Monday, April 29, 2013

Babies (full warned!)

We are (I am, actually) constantly struggling with the whole Catholic teaching of NFP. Basically, should we use it or not? Probably not the way you think so, if you're interested please read on, I will explain.

For those of you who are new here, or don't realize because of my amazingly chipper demeanor and always flawless appearance (not to mention my razor-sharp wit), I am 44 years old. (I know, shocking ;00) We came to the whole marriage/family party late (which is why the pilgrimage this summer is soooo very important) and we are beyond blessed with the miracles with whom God has chosen to entrust us.

We have five children here and one (or more) in Heaven. My husband is almost 48, and we're nearing the Abraham/Sarah age. Truthfully, I have felt like Sarah since the beginning (and have been told so, each pregnancy, by the lovely medical community). So, what do we do?

Catholic teaching is pretty sparse unless you seek it out. When you seek it out, NFP is "necessary for all Catholics". I'm sure they mean as opposed to the Pill, or an IUD but, is it "necessary"?

I have friends in their late 20's with several kids already. If that were me, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I'm fairly sure I don't have the mental stability for 10 kids. As I have said, I'm 44 so it's a different question for us. We have no reason (financial, mental...well, some days!, physical) that is "grave" enough to say "no" to another miracle, should God choose to send one our way.

So, do we need to practice NFP? DH says no and I wish I could let go and go with it. Mind you, I'm as open as he, I just wish I could let it happen. I like charts and graphs and knowing the possibilities. That's my area of control-freak and I am working on it daily. I think I have a fundamental dislike of "suprise". I know, I'm odd.

In the end, we will probably just continue as is. I am sitting here at the end of another cycle that looked perfect on paper. Why am I not sitting here pregnant? I don't have that answer. I do know that God opens and closes the womb at His appointed time. His timing is perfect. So, I'm getting used to the fact that mine may be closed. I think I'm still OK with that.

Today especially, on the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, I have to be joyfully expectant to all possibilities. She, after all, was #23 of 25 children. Wow (for all sorts of reasons)! How could I pass up the chance of a later-born who might do such great things?

Thanks for listening to my rambling. If you have any good insights, let me know ;0)

St. Catherine, Pray for us!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Thanks be to God and a very helpful woman at Delta, we are on our way. It took over an hour on the phone and booking through two different airlines but it worked! I am overwhelmed (good and bad - mostly good) at the thought!

We leave here...
 fly overnight to here...
then hop a flight to here...

and eventually end up here...

I cannot wait to take our kids up to the altar, kneel and give thanks to Our Blessed Mother for guiding me through these last 8 years. How truly blessed we have been and how blessed we are to have this opportunity. Be assured that we will be praying for every one of you on our wonderful journey.

I am sure it will be more than trying at times to take all these little people all that way and yet, I know it's the right thing. I have handed it over and, amazingly, it all seems to be working out. The dates we wanted weren't possible so we had to change. Looking at the calendar, we realized that we're now traveling to and from on Marian feast days/holy days  - just coincidence? You know I don't think so!

Have a great week :0)


Friday, April 26, 2013

7 quick takes

Friday, April 26, 2013

--- 1 ---

Yes, I will always be someone who wishes they could go to school forever. Since that is unlikely right now (although I do still occasionally fantasize about an online degree) homeschooling is an awesome fit. It was so cute to see #1 hold, flip through, and drool over what she will be doing next year. Ahh, my girl.
You might notice the abundance of religious artwork. Just another plus for homeschool. If we ever reenroll at the Catholic school, I will be asking why they're not using the same texts. Yes, they do miss me.
--- 2 ---
I spent almost an hour at the park with the four younger ones while sis was at dance class today. What a glorious morning. Flowers and sun. Ahhh. I love these days!
--- 3 ---
I am so thankful for the beauty that surrounds me because my innards, at the moment are black, black, black. Not sure if it's pre-menopause or what but my mood is ugly. Grouchy and weepy...lots of fun stuff. Thankfully my husband has over ten years of experience with this. He is a saint sometimes.
--- 4 ---
I was so excited to find new (last season) episodes of Mad Men on Netflix the other day. We have watched two and I think we're done. I am so over that whole show. The absurdity of it all disturbs me. I do believe that watching all this abnormal stuff portrayed as normal will eventually weaken your moral fiber. (No, we don't watch any primetime TV. Gave that up a while ago.)
Reminds me of a sticker I saw once that said "for some of us, letting it all hang out meant this"
--- 5 ---

We went to school Mass earlier in the week and Father had a wonderful homily on doing the right thing even if no one else is doing likewise. It just so happened that #1 read a short story along the very same lines that very day. The boy had just been to a friend's house to play a game dealing with warlocks and witches and the mother expressed her wish that he not play such ungodly games. He said (as you know), "but everyone is playing it."
I love when #1 gets hold of that kind of stuff. She spends the next three days looking at her world and finding things that she chooses not to do because she sees it as wrong. Then we talk about the validity of her ideas (she can be a bit overzealous) and what she might say if it comes up in conversation (instead of pulling a fire-and-brimstone on the unsuspecting person). I know some people really need fire-and-brimstone but in my experience, the ones who do honestly believe they're doing nothing amiss. So, we're trying to lead by example instead of "judging" people (can't tackle it now, sorry. it would only be a rant).

Harry Potter is the latest victim. Personally, I have never had an interest in reading the books and doubt I ever will. There are more books than I have time to read in this lifetime and that's just the Hawaii of books for me (don't care if I ever get there). She said she feels the same but for her it's driven by the subject matter. She doesn't want that kind of stuff in her head. Sounds good to me.
--- 6 ---
No reason...just makes me giggle ;0)
--- 7 ---
It is Friday which means I should be fasting and abstaining because of the pledge I made Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty. I have done very little of the rest of the pledge thus far and I'm feeling really crummy about the whole thing. I don't want to fast. I want to eat. Waa, waa, waa (see #3). So, I will keep quiet and do the best I can. I know it is so important and the devil is so keen to my weak points (I don't know how he chooses among them, really). We shall see. There is always family rosary tonight.
Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kid decisions

We probably should have gone to activity day with the homeschoolers today. Instead, we walked to the library, watched some construction for 20 minutes and visited with a neighbor who was kind enough to share her supper with us (it's nice to live down the street from a saint-in-the-making).

I struggle with that first part. I admit that I am more comfortable at home and progressively less comfortable out with other families. Sometimes I venture out because I feel like it is the right thing - their growth trumps my anxiety. Other days I stay here. Am I doing damage by not seeking out more peer-interaction for my kids? After all, how will we socialize our children? ;0)

Then, I realize why we chose to homeschool in the first place. We want to teach our children to interact with and love their siblings. I forget that, in most families, kids have one or two siblings. We have a built-in playgroup!

(our favorite thunderstorm activity)

We want to have them nearby when those wonderful real-life lessons occur (like greeting the people you pass on the street or saying "thank you, we LOVE your meatballs, you are SOOOO kind" to a generous neighbor). That is the kind of "socialization" I envisioned when I brought them home.

I don't think they will ever have trouble finding friends to join (at least that's the feeling I get when we're at the fish fry and kids run up to #1 to talk even though she has been out of their daily lives for a year). If they do struggle, I won't be too suprised  (I certainly wouldn't be one of those people with 300+ "friends" on FB) but we will work on it at that time.

We are blessed to have this opportunity. However long it lasts, I will take each day as it comes. As I have learned from parenting over the last 7+ years (slowly, but at least I got there!) our family is unique. Some things work and some things do not. Some days something works beautifully, only to be a disaster a month later. Choosing between two things can be difficult but we ultimately do what's best for us. This is my effort at letting go and trusting the mind God gave me when He entrusted me with this life and these miracles. I have no idea how it will work out but I do know, from LOTS of experience, when I trust and follow, it usually is exactly the right thing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birthday Boy

Our second child's (and second in April) 6th birthday has arrived!

Not long ago, one of his buddies took him on an outing as part of a "invite two friends for your birthday" party. I thought that was inspired thinking. Smaller in the "show" department but much more meaningful. His choice was a baseball game with two from homeschool and one from preschool. They had a blast (even though it was freezing!). Hey, the Bucs even won the game!

Some pics of the happy trio:

I asked DH if he told them to pose like this..."no," he said, "they're just little boys"
For the actual birthday we started with Good Shepherd then went straight to Silvi's Little Artists. This is the greatest place, ever. Even a developmentally delayed artist such as myself was in awe of how much STUFF was there. The wall of paint was impressive, as was the wall of jars full of cool things like stickers, tissue paper, ribbon, bells, buttons, etc. I can tell we will be back. Heck, I think this will be our homeschool art-of-the-month destination!

Next up - lunch with dad at Bob Evan's. The art was good but all of our kids look forward to sharing part of their special day with dad. We are so blessed to have him close and available. It's so nice to have mom/dad/birthday kid time to relive the "big day" and talk about all the wonderful things that are happening now.

The evening party was for the family and nearby relatives. Again, I love this tradition. The friend festivities out of the way...time to spend the day with your family - especially your sibs. Eat bad homemade cake and good homemade dinner. Talk and be silly.

Have I mentioned I'm not a baker? That paired with the fact that little man is sick so I've been up like 40 hours straight...oh well. They can laugh about it one day ;0)

The party included his requested dinner of "peas and tuna casserole" then cake. This was followed by a serenade from older sister ("Happy Birthday" and a custom piece, "Painter Song") then presents. Lots of fun and family. Just the way I like it !

Oh, and now when you say "cheese" to tiny man, he squints and scrunches up his face. Adorable.

Happy Birthday, first-born son. We love you!

Friday, April 19, 2013

What happened?

Sort of hard to believe that this was less than 24 hours ago, considering the crazy rain-thunder-wind we have going on now! It was, however, and it was also Mr. G's first time sitting in the grass. Alone with bare piggies. ;0) He enjoyed it thoroughly, even though he was a bit put-off by the grass at first.

Here's hoping for many more glorious days in the near future!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


We were invited, as part of a homeschooling group, to tour Sts. Stanislas and Patrick churches in the Strip. The brand new Communicant (who will go to any Mass on any day at any time now) and I headed down this morning.

We were blessed to have Fr.  Kris Stubna preside over the Mass at 10 AM. He is really a wonderful priest. He had such a great homily about the Saints (many of whom were portrayed in paintings and statuary surrounding us) and how we are all called to be saints. He challenged us to be courageous and faithful which is not that easy in society at the moment.

At the end of Mass, he took a few minutes to talk about the joy of his vocation and invited the young men in the group to pray and be open to a similar journey in their lives. I get so excited when I am in an audience like that. It is absent in so many parishes these days.

After Mass, Mike Aquilina explained that, since we traveled to a holy place, we were on a pilgrimage. He gave a very detailed history of the Catholic church in Pittsburgh. He started with the French and worked his way through all the Saints who have had roots in or traveled through Pittsburgh (more than you would guess!). My delighted daughter even got to use the same kneeler that Blessed John Paul II used during his visit to the church.

In continued anticipation of our BIG pilgrimage this summer, it was so nice to take a morning and share some blessed time with other families. What a great way to continue the Easter season!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our First "First"

Because it seemed like a good idea at the time (because we could combine parties) we chose the Sunday after G's first birthday for #1's First Communion. The weekend was a whirlwind but, in the end, I'm glad we did it that way.

I'm not quite sure if this is liturgically appropriate but they enjoyed their "special breakfast" and ate enough to get them through the long Mass. Of course, it was served with grape juice ;0)

I was thankful that it was held during the 11 AM Mass. Even though the two tiny ones were due for a nap, it was less hectic trying to get everyone ready in their Sunday best.

Our beautiful girl. She chose the headpiece and we gave her the St. Cecilia stone charm for her special day.

She's overshadowed by the Grace of God ;0)

Goodness, aren't they cute!
We actually arrived early so we had time for some more shots

One with her good buddy
Then we had 30 min before it started so we just sat for a while
It was a long Mass...this is after, looking a little worse-for-wear (and no, I'm not pregnant..I just gain 10 lbs every time my mil hits town ;0) )

The best friends


Uncle D!
MIB ;0)
We ended the afternoon with a loooong brunch that encompassed family and some wonderful "adopted" family from our church. We are so blessed to have had so many people share in the great joy of the day!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


It's hard for me to believe that this miracle has already been with us an entire year! To celebrate, we gathered friends and family and JAMMED them (sorry everyone) into our house (it was really supposed to be a nicer day) for the festivities. Here are some photos.

one of the three "kid tables"

See? I told you there were lots of people.
I think I've said this before...the family that originally lived in this house had eight kids and it just seems like the house is happy when it's stuffed full of happy people.
a rousing game of foyer v-ball

friends to share the day
instead of a baby smash cake (which DH detests) we got a no-cut cake...which I adore

Hmmm...what is that big thing? Is that for me?

Oh, it's gone but they're SINGING to me...I love people singing to ME!!!

OK, back now. Let me check this out.

(can't help it...he's so cute)

OK, it's dessert?

There's dad with the wipe at the ready

not bad.

yes, yes, I like it!
We have been so blessed and overwhelmed with love by this little guy. He has created loving bonds that will last a lifetime (in our family and beyond). We are so thankful that God has entrusted him to us. How blessed we are.

Happy Birthday, Mr. G!