Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We had our first weigh-in yesterday for the family biggest loser contest. I lost two pounds. I was a bit disappointed, as I thought my workouts would have made a bigger difference. But, there was more than one meal that was indulgent, so I should not have been surprised. If I can keep losing two pounds a week I will be at my initial goal weight in just six weeks. Go visit the blog to see who won the first week.
Life was crazy here over the weekend due to a sick kid. We're just now returning to normal. Hopefully I'll have something of interest to post about. For your sakes, I hope so.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
For those readers who have seen Finding Nemo, I ask you to recall those seagulls that constantly said "mine" at the sight of food. Imagine four little people saying "mama" instead, but in a similar fashion and with the same frequency. I keep reminding myself how blessed I am to have so many voices calling to me, but it is hard. Especially when it is often said to me in order to call my attention to some little sibling squabble. I know these trials are normal, especially the sibling issues. I just wish they would go away.
So, things here can be tough. I don't always bear it with grace and a smile. But I'm working on that.
P.S. There is a link to the family weight loss challenge blog on the side, if anyone wants to check in on our progress. And I did not choose our team name.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In light of this new challenge, I upped my workout a bit today. I ran jogged/walked a warm-up mile and then decided to use the programmed weight-loss feature on the treadmill. I did 30 minutes of varying grades of incline at 4.5 mph most of the time. It was H-A-R-D but good. I'm going to really make an effort to get to the gym at least four times a week now. Also, standing on the gym scale was not fun, but confirmed what I already knew. Too much sweets and soda in recent weeks. Just cutting those out will probably give me a pound or two right away.
I need your input. Tell me your top three workout songs. I don't do swearing, so leave that out please. Anything else is fair game. I'll at least check it out. Thanks!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
First, to clarify a few things. NFP is short for Natural Family Planning, which is a catch-all name for several methods of tracking fertility and acting accordingly to conceive or postpone a pregnancy. A long time ago it was the rhythm method and nothing else. However, thanks to science, there are way more effective methods. They all involve noticing and interpreting a woman's signs of fertility. CCLI is one place for a better explanation. I use a sympto-thermal method that uses temperature and cervical mucus (sorry to my male readers) to determine when ovulation is likely to occur. When used properly it is as effective as any other method out there, including the Pill. Also, while I welcome questions and comments, I am not writing this to open myself up to condemnation or criticism. If I can't answer a question, I hope you'll allow me to refer you to someone who can. Finally, I'm not seeking to condemn or criticize anyone else. I just want to take this opportunity to give a little bit more insight into what we believe around here.
So, what's the deal with all this natural stuff? Does that mean you have to have a million kids?
Of course not! Essentially, the Church teaches us that every act of marital intimacy (trying to avoid unwanted attention, pardon the euphemisms) should be open to life. That means no barrier or chemical methods of contraception. If a couple has a reason to avoid pregnancy, they should monitor the woman's fertility and abstain from the marital act when conception is likely. There are valid reasons for postponing pregnancy, and the Church encourages couples to prayerfully consider their situation each month.
I grew up Catholic. I accepted the teachings from the moment I became aware of them--that is part of my personality. I'm a rule-follower. I accept the authority of the Church, so I accept the teachings. But I didn't give it a lot of thought. When I met Husband, he was not as on board with things as I was. So when the opportunity to attend a lecture given by a well-known author on the topic arose, we attended. Here I began to learn the reasons behind the teaching and it was eye-opening. I can't pretend to speak as thoroughly or eloquently on the topic as others, but I will do my best to share some of what spoke to me.
We were given this gift of intimacy by our Creator. It is our one chance to truly participate in the creation of life. Who gave us this gift? God of course. So, if we engage in the marital act but use some method of contraception, we are rejecting some part of the gift and in turn the Giver. It is as if God is knocking on our door and we open the door, say hello, and then close it on His face without inviting him in. Using NFP allows us to fully experience the gift and still leave ourselves open to life, but knowing that at certain times it is not as likely to occur. Make no mistake, NFP can be abused by couples. We can go on, indefinitely delaying pregnancy, and never really prayerfully consider if we are being called to grow our family. However, if we do not put anything between us and God, He is certainly given more freedom to work in our lives.
We may not realize it on a conscious level, but using artificial methods of contraception can slowly erode the meaning of our intimacy with our spouse. When a couple uses a barrier or pill, they are telling each other that they don't fully trust their marriage or each other to handle whatever may result. I know none of us think like this in the moment, but it is an issue. A couple using contraception is saying that in some way they can't fully give themselves to each other. We lament how society has come to view s*x as disposable, unimportant. Why are we suprised if in our homes we are saying the same thing--that this is here for our convenience, to be enjoyed at a time and in a way convenient to us with no consequences?
This teaching and belief is more complex and more deeply held than I can fully explain. Stevie wanted us to share how embracing this has affected our marriages. With a few regrettable exceptions, we have used NFP our entire marriage. Knowing that we cannot automatically turn to the marital act to express our love to each other has led us to develop other ways of expressing it. We value the times we can come together physically more because we have nurtured our relationship in other ways. There is something about fully and freely being together without contraception that is special and different from the alternative. We have been pregnant or had children the entire time we have been married (I'll tell that story another time). Our selfishness has been tested and weakened from day one. That is one of the greatest gifts of this life we live--we are learning to conquer our own desires and selfish ways for each other and our children. As spouses, our first role is to bring each other closer to Christ. In our marriage, having these children has undoubtedly led us on that path. We have had to turn to Him often for patience, for strength, for a reminder that this world is not the one that matters. God brought us together and we want to continue to trust in Him to guide our lives.
Is it always easy? No! It can be scary to know that we might have even more children. I was not a girl who grew up wanting a large family, or even feeling passionately about having a couple of kids. I figured I would have some, but didn't dream about it. Yet here I am, a mother of five! I have been stretched and challenged and brought to my knees by this life, and that is precisely what God wants of me, I think. But we all know that stepping out in faith can be scary.
So, the name of the blog. As Many as We're Given. Does that mean everyone should have lots of kids? No. It says that we are taking each child as they come. That we are trusting God to give us what He wills, what He knows we are called to have. For some couples, that sometimes means no children. I can't imagine that heartbreak. But I can say that leaving ourselves open to God's plan for us will bring a peace that cannot be described. Even in our times of fear and frustration, we know that this life was willed for us by God and that if we can put our trust in Him, then that peace will give us comfort when we need it.
Thanks for reading this long and honest post. I hope it has given some insight into what we believe around here. Again, I welcome questions and comments in a spirit of charity and understanding.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Here are some recent pictures. Butterfly was baptized last weekend. She wore the gown my sister and I and my other girls wore at our baptisms. We sat in the front row for Mass and it was quite an adventure. Monster took his shoes off mulitple times, but putting them back on kept him busy and quiet, so we let him do it.
As for the picture with the bow, I just had to show the silliness. I bought the bow to wear on days when she is wearing clothes that are more gender neutral. I didn't realize how big it was until I put it on her head. I bought some smaller ones to get us through until her head grows.
The other pictures are from the last week or so. So smiley some of the time!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
**Update** So, Butterfly took a really long nap today. She happened to wake up and eat around 4:15 p.m. So, when she was done I asked the kids if they wanted to go to the gym and they enthusiastically said yes. So we went. And I walked/jogged for 45 minutes! And it felt great! I won't get to go back tomorrow, so I wasn't worried about overdoing it too soon. I'll go back Friday morning hopefully. The childcare is nothing special, just a room with toys and a TV for cartoons and a college student to watch the kids. But mine were the only ones there other than one girl when we got there, and when we left. I think if I avoid the post-work hours it won't be too crowded.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
**Notice** BG is now called Butterfly. IndieGirl chose this nickname, and it seems appropriate since nearly every item of clothing Baby owns has a butterfly on it.
Here is an example of how my mommy brain works and confuses me at times. Last night Husband gave Butterfly a bottle. I wanted him to give her one. I want her to be willing to take one, should I need to be away from her. Or want to be away from her, to do something crazy like see a movie. Anyway, this is something that I do want to be successful. Yet, as I sat across the room watching her drink the bottle, I felt all sad and weird. I thought to myself that I could be feeding her, that I'm missing out on something. That I'm selfish. But, I really do want her to take a bottle sometimes. I know that most of the time I will still be the one to feed her and that this will only be for rare occasions. Still. I was full of conflicting feelings.
I should say, all those feelings went out the window when she slept all night! 8 hours! Woohoo! Of course, she won't be taking a bottle every night. And even when she nurses she sleeps for at least 5 hours at night, so I can't complain. I just wanted to share how my brain works in strange ways sometimes.
Monday, April 07, 2008
- Aunt gave me her old sewing machine! Now I just have to read the manual, and then a book about sewing, and find time to start trying things out.
- BG sleeps a lot at night (yes!) but not so much during the day (boo!).
- Hopefully joining a gym this week.
- Baseball season has started!
- Delirious has a new album and it is awesome.
- Went shopping, have some issues.
- Life with 5 kids. Oh wait, I already try to write about that.
- BG was baptized over the weekend. Pictures to come, promise.
So, now I have a handy list to refer to, should I find myself searching for material. The thing is, I do actually have time most days to get online, but I just don't want to do so. I'm feeling a little over done in the online world. But I'm sure that will pass.
Friday, April 04, 2008
As he has talked about this, I have more and more compared it to our walk as Christians. For Husband and I, we have already made choices that kind of force us to not live like the world. When you turn your fertility over to God the way we have (meaning prayerful consideration about when to grow a family and when to be prudent in not growing our family), you naturally start to learn to live like no one else. We have 5 kids, so we can't just go off and do everything we want to do. And we don't want to do it. As Christians, we have made a choice to say no to so many things the world would have us believe are fulfilling. We are trying (not always succeeding) to find fulfillment in things not of this world. So, really, the two things go hand in hand. Christianity requires discipline. It requires us to deny ourselves for a greater good. If I can keep that focus as we slowly change the way we handle money, I think I will see growth in my spiritual life as well. This class has provided great motivation to get more than just my spending habits in order.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
After reading about the Outlander series on numerous blogs, I decided to take the plunge and start reading the books. It took me about half of the first book to decide I liked it, and the same held true for the second. The stories tell us of Jamie and Claire. Claire is a nurse in 1945 Scotland, who unintentionally steps through a time portal and finds herself in 1743 Scotland. Circumstances bring her into Jamie Fraser's life. The books chronicle their love amidst the political/historical landscape of Scotland. There are one too many near-death experiences for both characters, which diminishes the impact of the most pivotal ones, in my opinion. However, the love story between the two characters is enough to pull the reader through the more tedious parts. The second book takes place in Paris as well as Scotland and is slower paced, but still entertaining. I'm sure hormones can account for some of my reactions, but I admit to crying while reading the second book. The author does an excellent job writing the two main characters and really conveying the depth of their love.
What I love about books, and why movies are never as good, is that you can get insight into what the characters are thinking. There is obviously much more depth to them, and that is what ultimately makes these books worth reading. I'm planning to continue in the series, even though I have some issues with the books.