Friday, April 4, 2014

The Problem With Self-Sufficiency

This week, after three years of homeschooling, I hired a teenage neighbor to come help me while I work with my third child, Mary Bernadette.

I've needed extra help like this for a really long time, as it's almost impossible to keep little children occupied while educating their older siblings, yet I've been resistant to ask.

I didn't want to spend the extra money.

I didn't want to appear needy.

I didn't want to admit I have trouble completing certain tasks, even though my lifestyle clearly makes the basic stuff (say showering, for example) quite difficult.

Reason # 579 why I need extra help
This is what happens when MB finds a marker in the backseat of the van

So I finally bit the bullet or rather, my mother--in her great wisdom--said,

"Colleen, you need some help.  Here's a little bit of cash, hire someone."

Her permission (and the extra Benjamens) were all I needed to get started and after only one week, I know that from now on, I will always find a way to hire someone to assist me in this capacity.    

This small arrangement--a four hour block of time where I can count on a second pair of hands to take care of daily duties--has revolutionized my life.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fourty Days of What? On Doing God's Will Instead Of My Own




I slipped away recently for a women's retreat and while in a “prayerful” state, I decided to list my Lenten resolutions, the sacrifices I would offer during the fourty-seven days in the desert.  While comfortably nestled in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I tore open my floral covered journal, wielded my Bic pen and scribbled all the ways I would deny myself during the upcoming penitential season.

 It was an impressive list, if I do say so myself, and it included all the important elements necessary for a good Lent--prayer, fasting, and alms giving.  When I laid my head on the pillow that night, I was pleased I had the forethought to pen such fantastic ways to sacrifice.  My smug, self-congratulatory attitude should have set off loud sirens inside the walls of that Franciscan convent, but it didn't.  It was only the next morning during Mass, when I realized I forgot to ask God if He liked my Lenten list. 

So, right after the homily and right before the Consecration, I requested God’s input.  The answer came immediately and clearly.

Read the rest at Integrated Catholic Life.
I slipped away recently for a women’s retreat and while in a “prayerful” state, I decided to list my Lenten resolutions, the sacrifices I would offer during the forty-seven days in the desert.  While comfortably nestled in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I tore open my floral covered journal, wielded my Bic pen and scribbled all the ways I would deny myself during the upcoming penitential season.
It was an impressive list, if I do say so myself, and it included all the important elements necessary for a good Lent — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  When I laid my head on the pillow that night, I was pleased with myself for having the forethought to pen such fantastic ways to sacrifice.  My smug, self-congratulatory attitude should have set off loud sirens inside the walls of that Franciscan convent, but it didn’t.  It was only the next morning during Mass, when I realized I forgot to ask God if He liked my Lenten list.
So, right after the homily and right before the Consecration, I requested God’s input.  The answer came immediately and clearly.
- See more at: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/03/duggan-40-days-of-what-on-doing-gods-will-instead-of-my-own/#sthash.1SMBpcJM.dpuf
I slipped away recently for a women’s retreat and while in a “prayerful” state, I decided to list my Lenten resolutions, the sacrifices I would offer during the forty-seven days in the desert.  While comfortably nestled in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I tore open my floral covered journal, wielded my Bic pen and scribbled all the ways I would deny myself during the upcoming penitential season.
It was an impressive list, if I do say so myself, and it included all the important elements necessary for a good Lent — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  When I laid my head on the pillow that night, I was pleased with myself for having the forethought to pen such fantastic ways to sacrifice.  My smug, self-congratulatory attitude should have set off loud sirens inside the walls of that Franciscan convent, but it didn’t.  It was only the next morning during Mass, when I realized I forgot to ask God if He liked my Lenten list.
So, right after the homily and right before the Consecration, I requested God’s input.  The answer came immediately and clearly.
- See more at: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/03/duggan-40-days-of-what-on-doing-gods-will-instead-of-my-own/#sthash.1SMBpcJM.dpuf

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What The Screaming And Crying Really Mean


I dealt with three different hour-long drama fests over here today.

Three of them.

As soon as I resolved one situation and some semblance of peace was restored, emotional chaos broke out again.

The worst of the scuffles was over a Rainbow Loom.  My "big" girl got mad because the little kids destroyed her thoughtful and well-ordered bracelet making system.  Although the big girl has made repeated requests that everyone respect her things, the little kids ignored her.  When she discovered they had used her rubber bands to make their stuffed animals' necks resemble those of an African Aborigine,she lost it.

She went berserk.

Went coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.

And there was all this drama over some...rubber bands?

I don't know many things, but I do know she wasn't really upset about rubber bands.  She was freaking out because she didn't feel heard.  She didn't feel anyone loved her enough to respect her things.

So she hurled toys and screamed and cried.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All In A Day's Work


Patrick came home with a bag full of owl pellets yesterday.  He was busting at the seams because he spent his entire science class dissecting the fur covered pieces.  As often happens, I was multi-tasking when he recounted his scientific laboratory experience, so I only half listened to what he was saying.

You can imagine my surprise then when I sat down to work with him this morning and he pulled out a Ziploc bag of hair-covered bones and fished them out onto the table.

"We have to glue these onto a piece of paper and label them," he explained as he picked through the wet, matted mass of fur and bones.

"And what are those things?" I asked, disgustedly.  I knew this wasn't going to be good.

"I told you, Mom, these are owl pellets," he said.

"What are owl pellets?"

"Remember, Mom?  I told you already! Owl pellets are the bones that come from an owl's throw up after he's eaten a mouse," Patrick said.  "These are mouse bones!" he said, triumphantly waving a hind leg under my nose.

"I think I'm going to puke," I said.  "You mean we have to actually glue these to paper?  I'm not touching those things.  You're going to have to do it."

To which Patrick replied, "This is the most disgusting, most awesomest thing I've ever done!"

Call me selfish, but I draw the line at wading through animal puke.  The human waste products I deal with are enough, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Puke, Thoughts On Creativity, Parenting Laughs And All The Other Things

  The puke fest at my house last week reminded me of a time when Meaghan and Patrick were just babies and John and I were parenting novices.  The kids caught some nasty stomach flu, complete with vomit and diarrhea, which they generously shared with us.  Though we had violent chills and vomiting, that wasn't the worst part.  The worst part was that John and I both got sick at the same time, so neither of us was available for zone defense. 

Picture this scene:  an 11 month old and a 22 month old with so much energy they would have chased their tails if they had one and John and me, lethargic, achy, and spending serious amounts of time kneeling in front of the porcelain gods.

We lived states away from any immediate family so we couldn't call on them for back up and whatever we had was so infectious, we didn't want to share our germs with the few people who actually liked us.  So we spent the day puking, trying to sleep (impossible!), and reclining on the couch(also impossible!) while throwing crackers and sip cups at the munchkins.  At one point, after begging them for the one millionth time to quit fighting over the same toy car, John made an executive decision to load them in the car.  We were so desperate to have them restrained and quiet, each of us grabbed a pip squeak and buckled them into their safety harnesses.  For the next few hours, John, who was feverish and pukey, drove us around the entire city of Baton Rouge.

The creative geniuses at Hallmark lead America to believe the only way to demonstrate love is with flowers and chocolates.

Not so.

True love is when John and I were equally sick,  but John chose to be my chauffeur in a gas guzzling SUV, so I wouldn't have to chase my lovely, but extremely hyperactive kids.

My hero.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How I Don't Lose My Sanity At Dinner Time


Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you?

It’s 5 pm and your husband isn’t going to be home for another hour—at least.  You have a baby in a sling and a toddler at your hip, whining and demanding to be held.  Your school-age child is sitting at the table banging his head against the counter because he's having trouble sounding out the words in Dr. Seuss's Cat In The Hat.  If the noise and chaos alone isn't enough to drive you to drink, the fact that every single one of your children is also expressing very loudly that THEY MAY DIE IF THEY DON'T EAT NOW is!

THEY'RE HUNGRY, MOM!  HUNGRY!  DO YOU HEAR ME??????? THEY WANT FOOD!!!

The problem?  You forgot to take something out of the freezer.  In fact, you're not even sure what’s in the freezer, except for some heavily processed, freezer-burned chicken nuggets.

It's dinner time after a really long day, every person in your house is crying (including you), and screaming for food (probably not you), and you have nothing to feed them.

Here's the rub--You believe family meals are important, that they are good opportunities for bonding and all that.  You even desire to give your family a hot, lovingly prepared meal but... 

...you just aren't sure how to pull it off.

At least, not today.  

And maybe not tomorrow...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pukemaggeddon

Batteries not included.

Checking in from Upchuck City, where five out of the six Duggan children have fallen ill.

(Please, Lord, spare Baby Edward.  And if you are feeling congenial, spare me too.)

I'm not sick.

Not sick at all.

But....

I'm very cute.

Yeah, I know.

In addition to an ice storm which has left us without power for over 24 hours, we've also welcomed The Stomach Bug From Hell to Casa de Duggan.

So! Much! Fun!

To give you an idea of the rip-roaring good time we've been having,  I set up a communal barf can for the kids for the occasion when they need to spill their guts.  The vomit receptacle has been put to particularly good use.  As Christopher was stooped over chugging, Patrick sagely warned,

"This is going to get worse before it gets better, Mom."

Right again, Master P.

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