Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Ham Sandwich

I like to follow the rules.  I'm a little weird about it, and my husband sometimes gets annoyed, and at the very least, likes to make fun of me. If you are wondering what types of behaviors warrant my husband poking jokes at me, read on.  I will share.

Example #1:   Last winter a couple moms and I would take our kids to the local YMCA to swim.  The open time in which we were allowed to swim ended at noon.  At 11:57 if my kids weren't making their way towards the edge of the pool my heart rate would start to rise, and my gentle reminders of, "It's almost time to get out," (which incidentally started around 11:45) quickly transformed into a much more irritated, "It's time to get out, now!"  I don't know what would have happened if 12:01 would have rolled around and they were still swimming.  I realized this was a little strange when I noticed that it could be 12:02 or 12:03 and my friends might still be calmly and happily gathering their little swimmers from the pool, while I stood flustered and panicked from the close call I had getting my kids out of the water on time!    :)

Examples #2 and #3:  Do you need to use your turn signals if there is no one around?   I do.  I turn on my blinker when leaving our driveway, when we're out in the middle of nowhere, and even sometimes to turn into the garage FROM the driveway...where else would I be going?!!!   That one, and the fact that no matter what, I will not, under any circumstances change lanes after the dotted white line turns solid, are the ones that REALLY drive my husband nuts.  The conversation goes something like this:  My husband, "Change lanes."  Me, "The line is solid."  My husband, "So, there is no one around, change lanes."  Me, "I can't the line is solid.  You are not supposed to change lanes when the line is solid."  Life in the van gets really colorful when he's driving.

Example #4:  Sometimes when it's really, really, cold out and there is a 4 inch layer of slush in the parking lot I am tempted to not put my cart back...but I ALWAYS do.  You are supposed to.

Example #5:  My almost 11 year old is still in a high back booster seat...come on, it's the national recommendation for kids to be in a booster seat until they are 4'9", and she's short, like me.  I know it's not the law, but how can I not follow the recommendation???  Okay, even I am embarrassed about this one.  Lucky for me she isn't embarrassed and actually likes it because she can see better.

 I like the rules, and I like to follow the rules.

One day six years ago I decided I was tired of following the rules.  I was pregnant.  I was sick.  I was tired of being sick.  I had gone through two full term pregnancies, and 18 weeks of a third one,  following every rule I could find.  I followed rules people had never even heard of.  Sometimes I felt stupid for following those rules.  That day, I resented following all the rules.  That day, I decided I was going to break a rule.  That's right, I was tired of being the only pregnant woman I knew who avoided cold meat during pregnancy.  We were at a funeral dinner and I wanted a ham sandwich.  I decided it was my day to break the rules.  I was going to break a rule and eat the ham sandwich.  My husband, who doesn't mind my "following the rules" during pregnancy said, "You can't eat that ham sandwich."  I responded with irritation telling him I was tired of being the only pregnant woman who DOESN'T eat deli meat.  I proceeded to tell him I was going to eat the ham sandwich, and did.

Two weeks later our baby was dead.

It was a few days after delivery before I remembered the ham sandwich, and how I had broken the rule.  My husband's plea for me to not eat the sandwich echoed throughout my head.  I broke into hyperventilating sobs.  I was certain that my act of disobedience and rebellion had killed our baby.  I crawled into the confessional, a sobbing mess.  Father talked a little bit of sense into me, but the truth is I would never know if it was that sandwich that killed our baby or not.  Father didn't think so, and my Ob/Gyn actually laughed when I shared my theory with him.  This helped.  He remarked that about 95% of woman eat deli meat during pregnancy, and that he very highly doubted the ham sandwich had anything to do with our son's death.  "Highly doubted," still left room for me to wonder though, and I still do.

I still wonder, but I don't spend much time beating myself up about it anymore.  Reason that was not able to penetrate my mind in the weeks after his death, is now present in my mind, and I too,  really do doubt that it was the ham sandwich.  It doesn't really matter, even if it was.  Nothing happens without God allowing it to happen and He brings good out of every situation offered to Him.  I have never felt closer to Him or more dependent upon Him, than in the weeks and months after our loss.  For a very long time I unsuccessfully held back tears every time I received Him in the Holy Eucharist after the death of our baby.  The tears came in the same way that tears come when you are going through something rough and you see a friend, someone you know who loves you unconditionally.  Maybe it's your mother or father, maybe your husband or wife, maybe your best friend.  When all you need to do is look at them and know that they know just how awful everything is, and you know that they "get" it, and are there for you.  That is what every Holy Communion was like for me during that time.  I grew closer to Him.  I'd count that as something good coming from something bad.

Tomorrow, October 27, is the six year anniversary of the silent birth of our 20 week old son.  I try to allow  the memories of him around this time of year to resurface and I'm not sure why, but this year, that dreaded ham sandwich came to mind again.  Perhaps it's an issue I've shoved aside and the Holy Spirit is prompting me to reflect upon it once again.  Maybe I need to forgive myself one more time.  Maybe.  I don't really know, but I do know that all the crazy things I share on this blog, tend to lead to healing for me, so I'm guessing that whatever the reason is, some ham sandwich healing is in store.

P.S.  Listeria, I don't like you.

P.P.S.  Maybe it's pride.  Maybe I think if I follow all the rules nothing bad is going to happen, and that's just not the case.  Maybe that's what I'm supposed to learn from all of this.  Maybe it's just plain pride rearing it's ugly head in yet another way.  So many weeds, so many weeds...


All Saints' Day

I thought I would share some of the saint costumes we have come up with through the years.  The kids use these as their trick-or-treat costumes, and some years our local Mom's Group has an All Saints Party, and then they get to wear them twice!  I don't know how to sew and usually make the costumes using fabric glue and cheap material.  In the earlier years I would enlist the help of Grandma, and she would sew.  On most years I will go out after Halloween and pick things up on clearance that I think could be useful in future costumes.

Mother Mary and St. Gabriel the Archangel
Mother Mary's dress was purchased at Walmart as part of a princess costume.  I bought the material for the belt, veil, and cape, and Grandma sewed around the edges.  
St. Gabriel's dress was sewn by Grandma, the wings were about $20, but we've used them AGAIN and AGAIN, and they were well worth the cost.  Ave Maria is written in Puffy Paint for fabric, the scroll is extra material from Mother Mary's dress, and the horn I took off of an old Christmas decoration.

St. Rose of Lima
The dress is again a cheap costume from Walmart, the veil is just black material, the chain is the inside of a bicycle lock, lipstick on the forehead, a foam ring with flowers and leaves glued on for the crown.  She is also carrying baby Jesus from her toy tub!

Year One of St. Michael the Archangel
There is no shortage of swords and armor around Halloween time, so those were an easy find.  These originally had dragons on them, which would have worked, but I chose to replace them with golden crosses we had taken off of baptismal cakes.  I used velcro to stick the crosses on to the sword and armor.  The wings are from the St. Gabriel costume, and the little "devil" was a cute stuffed animal transformed with markers into the devil.  The rest is mostly made up of random pieces of material we had in our costume tub.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Princess costume purchased on clearance the year before.  The veil is just extra material from an  old costume.  I may have purchased the crown, and the basket was just something laying around the house.

Baby Angel
This is the Mother Mary dress recycled.

St. Rose of Lima, Round 2
She lost the chain, added a rosary, and replaced the mulit-colored flowers with all red.

St. Michael, Round 2
Same materials, underneath clothes were switched up a bit and we just have fun playing around with different ideas.

St. Michael, Round 3 (I tried to talk him out of it), Bl. Pope John Paul II, and St. Helen 
St. Michael, needs no explanations, there are a couple changes if you look closely.  Bl. Pope JPII is wearing St. Rose's white dress, we bought new material for his cape, and the bishop's hat is made from a cereal box with fabric glued to it.  It is decorated with puffy paint.  St. Helen's dress is material literally cut in the shape of a dress and glued together with fabric glue.  Her cape is just material with the edges glued down.  Her veil is a burp cloth, the crown is from St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and the cross is extra wood we had from building our house.

Another look at JPII

And St. Helen 
Daddy carried her cross for her while trick or treating!

St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe
This is my favorite year!  Juan Diego is wearing white sweat pants and a long sleeve white t-shirt.  I bought the material for his tilma at Walmart and just cut a hole for his head.  I glued the other fabric to the tilma with fabric glue, and the picture was taken out of magazine, laminated, and glued to the fabric.  The roses were recycled form St. Rose's crown, and glued onto the tilma.  His beard and mustache were done with brown eye liner.  OLG's dress was cut and glued together.  I don't even measure.  Her veil is also glued together at the edges.  I used glittery puffy fabric paint to do all the detailing on the pink dress and stars on the veil.  Her belt came from Daddy's winter coat.  She drew and painted the image at her feet onto cardboard.  Both of them have black hair paint in their hair.

St. Joseph and Baby Jesus
St. Joseph's dress was purchased from Oriental Trading, and has a lily (from Walmart) pinned to it.  His beard is brown eye liner.  Baby Jesus is sporting the original St. Rose of Lima's white dress (cut off), and random materials found in our tub.

St. Michael (new kid, new look), St. Lucy, and St. Joseph, Round 2 (this kid loves repeats, what can I say?)
St. Michael finally needed a new sword.  His red dress is from Oriental trading.  The blue was originally used with Mother Mary's costume, and the rest is all the same.  St. Lucy's dress was the first one I actually tried to sew.  No glue, and I tried to measure and cut things and do things the right way.  I think I'll go back to the glue.  The crown is the St. Rose of Lima crown with a new twist.  The belt was just random material from our tub, the eyeballs are salt and pepper shakers found at JoAnn Fabric, and the cup was just in the cabinet.  St. Joseph added his tool belt (from the toy tub downstairs), when I insisted he at least change SOMETHING.

Our Pumpkins

Sacred Heart

The Monstrance

This year's costumes are in the works and will include:
St. Francis and St. Clare (Mom and Dad are getting in on the fun this year)
St. Cecilia
St. Maximilian Kolbe
St. Michael (yes, this boy is on the same repeat track as his big brother)
St. Gabriel the Archangel (recycled from so, so, so long ago...we did have to order a new set of wings since we'll have two angels this year!)  

Pictures to come!!!!

Happy Feast of All Saints!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Feast of St. Francis!

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