Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead:
   When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
   And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's - he takes the lead
   In summer luxury, - he has never don
   With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant wee.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
  On a lone winter evening, when the frost
    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Crickets song in warmth increasing ever,
  And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
    The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

~John Keats

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Building Your Vocabulary: 100 Ways to Say...

We can all use encouragement, so find a superb word to fit the situation, or pick one in particular to be your word for great. My dad always uses, "Outstanding!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Family Rules

I love all the different ideas on Pinterest for presenting family rules. Painted on stairs, chalkboard art, canvases in black and white, etc. I have put together my lists of favorite succinct rules, because not everyone else's collection had everything I would want, or it had things I didn't want, or maybe just wasn't worded the way I would like. But I finally came across one that had all the rules I wanted on there (plus a couple extra that I liked), in a presentation I liked. Can't afford it right now, but someday maybe I can. Or I will find someone more crafty than I who can help me put my own list of rules on display.

This particular print can be found at Joss and Main. I like the reminder of "Don't Whine" as it is particular issue I am learning how to handle. I also like the saying "Use Kind Words" because that is something I say everyday to my children (and myself) as we learn to communicate.
What are some of your favorite family rules?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To the New Mama

It's okay that your baby is crying;
that every technique you are trying
to soothe the babe is failing.
It's okay if you are weeping
because all you want is to be sleeping.
As your breasts ache from nursing
and your body is barely recovering
from the most exhausting and demanding
task you have ever achieved, it's OK.

It's okay if you have a few worries
about cradle cap and proper skivvies,
or whether that belly button is too crusty.
It's okay if the clothes don't her fit neatly
and that he keeps being spitty and drooly.
As you ache for a moment to be pretty,
for some small way of having stability,
or a little outing that isn't cranky
because of a crazy schedule, it's OK.

It's okay if you just want to stare
into the face that is becoming aware
that your face is important, always there.
It's okay to run your fingers over
each little feature and tiny maneuver.
As you seek each moment to remember,
feeling pleased with each tiny endeavor
trying to treasure it up forever
in your heart, it's OK.

~Caitlin Mallery

Newborn Saoirse, September 2012

Newborn Ethan, August 2011

Friday, May 9, 2014

Potty Training

There is so much that has been said
Of little boys who wet the bed.
The woes of others gone before,
From these nightmares I wake in horror.
Swimming in a smelly sea
Of soaking sheets and salty pee.
Then there is the public fail,
The pants that leave a yellow trail,
Red-faced I'll dash
And he will laugh!
Then looking up there will be faces,
Compassionate with smiling traces.
The stories told by other mothers
Are not of woe, just humorous!
What once embarrassed
Now is cherished.
So as I face the weeks ahead
There may be times that I will dread
To bring my son outside the house
Unless cologne is heavy-doused!
But he will learn
And I will live
To tell the tale triumphant!

~Caitlin Mallery

Originally published July 10, 2013
We are still working on this potty training business, and I can't wait for the day I am done with diapers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Before the Birth of One of Her Children

All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death's parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon't may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when the knot's untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that's due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
If any worth or virtue were in me,
Let that live freshly in thy memory
And when thou feel'st no grief, as I no harmes,
Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved'st me,
These O protect from stepdame's injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy dear love's sake,
Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.
~Anne Bradstreet

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Unknown

The future is very much unknown to everyone. Still, most of us have a certain amount of predictability to our days. For instance, I can count on the fact that I will be changing several diapers each day for the next several months. Food will need to be cooked, laundry will need to be washed, dishes will inevitably spread over the counters and other clear spaces in my kitchen.

I know that in about four weeks (give or take a few days) I will go into labor, and afterward I have great confidence that I will hold a new life in my arms. That confidence is a blessing resulting from many blessings of medical advancement and centuries of fear removed. Even though I have confidence that my body will do what it is made to do, that the baby will follow all his/her normal birth procedures, the midwife will be there to ensure my safety, and I count on my husbands supporting presence, I still feel the weight of the unknown.

For me the act of birth is closely linked with death. Each time I have given birth, I have had conscious thoughts that somewhere else someone is dying. When my baby takes their first breath, I know that another has breathed their last. While I lay in exhausted rejoicing, others are plunging to sorrow. The words of Ecclesiastes, a time to live and a time to die, are inextricably linked.

I do not fear my own death, which is a mercy of the Lord, but in this time of preparing for a new life, I find it natural to think of preparation for death. From a practical standpoint I need to do several things: set up a baby's bed, wash linens, purchase diapers, make a will, arrange insurance documents. From a spiritual perspective I feel better prepared for death than for daily living, which requires so much patience and mercy. But each breath I take is gift from God, and the last breath I take will usher me into His glorious presence, so whatever I accomplish (or fail to finish) is in His hands. I hope to live with this new baby for many years, in order to see the faith they may have for death and for life, with all of it's unknown.