Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

What a wonderful Christmas it was!  Is!  Because it's a season and not a day :)

Things to Remember:

1) Phil and I , once again, got each other the same Christmas gift - a Fitbit. (That's why we're laughing as we are thanking each other).

2) All of my gifts revolved around exercise - a fitbit, new sneakers, a hand-held water bottle, and a running jacket.  Most women would probably be annoyed at the implication of these gifts, but I loved them!

3) We bought a new car!  Well, new to us.  I finally got a Honda Odyssey!!  She's gorgeous and I need to name her.

4) We don't really "do" Santa, but this year, Maggie asked if she could write a letter to him.  This is the first time any of our kids has believed enough to write a letter.  She asked him for an Elf on the Shelf.  Santa wrote back that he needed to keep all his elves in the North Pole to help him get ready (thank God!) so he couldn't send an Elf on the Shelf.  Instead he told her he talked to her parents and she would be getting to go to The American Girl store to finally get Maryellen!  She was so happy!

5) Nothing makes John-Paul happy like a big stack of new books.

(Though the radio alarm clock and Swiss Army Knife were right up there too!)

6)  Nothing makes Eamon and Andrew happy like anything sports-related.

(Here they got watches with stopwatches to time their runs)

7) Declan loved his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse microphone, calls it his "music" and dances all around to it.

Eyelashes for days and weeks and months and years.

8) Alexander was thrilled with the one missing Ice Age movie in our collection.  We watched it all together for a family movie night, and that just warms the cockles of Maggie and Alexander's hearts.

9) We must remember to cook the cinnamon rolls for longer than we think.  The middle ones are always undercooked!

10) We went to 8 am Mass on Christmas morning this year.  We always go to the early Christmas Eve Mass, but it's sooooooo crowded and hot.  The morning one worked out great!  Hardly anybody was there, and we got to go home and feast and open presents more slowly and deliberately than in years past.  

11)  We are contemplating spreading out the Christmas gifts next year over the vacation week.  We did it a little bit this year, and it makes each day so fun, but now we've run out!

12) After last year's Christmas season of the stomach bug, we were just so so so thankful to all be healthy this year.  It's a gift I won't take for granted.

And that's all she wrote...see ya next year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas Adam!


(because it's the day before Christmas Eve!)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Eve, Muhammed Ali, and Body Image

Phil and I have been watching the Beloved series (recommended by Mary!) from the Formed website as part of our Advent journey.  Wow that sounded so deep.  It's not so much of a journey than an excuse to watch videos on marriage, and then talk about how much we love each other.  It's been really, really good.  We put the kids to bed and sit on the couch by the lights of the tree, hold hands, and it has been such a wonderful way to spend time together, just nurturing our marriage and realizing how lucky we are.  I thought I would come back to the blog with all sorts of insights on marriage, and though there are so many good ones, I ended up taking away a lesson on body image.  Who knew?

The first few videos talk about the origins of marriage, and how it was designed by God.  While the theology is being described, paintings depicting biblical scenes flash across the screen.  At first these paintings were very distracting for me.  There were lots of naked women (well mostly just Eve) and I can get weird about nudity.  I'm no prude (hello - six kids and a happy married life) but I am modest, and my first instinct if I see (even tasteful, artistic) nudity is to look away.  Not because I am ashamed of the human body, but because I respect it too much to gawk.  But these images of Eve were too many to count, and I gradually got used to seeing her body, and I was astonished to learn something.


The artists painted Eve as a real woman.  Like a reeeeeeealllll woman.  With curvy hips, and a small chest, and a (gasp!) belly.  The artist was depicting the first female ever, and chose to paint her body in a way that he thought was beautiful.  Man, I was born in the wrong century ;)

Much unlike the current supermodel's body today - tall, flat stomach, fake chest, barely any curves.  Some of them look completely sickly and not womanly at all! 


I looked at Eve, and looked over at Phil, and said "Eve makes me feel really good about myself.  She has a belly!" and he replied "Real women have bellies!"  It made me think of a quote I read once from a man trying to get the point across to his wife that men prefer curves and soft spots to muscular, boy-shaped females.  He told her "I never once heard of a man trying to reach up a woman's shirt to play with her rock-hard abs."
So funny.  So true.

When January comes, and I'll be working hard at dropping some of this unhealthy holiday weight gain (darn you chocolate and cheese puffs), I want to keep in mind that I should eat properly and workout enough to be healthy.  That's it.  The goal is not to look good in a bikini (honestly, can we just agree that women, especially moms, shouldn't walk around in lycra bra and panties in public?).  I can still be proud of my strengths and curves without having to show them to the world.  As Muhammed Ali told his daughters...

"...everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them."

He looked at me with serious eyes. "Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too."

I will never lose my belly, I will never get rid of stretch marks, I will never suddenly grow a voluptuous bosom.  And that's ok, because I will always be a real woman with soft parts, a one piece swimsuit and flattering, modest clothes :)