Sunday, March 31, 2013


He Is Risen!!

Wishing you all the blessings of this glorious day!

The older three got to hold the Bishop's crozier while he made a wardrobe adjustment...Mr. G had a lot of questions about the whole outfit ;0)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Almost there...

It's so hard to believe we are at the close of Holy Saturday (I haven't heard the bells yet so I guess the Vigil is still going on). One more wake up and we can again sing the "A" word (as #1 has been saying) again!

We've had a good few days around here getting the final preparations done. We were kept in from Holy Thursday services by sick kids and moms but did our best with some feet washing (told you he'd win), "kid" wine and bread, and a nice discussion of the Last Supper.


I was blessed to spend Good Friday with #1 at Armata Bianca and Good Friday services. I truly enjoy little snips of time with each child, especially as they grow, when we can discuss what is happening in their language at their level. She did well with the long day and declared the Veneration of the Cross her favorite part (I must confess, I agree).

Friday night we dye the eggs. I was very impressed...our technique seems to be improving and there were no major spills :0)

Just in case you think he's always happy

#1's art exhibit of the week
Saturday morning we did some chicken dancing with the duck, had the food blessed then ate our traditional Slovak meal (think LOTS of protein). Later I was blessed to spend dinner with a friend while DH took care of baths. I love post-bath bedtime, don't you? They always sleep better.

On their way to bed there was a minor debate about whom exactly would be filling the baskets a friend just remarked, it is amazing that they believe what they wish...some said bunny and some said mom and both are completely fine. I'm not lying about it but, like many things, I'm not going to try to convince a 4-yo to think differently about something that doesn't matter in the grand scheme. Having spoken to him, I think he has the idea that mom puts in the religious stuff and the bunny has all the candy ;0)
Tomorrow we go to Mass early, have a nice brunch and, hopefully (if I hold out) see the Bishop. Whatever happens, we will do it as a family and we will count our blessings.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy (Maundy, Sheer) now "Green" Thursday

Being that we have reached the Triduum, I feel like I have to pull it together, regardless of how I feel, and incorporate some traditions/education here. I wasn't thinking that when I pulled green jello down to make for #2 (who is still fighting this crummy head cold) but after reading up a bit, I figure the Holy Spirit is helping as much as possible so I have to do my part.
First, I pick up one of my go-to books, A Continual Feast
(I recommend the other two as well ;0))
I still can't find out whether or not this woman is indeed Catholic (She does support Opus Dei, so, I guess?) but regardless, it's got some great bits of info to help you celebrate, throughout the Liturgical Year.

The Holy Thursday section says:

This day bears various names in different languages and many beautiful traditions are associated with it...In Central Europe this day is called "Green Thursday." "Green" may well derive from the ancient Germanic word grunen, to morn. (This is, after all, the day before Christ's Passion.) Another possibility is that this "green" - which often involves the eating of bitter greens, such as tansy and dandelion - is a reminiscence of the "bitter herbs" of the Jewish Passover meal.
In any case, in many countries of Europe, something -or in some places EVERYTHING! - eaten this day must be green.

So, like I said, green jello.

Then, I sat and thought a bit about Holy Thursday itself (yes, the little ones watched their share of Alton Brown and PBS today while big sister was at the Chrism Mass). I think tonight is the night we will wash our childrens' hands (DH wants feet and he will probably get his way since it's more accurate) at the table before dinner. We will also break a loaf of rosemary wheat bread that is currently baking (I can see why people use this TV thing!) and have some "kid wine" to commemorate and learn more about the Last Supper.

Almost done!

DH is kind enough to not leave me home with 4 little people at the moment and head to Mass with #1. I'm sorry they will miss it but I guess it can wait a year. Hopefully some part of the evening will plant a seed in these little people, especially if we make it a tradition. I'm not trying to raise experts (although that would be nice) but I want the base to be wide enough that they can build solidly upward as they grow.

Enjoy the evening, however you are blessed, and if you have a moment go read this This is how God is. It's lovely.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Some days

are highly productive, love everyone, smooth sailing days...I post a lot of them here so that, when I look back, I remember some of the highlights.

Other days, more than I like, are up-all-night, sick kids, sick husband, "female issues", watch PBS and veg days. Today is one of those days. I blame the snow. If not for that, certainly most of them would have been pushed outside by now. But, there is snow, so we are here inside.

I'm OK with that. I used to be bothered and feel "failure" on these days but, like all of life, there are ebbs and flows. Time to sow and time to reap and lots of time waiting in between.

Today is save-up-your-energy day. Busy days ahead.

Happy Triduum, everyone!

Monday, March 25, 2013


It has been a busy late-winter and spring for us. By the end of April we will have participated in/witnessed three different Sacraments being bestowed on two different people. We are blessed that our #1 will be the recipient of two (she has already received her first Reconciliation and will receive her First Eucharist in a few weeks).

I've been reading this book:

I like being Catholic

The book is meh for the most part but bits of the section on Sacraments definitely struck a chord with me. It is mentioned that, in each major life event of a Catholic, God inserts Himself through one of the Seven Sacraments.

This is true ...when a baby is born, he is Baptized...when she sins, she makes her Reconciliation. The soul newly cleaned from Penance joyfully receives the Eucharist. A Catholic falls in love and is Married; becomes ill and receives the Anointing of the Sick.

What a joy it is to travel through the world, knowing that God is there to share each major milestone in this life He created. How blessed we are to accept this grace from Him.

Still, I think that's incomplete. What about the day-to-day, laundry, diapers, work, child rearing, test-taking, waking moments? Aren't these also life events that God wants us to share with Him? Can you imagine what might happen if you offered thanks for all of your moments (not just the ones that require a new dress) and put God at the forefront of your life?

I wish I could say I do this all the time, but I don't. I have been improving though. This weekend I pulled a neck muscle and spent most of Saturday into Sunday trying (and failing) to find a position that didn't have pain shooting up and down my neck. Usually I would be crying and wondering why, exactly, this had to happen to me when I was just trying to make a nice lunch for my family and especially the day before Palm Sunday?

For some reason, that didn't happen. I think it's because I spent some of the beginning of the evening reading the headlines on my phone. I'm not posting the links because, if you don't know, it probably is a good thing but if you do know, I came across two terrifically heart-rending stories. First, a baby (who looks soooo much like Mr. G I still can't lose the image) was shot by a young man with a gun and an attitude but seemingly little else. Second was a terrible accident involving a mom with young children and a sign at an airport.

So, instead of whining about myself, I sat and said repeatedly...thank you for the opportunity to have this pain. I appreciate the chance, especially this close to Holy Week, to share some minor way in Your suffering. I pray that You will take my suffering and use it to ease that of the two mothers who lost sons this day. I pray that You can make good out of tragedy and bring light to darkness.

I don't have a miraculous story to tell you about. My neck is still sore, although I did receive an abundance of grace during Sunday Mass that helped me to wrangle the little ones with a diminished amount of pain and included a wonderful reminder from our "pew-neighbor" about how very pregnant I was this time last year; before we had any idea about the beautiful little boy who would greet us the next week.

I'm rambling. Sorry. I've warned you about that. I guess what I'm trying to say is this:

1. Don't wait for the "big" Sacraments to welcome God into your life. Do it every time you have a moment to think or a breath to speak. Thank Him for trials and for joys. Thank Him for each and every blessing.

2. When trials arrive, turn to Him with all your heart. Remember what He suffered for us. Remember that He is our loving father waiting for our call! There is nothing you can endure that He will not guide your steps. Call on Him and his Mother always. Then, when you can, remember others who are suffering as well. Offer your suffering as a balm to them. You never can tell, someone else may be doing just that for you.

Friday, March 22, 2013

--- 1 ---
I am realizing, more and more, that the big fancy camera I requested last year is mainly sitting in its case on the shelf. I know it will be nice when we go on vacation and it was AWESOME for taking passport photos (side business?) but otherwise, not my most well-thought-out request.
--- 2 ---
I am so enjoying the 40 minutes of silence I have after the crazy morning/afternoon we just had. Some days, I like to see just how far I can push things to see whether or not everything will fall apart. My expectations are not high and if it falls apart, it's all my doing. Still, when I hear that someone DH works with took their three kids, 7 and under, to Disney and spent 3 days, dawn-to-dusk with nothing but joy and laughter and good times, I feel like we have no stamina. Ahh, there's Mr. G...time for the fish fry. A 30-minute nap should be more than sufficient, right???
--- 3 ---
I really, really need to get some orders in for food and cakes for the "firsts" weekend which is only 3 weeks away. Yikes! I thought Christmas babies were troublesome but it turns out that Easter babies are much, much worse (not the babies, the logistics that come along with the babies).
--- 4 ---
Today is the last fish fry of the season. I am so thankful sad about that. Dragging 5 sleep-deprived kids (because we go at the end of nap time) to the cafeteria, depending on their good-will to sit still while I get the food (DH usually shows up just as I've put down the last platter ;0) ), paying a not so small amount of cash (Sonic has two fish sandwiches for $3.95 today) and running out the door before the chaos descends at 5:30 is not my idea of a fun Friday night. You may guess that "attend the fish fry each week for fellowship and good cheer" will never be one of my Lenten goals.
--- 5 ---
We (the five little people and I) went to stations this afternoon (see #2). I love stations. We're going to living stations on Sunday and maybe again during the week. Is that too much? I don't think so. It is such a beautiful opportunity to see and feel the passion and the kids sit almost as still as they do at Adoration (which is not totally still - they're tiny, people!) but it's clear that there is something beyond this world that has them transfixed. Today, just as the priest announced, "Jesus is crucified", Mr. G let out the biggest wail. I was pleased because it was timed to perfection and it hid my not entirely tiny whimper (am I the only one who sobs at stations?).
--- 6 ---
Next week is Holy Week! I am so thankful that we've reached the point where we can split the "big events" (Chrism Mass/Holy Thursday/Good Friday) to take one of the older kids to see and gather as a family for basket blessings on Saturday and EARLY morning Mass on Easter (I also love that it's EMPTY then!)

Just a disclaimer before we nearly 6-year-old asked if the Easter Bunny was real today and I had to say no (so you may want to keep your kids away if you don't want this coming out. I told him not to tell anyone but, you know.). Anyway, he asked point-blank and I just can't lie. We talked again about how Santa comes from St. Nicholas but I am unaware that there is a bunny Saint hopping around Heaven somewhere (Please, do give me a clue if you know of a connection). It wasn't all me, anyway, since the nearly 8-year-old started in immediately about how "that is for people who don't know the real meaning of the day which is the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ". I am pleased we were in the car and not the candy shoppe at that point. Have a blessed Easter everyone!
--- 7 ---
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, March 18, 2013

School Days...

As we come to our last month or so of "official school" (I think we'll reach 180 days by mid-May), I am reflecting on what we did and whether it was enough.

#1 child has progressed through her 2nd grade books and, in some cases, moved on to start the next year. #2 child hasn't been much into the books at all, but has still managed to demonstrate some sort of forward progression (I am so thankful I don't have to track him this year!)

Ultimately, my goal of having all five together to bond and play and learn to work out things amongst themselves has been the greatest success of all. It is such a gift to watch them play and argue and refocus and try again. I hope that these days will aid them in creating stronger bonds that will carry them throughout their lives when DH and I are eternally resting.

Some random shots from our latest lessons:
These people are all about art class!
#s 3&4 dropping nap time has necessitated that some schooling must happen in the morning. It's been working OK...most of the time.

Little man is schooling right beside us - practicing that pesky "moving into an upright position"

The little ones got bored so they had a tea party

and made some bead necklaces

Lunchtime! - covering fractions, minerals and the reaction that happens with yeast, water and sugar

Pretzel time :0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Well, that was quick.

Last night before falling asleep I said to DH, "well, if they're all following the Holy Spirit, why would it take a long time?" My prayer is that they did, so it didn't. We shall see, I suppose.

I have to admit, first off, that I have a bias against Jesuits. Having spend some time in Jesuit academe, I can list more than a handful of priests and nuns (who are not Jesuit but were teaching there) who would gladly do all they could to "catch the Church up" to current social norms :0P. I look forward to this new pope shattering all of my preconceived notions of said Jesuit order.

From Rocco Palmo:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

De Argentina a Roma – Bergoglio Elected Pope Francis I

The College of Cardinals have elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 76 year-old Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, as Pope Francis I.

By choosing the name of the founder of his community's traditional rivals, the 266th Roman pontiff – the first from the American continent, home to more than half of the 1.2 billion-member church – has signaled three things: his desire to be a force of unity in a polarized fold, a heart for the poor, and his intent to "repair God's house, which has fallen into ruin"... that is, to rebuild the church.
Oh my...I so hope that is true.
So, let us watch on, good and faithful friends. There's a new pope in the house! Our excitement here is palpable.
Finally, I am forever grateful that I happen to be homeschooling at this moment in time. Having my little ones around me as we waited, discussed, and finally cheered! our new Papa is a blessing I will not forget.
May God bless Pope Francis and keep him strong in his faith as he works to rebuild the Church.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Are you ready?

We must pray and pray much; for... no science, no human prudence can furnish a remedy to the evils that desolate the Church: the all-powerful arm of God is needed.
We must pray to Jesus Christ that he may give us as the Head of his Church a man, less remarkable by his science and human prudence, than by his fervor and his zeal for the honor of God; a man, absolutely inaccessible to every intrigue, who is above all human respect. For, if we have the misfortune to have a Pope elected, who is not a man that seeks only the glory of God, the Lord will aid us but little, and in the present state of things all will go from bad to worse.
Prayer, then, is the only remedy.
I have, therefore, written to all the houses of our humble Congregation, and have enjoined upon them to pray with more than ordinary fervor for the election of a new Pope.... Such is the advice that can be given by a miserable man like myself.
–St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
Bishop of S. Agata dei Goti
Letter from Arienzo
24 October 1774

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Be Joyful!

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday and it means we're halfway to Easter! Thanks be to God for that - really. I have almost 50% left to get back to my Lenten promises. (while at confession on Thursday, our priest told me that the halfway point is actually the Thursday before today. Upon reflection, I'm not sure if he was trying to make me feel better or light a fire). Regardless, it's a day to be JOYFUL and if you can't be joyful, at least be thankful...for everything you can find. I am...

- Thankful that my husband is currently out with all five little people and I am enjoying an only slightly-less-than-warm cup of coffee

- Thankful that last night was date night and I got to go to Mass with my spouse, alone, and actually listen to the readings, the gospel, AND the homily. Then we had some awesome Italian food and headed home.

- Thankful that we have the world's greatest mother's helper. Truly. For each child's birthday, she takes them out for lunch and then to some activity that is right in line with their greatest interest. This week was #3's turn. He had to wait a few months but, for this construction guy, it was worth it!

No idea what the names of these giant machines are but, seriously, this kid was in his glory. It was his very own day as Bob the builder!

- Thankful for friends. The really, true, share everything kind of people that only enter your life a very few times over the entire course.

- Thankful for this beautiful day. We were at the 40 Days for Life vigil again this morning and, compared to two weeks ago, it was glorious. Time spent as a family praying for good in the world...surrounded with beautiful sunshine. Ahhh.

- Thankful for this upcoming week and all the excitement that surrounds the election of a new pope. I am prayerfully impatient...asking the Holy Spirit to send showers of grace over the Sistine Chapel.

- Thankful for the understanding that this life is limited and the time we have is fleeting. So, instead of blogging, reading blogs, or doing housework, I'm going to head out and spend some family time in the sun.

Happy Sunday - Be joyful! (and thankful)

Friday, March 8, 2013

My quote form

“It is one of the major tragedies that nothing is more discomforting than the hearty affection of the Old Friends who never were friends.”
Sinclair Lewis

“Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected.”
Charles Lamb

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Mother Teresa

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.”
Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

“He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less.”
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Adopt a Cardinal!

Go to to get yours today. Hurry...the conclave is supposed to begin on Monday!

This is ours, in case you want to pray for him as well ;0)

Rocco Family, you have adopted a Cardinal!

Picture of
Name:Francisco Robles Ortega
Day of birth:1949-3-2
Cardinal since:2007-11-24
Function:Archbishop of Guadalajara, Mexico