Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Princess

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge WISHES she had these jammies

I'm so excited

I've been a bit cranky today and so I've decided that it would be a good idea for me to make a list of all the things that I am excited about. So here it goes.

1. Madeleine's new words.
For the longest time I was worried about Madeleine speaking. She's always had a perfect understanding (for her age) of what Kyle and I were saying to her but she was not a vocal child. Things started to pick up right before Juliette was born but the new baby set her back a bit and she stopped talking almost all together. It freaked me out in a big way. She is my first baby and so I have no sense of what is normal for a child of her age but the pediatrician kept assuring me that she was fine. Boy was he right.
She said her first sentence almost a month ago, "Baby nom-nom Mama." and since then has definitely fallen into the "new word a day" phase. Sometimes more. She has a few two word sentences "Oh wow." "No way." "Show watch." "Good girl." And is constantly surprising me with what she comes up with. For example, today she learned, "What?" I was telling her something and she blurted out, "WHAT?!?!" It made me laugh so she continued saying it. Kyle told me one of my jokes was not funny and she walked up to him and said, "WHAT?!?!" It was awesome. She used to just repeat but now she says all her words on her own. "Eat." when she is hungry. "Go out." when she is bored of being inside. She brought me her book Baby Come to Church and said, "Jesus." I am a happy Momma.

2. My new heels.
Is there anything hotter than a pair of heels? The things they do for your legs and butt are awesome and I need that confidence after having birthed two babies. I've lost 25 lbs and I feel like the smaller I get, the larger my belly is. I know it takes a while for your body to get back to normal but come. on. I just want it to go away.

3. Tax refunds.
We are fixing my lap top and possibly getting a new couch. Plus, Kyle wants to take me out for a fancy dinner in my hot new dress and my hot new heels. I am pumped.

4. Traveling.
I get the shakes when I've been in one place for too long and so I am so excited to go to Houston and New Orleans in two weeks. We are visiting my in-laws and then heading for our good friend's ordination. We may not take the babies on Bourbon Street but tempt me with spicy food and a Hurricane and I may not be able to visit.

5. Warm Weather.
We just got our new rocking chairs in the mail and Madeleine's play house will be in any day. I see lots of sunny days outside with a coffee or a glass of wine watching the kids play. Just another reason I am glad we moved.

6. Not being Frumptastic.
When I am in Houston I will be getting my hair cut and my nails done. No man could ever understand just how wonderful that makes a girl feel. It's like taking a shower after you've been rolling around in dirt. I just feel like a whole new person, refreshed and perrrrty.

7. Sports.
The Yankees are winning. The red sox are losing. And the Celtics are set to take down the heat. Life is as it should be.

8. The Beatification of JPII
I was at his wake and it was the most incredible thing in the world to see him knowing his soul was probably in heaven. I love John Paul the Great and this has been a long time coming. What a wonderful thing for such a holy and inspiring shepherd. I wonder if there is anyone who's life was not touched by him

9. Bed time.
The kids and Kyle are asleep and dreaming and I will crawl in bed next to my husband and join them soon.

My life is pretty darn wonderful. This is why I decided to make this list. In life you can either dwell on the negative or comfort yourself with all of the joys and gifts from God. The latter is a much better way to live.

Praise God!

Post by Madeleine

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Practice what we babble

Last night Madeleine learned how to say "Good girl!" My praise got her so excited that she smacked her sister.

Good girl fail.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I just want to point something out...

History repeats itself...

Pictures say a thousand words. These tell the story of the love between two sisters.

Jesus reads my blog

So I wrote a post last night about taking the struggles of day to day motherhood as an oppurtunity for holiness and I'm not saying that God reads my blog or anything but... well yes I am saying that. Because last night definitely got me some time off of purgatory. Madeleine was up til 1:00 am, and then again every so often, and then for good at 6:00. Juliette was so stuffed up that she was making terrible noises in her sleep and I was up watching to make sure she was breathing. This morning I was past my usual level of delirium and all four of us took off to the doctors together. Nothing except for a bad virus, as I thought, but a sleepless Sarah is a paranoid Sarah so it was worth checking out.

We did learn during my visit that I have asthma? How has no one figured this out before? Like when I was having intense breathing issues during pregnancy?

Which brings me to another point. You may love your perfume or cologne but be aware, it keeps some of us out there from being able to breathe. And we like breathing. So please, wear it but don't bathe in it. How about a nice shower instead?

Anyway, we are back at the house, I am caffinated up, and the girls are ready to play. I am looking forward to their bedtime so I can kick back to a CSI Miami. I like to dance around the living room during the theme song going, "NAAA NAAA NAAAAAAAAA! I have sunglasses! I can has evidence! You can has jail time! SUUUUUUNNNNNGLASSES!!!!!! NAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Oh Horatio!

Well as I type Madeleine is trying to take her pants off... again. And "redecorate" the living room... again. So I don't think typing is in the best interest, at least if I want a clean house and a clothed toddler.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Babies, Babies, Babies oh

There are many days that go by when I have to wonder, why did God trust me to be a mother. I mean, I'm by far not the worst person he could have blessed with children but sometimes I feel wildly inadequate for the vocation I was given.

Being a mom causes me to evaluate myself often and I'm not the type of person who does well looking at her flaws. I'm extremely scrupulous and I beat myself up over everything so a lot of times I try to avoid it. Not the way to get to heaven but it was the only way I found to avoid those nasty tummy aches I got when I realized just how sinful I am and how undeserving I am of God's love and mercy.

Still, God chose to bless me with an amazing husband and two beautiful baby girls. And as I said, being a mom means having to be constantly trying to improve yourself so you can do a better job for your kids. And I suppose that right there is what forces me to do it. I have to do it for my kids and I would do anything for them. Examining my sinfulness becomes something that I want to do. For them. With this new revelation I've found that I spend less time beating myself up over every mistake I make. It's not because I care less but because I can't afford to take time out of loving them to nurture my self pity.

I can still try to atone for my sins but in a much more productive way. Offering up those late nights, the diapers that get all over everything, the tantrums, and the outfits covered in vomit. Even something as small as the dishes becomes a sacrifice. I can do the dishes, which I despise, remembering how I am doing it to serve God and my family. It's not fun but it's infinitely more bearable. I put a placard by my sick with the quote from Mother Theresa that says, "Do small things with great love." because I know that it what my vocation is all about. It is the small things of day to day life that will get me to heaven despite my sinfulness. I'm not perfect but this vocation is giving me so many ways to become like Our Lady and she was.

Tonight my little buddy is sitting on my lap. I would love to be sleeping right now but she wants to snuggle and just be with me. It won't be this way forever, someday she'll be too cool for me, then in college, then married or a nun, and I won't be able to have her sit on my lap and just be. So as much as I would love to sleep, I am enjoying this time.

When I get too down on myself I have to remember the way she loves me. I may not be a perfect mother but my child adores me. She thinks that I am. She doesn't know that I can't sew or sing but she doesn't care. All she cares about is that I love her and that I take care of her, which I do. There is no greater proof to me that I am doing a good job than the smile she gets when she sees me. She knows I love her but she has no idea just how much.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I will punch this virus in the face for messing with my babies

It's been an insane few days for the Behrs. As I described in my last post, Juliette was sick on Friday and I was beginning to feel ill Saturday night. It did not end there.

Easter Sunday I woke up feeling sicker than I have in year. Couldn't even hold the baby. Couldn't walk across the room. Kyle came home and took me to urgent care. One strep test, twelve blood pressures, one IV, two blood draws and one chest x-ray later and they decided I had pneumonia. That's all great and everything but I am allergic to the only medicine that can cure pneumonia and is compatible with breastfeeding and in order to get better I would have to GIVE UP BREASTFEEDING. Juliette is NOT having that. I must be open for business 24/7 and no stupid bottle will do. Poor little Pet.

They decided to have the specialist look at my x-ray tomorrow and would call me and give me the verdict by noon.

My mom and sister came up to help me with the girls and I made more work for them by sweating so badly with my fever that they had to wash all of my sheets and pillow cases. Awesome.

10:30, phone rings, AWESOME NEWS. No pneumonia. Juliette is thrilled. I'm starting to turn a corner when Miss Madeleine wakes up from her nap burning up. 103 fever. Here we go again. I spent the whole day snuggling Madeleine, getting thrown up on, nursing Juliette (did I mention I have a breast infection too?) and thanking Jesus that Kyle has the next two days off. All of the Behr women are sick and Kyle has his hands full. Of course, this confusion won't even compare to how the world will end if Scaredy McThinkshehaseverything gets this too.

The worst part about this is by far watching my babies suffer. Getting sick was one thing back when I didn't have kids. It stunk but I got to sit on the couch and eat Ben and Jerry's and just relax. Now when I get sick my first thoughts are, how will this effect my kids? Will they get it? How bad will it be? What can I do to prevent it?

And then when they are sick it's, Why don't I have four arms so I can hold them both at the same time? Do they understand that I am trying to make it all better? What can I do to make it all better?

Tonight Juliette is stuffy and congested, Madeleine is feverish and pukey, and here I am on the road to recovery. Doesn't seem fair. I would much rather be sick than them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Praise Jesus! And then pass the nyquil.

Yesterday Juliette had a fever of 101.9 so we rushed her to the doctors but it was only an infection so they told us to wait it out.

2:00 AM today a screaming baby finally passed out as her fever broke.

Tonight I got dressed up in the brand new dress my mother-in-law bought me with my brand new patent leather 3 1/4 inch heels and my new jewelry and took off with my husband and my youngest daughter to Easter Vigil mass. Madeleine was staying home with Grandmommy.

5 minutes later Juliette and I were on our way home. Juliette was screaming, I was coughing and barely able to breathe.

10 minutes later I was in sweats nursing Juliette, drinking tea, and trying to figure out when I should get myself to the doctors.

Six hours later the girls are passed out and I am scouring the internet for medications that are compatible with breastfeeding so I can join them in sleepy land.

This is the oh, so glamorous life of the mommy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do the clothes make the woman?

As a mom, I sometimes find it hard to do things that are just for me. When I do, I usually end up feeling guilty about it. After all, being a mom is about putting yourself last, right? So did I really need those shoes? Or that sweater? Should I return them? Do I really need a gym membership? Can I leave my kids to go workout for an hour?

To begin with, I have a problem with spending. I love being a stay at home mom but especially during those long winter months, nothing is more appealing than the mall and there is always an excuse to buy something new. And there is also always online stores. It's usually for the kids but I have to keep myself accountable to my husband and clear big purchases with him first while also monitoring the small ones. I HATE the word no so it can prove to be a difficult task.

But when it comes to the normal things that most twenty-five year old spend money on to keep themselves looking and feeling good I have a hard time shelling out the dough. I haven't had my hair cut since September, my nails done since November, and my brows waxed since January. I feel hairy and frumpy. But Juliette only nurses so how can I leave her? Or is that just an excuse.

My mom did everything for us and never thought of herself. My dad called us the best dressed poor kids in town but my mom's closet was always lacking. She never seemed to mind and was always beautiful anyway but I always felt bad that I had so much while she rarely ever got for herself. Now I understand. Your kids are a reflection of yourself and giving them the best is giving you the best.

Still, it always made me happy when my mom went and got her hair done because I could tell that she felt good. I loved when she got a new shirt and would show me. I loved shopping with her for her new dress for my sister's wedding. I was proud of how good she looked even if she couldn't see it.

My mom has recently lost almost 50 lbs and she looks amazing, not at all her age. I want my kids to look at me and be proud of how beautiful their mom is spiritually and physically. Just like how I feel about my mom. Kyle would be attracted to me no matter what as long as I had boobs but I know he is proud when I make an effort. When my hair is long and straight and blond and flowing and I'm dressed in the right style and color. Why does being a mom mean I have to stop being me? Why would it ever mean that I have to stop dressing attractively?

Tomorrow I am going out with my mother-in-law (AMAZING woman, I am blessed) and we are going to get me my first pair of heels. I know, right? I recently started wearing nicer makeup, straightening my hair, and I am in the process of toning my body hopefully back to where it was pre-baby. As I do all these things I feel better about myself and I find I have more energy, more joy, and am a better mother.

I know my true beauty comes from what is inside me but I never want to neglect the outside. God gave me my beauty as a gift and I don't want to just trow that gift away. I can be a mother and still have a bit of time left over for me. No mom should feel guilty about taking that time. I'm slowly learning to let go of that guilt.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In God's hands

When people used to ask me how many kids I wanted I used to say, "Four." Now, I'm not sure what to say. I'm 25 and have two daughters but that isn't what gives me pause. It's because I have no idea what God's will is for us and I don't want to answer for Him.

Almost a year after Kyle and I got married we were living in his home town of Houston, Texas and I was getting homesick for my family and for the northeast. I wasn't having much luck in the job department either. With a double major in Theology and Catechetics I was obviously looking for something within my field and was coming up with nothing. I spent the first few months of our marriage teaching preschool until I contracted mono and consequently ended up being forced out of that position and took a job at one of my favorite retail chains where I spent more money on clothes than I made.

The whole time a applied for every job within my field that became available but it just wasn't happening. Houston is one of those places where you have to know the right people and we didn't. Fortunately for us, when we decide to look outside of Texas, my mom did. I was hired as a youth minister at a small parish in Massachusetts and we were scheduled to move shortly before our one year anniversary.

With the knowledge on impending employment we decided to be a little bit more relaxed with our practice of NFP and therefore became pregnant right away. Except I didn't know it. I went to a Life Teen training retreat where I thought I got my period but even through that the whole time I had this feeling that something was off. I got home, my period went away, but I continued to have light spotting. After about a week of that we decided to take a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was pregnant but something was wrong.

Blood tests confirmed that my HCG levels were rising but not as they should have and the doctors were unable to locate a baby in my uterus. They told me to wait, I waited a week, and one Saturday night in June I was rushed to the hospital in the most intense pain of my life.

With this ultrasound they found our baby but he was not where he should be. It was an ectopic pregnancy and I was schedule for surgery as soon as possible. We consulted a priest friend of ours who we trust for orthodoxy and prayer and realized the only way this could be done and still preserve the dignity of the life of our unborn child would mean the loss of one of my fallopian tubes. I received the anointing of the sick, made my confession, and stayed a sleepless night in the hospital with my husband and mother-in-law by my side. It was the worst night of my life.

After the surgery I was obviously happy to still be alive but I was broken in every way possible. I was in incredible physical pain and even worse emotional pain. I spent the next week in bed sobbing as Kyle held me and my in-laws packed up our apartment to move. We had lost that first child that we had created and half of my fertility. I had always wanted to have children, for as long as I can remember that is all I wanted to do with my life. I had stuffed pillows in my shirt at two, pretended to breastfeed my stuffed animals at three, played house, thought of names, imagined everything about it and it was like all those dreams were slipping through my fingers. In one night I had to come to terms with my own mortality, I could have died if we hadn't gone in and waited like my doctor had told me to do, and the idea that I could lose my future too.

I went though the stages of grief, one by one. Denial, what I had been in until I was rushed into surgery. Anger, at all of those people who complained about their pregnancies and about their children. Didn't they know how lucky they were? Bargaining, Just give me one baby God. Just one. Depression, that one lasted the longest.

And then finally, one September night, acceptance. It had been months that I couldn't drive past a Babies R Us without tearing up. That night, as I passed it on my way home I decided to pull in. I just needed to be there. As I walked around the isles by myself I prayed and talked to the little baby we had lost. I told him that I loved him and I couldn't wait to meet him someday in heaven and that I wanted him to intercede for us before God so that he could have a sibling.

I don't know if I already was, or if it happened that night, or maybe in the nights that followed, but it was about two weeks later that I took another pregnancy test and it was positive again. That day I knew that God's plan was unfolding in a beautiful way.

My pregnancy was extremely difficult but I made it a point not to complain. See, too many people don't get my happy ending. I have two beautiful babies and so many people never even get one. How can I complain about something so amazing? Motherhood is supposed to challenge us, that's how we become purified for Christ, and why shouldn't it start right at the beginning in our first trimester. I was so thankful for the sickness, I swear I would throw up and just praise God because I couldn't believe that I was having a baby. It was a constant reminder of God's abundant MERCY.

Madeleine was born one year to the day from when we lost our first sweet baby, who I named David. God makes all things new.

There are still times that I mourn for our loss but I know deep down that this is the way God intended it to be. Without that loss I wouldn't have that same appreciation for the difficult times of motherhood, just like without knowledge of our sinfulness we cannot appreciate God's MERCY and forgiveness. We have a child in heaven interceding for us and Madeleine in our arms to show us God's love here on earth.

The other blessing of that time was Kyle. I had obviously been in love with him before, I married him after all, but our love was taken to a whole new level through this trial of faith. Kyle laid down his life to take care of me day after day. He carried me to Christ when he himself was broken by grief. We held each other and learned to trust each other more than we ever had before. I could see Christ in him more clearly and it was so beautiful. That is what marriage is all about. That is why I married that man. So he could be Christ to me.

So when people ask me how many kids I want I have to tell them that it isn't in my hands. I know full well that something could happen and I could not be able to give birth again. I know that I have many fertile years ahead of me and don't exactly have the best grasp on NFP. And I know that God's plan is so much better than mine so I had better trust Him.

For now, I'll enjoy my husband and our two beautiful daughters. I'm not in any rush right now. But I also keep some baby names in the back of my mind... just in case.

Sweet baby David, pray for us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Everything I need to know about parenting I learned from Jack Bauer

I used to watch 24. A lot. And I learned many things that have helped me in parenting. This is what I have learned.

1. You need to be able to see many things going on all at once.

A fan of 24 knows the shot. The screen is divided into four frames. Upper left, Jack being all BA about it. Upper right, Kim being an idiot. Lower left, terrorist being naughty. Lower right, people typing on computers looking concerned. In the center, IT'S FIVE O'CLOCK!!!!

As a mom, you need to have this skill. For instance in my world it looks a little like this. Mind divided into four frames. Upper left, I'm in the kitchen cooking up some nom noms. Upper right, Kyle is on the computer. Looking at airplanes. Again. Lower left, Madeleine has grabbed a shoe and is walking towards her sister. Lower right, Juliette is happily shaking a rattle. IT'S ALMOST NAP TIME!!!!

The reason this skill is important will be evident soon.

2. Terrorists want to make things explode.

This peaceful scene melds into one and Madeleine is throwing the shoe at her sister's head. (Side note, Madeleine never does this to be mean unlike the terrorists of 24 who enjoy them some killing. Madeleine simply loves shoes. And wants to share. Hard) Juliette explodes in screeching, crying hysteria. Explodes!

3. Terrorists do not want to be caught.

Madeleine hears the explosion and immediately runs away from the scene with a shocked look in her green eyes. The pursuit is on. It usually doesn't take to long as Kyle and I are full sized adults and she is a little toddler but she tries to run anyway. Just as no terrorist can hide from Jack Bauer, oh Madeleine cannot hide from us. Not even in her princess tent. We catch her. Because we saw the whole thing. (Now you get number one!)


After catching a terrorist Jack Bauer usually breaks a few knee caps, snaps a few fingers, shoots someone in the leg. Ya know, standard stuff. We have much, much worse ways. We calmly look her in the eye and say "No Madeleine we do not throw things at our baby." And then we put her in time out. For two minutes. She may cry and say, "Peeze" in a voice that could melt your heart, but she still receives her time out. The whole two minutes of it.

5. Offer redemption.

In Jack Bauer's world it's something like, "Tell me what I want to know or I will cut out your pancreas. In our world it means that we pick up our darling little girl, give her a hug, wipe the tears from her eyes, look at her and say, "We do not throw things at our baby. Can you please go give your baby a kiss?"

And our sweet little girl toddles over to her sister, bends down lovingly, says "Baby!" and kisses her little head.

Jack Bauer may save the world every other day but I have learned to lovingly discipline a toddler. Point, me.

Mass without children

I'll be completely honest. I can't remember the last time I was really able to focus while at mass. It was difficult enough with just one child but with two, forget it. When Juliette isn't fussing, Madeleine is taking the hymnals out of the pew and throwing them on the floor... and then picking them up... and then throwing them on the floor. I'm always worrying about something and no matter how hard I try it seems like I am never "there" for the whole hour.

My vocation as a mother is making me holier. I still have a long way to go but I can see why God has called me to this life. I am growing in patience and virtue and love and I am learning how to truly lay down my life for others. I remember thinking I was holy, way back when I was a naive single girl with nothing to focus on except my relationship with God. And then I started dating Kyle and realized that the only reason I thought I was holy was because my shortcomings weren't being tested. It's easy, at least for me, to put God above myself. It's much harder to put others above myself as well. Being a wife and my mom, well that's pretty much the job description. I can't succeed at my vocation unless I am willing to be selfless.

With all that said, some days I look back on my time at Franciscan with a wistful sigh. It was beautiful to be able to sign up for a holy hour and attend a mass without having to clear my schedule, make sure my kids are both fed and rested, pack a diaper bag, and somehow manage to get both of them into the building by myself. I mean, I can barely handle it when Kyle is with me to help. Lately I have been craving that alone time with God. It may sound funny, but it's kind of come hand in hand with my obsession with the royal wedding.

God, the KING, has chosen me, a commoner, to be his bride! This wedding between William and Kate is seen as a once and a lifetime thing but in Truth, it happens anytime someone becomes a part of the Catholic Church, the bride of Christ. And like Kate, people are looking at us and we face a lot of scrutiny. People want us to mess up every bit as much as they want us to succeed and we have to be prepared to have our lives looked at with a magnifying glass. Just like Kate is the face of the monarchy during a time when it's future is in jeopardy, we are the face of the Church in a time where it is under such attack. And like Kate is an icon for what she wears, we can set trends by clothing ourselves in virtue, something that is so counter cultural to the world in which we live. If we make living holy lives look good, then maybe we will be the trend setters.

But as I explore my call as God's bride I crave a one on one date with him. I haven't gone out on my own with Kyle since Juliette was born but it's been even longer since Jesus and I have been alone together.

Tonight I drove down to my parent's house with the girls because Kyle had to fly to Houston for the funeral of his Aunt Barbra. My youngest sister, Carly, offered to watch the girls when I got here so I could go to the 7:00 mass. Even though I sat with my sister Hannah and my parents I had an experience with Christ like we were the only two there. My vision of the altar before me was mixed with an image of what mass must have been like when the mass was first celebrated. I could imagine the dirt where the early Christians knelt, the fear of being discovered mixed with the eagerness to take on the crown of martyrdom, and how they must have ached to receive Christ in the Eucharist not knowing when the next time they would be joined in such an intimate way with their bridegroom. The world I knew faded and I was brought into the world as it should be. A world where everything is centered around Christ.

My husband and my daughters are the most precious things on earth to me but Jesus is the most precious thing on earth and in heaven. It's moments like that one that give me the strength for day to day life. The knowledge that even if Jesus and I don't get to be on our own that often that we have a love that will endure by the little moments we get together each day. But I know we both crave those one on one dates, that time away from the rest of the world, where is can just. be. us.

The day I gave birth. In Pictures. Part 2.

Okay, so these are from the couple of days after I gave birth but still. Adorableness.

Juliette has always loved to be swaddled. Madeleine broke out of her swaddle at about one month, ready to sleep with her arms free. To this day, nearly five months later, Juliette will only sleep swaddled. I am beginning to become convinced that we are going to have to teach her future college roommate how to swaddle her.

Juliette in her going home outfit. I mean, could she be an cuter? No.

My sister and Godmother to Juliette meeting her niece/goddaughter for the first time. It was total love.

Madeleine with Bitty Baby in the new Bitty Baby crib we got her as her "big sister" gift. Apparently unclear on how it is used.

Is anything more wonderful than a grandmother with her grandbaby? I remember when my parents used to get excited about seeing me. Now I'm just that woman who drives the grandkids to our house!

So this was my experience of birthing and bringing home my little Juliette in ten little pictures. Words can't do justice to how happy we are and just how wonderful she is. We love you Juliette our Pet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The day I gave birth. In Pictures. Part 1.

Madeleine is a Yankees fan. Winning

This is me before I gave birth. I look awesome. I'm not super great at being graceful and pregnant. Normally I am a sweaty, giant ball of hormones. That day I was just so excited to be giving birth that I actually woke up and put on makeup. Go me.

This is me after I gave birth. I still look awesome. Probably because all the love I had ever known had just been multiplied because of the birth of this perfect little sweetheart.

This is me and both of my babies! I look decidedly less awesome but they are adorable. Having both of my girls with me = one of the best moments of my life.

These are my gorgeous sisters with Madeleine visiting her sister. Madeleine was VERY excited.

My boy

I don't really understand what goes through the minds of husbands. Husbands, mine at least, seem to expect you to pull an answer to the most random of questions out of your butt at the drop of a hat.

For instance, tonight Kyle was trying to locate his suit jacket. The conversation went something like this

K- Where is my suit jacket?
S- I have no idea. Where did you see it last?
K- I have no idea! Where is it?
S- I just said I don't know
K- No but do you have any idea of where it is?
S- No.
K- Where is it. Can you give me an idea?
S- If I had any idea I would have told you. I can't give you an idea because I don't know

This went on for an hour until he finally located the jacket. Then the conversation went like this

K- Is there a place in Houston I can get my suit dry cleaned tomorrow when I get there?
S- I have no idea. Didn't you live there ALL YOUR LIFE.
K- Yes but I am a helpless male and I depend upon YOU to keep me organized and functioning and fed.

... okay. It didn't go exactly like that but you get the basic idea.

Don't get me wrong, I love taking care of my husband. It's sounds stupid but nothing makes me happier than making him happy. When he loves a meal I made for him, I am thrilled. I get pleasure out of how pleased he is when I organize his clothes. BUT HOW can he stand in front of the fridge and yell to me in the other room, "Where is the mayo?" I have no idea where the mayo is Kyle. Try looking around.

When people asked my mom if she was upset that she had given birth to four girls and no boys she used to respond. "Oh I got the boy first. That's how I got the girls." Now I understand. Sometimes have a husband is like having a 6 foot 2 child. He has no idea how to feed himself like my oldest and loves boobs like my youngest (albeit in a much different way).

So Kyle, if you are reading this. I love you. With all my heart. But the next time you can't find the mayo maybe just move the other condiments around before asking. It's there.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The things I get excited about

So, I'm going to confess to something. I'm not a "Suzy Homemaker" type. I don't enjoy cleaning, I'm not into gardening, and the idea of doing CRAFTS sends me into major panic attacks. But there are things I really enjoy about being a stay at home mom and a home maker.

1. Fresh laundry
2. Cloth diapering
3. Making my own baby food
4. A freshly stocked fridge
5. Taking the kids out for fresh air or a day in Boston
6. Meeting other moms and talking all things baby
7. Killing a meal I've never made before
8. Dance parties
9. My minivan

These are all things that I get absurdly excited about. Some people may think, based on my list, that I live a boring life. But I don't. I am constantly thinking about how blessed I am, how amazing my life is. Not everyone would be ready for marriage at 21 but I was. Not everyone would be ready for kids at 23 but I was. Not everyone would be ready for another baby 17 months later but I was. I love my life and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

So forget that I can't sew and have no desire to try. And once again, I HATE CRAFTS. WITH A PASSION. I love my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why I'm not a fan of how-to blogs

There are so many mom blogs out there and there are so many schools of thought on parenting. Each mom tries, hopefully, to do her best for her kids. She takes the advice of her own mother, books, friends, her pediatrician, and melds them together with her own instincts. Ever since I found out I was pregnant with sweet Madeleine on October 7th, 2008, I have been trying to make my own way. For a while I became overwhelmed by all the different possibilities and paths that motherhood provided. My starting point and ending point would be the goal of getting my child ready for heaven, but I had no idea what would be on that path.

Finding your own way to mother your children is a lot like finding your spirituality. There are so many options, so much wealth from those who have gone before you and done it successfully, and sometimes I felt like I could lose myself along the way if I listened to others to much and didn't trust myself.

There are the essentials in both. Mass, Adoration, Confession, Prayer, Mary, Scripture and Tradition in finding your path to Christ. In Motherhood, love, discipline, food, education. And then there are the things you can do to enhance your spiritual life or your life as a mother. There are rosaries, Liturgy of the Hours, Divine Mercy Chaplets, devotion to certain saints, litanies and other such kinds of prayer. In motherhood there is cosleeping, baby wearing, cloth diapering, homeschooling, play groups, dance lessons, sports teams, etc. And then there is the "type" you fall into. Traditional or Charismatic? Crunchy Granola or Urban Mom on the Go?

So what I end up wondering is at the end of the day, why do we let ourselves be defined and even divided by the non essentials? I am a mom. It's who I am, what I do, what I love. My kids are healthy, happy and thriving. And usually so is my spiritual life. So how come I am judged for what I do or don't do with them? For saying I don't do natural child birth or I plan to home school. For saying that I love praise and worship as well as receiving communion at the altar rail. People seem to take those little differences to dismiss me and other moms. But the thing is, what we can all agree on, is that God is first in our lives. So are our kids. Why can't we be united on that and encourage each other on our separate paths. After all, we may be on different paths but we are hopefully trying to get to the same place; heaven.

I'm not a fan of mom blogs that tell you how to do things, at least tell your how you SHOULD do things, because I believe that God created us each as individuals. I could not be the same mother as you, just as I could not have the same spirituality as you or be married to your husband. One of the glorious things about God is that for as many different souls as He creates, he creates that many paths to Him. On my path to him are my husband and children. I will love them in my own unique way because that is the way he created me to love them. I love advice, I love tips, because we should all want to do our best, but I don't want you to tell me that your way is the only way. For you, maybe. For me, no.

My prayers are with all of my fellow mommies. This job we have is challenging enough on it's own and moms every day can be brought down by the pressures they put on themselves. Let's be a support to each other and not another cross.

Lord, thank you for my precious daughters and for creating me to be their mommy. I will always try to love them with your love and to reflect your mother in all I do.

They are ASLEEP

Praise Jesus! The possibilities of what I can do in this time are endless!

Wash diapers? Dishes? CSI? Eat? SHOWER?

I'm like a kid in a three bedroom candy shop.

When the day just calls for a little Bailey's

Last night, like many nights, I didn't get to bed until 2 in the morning. Once upon a time, when we lived in our old apartment, getting the kids to bed was a simple and easy task.

Step 1- Pick Madeleine up
Step 2- Put her in her crib
Step 3- Enjoy

Juliette would fall asleep shortly thereafter with a little nursing and a good swaddle and then momma behr would enjoy the peace and quiet and maybe even a shower.

Now, in our new apartment, the little Behrs are not adjusted as well from the confusion of the move, etc. and the process of bedtime goes a little more like this

Step 1- Beg
Step 2- Plead
Step 3- Bribe
Step 4- Cry in a fetal position as Madeleine and Juliette stay up for the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

As much as I love my girls, as much as I enjoy spending time with them, those moments after they had gone to bed and I had the apartment to myself were such a comfort to me. And now they have been ripped away from me by tiny fingers.

Today was a long day to begin with involving a two hour round trip to meet my sister halfway between our homes to give her back her tennis racket and culminating in an argument with the Daddy Behr about where the storage boxes should go and how many will fit in the basement.

So tonight, I am taking it easy. Juliette is on my lap, Madeleine in one arm and I can tell there are getting tired. Soon (hopefully) I will be enjoying Bailey's Irish Cream on the rocks. But for now, instead of games, we are enjoying purely speculative programs about the upcoming Royal Nuptials.

I may be up late tonight, I may not get a shower, but I will fall asleep peaceful. Most days I try to be a perfect mother but tonight, I'm just trying to be a sane one. And tomorrow I will begin on working them into a normal routine once again.

Still, with all my complaining, I know that a few hours after her little auburn haired head hits the pillow I will miss my little monkey and all I will be able to think about will be waking up and loving her all day tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's been a crazy few months

In late November we added one new baby Behr to our family. Miss Juliette was born after a quick and easy labor at which Daddy Behr and Grandma were present.

Since that morning life has been hectic. Anyone who has ever had more than one kid can tell you that being a mommy to more than one certainly has it's challenges but I am pleased to announce that it really isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. Maybe because my kids are awesome, maybe because I am awesome, but despite being busy I have managed to stay sane and stable and am loving every minute of watching my two beautiful babies grow.

Madeleine is completely in love with her little sister. It's "baby! baby!" all the time every day. And who would have thought a little girl under the age of two would be such a help either? Madeleine loves to entertain her sister, makes her smile and giggle, and I'm not going to lie, it kind of melts my heart to see them together.

Juliette is an absolute sweetheart. She has big brown eyes, a tiny little nose, and the most beautiful smile. I mean, the kid must be happy because she smiles a lot. She constantly wants to be held and while Madeleine would go to almost anyone, Juliette is a momma's girl. She loves being in momma's arms and I don't mind having her there. She sleeps through the night, nurses like a champ, and is a little brunette version of me. My husband can barely tell our baby pictures apart. Of course, my mom insists she has my sister's eyes and my grandmother-in-law insists she looks like her mom but I know the truth, she looks just like me.

I've recently entered into the world of cloth diapering and love it. I am now two thirds crunchy granola. I plan on home schooling, I cloth diaper, but by George I will never, ever go without an epidural on purpose. I love those things more than I love my cleaning lady and I love her a lot.

Kyle got a promotion at work which means he is really moving up fast in the company. We moved out of our old apartment to a new one with a big bathroom, a nice neighborhood, and no sketchy jerks upstairs. Yay us.

So anyway, babies have woken up and I must attend to them but I will hopefully, maybe keep up with this thing. Because Kyle thinks it's awesome.