so jarringly taxing all the time.

Hank is now three and a half, and he's really on this precipice between being a toddler and being a preschooler (my baby!). And of course, there's all kinds of temper tantrums and other toddler annoyances that he still brings ("mommy, I press this button, make the light on and off, look!" "Honey, it's *raining*! Please just" "But moommmyyy..."). But overall, for the first time, I'm truly enjoying being a parent. I've always known that it's a privilege to be a parent, and that God blessed us with Hank. Now, finally, I'm cherishing it fully.

Suddenly, Hank has this wonderfully creative imagination. Last night, he told me a full five minute story involving pirates, and Scooby Doo:

"And the pirates went swish, swish with their swords!! And then, the pirate moved over there, and he had on different pants! And then Scooby Doo rushed in, and he, he...ran by them! And they chase him! And then..."

This morning, he wanted to "play ambubance" with me on the floor before we left for daycare. I asked him how one did this.

"ok mommy, I sit here, you sit over there. I push the ambubance on the floor, and I say WHOO, WHOO, WHOO...EEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHH."

He's a wonderful, wonderful little boy. It's an honor to be his mother. I hope that I'm the mother to him that God wants me to be, and that I make Him proud with my efforts.