Thursday, October 31, 2013

More from Dr. Ray

I have been reading the latest book from Dr. Ray Guarendi, Winning the Discipline Debates. Let me tell you what I think ;0)
Winning the Discipline Debates

The structure of the book is a fun, easy read. The layout is like a play script (including stage direction from Dr. Ray!) setting up the conflict and addressing different possible outcomes depending on the parent's and child's action/reaction. The book covers a wide range of behavior and discipline issues so it's likely that you will find something that can help you with your parenting.

If you are a fan of Dr. Ray, or just enjoy wry humor, you will enjoy this book. It is typical Dr. Ray, self-deprecating, humorous, with good tips all along the way. Dr. Ray's ability to cut to the core issue is always refreshing. He is not afraid to say the things that need to be said, regardless of how they play with today's societal climate.

I enjoyed reading this book. I think it will help a lot of parents, regardless of where they are in their parenting journey. It begins with a toddler problem in Chapter 1 and ends with a sixteen-year-old in Chapter 25 so this would be an excellent gift for a new parent. That way, they can check back with it all along their parenting journey.

For fans of Dr. Ray, there are bits of wisdom that are repeated or repackaged from previous books. I look at that as positive reinforcement...most of us don't learn things completely the first time around. Try it for yourself or buy a copy for another parent. It will make the journey a more enjoyable trip.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Winning the Discipline Debates. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I am not a fan of Halloween (it's not even the religious thing, really, it's just not in my top holidays). I do like pumpkin picking and carving, though. We had a fun evening turning our squashes into happy (and sometimes not) jack-o-lanterns.


 The purist decided not to carve at all!


after thinking about it...

and making friends with it...
he decided a soft pumpkin was much better to snuggle

DH and I have vastly different ways of carving. His involves lots of time and planning.
It usually ends up with a nice smiley
or even frowny pumpkin
Dad is funny ;0)

Mine is the green one (after many choruses of "Jack's pumpkin MUST be a Jack-o-lantern!)
freestyle, baby...done in 5 minutes or less
Wishing you all a safe and happy All Hallows' Eve!

Five Fall Favorites

It's Fall. I can't deny it so I'm not trying. I don't hate Fall, I don't even hate what comes after Fall. I just really dislike dressing and undressing five little people (and, now, it's only like 3 little people so I'm done complaining). Here are my five favorite things about Fall.

1. Sporties!
When park days are a memory it's time to move indoors and get our energy out. This year #s 3&4 are eligible for Sporties for Shorties, a program for preschoolers that teaches the very basic fundamentals of several different sports. Since we're not the competitive sort here but still want the short people to know the difference between a basketball and soccer ball, this is right up our alley! Today's sport was basketball - ball handling, shooting and lots of running. This equals sleep immediately following - triple bonus!

2. Fall Food
Isn't it nice when you can turn on the oven again without melting into a puddle? I am all about Fall foods - soups and stews. I just found recipes for chicken and butternut squash soup and mid-winter minestrone (OK, a bit early on that one but I have all the ingredients!). Yum.
3. What is Fall Food without apples?
We went apple picking with friends a couple of weeks ago so I guess it's time to make the sauce (or wait for the hard cider ;0) ) I had a friend helping me as I peeled and chopped and dumped into the crock pot (actually he ate while I peeled). Back from our daily errands and the house smells AMAZING and the sauce is ready to freeze. Except that, like every year, they will eat it all before that happens. Oh well. Perhaps I will make more tonight and hide it before they wake up!

3. Decorations
Around here, Fall decorations have to last through Thanksgiving so we stay away from specifically "Halloween" decor and go straight for harvest. This year I got my bale of hay (DH is never a fan) and I strategically placed on it the pumpkins we picked on our apple outing (the green one makes me smile every time I see it). It's not Martha Stewart but it's good enough for this house. Just a little touch to say we're not too busy to notice the seasons changing. (Yes, if it were up to me I would have a GIANT mum behind the whole thing...alas, when I was leaving for the farm, DH's only words were "NO GIANT MUMS" So, it's not me, it's him.)
4. Respect Life Month
Every October is not only dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary but it's also Respect Life month. This month we have we been attending the vigil at 40 Days for Life as much as possible and we've also been working on respecting one another as God's handiwork. Think of it. Would you approach people or situations differently if you tried (sometimes with all your might!) to see Jesus there? It is an interesting and important exercise.
5. "Falling Back" and hour
For anyone who loves to sleep, it's your time of year. Cold and dark in the mornings...what is better than lounging around in your bed for an extra hour or two? Sadly, that has not been my life for more than 6 years now. I would love to sleep in on any given day but responsibilities deem otherwise. Oh well, the good part of the dark, cold mornings is my kids. The two that never want to sleep will usually stay under the covers until about 7. Definitely a positive!

We are blessed!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Giant steps are what you take...

I hope my legs don't break...

Thank you Mr. Sting, Mr. Browne and Mr. Jackson (Joe) for being my companions on my Run for the Little Flowers 5k this morning. I am pleased to report, while I don't know the ending time (because my gps quit after the 2nd mile), my first two miles were personal records and while that is slower than lots of people walk, it's still cool to me. I don't need a starting gun if I have 36 degree weather pushing me forward ;0) Perhaps one day I can run somewhere flat, say Michigan or Wisconsin, and actually break that 10 minute mile. LOL.

Me in my duds...I am nothing if not colorful.

My post-run accessory (after the run, not during!). No one said "don't run" but they make me wear this crazy thing. I'm giving it about a week. Then I'll just offer it up and wince.
So, see, even I did this so you can too. Next October, please join me for this run. It is fun and it does a lot of good for the tiny people. We are blessed!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


About a month ago, #1 and #2 children joined the Jr. Tamburitzans of the South Hills. It's been interesting watching them blossom into performers (ok, watching #2...#1 already had the cello thing going). Tonight was their first performance at the East European Festival at the University of Pittsburgh. Considering it's only been a few weeks, they did great. Give that little boy a stick and he's all over it ;0)
Our little Eastern European kids ;0)

Middle and far right (I like the hats!)

Swing your sister

It is a great group of kids.
Stick man!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teaching our children...Part 2

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Truly, I didn't know there was an actual day for this. I'm not one for "National day of  ..." but, to each his own. For my part, considering the day, I think it's pretty cool that the Holy Spirit gave me such an important and timely teaching moment today.

I was heading to a local church to pick up my kids from Catechesis of The Good Shepherd this morning. When I pulled into the lot, I noticed a bunch of the school kids and a deacon "planting" a multitude of white crosses on the front lawn, along with a sign that says "Pray to End Abortion" (the crosses are to remember the children lost to abortion). What a beautiful sight that was. What an awesome Catholic school to teach such an important lesson.

White crosses - anti abortion protest Stock Photo - 4073075

With a 3- and 4-year-old in the car, it's sort of hard to ignore 30+ crosses that weren't there when you arrived. So, it went like this:

Child #3 - What are those for?

Me - They are to remember the babies who died from abortion and are in Heaven.

Child #3 - What is abortion (he's heard this answer...perhaps not enough)?

Me - Well, sometimes mommies and daddies don't think they want a new baby because they have too many or because they're not ready or because they're scared so they see a doctor and the baby goes to Heaven.

Child #3 (indignant) - Why wouldn't they want another baby? Who would do this?

Child #4 - My sister went to Heaven!

Me - Yes, sweetie, she did. That was God's plan so we know it was the right one. The trouble is when a person, who isn't God, decides that a baby should go to Heaven. That isn't God's plan and it's not the right one. That is why it's very, very sad.

I think most people know that miscarriages and stillbirths happen. It is sad, yes, but it is His will. I am at peace with that. I would like to make more people aware of all the babies who, unlike my baby, went to Heaven according to man's plan, not God's.

Today and every day, let's remember those who were lost against their will and against His will. Surely we can all share that sorrow and pray for the day when it will no longer be.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Lately it seems like we're on the run constantly. I'm not a fan of that at all but sometimes it works out. Today, for instance. Non-stop activities from beginning to end but lots of fun along the way!

1. Family Pictures!

I always try to snag a Groupon for these since they're so darn expensive. This year we went with Portrait Scene and had the shots taken at Phipps Garden Center. Beautiful place, a few cranky little people (the littlest one mainly...he just wanted to play in the fountain). So, we'll see how they turn out. Still, for $19, if we get even one good shot, I'm happy!
A nice group shot minus Mr. Crabby pants ;0p
2. Duquesne Homecoming!

We don't usually go to homecoming at Duquesne. I think because it's my undergraduate alma mater (not dh's) but also because it seems like such a production. Today we had a beautiful day to check out the campus, have some yummy food, play some games and enjoy family time together.
The science fraternity making ice cream with liquid nitrogen

Science lab? check!

It was quite good actually

Go Dukes!

Playing Duquesne Plinko
3. Slovaktoberfest!
We are now proud members of the Western Pennsylvania Slovak Cultural Association and today was their Slovaktoberfest, aka Slovak beer tasting, at Sonoma Grille. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon with my beloved. Meeting new friends and enjoying good beer and amazing food. 

That first beer translates as "Thirsty Monk" - cute

Ham, mayo and horseradish on bread. Slovak sushi. Yum!

4. Dormont Street Fair! 

This is the first year we've actually made it down to this event. Usually there is something else happening or we don't feel like immersing ourselves in the local culture. However, Aunt and Uncle are also in town this weekend so they were kind enough to come along. That makes 4 adults to 5 kids...pretty much even. We saw some friends we hadn't seen for a long time and had a nice walk so it turned out to be a nice evening.
PA state requirement in fire safety? Check!

My cookies with the cookie

Hey...did a giant cookie just walk by?

And, hey. Here is a giant green bear!

Enjoying supper on the sidewalk. Ahhh, city life ;0p
It was a good, packed, beautiful day but I am bushed. Off to bed to get some sleep before tomorrow's non-stop fun. We are blessed!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Then and now...

I was just reminiscing with the kids about our trips to the apple farm to pick each Fall. I came across this picture from our very first outing...October, 2008 - #1 and #2 are on the far right (baby #3 was 2 months from making his appearance).

Fast forward five years...(The group shot has the right amount of kids but not the right kids...finding it harder and harder to arrange group poses!)

I love having traditions that we look forward to each year (including making applesauce after!) What a wonderful time to spend with family :0)
We are blessed!