Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Friends

Recently, the Little Princess has assimilated the concept of "friends." Last week she was trying to get me to do something for her, so she patted my arm and said sweetly, "We're friends." Yes, we are, and you're very cute, but you're perfectly capable of walking downstairs yourself.

Then yesterday after dinner she said "We're friends!" to Miss Kitty several times (with no apparent ulterior motive). After successfully pronouncing Kitty's real name for the first time ever. (It's not even that complicated a name; LP must have been intimidated by three syllables or something.) Banner day for Princess-Kitty relations.

Today, LP and Dad were playing with magnetic letters on the front door, when she clocked him good with her elbow and promptly chirped, "We're friends!" Apparently true friends let you wallop them upside the head.

(Mom hasn't been dubbed a friend yet. For the time being, moms are just moms, I guess.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On being a smart woman

Something I wrote six months ago and didn't have the guts to post. Then I read this post at Just Jen and decided to throw my two cents into the conversation. A follow-up post may appear after I've had time to ponder.

The other day the Cobbler and I had a brief discussion of finances, specifically student loans, and I was suddenly struck by the fact that if things go the way we hope, he'll end up paying off most of mine. (The plan in brief: He gets job, we get married, we have lots of babies.)

Now, first off: I don't go around racking up student loans indiscriminately because I'm counting on living off my future husband's income. I've done research on what computer programmer type people make and it's a decent amount, generally, but not enough that we'll have piles of money lying around or anything. And even if that wasn't an issue, who wants to start off their independent adult lives thinking, "Oh, great, a big pile of debt I have to pay off before I can even think about chasing hopes and dreams and suchlike."

That said...the Cobbler and I know what our goals are. And one of those is to have me stay home with the kidlets. Even if that means that "his" money does things like pay off my debt, that I got because I was a stubborn thing and went to a private college when I had a full ride to a state school.

Perhaps the fact that I'm even slightly troubled by that idea is evidence of the fact that I was raised in a post-feminist world, where smart women get college degrees and cool-sounding jobs and don't get married until they've been on their own for a while and etc. You've probably all heard it. (If you haven't, I'll let the rest of the world enlighten you.)

Now, I am very grateful that I live in the twenty-first century. As much as I complain that I'd rather be a pioneer and live in a log cabin, there are definite perks to this era. If I had been born more than a few decades earlier than I was, the Cobbler and I might never have met or fell in love. I mean, seriously. We met at a scholarship competition. (We both lost, but I like to think that I won something better than a scholarship. :)) We fell in love during our first year of college.

And let me tell you that a long-distance relationship wouldn't be much fun without all the twenty-first century gadgetry. Skype is my best friend.

I am thankful for the opportunity to go to college, not just because of the Cobbler but because of me. Franciscan's been a blessing to me and maybe God would have found a way to make me who I am even if I'd been born 100 years ago...but maybe the reason I was born in 1989 and not 1889 was because He knew that what He wanted to do with me could only be accomplished by putting me in this era.

But I do not think that a smart woman needs to go to college or needs to have a spiffy white-collar job. And I don't think that raising kids is a waste of her mind and talents.

I, for one, plan on using everything I've learned to help my kids become everything God wants them to be.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our baby is delicious

The Little Princess got baptized yesterday (YAY! No more little heathens running about!). This morning, after her bath, she was feeling snuggly so I was sitting with her wrapped up in a towel and rocking her. I remarked to Mom that she still smelled nice.

Mom: "She doesn't smell like mango?" [leaning down, sniffing] "Those spices must work like a garlic rub or something."

Me: "Should we pop her in the oven and roast her?"










[Even though I'm sure no CPS types read this blog, I feel compelled to note that the LP is still alive and well, since we did not in fact roast her.]

Saturday, December 26, 2009

To my goddaughter, on the eve of her baptism

Dear Little Princess,

Right now, your spiritual life consists of saying "I wuv you, Zhezus!"and splashing about in holy water fonts. (You also enthusiastically kiss my Divine Mercy medal whenever you get ahold of it, which hurts my neck a bit but melts my heart quite a lot.) Since you're only three, that's pretty good. When you get older I'll introduce you to some new people: Ignatius and Irenaeus and Augustine and Bernard and Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas and Julian of Norwich and all the other names I can't remember right now that are currently in boxes in my closet. But that's for later. After you learn to say all your consonants properly.

You'll find, I think, that God is awesome beyond all telling. Everything I can tell you about Him, everything you'll hear and read about in the years to come, only touches the fringes of the reality. Then when you get to Heaven (I pray that you do get there), you can spend all of eternity with Him, soaking up more and more awesomeness and still never getting to the end of it.

Of course, this isn't Heaven down here. There will probably be days when God doesn't seem so awesome. You'll probably wonder what He's thinking with all the crazy things you have to go through, all the prayers that seemingly go unanswered. When it feels like that, just remember that, as we celebrated yesterday, God is with us. He was born, which is messy enough, in a stable, which is even messier, and laid in a manger, on prickly straw, with smelly animals all around. When your life stinks, just remember that. God can come to that place too.

If I could sum up my advice to you in a few words, it would be this: Remember that you are never alone.

And remember always that you are loved.

With all my love,
Your Megan

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I love my family

Mom, tiredly: "I need a bubble bath."

Me: "I need a bubble bath too."

Dad, in a high-pitched voice: "I need a bubble bath too!"

Me: "Real men don't take bubble baths."

Mom: "Except with their wives."

Me: "EWWWW."

...

Mom, instructing me on ideas for dinner: "Look in Mary Owlhaven's cookbook. And if that doesn't work, look under 'ground beef' on the Hillbilly Housewife."

Dad: "And if that doesn't work, look under 'pizza' in the phone book."

...

Mom, as I am standing half in front of the dishwasher: "Please avert your bottom."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Enchanted 15: NaNoWriMo

Although this post was not directly inspired by Just Jen, I felt that it was in the spirit of the Enchanted 15 and thus belonged in that category.

Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo and washed out after about 5,000 words.

Yeah, epic fail.

This year, Rebekah was in Steubenville rather than Spain, so the potential shame of failure was a little more present. Plus, we were able to do some write-ins, and it turns out that racing someone else helps me churn out the words at a prodigious rate. Our second write-in, I produced about 4,500 words in 2.5 hours. I figured that day would stand as my record, but a week later (November 28), I wrote 6,500 words, most of those in the car on the way back from northern Virginia to Steubenville. (The fam and I were visiting my aunt and her family for Thanksgiving.)

Of course, I was not always so prolific. There were some days I only wrote about 300 words. (Basically, I would hammer out a couple of paragraphs and squeeze in an update before midnight, before falling exhausted into bed.) That's what happens sometimes when you're taking 16 credit-hours and working part-time while trying to write a novel in a month.

The real victory wasn't hitting 50,000 words. The real victory was that I wrote. For four weeks, I wrote every single day. That's a huge thing for me. Of course, I then went several weeks without writing anything, but still. It's better than writing for a day and then going several weeks without writing anything.

Speaking of writing, I need to hit publish and go hammer out another few hundred words on a work I'm affectionately referring to as "The Novel That Never Ends."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Knowing your grammar is important

Dad: "Do we have chocolate milk?"

Mom: "No."

Dad: "Do we have chocolate syrup?"

Mom: "No."

Dad: "Do we have chocolate chips that I can melt and put in my milk?"

Mom: "Yes...actually, no, because you can't melt them."

Me: "Now, if you'd said, 'Do we have chocolate chips, which I can melt...'"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby Geek

LP pounds on my door. "Go see Megan! Go see Megan!"

I let her in, and she climbs up on my bed, resting her head on my shoulder while I finish up a game of Worms.

"Dey fall in da water!" she comments excitedly.

Later, I am doing something else at my computer (I can't remember what), and she once again pounds her way into my room. Immediately, she peeks curiously at the computer screen.

"Megan's game?" she asks curiously.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Patience

About a year and a half ago [EDIT: Actually, almost two years ago. Time sure flies.] I wrote a post for my other blog about waiting. (Sometime I will repost it here.) At the time I was in a rare little breathing-space, when I felt clearly that God would lead me where I needed to go when I needed to be there. That clarity ended up leading me to my relationship with the Cobbler. It'd be wrong to say that there was no peace after that--there was a lot of peace. But the tranquil waiting was over. I felt like I had found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and the only thing left was to set about doing it.

Yeah.

Let's just say that knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life doesn't mean the rest of your life gets to start right then. And for probably the last several months that's been really bothering me. This is a perennial problem of mine...I like clear directions. I like maps. Spiritually speaking, I am one of the worst backseat drivers ever and God probably wants to say, "Look, we'll get there when we get there!"

The Cobbler is really good at breaking me of the habit of demanding timelines. He just doesn't operate on timelines. So I have had to learn that the world won't end if you don't have a Grand Master Plan for everything. Things get done, one way or the other. If they don't--well, sometimes you can't do everything. (You have no idea, dear readers, how long it's taken me to disabuse myself of this notion.) Now, this attitude certainly can be taken too far, but it'd be up to the Cobbler to write a post about how my obsessively organized tendencies have helped him, if they have. (Any usefulness might have gotten lost in all the nagging. That's my biggest relationship flaw right there.)

All that is a very long way of saying that right now when I ask God what He wants me to do next all He says is, "Wait." It's something I heard before and I fought it mightily, but in that situation waiting ended up getting me something wonderful. So I'm trying, right now, to wait on God's timing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My birthday present!

We break from our regular Princess-oriented programming to present you with amazingness on a disc: Worms World Party.
Because I am a total dork, I asked Scott to get me this for my birthday. He did, but due to various delays it only arrived yesterday. I installed it today and proceeded to create a team which I dubbed "The Apostles" (By name: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Nathanael, Simon, and Matthew). Over the course of the day they've gone four rounds against the Olympians (Zeus, Hera, etc.) and, fittingly, won.

I think I earn some major geek cred for how much I enjoy having worms named after apostles blow up worms named after pagan idols.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give

The Cobbler is growing his hair out. If I were the sort of person I ought to be, that wouldn't even be a subject for a blog post (at least not here, where I am supposed to be philosophical).

Because I am who I am, I teased him about it for a week. And then God smacked me upside the head and told me to stop being such a brat.

You see, I am perfectionist to the extreme. If you want it done right, you do it my way. And in my world men have really short hair. This could be because in my world most of the men are ex-military, but for whatever reason none of the leading males in my life drama had ever so much as let themselves get a little shaggy about the ears.

When I met the Cobbler almost three years ago, he had short hair. It's gotten progressively longer since. And I've gotten a bit more tolerant of what I affectionately refer to as "hobbit hair," but I draw, or drew, the line at ponytails.

And then, as mentioned above, God smacked me upside the head. So I decided to let it go. And I'm not writing this post to draw attention to my nobility. If anything, I'm writing it to draw attention to just how shallow I am. My boyfriend is above reproach in every way that matters, so I pick on him about his hair because I'm such a nag I have to find something to give him a hard time about.

I'm starting to realize, though, that being right isn't always...well, fun. Satisfying. Sometimes it's better to let something go. Not use it as a bargaining chip ("If I let you do this you have to let me do this other thing..."), not file it away to bring up later when you're mad about something else. Just let go. Because, believe it or not, some things aren't worth making a fuss over.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sometimes a tree is just a tree

Sometimes we have moments like last night, when the LP commanded me to "Pet baby Simba," placing my hand about a foot above the floor. Then she put her own hand about three feet above the floor, moved it back and forth, and announced, "I pet daddy Simba."

(Mom remarked that they were very pale lions. I said they were camoflaged with the tile.)

Then sometimes we have moments like this morning:

Mom: "Do you want a banana?"

LP: [making funny noises]

Mom: "Is that a monkey?"

LP: "No, that's not monkey. I little girl."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Self-fulfilling command

Since it's Advent, we are lighting our Advent wreath more-or-less nightly and singing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" more-or-less on key.

The Princess, fortunately, seems to be one of those people who was born knowing how to sing on key. She doesn't yet know all the words to OCOCE, but she did a pretty good job chirping along to the tune.

Then over dinner, she spontaneously exclaimed, "Rejoice! Rejoice!"

With you around, kiddo, we do. All the time.

This is real

Originally written 10-6-09. Why do I never publish these things?

In Honors we've been reading Descartes and this Tuesday we talked in particular about trusting the senses. Can you really? Is it ever possible to tell yourself definitively that this isn't all a dream or illusion?

Descartes, of course, starts off with the assumption that nothing is certain and quickly runs across an anomaly. To say "I do not exist" is a contradiction because if you did not exist you would not be able to think that you did not exist. 'Twas Descartes who said, "I think, therefore I am." What you almost never hear is that Descartes went on to demonstrate that even if you assumed everything you ever knew was false, you would be able to determine certain things were true, among which the fact that you are not self-existing. Therefore, God must exist. And God must be infinite in all things: power, goodness, etc.

Those are the two things that I can never doubt, if Descartes is to be believed. I exist, and so does God. He puts forward the idea that it is simply logically impossible to conceive of either being false.

And God is not a deceiver. That is a central premise of the writings of this skeptic--God does not lie.

So where does that leave the senses? They are so often untrustworthy. Everything we've experienced when "awake" we've also experienced while dreaming, so how do we know that the state which we call "awake" is not merely another dream?

B, one of the guys in my class, suggested that maybe we're all schizophrenic, caught in a massive delusion for our whole lives, and don't know it. J, another guy (there are only three guys in the whole class), strongly disagreed. One of them brought up the movie A Beautiful Mind. B used it to support his point, that you can never really know, and J used it to support his point.

I happened to watch A Beautiful Mind a few weeks ago. And I happen to agree with J. Some things are certain. No, you can't go through and prove them empirically. You cannot make them airtight, so no possibility of doubt can enter.

Do you want to know what's real? Alicia Nash asks her husband, putting her hand over his heart. This. This is real.

It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reason can be found, he says, long after.

Love. That's what Descartes leaves out. Yet it's essential to his logic. God is love. God is not a deceiver. We are able to find some semblance of sanity in this world because we know that this is real. Love is real.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

GVR: All Little Princess, all the time

LP: "I eating bawwies!"

[I eat some imaginary berries too, and then some carrots.]

LP: "Chicken nuggets!"

Me: "You have chicken nuggets on your farm too?"

LP [knowingly]: "No, dey in da caw."

...

Background: LP is going to be baptized on December 27. About a week ago, Mom helped her try on her baptism dress (which is actually an itty-bitty First Communion dress), and LP promptly asked for her magic wand.
Back to today:

Mom: "We're going to have to get her a baptism book or video or something."

Me: "[Princess], can you say 'I love Jesus'?"

LP: "I wuv oo, Zhezus!!"

Me: "Can you say, 'I hate the Devil'?"

LP: "I hate da Debul."

Me: "There, she knows everything she needs to know."

[pause]

Me: "Should I be teaching her to say that?"

...

Intermission: American Catholicism at its finest

Mom: "Okay, let's pray. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit--DID WE GET OUR MILKSHAKE?!"

...

LP belches.

LP: "Excuse me!"

Me: "You're excused."

LP [giggles]: "I have bubbles in my mouf."

...

LP is chomping down on my finger, so I use my free hand to smack her in the knee, thus surprising her into letting go.

Me: "Ow. I think you need to say you're sorry."

LP [indignant]: "Stop hitting my knee."

Friday, December 4, 2009

The shortest distance

Due to the extreme generosity of his parents, I was able to borrow the Cobbler for Thanksgiving (his mother commented on Facebook that it was the first Thanksgiving ever he hadn't been with his family) and my family took him with us to northern Virginia, where my aunt lives. He got to meet about half of my crazy relatives on that side, and oddly still wants to marry me. Meanwhile, they all found him utterly charming.

There were actually a grand total of 41 people at my aunt's house, from my grandmother (who is dignifiedly ageless) to my cousin's two-month-old baby. Most of them I didn't even know. Apparently they go to my aunt's church or something. The Cobbler ended up striking up a conversation with one of my uncle's friends. Example of how the Cobbler was charming: despite being naturally shy and particularly disoriented, he ended up pretty much being this guy's New Best Friend. They talked about everything from Non-Euclidean Geometry As A Metaphor For Life to Baseball Players Are So Overpaid, Seriously.

And something that stuck with me was that fundamental principle of non-Euclidean geometry which states that the shortest distance between two points isn't always a straight line.

This collided in my brain with a post written by Patrick Madrid over at Faith and Family Live that generated a lot of blog chatter. Now, I'm dating a Catholic, and that was no accident, but at the same time... If there were no Protestant/Catholic marriages in the world most of my family members would not exist. In fact, I'm pretty sure neither of my parents would exist.

And I would not exist. When my parents met, down at Fort Sam Houston, my mom had ROMAN CATH on her dog tags (she still has those, in her jewelry box) and my dad had some military abbreviation of "Nondenominational Protestant." (How do you abbreviate that? NON PROT seems rather the reverse of what's intended. Dad will have to comment and let us know.) Of course, my mom will be the first to tell you that her understanding of Catholicism when she was 19 and my understanding of Catholicism when I was 19 were rather radically different. (Random interesting side note: I am now older than my mother was when she married my father.)

I've wanted my dad to be Catholic since I was old enough to understand the difference. (I think I was about 8 or 9 when I figured out that "Christian" and "Catholic" were not interchangeable.) And when I was 14 I finally got to experience what it was like to have two devoutly Catholic parents. And I will be the first to tell you that my baby sister is going to have a lot of things I wish I had when I was her age, and I don't mean all the cool new toys they've come up with in the last 17 years. (She deserves it, though. She had to play the parent lotto twice before she struck it rich.)

But I wouldn't wish my older sister and I unborn for anything. And I don't think our mother would either, even though she's said that I better not go marrying Protestants when I'm 19. (One of those qualifications is already impossible, and the other highly improbable.)

Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line. God took a couple of young enlisteds who got married under what just about anybody would call highly imprudent circumstances, and He gave them a rock-solid marriage that's 23 years and going strong, with 3 daughters whom I hope are worth all the trouble we cause, and both of them Catholic to the core.

And now He's taking a couple of unabashedly Catholic college students and doing something with them. I am not going to say that just because the Cobbler and I are Catholic our relationship is perfect. (Really, sometimes my friends imply that and it always takes me aback a bit. We've got a pretty good thing going but please don't canonize us till we're dead.) There are going to be plenty of meanderings between that Point A of being 18 and newly in love and knowing everything and the Point B of wherever He wants to take us.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My sister is the cutest thing ever

Over Thanksgiving:

Scott: "Can you read?"
LP: "Um...not yet."

Me: "She wants you to sing "Row Row Row Your Boat.""
Scott: "Row row [changing his mind] Pilot pilot pilot your craft [...] Existence is but an illusion."
[pause]
LP: "You an illusion."

LP: “Hot moon!”
Me: “Hot moon?”
Dad: “Yeah, the moon is hot.”
LP: “Don’t touch it!”
Me: “I won’t, I promise.”
[later]
Scott: “Why is the moon hot?”
LP: “It’s warm now.”

I'm sure I'm forgetting things; other people can feel free to comment and remind me.