Monday, July 28, 2014

100 Years Later

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI, a 4 year war that was stopped by the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza. It was the first war to really use mechanized warfare (airplanes, automatic weapons, tanks, cars, and telephones). Of the 60 million European military personnel who were mobilized from 1914 to 1918: 8 million were killed, 7 million were permanently disabled, and 15 million were seriously injured. It was tragic in it's loss of life.

When I was in school, we never learned about WWI. The only reason I knew there was a WWI was because of WWII. So many of the reasons WWII started were because of retaliation over the aftermath of WWI. It's a little irritating to me that no one ever bothered to talk about the subject of WWI. 

Here are a few resources on the topic of WWI that I found interesting. 

1914-2014 Echoes of the great war:

Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery: Rilla of Ingleside is the only Canadian novel written from a woman's perspective about the First World War by a contemporary. This is my favorite book by L.M. Montgomery after Anne's House of Dreams. The reality of what was happening was truly shocking and while I cry every single time I read this book, I am glad that I did and look forward to reading it again.

Audio version (click on the picture)


Downton Abbey Season 2. This is very inspiring that a modern tv show is willing to tackle a piece of history. They spent the whole of season 2 from the war's beginnings to the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza.  

Sergeant York (1941) is one of my childhood favorites. I really enjoy the acting style of Gary Cooper who reminded me so much of my dad. While the film has the war in it it is more about the integrity of a devout Christian who was a conscientious objector. He was a medal of honor recipient too. How does a conscientious objector become a war hero? Sergeant York gave up neither his principles nor his honor. He saw the pain of war but didn't let it change who he was. He was a real hero.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hot Hot Hot!

Hero found a crucifix in Grammie's desk drawer and now uses it to help him drive safely. 

Hot day activities. 

Tomorrow the baby will be a whole 6 months old. I can barely believe it. He's been teething for a long while but has no teeth yet. Just this past week I've been giving him big people food to eat since he's grabbing and mimicing me as I try to eat. It's so cute to see him smacking his mouth with every bite I take. He's been rolling over solidly since 4 months. At 5 months he's been plowing his way around. Just yesterday he's been doing plank position and lunging foreward. He can scoot foreward in his walker taking real steps. He loves to bounce like a mad man in the bouncer. He's a great sleeper. My little baby is such a blessing. How could I have ever done without him. 

Pilot is busy bossing Hero about. It makes Hero very stubborn and he has an opinion about almost everything, whereas Pilot is not and does not. The dynamic between the two boys is a bit unmanageable at times but they do act loving to one another when someone gets hurt. 

Pilot entertaining the baby while Hero plays with his truck

Did I mention it's hot outside? It's 7:30pm and the temp outside is 99 degrees F. We reached a high of 107 degrees F today. The next 5 days are going to be the same. There's not much you can do when it's that hot. Going outside is too hard so we stay inside and lay on the floor. I was letting the boys watch some tv when it was too hot to be outside but a few days of whining and temper tantrums when I said no tv led me to ban tv entirely while Daddy is gone. I turn the tv and dvd player off at the power strip so the remotes won't work at all. The boys can push all the buttons on the remotes and the devices and nothing will happen. It's worked wonderfully. I just tell them it broke and won't work until Daddy gets home. They believe me and I've had no more problems since. I will just need to make sure the boys don't see me flip the power strip off and on or they'll learn how to do it themselves. 

I've been reading some great posts on NFP Awareness week. My favorite was from Catholic All Year blog. I feel the same way about NFP. It's wonderful but it's not for me and my family. My babies come at the perfect time for us, about 19-20 months apart, and we have no grave reason to abstain from having children. We welcome the children with open arms and know that I likely only have a few more years of fertility left to me since I am going to be 37 this year. Sometimes I wish I had gotten married earlier so I could have more babies but I don't know if I would have been open to life like I am now. What really changed the tide for me was listening to a talk on EWTN called "Contraception, Why Not" by Janet Smith. It is awesome.

A few weeks ago I discovered a Russian cartoon called Masha and the Bear. All 42 episodes are free on youtube and you don't need to know Russian to watch the show. It reminds me of Looney Tunes but much cuter. The show is so popular that some episodes have nearly 300,000,000 views. That's right, 300 million views. It's based on a Russian fairy tale and is about a little girl who's about 3 or 4 years old. She's a terror to all the local animals and finds her way to the home of a retired circus bear who takes her under his wing. It reminds me of those Pixar shorts before cartoons like Up. It's mostly gestures and lots of giggling. My boys love it, L.O.V.E. it. Here's the first episode:

Speaking of great videos, I saw a PBS documentary on Nova called Mystery of a Masterpiece about a painting that is believed to be an undocumented Leonardo Da Vinci. It was so convincing it makes me think it really is a Da Vinci.

There is so much more to share but I think it's time to say goodnight. God bless. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Joy in Motherhood

It's been troubling me lately, the vicious and cruel words coming from some very angry people. They are one with the overpopulation belief crowd but go further than that in belief that humans should no longer exist. They are angered by families and children. Is this the result of contraception and planned parenthood? Where we've gone from every child wanted to no child should be brought into this world because we're parasites? Is it as some bloggers write, that so many of us have written the harsh realities of our lives that it's become a complete turn off?

As I browsed the Pinterest boards, I was gazing longingly at the traditionally garbed sisters from the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist and the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia. These happy women are drawing large crowds of young people. They exude joy, peace, harmony, and love. It's easy to see why young people love them. 

Contrast those sisters with those who threw off their habits after Vatacan II. They seemed like such bitter people who were repressed, but even after their "reslease" from oppression they were still bitter. Where is the draw? Those orders are dying now. The ones thriving are those who embrace tradition. But it's more than tradition. They are visibly happy and perfectly visible.

Considering this, should mothers try to embrace the roll of motherhood, slow down, and live in the moment? Finding joy, peace, and love in their vocation? 

We seem so haried by keeping up with what other mothers are doing: sports, career, school, homeschool, arts and crafts, party planning, field trips, and on and on. 

I looked at some old photos of motherhood the other day. They were from a collection of lost photos from the 70s. All were in black and white. They were beautiful. The mothers looked so calm and at peace. Even with a child acting crazy in the background. They were reconciled to their place in life. I want that peace, that surity. 

I think I will try to post those things that are motherhood to me and what makes me a mother. Some things will be tough but most will be joy and love. My boys are but little. We have plenty of growing up to do. 

Comparing the size of their popsicles.

Resting safe in Grammie's arms.

When my boys act like twins.

Sharing their trucks with the baby.