Thursday, November 30, 2006

Love is....


"and a voice came from heaven, saying, You are My Child, My Beloved! In You I am well pleased and find delight!"
Luke 3:22

the baptismal gown Ladybug is wearing is 95 years old. It was brought by my grandfather from Ireland and has the names of everyone in my family who wore it for their baptism. There are 37 names and dates, including mine and all of my children, starting with my grandfather's brother in 1911 embroidered around the hem of the slip. Ladybug will be number 38.

Happy Love Thursday

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I Know a thing or two about

So, when we left off with our story, Baby Skaterboy had just been born and I was visiting Baby Quinn crying into his little sleeper...

That was the pretty part. But, as I said before, Once you choose Life...Life actually happens. I turned 20 a week after Skaterboy was born. I was completely in love with him. He was perfect. My parents let me stay with them for the first year. I went to school to try and finish my degree. It was hard living with my parents. I didn't get to be The Mom. The reality is that my mom was The Mom. And my mom and I have never had a good relationship. ever.

I moved out when Skaterboy was 10 months old. We were on public assistance for 3 years. Because I did not have insurance coverage for Skaterboy, he was on Medicaid. We were on the WIC program and government subsidized daycare so I could go to school. And I worked. The sad fact of it was I didn't get to spend time with my Baby Skaterboy. I was working too hard to make a life for us. You know, that Life that I chose. And don't think I didn't begin to feel like a schmuck because I knew I could have given him an easier life...just without me. It was just too much and I quit school. I started working full time and eventually made enough money and got benefits so that I could go off public assistance.

Public Assistance is NOT the free lunch that those who are not on it think that it is. The Office was a desperate place. just desperate and depressing. Not at all uplifting or empowering. You wait forever to see your case worker who only makes you feel like an even bigger loser. Then, after you have secured your benefits you have to use them. Humiliation number 2. Going to the grocery store and trying to follow all the rules for WIC, then going to the check out and praying that nobody comes up behind you, (which is why you shop as late as possible), then facing the exasperation and eye rolling from the checkout lady. You're a squished bug by the time you leave. Humiliation number 3...finding a provider that uses Medicaid. Skaterboy had a small bony nodule on the side of his head that my pediatrician sent me to a surgeon to see if he needed surgery to take care of it. I had to go to the state hospital. Another desperate place. Another long wait. When the surgeon finally saw us, he was so rough with Baby Skaterboy and so dismissive. "Yeah, we can do surgery on that." ummmm...or no you won't, Dr. Evil. We never got the surgery and the lump went away on its own.

My point of this part of the story is this...without public assistance I would not have been able to choose Life. It is an integral part of the equation that many conservative pro-lifers just aren't getting. If you want women to choose Life, than you have to help them get on their feet after life is chosen. Help them finish school, help them get insurance, help them with job skills. These are key.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have a sleeper!!

I know I know, I'm jinxing everything I'm about to say. But I am so crazy excited I can't hold it in!!!

My baby...she sleeps. We've had regular nights of 6 hour stretches (11p-5a) for a couple of weeks and last night it was 8 hours and 15 mins!! Can you believe it?!?!

This is unheard of in the Cakes Clan. NONE of my children have slept for 6 hour stretches until after 8 months! 8 months!! But not this Ladybug. *sigh* She may be the perfect baby.

...kinda makes you want to have another

Saturday, November 25, 2006

*sigh* How do I ever put her down...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Folks, I'm tired...

I am so very very tired right now. And my heart is discouraged. The recent events with Skaterboy have made me question everything. Who the hell did I think I was to be entrusted with the lives and spiritual well-beings of these five amazingly perfect little souls? How can I begin to do this? I thought I could. I even thought I was pretty darn good at it.

But now...I'm tired.

And that was just the moment I stumbled upon this. 1 Kings 19:5-7 (New International Version)

5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."

"the journey is too much for you."

If I try to do this alone, I'm bound to screw it up. But with God's grace and the angels He sends to feed me, we just might make it through.

I'm thankful that I am never left alone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Love is....

Never needing sleep the way your Daddy does.

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Know a thing or two about

Well, it's had to follow a post about your son's suicide note so I thought it appropriate to continue the story of how I chose life for him.

When I was a sophomore in college, I thought I was grown up enough to handle a grown up relationship. After less than a month of giving up my virginity, I found out how completely unprepared I was. I was 19 and pregnant. (I went to a wonderful organization that was incredibly supportive called Crisis Pregnancy. If you need help, I highly recommend them.)

I told my boyfriend. His only repsonse was, "Can't you get rid of it?"
I told my best friend. Her response was, "Cakes. Listen to me. You have to have an abortion. What about your future? You have so much going for you?"

over and over this was how my friends responded. I had only two friends who never mentioned abortion. one of them was Dearie. Truth be told, I knew I would never get an abortion. I already felt that love...but that didn't stop the pressure. It didn't help that I was a member of several feminist organizations on campus. But I couldn't for the life of me understand why if they were so gung-ho about my right to choose, why didn't they support me after I chose. Why did I become a pariah, why did they act as if I had betrayed them, why did they call my growing baby "The Parasite?"

I was terrified, of course, to tell my family. But, once they found out they overwhelmed me with support. I had been especially fearful of my grandfather's response. A large rock of patriarch. An old world Irish Catholic Marine. His response melted me, "But for the grace of God, go I." And I was suddenly comforted by the embrace of my faith. What better community to be a part of at this time in my life, than the church who fights for my unborn baby?

But this comfort was short-lived. Once I began showing, Sundays became more and more uncomfortable for me at my suburban church. The nasty looks, the rude though subtle comments. And the day I walked up to receive Communion and was turned away by the priest. In front of the whole church, he told me he hadn't seen me in confession so I couldn't receive. He didn't know I had confessed to the priest from my childhood.

I made contact with a couple who had been trying desperately for years and years to get pregnant. They were looking to adopt. I did not want to give up my baby. I loved my baby. But the injustice of it struck me, even then. Here were John and Megan. They had everything together. They were incredibly wonderful people. I spent time with them getting to know them and knew that they would give my baby the life that I would want to give him. We talked about where they would live because they were a local couple and I just couldn't imagine the pain of having my child growing up so close but without me. They were outdoors people, curious people, life of learning people. They were so perfect. Why couldn't they have a baby and here I was dumb kid knocked up less than a month after losing my virginity? I felt like in some ways I owed them this baby. It was only fair.

I cried and cried for months. I wanted him. I didn't want to give him away. And when I was six months pregnant, I had a dream. In my dream the Virgin Mary sat beside me and put her hand on my belly. She said, "You know, Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy. I was very scared. I was stigmatized. but in the end, look at what a special gift He was to the world. God chooses us. Who are we to wonder why." When I woke up, I knew that this baby needed me to be his mother. But, I had to let John and Megan know. ugh. I put it off for a couple of weeks. But I knew I had to let them know I had finally come to a decision. And I am still so ashamed of this...

I left a message on their answering machine.

A couple of months later, John called. I told him how sorry I was about my message. He shushed me.

Megan was 3 months pregnant.

I jumped up and down screaming with joy. I have never in my life been so happy for anyone's pregnancy in my life. It was like God telling me, "I got this one. You go ahead." I knew then in my heart I had made the right decision. When John and Megan's son, Quinn was born I went to their house with Baby Skaterboy. I sat and held Quinn and cried and cried.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

for those who saw my melodramatic post yesterday...

so, there I am looking for scissors in Skaterboy's room. And on his windowsill I see a list he has written of 10 reasons he should do his homework. I thought, "ah. poor little bastard." He's flunking out of school again b/c he doesn't turn in homework. of any kind. We've been fighting about this for years. We told him that if he wanted to remain in this private school, where they really are great with him, he needed to pull a C average. He's capable of waaaay better, but at this point a C average would be a dream. If doesn't pull the C, then he's out. We'll homeschool. He'd get kicked out at this rate anyway, and it's clear that school is NOT working for him. I hate what it does to his self-esteem and his stress level must be through the roof.

he has a history of depression, plus OCD, plus ADD. But has been off his anti-depressants since May. He hated them. Last week he asked to go back on. We are still waiting for an appt to get more. nice. He had been drug tested at school and that bummed him out alot. That he was doing do poorly in school that they thought he was on drugs.

So, under the list on his window sill is another paper. written very very neatly. my son does not write anything very very neatly. It starts out "To Whom It May Concern." To whom it may concern? How about the whole fucking world?! How about the whole fucking world?! That's who would lose if the world lost him.

So there I am, standing in his empty room, reading his suicide letter...

my god.

Dearie comes upstais when I haven't come back with the scissors and finds me frantically going through Skaterboy's trash can. Pages and pages of wadded up homework. done. but never turned in. WTF?! Pages from his song notebook. pictures he drawn. He doesn't even think it's worthy of giving away!

Dearie takes the note up to Skaterboy's school to find the head counselor who is also Skaterboy's homeroom teacher and soccer coach. The get together with Skaterboy and the staff psychiatrist. Skaterboy makes fun of my super sleuthing because he wrote that letter 6 months ago.

6 months ago.

They talk for hours. Sometimes just Skaterboy and the Psychiatrist. While I am sitting at home clutching my other children, tying to seem fine. It is determined that he is at no immediate risk. We have an appointment with his therapist on Monday.

Skaterboy and I talked. He says he would never do something like that. That he's too scared. Is that the only reason? He's been hanging out with the family ever since. not hiding in his room. He's seeing the idea and opportunites available through homeschooling as a good thing. He seemed glad that we found it and now hopeful...hopeful.

but once a mother has read such a thing...she is never the same.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

People ask me quite frequently why I have so many children. The question surprises me every time. I have never been able to put a one sentence answer to the question...until now. Until Meatball.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day in bed, miserably ill with mastits. Miserably. 103.8 degree fever. deliriously painful breast. I was in bad shape. Luckily, the antibiotics and megadoses of ibuprophin kicked in fairly quickly and by this morning I was able to get up. I had to. Dearie had important meetings he had to go to and couldn't afford to miss another day of work.

So, I got myself up. "Are you feeling better, Mommy?" Meatball asks me.
"Better, darling."
"You still look sick."
"Well, I'm not completely better. But I am better."
"I wish you were completely better."
"Soon, darling, soon"

We all made our beds, I got the kids' clothes out and asked them to get dressed so we could start school. I showered, giving Ladybug a steam bath because we have a cold going around the family, got dressed, and was beginning to dry my hair. That's when it happened.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this figure go bouncing by the bathroom door. I looked up in time to see it go bouncing back the other way. It was Meatball, putting on his shirt in a manner that most vaudevillians would be jealous of. As he bounced back and forth outside my bathroom in various stages of dress, his shirt on upside down and then finally right side up, hopping on one leg as he puts on his pants only to have to hop on two legs because he gets both feet into one pantleg (this is very sophisticated comedy for a four year old!) The most joy filled laughter swells up from my belly. I am laughing so hard, and I am so in love that I am overwhelmed. I begin crying with happiness and laughter. And then it strikes me. God has just passed before me and I had seen His face. And I was frozen. Frozen in that moment of complete joy. But, I was also in overwhelming awe. I seriously bent down and took off my shoes. (ok my pink fuzzy slippers Jellybean gave me for my birthday.) My bathroom floor had become sacred ground.

So that is why I have so many children. God shows His face to me through the faces of my children.

Monday, November 13, 2006



Sunday, November 12, 2006

World Kindness Week is Nov 13-18

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I know a thing or two about

And that's when I saw it. Those familiar two little gold plated feet secured to the lapel of her jacket. Familiar because I have stared at them, full of sadness, while I've listened to the judgments handed down by the wearer, "Well, I'm glad the baby didn't have to die just because you're a slut." "An 11 yr old and newborn twins? Interesting family planning." "You're not old enough to have a 15 year old."

I feel sadness because I think to many wearers, those tiny feet will lose the passionate protection once they get bigger. I usually ask the wearer, "What do those feet mean for you? What happens after those feet are actually born?" One of these days I'm going to have my own lapel pin made. Gold plated perfect newborn feet. or maybe my 15 year old's size 9s.

You see, after you choose actually happens.

Abortion has come to the forefront of debate again in recent years and I'm always fascinated to hear the two sides going at it. All of the ugly words and horrible malice thrown back and forth. I'm fascinated because for all their hard fought battles, both sides easily forget me. The scared, lonely, loving, well-raised, Catholic, hopeful, confused girl with her hands desperately clutched to her abdomen where a tiny baby is growing.

Two sides fighting viciously over my Choice. It seems the Choice itself becomes the main focus. All that matters is the Choice itself. Then once the Choice is made, the losing side will call me a name and the winning side will say, "Good Luck!" and there I am again. Alone. Desperately clutching my abdomen. Sure there are lots of programs offered out there by various groups, many by the Catholic church. But what about the church itself? My faith community?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Love is....

childlike faith...

Happy Love Thursday!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Do you have friends?

I mean real friends? Ok. so yes, I am going through a bit of the babyblues (don't worry, I'm keeping an eye on it) and this has put me in a hyper-sensitive state. Pair this with not wanting to end up bitter and alone with my liquor like my mom and you have some uberanalysis going on. And it is far from scientific.

I have told you all about not being any fun. But, it turns out that I am also not very good at being friends. It takes a special person to be with me. Luckily, I married such a person. Dearie is my best friend. We've been friends for 19 years. This is a wonderful wonderful thing. But, I'd really like to have a friend outside of my marriage as well. A friend who is a woman and a mom and wants to hang out. I've never been good at being friends with women. I'm not sure where I go wrong, but I definitely do go wrong. I do have a group of women that I hang out with once a month who truly like me and we enjoy each other's company, but I only hear from them the rest of the month through email. I have had close friends in my past...well, two. But one turned completely toxic and the other lives in Ohio (I don't).

I don't know if this is a common mom thing/SAHM thing/homeschooling mom thing/lots of kids mom thing or a Cakes thing. When I first moved back here, an old friend called me regularly and wanted to do things but then I go through cocoon periods where I just want to be alone. I lost her during one of these. I have tried to make new friends, but I don't make good impressions. Especially now with the baby blues thing. I was in Baby and Me Yoga today, a perfect opportunity to meet moms in my area, and by the end of class I realized I hadn't smiled at anyone the whole class. No smile. at all.

So here I am, wallowing in my isolation. The very isolation that I created for myself. I'm trying to reach out. Trying to force myself to talk to people. I desperately need to talk to people. But the problem is that I don't want to right now. Ok. tomorrow I will talk to someone. maybe even smile and be friendly. I'm not a snob. I'm not a bitch. I'm not even an uppity pastor's wife. but I'm afraid that is exactly the impression that I give.

At least I have 6 people in this very house who like me and like being with me. They even actually seek me out to be with. Need to focus on that.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I love that new sling smell...

I got my new pouch sling in the mail today. Thanks to Niki from Coastal Sling Baby Carriers. She did an incredible job making my sling for me. It's such a great thing. You give her your measurements, pick out a couple of really cool fabrics, chat it up with her through email and she whips you up a real quality sling custom made to fit your body. and for much cheaper than if you bought one of those designer pouches. I know what I'm talking about here. I owned one of the designer pouches. This one is much much better. Plus, who doesn't love to support a fellow mom industry.

I'm a bit of a baby carrier junky. Call it my not-so-secret-weapon in the "How do manage 3 preschoolers and a new baby" arsenal. My kids call it my "pocket." "Are you going to put Ladybug in your pocket?" they'll ask. So, I'll give you my low-down. First, I tried the classic Baby Bjorn. I have shoulder and lower back issues. Let's just say that I didn't make it past 3mos and the baby looks so uncomfortable before than. And some claim this to be a bad position for newborn hip and spine development. I'm not a Baby Bjorn fan. It hurt my shoulders and my low back after wearing it for a short time.
My husband, on the other hand thought it was fine.

Second, with the twins I tried the Maximom twin carrier. Double the problem of the Baby Bjorn and lots of complicating straps to boot. Don't get me wrong, I used it. When you have two twins screaming and you're trying to comfort them, you'll try anything. I found slinging the twins to be much more comfortable for them and me.

I have used the Dr. Sears Nojo sling. And used it here with Ladybug until my new pouch showed up. It is functional, but I find the padding to be excessive and bulky. The padded railing makes it difficult to adjust effectively.

Finally my all-time favorite and most comfortable carrier ever. The Ellaroo Wrap. (That's two day old Ladybug on the left and eight week old Porkchop on the right. Any family resemblance?) I bought mine from Vesta (who just redid her site and it is looking awesome!) At first, I balked at the price. But, I knew they paid fair price for the fabric from Guatemala and my husband was doing frequent humanitarian work down there at the time. In the end, it proved worth every penny. I wore Porkchop in that wrap nearly all day, everyday for a year. And could still carry him around the zoo all day at 30 lbs without any problem at all. No lie. It is lightweight and so incredibly versatile. Sure, there is a definite learning curve in the beginning. I used stuffed animals to practice my tying techniques before strapping him on.

"So, if the wrap is my favorite, why the new pouch?" you say. Well, the pouch is great for quick jaunts into the grocery store or to settle her down for a little bit at home. It's much easier to pop her in and out. I do start to get shoulder strain from the pouch after awhile, so for long periods I go with the wrap. I also prefer the wrap when doing most activites other than just walking around. The slings can swing when you bend down or do alot of housework or other things. The wrap literally wraps the baby to your body. It is much more secure. But it is alot easier to breastfeed in the sling. In my world, I think you should have both.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Love is....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I had a Snoopy picture that said that when I was a kid. So, I thought it appropriate to use this Love Thursday to issue my Kindness Challenge.

The Kindness Foundation is listed under my things I love. I mean, what's not to love?! It's a foundation devoted to kindness! How great is that?! Well, November 13-18 is World Kindness Week. So, I am calling for an internet challenge! All you bloggers and non bloggers prepare yourself and your family for your own celebration by planning your random acts of kindness for World Kindness Week. You and your family will have so much fun you won't believe it! Then blog about your experience and add it to the Kindness website.

There are tons of ideas and resources on the Kindness Foundation website, including lesson plans for teachers and homeschooolers, e-cards, free downloads like kindness calendars and bookmars and cards to include with your RAKs. My family personal favorite is to do Kindness Drive-bys. My kids love getting suckers from the bank tellers, so we put together little baggies of Dove Chocolates and Kindness stickers (see the resources) or Wallet Cards, and stick them in the capsules of Bank Drive-thrus and send 'em through. The kids love it!!

Go on out and spread the Kindness!!