Thursday, April 26, 2012

I had the opportunity in March to go to DYC (the diocesan youth conference here in the diocese of Charleston.) with our youth group.  This little video gives you a peek.  Take a look for a restful moment to contemplate Our Lord with us.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Popcorn.. in Latin

My eldest son wants to know what Popcorn is called in Latin.  I think I am going to have to file that under "What happens when two Catholic nerds have children."  Especially considering the fact that my oldest son is four and does not even know what the right word is for Latin.
We do the meal blessing in English and Dutch, and the sign of the cross at bedtime in English, Dutch and Latin. He wanted to know first what popcorn was in Dutch.  That was easy.  Popcorn.  It is pronounced in a slightly different way, but it is still... popcorn.  Then he wanted to know what it was in 'the third'.  The third?
Yes.. in "In nomine patris..."

I had to reply to him that I did not know.  But I would ask my friends.  Which is why a group of people on facebook is currently trying to find the Latin plant name of corn and attempting to find the right Latin word that would be an equivalent of pop. So far they have excluded 'exploding', which has a nice Latin translation.  We will see what the end result is, and I will share it. You know, just in case you ever come across that question.  Somehow.

Monday, April 23, 2012

7 questions

I was tagged by Matushka Anna in a 7 question meme.

  1. When you see "children's book" what comes to mind first?:
    Gaatjes in de Hemel
  2. Who is funnier: Buggs Bunny or Moe, Larry and Curly?
    I never liked either
  3. Name a form of music or artist you can't believe you ever used to like.
    I honestly don't know of any music genre I regret by now.
  4. Name a fashion fad you fell for in middle school
    Ahh.. the pony tail to the side of the head.  With a scrunchy or magenta scarf.
  5. What do you call a car that sweeps past you on the interstate?
    I always want to believe the best and say a quick prayer in case it is someone on their way to the hospital. Now if they cut me off...  I might grumble.
  6. Have you ever been anywhere with two different shoes on?
    Not that I remember, though I did end up at the store once in my garden slippers
  7. Do you have a local accent? Does it match your current location?
    I have a Belgian accent... which in Columbia South Carolina seems quite out of place!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy, pretty, funny, real

round button chicken

My blackwork embroidery.  It goes slow.. slow.. slow it goes.  But I do love the way it looks.


I have been working quite a bit with a graphics program lately.  For myself, but also for our Church.  This little 'project' came about after a conversation on facebook about a little bit of mommy time on the couch with some knitting and a James Bond movie.  There now is a series entitled "men worthy to hold my yarn while knitting.".  It's an exclusive society, I can tell you that.

Real/ Happy.  
An old picture and a strange one perhaps to place here.  Two years ago, at his very first Easter Mass, Michael managed to take a dive out of dada's arms, onto the church kneeler and on the wooden floor.  At six weeks old, on Easter day, he was rushed to a hospital with a pediatric ER.  He had his first cat scan.  And turned out to be absolutely fine.  Every Easter since then, I can not help but wonder about what I almost lost.  This image is in my mind every Easter at Church, and it makes me happy to think of how we were given this gift of life.

Real/ Happy 

Quite often these two seem to combine, right?  The happiness is clear in the focussed faces of my boys, playing with their new wooden marble run.  Two grandma Easter bunnies already deliver at our house, so the Columbia Easter bunny did not want to add any candy.  A wooden marble run packed in giant eggs was the answer.  The real part is clear when you look at the background: life with kids.  You will never have an empty floor again, for longer than five minutes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A hero

My son told me so! He was effusive in his praise! This morning, while trying to get two boys dressed, I went in search of a pair of clean pants for the oldest. Since we quite frequently use his for the youngest who is almost as tall, that can be an equally tall order. So far both boys had behaved examplary all day. While rumaging thorugh the clean laundry and holding up a pair of clean blue pants triumphantly, Joseph came to stand next to me.

"I found the pants! Now, we can go back to the living room and put it on as well as your shoes."

That did not prompt him to move however but skiddle a bit closer into the gap between the laundry basket and the wall.
"There is a scary beast in the living room." He declared seriously.

I thought he was playing, so I decided to indulge and go along.
"There is? *I deliberately hushed my voice* What kind of a beast?"

'A scary one. On the couch!"

"aha.. then mommy will go inside and get the animal away."

To my surprise he did not move from the spot. Maybe he wasn't really playing? Though what could have scared him?

"Where is the animal, Sweetie?"
"It is walking around the couch!"
"Don't be scared. Mama is going to take care of it."

I went back into the living room again, and observed a mid size palmetto bug scurrying around the floor. They often enter after heavy rains, and though they look rather icky, they do not bother me. Too much. I had however never engaged in a chase and capture of one! Looking around, I found an empty popcorn box and tried to scoop the creature up. Joseph remained behind the laundry basket in the laundry room, peeking out at my attempts.

"Oh, it's a beetle, Joseph!" I announced, hoping this would reduce the fear factor. After all, three days ago he made us watch "the Wonderpets save the beatles" three times in a row.

"Yes. Beetles are scary!" He declared.

Apparently there is a difference between cartoons and reality, so I decided to deal with the situation decisively. Success was mine on the first try. The scary animal seemed off the floor. Unfortunately I didn't see him in the box. Which meant he might have rushed under the couch to escape capture. I took the popcorn box to better light and put it down. The bug immediately crawled out and rushed down my counter as a fugitive! I grabbed the popcorn box and a piece of paper again and went after him. Another two tries and mr. Palmetto was caught. Not wishing a repeat of the previous jail break, I put the popcorn box outside on our front porch and exiled him from the house. I told Joseph that I had caught him and put him outside.

And then I heard some of the sweetest words a mother can hear:"You are a real hero, mommy!""

Well yes. Yes, I am!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A tale of two dresses

Most of the stories I write are about my boys. The cute or unbelievable things they do. Each one is a small bubble of amazement at the small wonders of every day life. This note is about another of such small wonders, but it is not about my children, or my amazing husband, or even my faith. It's about a dress. Or rather two dresses.

My style of dressing is slightly different from main stream. I own one pair of pants. I love dresses and skirts and things that are just slightly.. different. Last year on a shopping trip to goodwill I was amazed and excited to find a dress in the racks that was not just handmade, but hand embroidered. Someone had spent hours embroidering magnificent pink flowers on a dress, and add bands of crochet and lace on there. I fell in love with it, bought it and have worn it till it is well.. almost worn. It was one of those one of a kind 'I can not believe I found this' items. Here you can see me wear it on our vacation last year.

Fast forward a year later. I have gone to goodwill a few times throughout the rest of the year, having found something pretty here and there and today, I decided to go back for a 'prepare for summer' shopping. I was a bit dissapointed at not finding any shoes. Some bridal store must have made a big donation, because there were dozens of pairs of beautiful painted satin shoes in whites, pearls and colours. Still, I was more than pleased to find one or two new blouses and a skirt or two. Then I went, without much hope, to the rack with the dresses.

Pretty dresses are hard to find at Goodwill, I am afraid. Most of them are of the 'polyester shoulder pad' type. Then there is a nice section of denim jumpers. And several dresses of the polyester 'who would want a grown woman to wear that type of print' variety", usually with a peter pan collar and fabric covered buttons" variety...
Okay, I admit I am rather difficult when it comes to dresses. Still, I faithfully go through the rack every time I am there. And all of a sudden I stopped. I am pretty sure that if a novel writer had been documenting this, she would have said that my eyes widened. Because what did I find? A hand embroidered dress. Clearly from the same hand as the one I had bought there last year. Same fabric, same dress pattern with a small difference in the shoulder straps, and a whole new level of embroidery on the dress.

I do not know who made these dresses. I do not know how they ended up at goodwill almost exactly a year apart for me to find them. I wish I could call the one who made them and invite her over, so we can sit together and compare projects. I wish I could tell her how she has delighted me. I wish she knew that, however those dresses ended up at goodwill, they are valued and treasured by someone who appreciates both their beauty and the work that went in them. She will most likely never know. But she made me so happy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Michael's journey

Michael is two. He celebrated his second birthday on February eight. There was cake, presents, and one set of grandparents had come over to celebrate with us. It's now however, a month and a half later only, that I am ready to close off a chapter, the chapter of Michael's baby years.
The day after Michael was born, I praised God for fulfilling my wishes and giving me a baby that slept better than his older brother. Joseph had driven me to the brink of insanity with almost a full year of extreme sleep deprivation. All parents sacrifice sleep. Joseph was extreme.

Michael seemed to sleep better, be more content those first few days in the hospital. But two or three days after our release the screaming started. Colic. I think Michael was a medium case.. three to five hours of screaming every day in the evening, and another two or three in the morning with the only thing that helped was him being carried one specific way, high up on my shoulder. Colic wrecks you, especially when you have other children that need care and the only way to talk to them is in a shout to raise above the endless sound of screaming. We did of course everything that desperate parents do: gas drops, baby massage, eliminating just about everything from my diet as I nursed him, but in the end we just had to go through it.
Luckily.. colic and it's screaming ends after a hundred days. We had a few days in which things seemed to abate, in which we could recognize something of a smiley personality, and then the screaming started again. Teething. Pain killers, orajel.. whatever... hours of screaming every day.. No matter what the different reasons were, from gas discomfort to teething, to growing to just general crankiness... Michael screamed... and screamed. Even when he was past a year... there were hours every day that he just... screamed. Up until a few months ago, every day after nap time there was was a half hour to an hour and a half of screaming interval. Each time we had turned a corner, something new would happen, from a slight cold to a tooth wanting to come through, a change in the weather.. and the screaming would start up again.

We went to the doctor of course, but nothing was really 'wrong' with Michael. He ate well, grew well, wetted and filled the appropriate amount of diapers. He was tested once for a speech delay since he was not babbling. His only two modes it seemed were screaming and silent. But on the day of the evaluation he decided to spit out the required amount of words (2 or 3), and from then on slowly gathered some. According to the doctor Michael was just 'sensitive' and probably frustrated because he could not express himself. He would grow out of it.

He did. Shortly after his second birthday, I finally concluded we were indeed, at the end of our personal journey through screaming hell. Of course Michael still screams now and again. He is a two year old, he gets cranky, has meltdowns and falls down and hurts himself. Then he cries. Loudly and gets comforted by mommy who holds him. But the hour long, inconsolable crying for no conceivable reason is gone. Maybe it is because at two, he has rounded the corner to expressing himself in words? Maybe an endless round of discomforts has ended, I do not know.

I do know that I want to scream at the people who ask me when I am going to have another baby. I do not of course. I do not scream. I even am gracious, or try to be. But with Michael having rounded the magical corner of two years old, people start to comment on the 'next one'. Especially those people who know, approving or disapproving, that we use NFP. I am not ready for a next one. My husband is not ready for a next one. God's will be done in all. We shall see what the future brings. But for now.. please give me this time to enjoy my baby. I have always interacted with him, tears in my eyes from frustrated mental exhuastion and an almost desperate desire for silence and all. I have rubbed tummies, played cars, and held him through endless hours of crying.

But now... I get to enjoy his personality, his babbling, him. I get to see the slightly crooked smile, the mischief, somewhat more sly than his bolder older brother's. He is my silly bug. His brother is my puddle duck. And finally... finally.. he is happy and content. He runs, laughs, plays, cuddles.. plays with others once a week at the nursery in church. He runs for his brother, his mommy, he is attached, loving, happy. Let me treasure him.