Friday, August 31, 2012

Baking bread

I think it was the entrance antiphon this morning at Mass but it could very well have been something else. I know it wasn't the first reading or the Gospel.

Forgive me for not knowing. Wrangling five kids in the pew (and it wasn't even wrangling today, really, they were quite good) can cause my mind to only catch half of what is said during some parts of everyday life.

Anyway, we heard this somewhere today during Mass:

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.

Matthew 13:33

If I'm not mistaken, it also came up at Communion.

So, whether it was actually there or my mind was just remembering the wonderful rosemary baguette that we consumed last night, I turned to eldest daughter after Mass and said, "let's make some bread." Of course she agreed. Even the little ones wanted a part of the action so, before naps, they got to feel flour, smell rosemary, and watch the yeast work its magic. Fun in the kitchen with science and math (oh, and religion - we made cloverleaf rolls and talked about the Trinity)!
A note added and they were delivered to our favorite Fathers :0)
Also, just in case you doubt the "give and it will be returned to you" teaching...while the rolls were in the oven, our angel of a neighbor stopped by with some tuna casserole. The tenfold part as well since my rolls were decent but her tuna casserole is the best ever!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flying Pigs and Firetrucks

Well, what a wonderful day we had today!

First we went to Bottom Dollar and had our picture taken with our very favorite flying pig.

Then it was off to Chick-Fil-A to see some really awesome firetrucks and speak to some really cool firemen (the hats didn't hurt either). Between that and playing in the slide room/seeing the little cow, it was like Disneyland and Christmas all wrapped up in one. (DH and I did comment that we probably don't take them out enough. LOL.) A great day.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Decide today

The first reading at Mass today was from Joshua.

"If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

Fr. Brian used this reading as an excellent "jumping off" point for his amazing homily. He spoke about all of the false gods that exist today and the need to decide, once and for all, whom we would like to follow.

I firmly believe that we, as a society, have gotten so caught up in 'things' that we have completely lost our way. Who has the latest Coach bag? What's happening on 'Jersey shore"? Who is dating whom/having a baby with whom in Hollywood? Which neighbor has a bigger car/diamond/house than you? Is any of this getting us closer to heaven?

So, take some time today and consider whom you will serve. If you choose not to follow the One who can lead you to Eternal Life, "to whom shall 'you' go?".

Y'all know where we are with this but just in case you forgot (it's such a great reminder to me as I head out the door)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hot Dog Wisdom

I was driving down the road this morning when I saw this message at, of all places, the Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe:

A calm sea

does not make

a master sailor

It really struck me because I was coming home from a really wonderful time at the park with some old friends and some new and their kids. The kind of day that used to worry me so much that I would find some reason to eventually back out and hide at home.
I know it's shocking to some of you but I'm not really a "people person". Truly. I would take sitting home and reading a book over heading out into the unknown with my inconsistent children and chatting with fellow moms. I'm not a chatter. If you have chatted with me, you already know this.
So why do I do this? Well, let's see.
First, I know that my children need other children, in addition to their siblings, with whom to interact. I always forget this until I see my bookworm running in a pack of kids and having fun. I feel that I have to stretch a bit for her and for my #2 who is always attached to my leg these days. Part of mothering is letting go. I'm not ready to let go completely but I do enjoy watching them leave the nest for longer periods. It's such a blessing to be able to see them grow while being there to provide a stable landing area.

Next, I know that I need to be out. I usually have at least one positive experience with each outing but, for me, it's even more basic than that. I need to get out of this house sometimes. I need a change of environment (even more that the kids I think) to break up my days. I don't want to leave my kids while I do this so these gatherings are an even better two-for-one deal.
Finally, it is the group. I have spent my whole motherhood, 7 years now!, looking for the place where I best fit. I have been to many different groups and I think, finally, I have found one. I don't blame the other groups. I was refining myself as a mother early on and they, more than anything, helped me to realize what I wasn't looking for in companions for me and my family.
So, I find myself here, in a group of women (and men) with their children. We are all in the same boat. Some of us are more masterful sailors than others but we are all headed in the same general direction. I like that. I like knowing that the kids running around with my kids hear and see a lot of the things at home that my kids hear and see. I love "chatting" with someone whom I realize has as difficult a time with it as I. It is a wonderful blessing that I have come to this place.
Now, with my co-captain and our five little deck hands, we will sail on and continue to follow that guiding light to the best of our ability. When I look back, I am amazed at the storms we have weathered. Trust is a wonderful thing. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Well, we certainly ate today, didn't we?

After dropping the middle three at MDO, we went to Panera (this was after she had half a doughnut at MDO and a decent breakfast at home before Mass...)
On to Papermart to get some balloons. Isn't she so pretty?
Picked up the MDO crew and walked to Pamela's  - chocolate chip banana waffle

Home for a nap...everyone, actually, but he was so cute I had to take a picture ;0)
Grammy and Aunt Syl showed up and we partied well into the evening. How blessed we are to have a happy, healthy 7-year-old!

 The sisters and their corn

Triple layer, fudge-filled, calorie laden yum!

 American Girl doll -- no comment. I didn't buy it.
 A fantastic Saints book - thanks Aunt Julie and Uncle Char!
 She definitely got some cute gifts - including a watermelon umbrella!

Thank you, little girl ;0)

Seven years ago this afternoon (2:05 PM), I became a mom to a most amazing, precious, adorable, little (well, figuratively) girl. The struggles we have endured during the last seven years have often not been small but then, neither is my love for her. She has had to endure my journey through motherhood; something that had been difficult at the last-born, I'm not exactly used to having little people around. Still, she's hung in there and for that I am grateful.

Last night she said, "Mom, I'm glad God let you be my mom." Wow. I am so humbled that He has done just that. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Thank you, dear one. May God bless you with many, many more happy, healthy years. I love you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice.
Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him."
St. Bernard, Pray For Us!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Introducing: The Poka Joka

My eldest son fancies himself an artist and a chef. He tells me, on occasion, "Mommy, when I get older, you are going to be tired of eating because I am going to make so much food for you!" That promise gets me through a lot of cooking these days ;0)

Given the fact that he will keep me well-fed one day, I feel that I need to indulge him somewhat right now. He so loves to cook and making up recipes with his older sister (the scribe) is something that takes up hours of his time right now. I'm thinking we'll have to learn measurements (and fractions!) soon so that the recipes make greater sense but, for now, I'm just happy he has a hobby.

In this discussion of vocation, he has flat-out refused to even entertain the thought of God calling him to be a priest one day because of this great desire to be a chef. Thankfully, we stumbled upon Grace Before Meals yesterday with Fr. Leo Patalinghug. Whew...back on the table!

Thanks for is the now famous (around here) Poka Joka:

You spread a baby spinach leaf with peanut butter and nestle in half a Hershey's miniature

Then you wrap them up into a cute little bundle

and feed them to your little brother ;0)

I had one and they're not bad because, really, it's basically a peanut butter cup. Still, he was trying so hard to get some nutrition in there with the spinach so I give him credit. I would say excellent first attempt!

As for the name...I have no idea.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Makes sense to me...

As you already know, if you've been following along, my dear beloved not-the-mommy-car was recently given away to a cabrio mechanic (or someone posing as such) since that is what was needed at this point. There was just too much money to invest to bring it back to life and, considering the home in which we live, we don't need two sources of money-drain.

So now, I am currently experiencing extreme convertible-withdrawal and have been doing all that I can think of to convince dh to purchase one, as his car, to replace my old Jeep (which has nearly 100K miles). He's not going for it but I will soldier on. Here's my brilliant argument...

My last pregnancy (as you also know, had you been following along) was full of challenge and uncertainty. When I went to confession for the last time before having the baby, and several times prior, my priest/spiritual director said "you just have to let 'fiat' be your constant prayer and turn yourself over to God's will."

Since then it's been kind of a mantra of mine. I felt very close to Our Lady during and after the pregnancy and I have tried to use her example to turn myself over completely.
So, of course, my next NTMC should be...

Admit it, it's cute...;0)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How did my mother...

get anything done? I am starting to think the "playpen" was where we spent a good part of our day. She stayed home but there was no microwave, clothes were cleaned in a ringer washer (for a time) and hung on the line, food was grown and canned, many things got done. The clutter, while there, was no where near what it is in our house. Perhaps I'm remembering poorly but all I can recall is lots of kids and lots of noise and fun. Inside, outside, all sides.

So, kudos to my mom! I'm not all that. I'm not a retro-mom. I am homeschooling and I cook dinner most days of the week and I try to spend time with my little people. I don't do everything I should. Cloth diapers aren't fitting into the schedule right now. Some days I spend more time on here than with them and, for that, I am regretful.

Lately, though, I'm trying to consciously be with my kids more and live less in cyber-world. Once in a while, I take a few minutes to really appreciate the wonder of God's creation. Like, at 4 months old, my son's foot is exactly as long as my index finger.

At retreat, a recent "mother of five" passed along this poem to me. I had never seen the first two stanzas and now it makes much more sense. I like it. It's my new theme song ;0)

Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton (1921- )

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockabye, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

Monday, August 13, 2012

4 months...already?

I do think, despite all that's been going on lately, this has been the quickest 4 months yet. Even though he looks like he's closer to 6 months (16 1/2 lbs, last check), he's still my baby boy.

Happy 4 months, little man. Wishing you many, many, many more :0)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Feast Day(s)!

We are lucky enough to have two feast days within one week at our household. This week is always one big party!

St. Dominic was first - chocolate pudding pies for dessert followed by the family rosary.

Next up - Santa Chiara - strawberry shortcake and little one carrying hosts around from the Mass kit.

It is such a blessing to learn about those Saints who have gone before us. The extra desserts don't hurt a bit either ;0)

I just realized that this is my 100th post. It's been almost 8 months since I left Facebook in hopes of living a happier, less self-and-other-critical life. I know I still rant (did any of you know my dad?)
and, given the upcoming election, I reserve the right to continue to rant on occasion.

Truthfully, though, the peace in my heart is a wonderful gift. Thanks for following along with me. I'm grateful for the trials and blessings of those eight months. God willing, I will still be here eight months from now, rambling on about one thing or another :0)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The whole "Catholic" thing...

I have been trying to keep up with Cardinal Dolan (while wondering about his invitations to certain dinner parties - not going to rant on that right now) and I ran across this article : Evangelizing Amid Sobering Statistics  Permit me to wonder aloud about a few things...

First, Cardinal Dolan doesn't really address the "lapsed Catholics" who still consider themselves "part of the family." I, however, need some answers. Can you explain this to me? I'm starting to feel like we need a "Catholic church Alumni Association". You know, for those people who don't really want to be part of the organization anymore but still like to bring it up in conversation sometimes. Heck, maybe they'll even go to "homecoming" every few years and make a donation once in a while. Those who, for whatever reason (do you have one?), don't want to follow the teaching but still want the Sacraments and want the freedom to label themselves "Catholic" when the situation presents itself.

I promise you, this is not a rant. I really, truly, would like to know why this is. I am a practicing Catholic. I fail at that...often. However, at the end of the day, I do think I try the very best I can to educate myself about my religion so that I can follow it to the best of my ability while also passing it on to my children. It's not easy. It's very often not fun. It's almost always counter-cultural. Why would you want to paint a target on your back (especially these days) if you're not going to get the full grace and benefit from walking the walk? There are sooooo many other religions out there. We won't make you stay if you really want to be elsewhere.

Second, this kind of astounds me:

"But I wonder if another group is most somber of all: this is the big percent that tell us they left the Church not so much because of any particular beef with Catholicism or because they found another congregation more tantalizing, but because they do not see the need for any religion at all!
These are the ones who claim that they believe but could care less about belonging. They’re 'spiritual' but not religious, they tell us."

So, let me work this through my tiny brain. These Catholics have left the Church, not for any specific reason (like pedophiles or women's ordination) , but because they aren't really religious at all. They don't want to belong. Wow. I would have liked to talk to some of the people who answered in this manner. You're telling me that you read the news every day and your best plan is to go it alone? Why are we so much about individualism in this culture? Why do we think we can solve all the problems by ourselves? Why are the incidence of depression and feelings of isolation so high when we all have 500 friends on Facebook? (please note the above comment...I'm not saying that everyone will choose to be Catholic but, goodness, don't you want a family somewhere?)

As you can see, I have no answers. It's just so troubling to me to think that society has changed so much and that so many people think it's better now. I look at my childhood and the society in which I am raising my children and I tend to disagree.

And now I'm off to bed to listen to the thunderstorm. Better than therapy and so much cheaper!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ta Ta tonsils (and adenoids)!

So, today was the day. One of those days that this mama dreads. The day when you have to see your baby in pain. Even pain that is for good drives me nuts. I know pain. Each of these babes has brought me a great deal of pain as they entered the world (and even some after that). I would gladly exchange that on a monthly basis to not have to see them experience all but the smallest amounts in their lives.

That's part of growing up. I know it. At almost seven, I am so blessed that a knot in her hair has been the greatest discomfort she's experienced to date. I know, when this trial has passed, it will give her perspective. She will realize that there will be pain in her life and, hopefully, rejoice when she is free from it.

The doctor reports that her nasal passages were 90% blocked with adenoids so I am praying that this is the answer we've been seeking. More rest, good rest, more focus, more energy. We shall see.

Hah...he thought he only had to wear these for childbirth ;0)

Kudos to the staff at Children's North. They were so amazingly accommodating of us and our needs-to-eat-every-hour-going-through-a-growth-spurt son even though he is technically verboten in certain areas. What a wonderfully family-friendly place.

An even greater bonus- two amazingly helpful mom "tips":

1. To make Rita's at home, melt a double Popsicle in the microwave for 30 seconds and mush out the lumps. A slushy without the trip!
2. (this is huge in our family) - The "just in case" bag. If you have a child that tends towards car sickness, put a diaper into a small plastic bag. If they are old enough to hold the bag and direct the vomit into it, it the diaper will absorb all the liquid - NO SPILLS! (I am amazed at the knowledge floating around that place.) In rush hour traffic today it worked like a charm!

I am thankful that we have the ability to help our children have a better quality of life. Please pray for us...three weeks of no major exertion is going to be a stretch.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

VBS and Retreat!

It was a busy weekend or, to be more specific, a busy Friday...then, finally, a little bit of mommy-time.


The two oldest attended Vacation Bible School at my mom's parish this past week. After a shaky start, the younger of the two seemed to enjoy it even more than the veteran. We attended their closing concert on Friday morning. I am always amazed at how many songs you can cram into a little person's brain over the course of one week!

The Associate Pastor was on hand to give a final blessing and talk to the kids. He spoke about how wonderful it was to see so many little ones - the future nuns, priests, moms and dads of the Church. Well done, Father :0)


Truthfully, I didn't want to go. I wanted to spend the time at home with my family, hanging out and watching the Olympics, doing what we do most weekends.

As always, I'm glad I went. I laughed with Mother Mary Ann last night after telling her how much I got from the Retreat Master's talks. She said there is a little story that a woman felt badly about the others at her retreat since it was obvious that Father was speaking directly to her.

I did feel like that a bit...especially when he talked about the martyrdom of motherhood and our acceptance of that vocation. It was a beautiful talk. I wish we could record these things. But, as he said, he's sure he'd be stoned saying that in most other places.

In the end I had a lovely 24 hours with some moms that share my views on most things, a refreshing change!, and some one-on-one time with Mr. G. I think he enjoyed his time as well. Sister Renata wouldn't leave his cheeks alone. I can't say I blame her.

My Roomie :0)

Leaving for Lauds at 6 AM

This week brings tonsil/adenoid surgery for child #1. Please keep us in your prayers!