Monday, July 24, 2017

It's about who I am, not what I do

When I get anxious and start to worry about our life, it's usually about Addie. Am I doing enough for her? Is she well-behaved enough? Am I too strict or too patient? Am I dedicating enough time to her or am I too busy cooking, cleaning and changing her brother's diapers (way too many poopy diapers a day!)?

I was sick these past weeks, and these doubts especially come to my mind as I feel less capable of going places and meeting people with her. Jennifer Fulwiler wrote a post a long time ago, which I can't find, in which she was suprised to find her kids actually missed her when she was gone for a while. She felt like she was contributing so little to their lives that a robot with a red wig on the couch occasionally yelling out "stop hitting your sister!" and throwing a snack at them would be the same.

Mostly, I am dealing with outside pressure about why Addie is three and not in preschool/daycare. So when these doubts come I think, would she be happier in preschool/daycare? But then I remember, it's not about what I do, it's about who I am. I'm her mother! There are millions of inspirational videos I've seen throughout the years where kids reveal the best day of their life was when their dad played catch with them. Or something simple when their parents just spent time with them. It's special that Addie gets to be with me, even if it's during laundry or grocery shopping. And it's so special that I get to be with her. That I really know what she wants, needs, likes. It's a fascinating time for our homelife, as she is getting to an age where I can include her in more things and she can start "helping" more. I love the days we don't have to go anywhere or do anything and can do things slowly and at her pace.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Davy turned one last week and he really does get cuter each day. His clumsy waddle, his constant baby talk gibberish, even his yelling that he does whenever he wants ANYTHING... which can get annoying, but just shows his hearty enthusiasm for life. I made him banana cake, and he greatly appreciated it. We actually had to say, no more cake!

This is a precious time in our life. For me, the birth/first months are hardest, then it gets progressively easier as you go along. A first year is a kind of milestone and relief for ME. It thrills me to see him more and more autonomous, participating more and more in our habits and routines and family life. And it's especially thrilling to see brother and sister start to interact more. FIGHT more over toys and such (yikes!), but also play and laugh and kiss.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Long and Happy Life by Delta Rae

"I was born to love you
Out where the water is wide
Make me your country bride
You'll be my prince of tides
You were born to heal me
Under a velvet sky
Cattails dancing in the light
We were born to live a long and happy life
A happy life"

How I feel about my hubbie. I wish we lived in the country!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The value of meals

One of the (many) takeaways from our US trip for me was how important meals are. It might seem like a lot of work to cook everyday, to plan meals, to grocery shop, etc. It might seem easier to buy pre-made food, pick something up, eat out, etc. But, at least for me, it's a short-cut that gives terrible long-term results.

There are good things and bad things in every country I always say, both in the US and in Portugal. On our trip, I realized one good thing Portugal has is that it *still* (even though it's dwindling) places more value on meals. In the US it's more common to "grab a bite" as you keep working, to eat on the go or as you drive, to eat alone or in the romantic company of a computer or iPhone. Perhaps here in Portugal there is still more of a remnant of that Latin get-togetherness or open a bottle and make it a celebrational meal.

I liked taking two weeks off cooking and eating yummy things in the US. But it felt like HOME to come back, sit down to a salad and a homemade meal. I remember a Jaime Oliver TV show where he went to America to teach people to cook and I really liked what he said, which was something along the lines of, "The US and England are amazing countries, have done amazing things and have amazing cultures, but in some aspects have gone too fast and forgotten the basics: the basics of getting a few ingredients together and sitting down with friends for a meal."

So my "helpers" in the pictures aren't actually helpful, but the first thing I do every morning is cook, which will be our lunch and dinner. And I think that investment in time is important, even though it gets dishes dirty and cleaning up the kitchen is such a hassle, especially with impatient kids. But when us three sit down for lunch and then four at dinner with dad, and it's peaceful, and they are learning to eat by themselves, have manners and generally just enjoy mealtime as a family, it's priceless. There is a reason humans don't graze or get food dumped into a bowl at regular times like animals. It's a ritual. It's social. There's a reason Jesus was ALL ABOUT meals. He even TURNS INTO a meal. It's sacred.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

DOCAT videos

I made a few videos on the subject of the social doctrine of the Church with a friend from college. They are coming out slowly and I've apparently missed two of them already. I post them here: