Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just Adding to the List

I'm going to have to start some kind of log for what comes out of Joey's mouth. He's two- everything he says is funny.

PJ: Mom, when are you going to get off the computer?! I want to use my 15 minutes now.

Me: PJ, I just sat down with my coffee and I'm going to read. It will be a little while. Maybe you should go eat your breakfast.

PJ: Mutter, mutter, stomp, stomp

Me: PJ, go lie down in your bed until you feel better and are not so grumpy.

Joey: (Running at top speed into the office) TJ goin to time out???? WHAT did he throw?

The look on his face was priceless- half filled with concern that his big brother was getting the forbidden time out and half filled with pleasure that he isn't the only one.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ramping Up

It's that time again. Each year right before Lent it never fails. I get nervous for I am weak. I think about sacrifices great and small. I question myself whether or not it really matters if I give up something. In the grand scheme does God really care if I don't have sweets? Is it supposed to be greater than that? Am I pleasing him more if I work on being pure in every sense? And fasting, I am terrible with fasting. Did I mention weakness?

Well, because I feel that I really do have to make a sacrifice, I think I am giving up sweets. It will be really hard. I mean really, really hard. Doesn't that sound stupid? I know it does - but I crave sweets 24 hours a day. I think about licorice and my mouth waters. It's a HUGE downfall of mine.

So this year it will be something tangible and something deeper. I keep going back to the purity issue. Asking myself if I truly give it all to God or is some of it so that others will think that I am good?? I read this last night:

In all our desires, prayers, fasting, almsgiving, in all our acts and in all that we bear from God, let our intentions be pure. Without aiming at our interest, without speaking to please men, without fear of displeasing them, without even fixing our intention on what we might receive of grace in the present time and of glory in the time to come, we should only consider the admirable goodness of God and act purely and in the first place of it, and in the second place for the salvation of our neighbor.

The more our intention is pure and strongly directed toward God, the less we dwell upon our own advantages and even upon those of other men, and the more our works will be agreeable to God and profitable to all. But, alas, how much they will lose in value before God, and for all creatures, if we see in them any other thing than the pure goodness of the Lord.

From The Ways of God for Meditation and Prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas

So there they are- the hurdles for Lent. Giving it all without looking for the grace, without trying to impress, and with fullness of heart. I suppose that's why I am ramping up. Getting ready. I'm in for a long road, please wish me luck. Better yet- say a prayer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sock Puppet Fashion Show

My daughter and her friend had a debut show today that would knock the 'socks' (HA!) off of Paris. They wore their daily wear, outer wear and bathrobes, these socks did.

After the final premier and the socks went away, Joey turns his big blue eyes to me and asked, "What was dat?? Dat was funny!"

What We're Reading

The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer has dramatically altered my philosophy for homeschooling. So much so that we have already changed our curriculum for next year.
This book is written by a mother/daughter team with plenty of experience and knowledge of classical education. If you would like to learn more about what classical education is, you can visit their website. And for more good homeschool blogs try this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Motherhood and Snow

The sun is still a good hour away from rising but the snowfall is illuminating the yard. About half a foot has come down and it continues to fall softly. I'm thinking about that gentle blanket of snow wrapping around the earth and realizing that my job of a mother is one in the same.

At least once a week I have 'one of those nights'. The kind where it takes hours to fall asleep. My mind jumps from one frame to the next on fast forward. Am I really strong enough to give up sugar for Lent? When will I get the quarterly grades turned in? Why is my two year old so hard to put to bed? I still haven't called the dentist. So last night I watched the clock strike midnight not able to turn off that constant noise in my head.

At 3am a gentle hand rubbed mine. "I had a bad dream" he said. For the next three hours he joyfully dreamed about winning the world soccer cup, upon my back. I dragged myself out of bed with my brow furrowed and that's when I saw it. The hush of nature that took place while I should have been sleeping. The beauty of God's gentle reminder that I could either spend my day growling at the kids about excessive noise, getting their work done and toys out of place. OR I could envelope each one with that love that only a mother can give. Kind, warm and nurturing. I'm so grateful to be this exhausted and would do it again and again knowing that these little ones are a gift to me. The gift of motherhood.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Calling All Young Writers

Have you seen this contest? From now until Friday, March 14th, children from kindergarten to third grade can write and illustrate their own stories. There are are certificates for all entries and book prizes for the winning stories per grade. The contest guide offers an awesome way for your little authors to brainstorm, create and revise their works. That means it's fun AND educational! Will we see your work on TV?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Look What We're Doing for Lent

We're placing our order and will work on them slowly. What a special project that can stay up all year round!

How Do You Know When You've Had Too Much Coffee?

When your hands are shaky, your head is foggy and you make your kids a peanut butter and salsa sandwich.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Getting out of the shower this morning I saw a ladybug crawling up the door frame. Not something you see everyday in your bathroom. My son pointed out that there were some in the window pane of my bedroom, too. However he thought they might not be "with us" anymore. Next we found them in my daughter's room. On her dinosaur, on the window pane...What's going on here? Oh, maybe this will help.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can't Wait

When Somebody Loves You

They leave you subtle messages.

Thank you honey, I love you back.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Subtitle: Those Same Woods The Morning After

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

Proper Dinner Etiquette

I try so hard. I really do. Saying grace before we eat, teaching them to set the table properly, have earnest talks while we eat...

Warning: This dinner story does not fit into anything proper-

The dog can always be found under the table if someone is eating. Well it appears the dog may have eaten something she shouldn't have for she was having issues. After a loud groan on the other side of the table I saw my husband quickly put his shirt up around his mouth and nose. At this point, Joey got up out of his booster, leaned over and yelled, "Are you the doctoe"?????

It was all over then. Raucous laughing, things spilling, children screaming- I suppose we can try again tonight.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Big Night Out Teaches Valuable Lesson

Some of you know that it's been a long time for mommy to get out of the house. (Still working on finding a sitter so mom and dad could actually have a date!). Last night I was invited to join a group at church called Willing Hands. What a nice group of all aged, beautiful women knitting together and attempting to do Bible study. It was a great night of laughs and I really needed it.

Let me go back a bit and say that on my way to Mercer Island, I picked up my friend Robin, her teenage daughter and her one-month old baby. As we drove along the highway a new light came on in the van. "Hmmm, haven't seen that one before..." I said. It turned out to be a tire pressure light. Instantly my mind blamed I mean thought of the guys filling my tires just hours before at the lube shop. I got out and checked the tires- they looked good to me....

Hours later at 10pm we come out of the church and there is my car, looking sick. Tire just a hair off of being totally flat- not good for this disconnected girl with no cell phone on a sleepy, dark island. I borrowed a cell and called AAA- they would be there in an hour. Did I mention I had a baby and teen with me??? That wouldn't do... Then came Amanda, a young lady from the group. "You don't know how to change a tire???" she asked me in great surprise. "You do?" I asked back. Turns out Amanda is from Alaska with mechanics in the family. She was calm, cool, collected. It was dark, desolate and FREEZING! With a smile on her face she taught me a great needed In between working on the car Amanda introduced me to the beautiful perpetual adoration chapel. We went in to say a prayer to get us home safely. It was warm and cozy and I asked for protection to get this sweet little newborn home safely.

Shortly before midnight we did just that. Home safe with a thankful heart.

Friday, January 18, 2008


We are now on our 64th favorite place. (In reference to below)

I need a hint....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Easy, Hard or Challenge

Want to play?

It's all the rage at my house. PJ is on a new kick. For a week now at the dinner table one if not all of us are taken on with, "Easy, Hard or Challenge?".

The poor soul who is not chewing at this time says something like "Challenge".

"Okay" he says excitedly, "name my 17th favorite place".

We have gone all the way up to 54 with hints and 'give ups'. And the brutal part is that he seems to not pick a favorite place until he's happy with one of our guesses. (And it's never his sisters!)


I believe it was November 30th- the day my cell phone teetered on a pair of jeans in the bathroom and fell; smashing into unfixable bits. Uh oh, I thought. That can't be good.

Well maybe it is-maybe it isn't. You see it's been almost two full months of not having a cell phone. I used to think I couldn't run up to the grocery store without it. What if someone needed me? What if one of my kids were bleeding at home with their daddy? I guess I was addicted to constantly being present for others but even worse, I was addicted to 'filling up time'. Getting in the car for me meant it was time to catch up current events in the lives of friends and family. Sadly it was usually with my kids in the back seat. Talk about not seeing being present...ugh!

I now drive thirty miles or so to church, or to run errands and just a faint nagging creeps up on me sometimes. What if I get a flat? What if I get lost? For the most part I have to confess that it's liberating not to be at one's beck and call (okay, that is funny!).

To go further into disconnect- we have no answering machine and one working telephone in this house. We're obviously not too concerned about it because neither my husband or I has yet to run to Radio Shack to get any constant contact device. I suppose that soon I will have some new, cool functioning cell phone and we'll eventually look into an answering service but for now I am enjoying the peace and conquering the fear of being disconnected. (Just PLEASE don't let anything happen to my computer!!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

St. Anthony's I Owe You

From the backseat of the van yesterday I heard a little voice asking for a pen. I handed one back not really thinking much about it. Soon after we had arrived at Mass and headed in to find a seat. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my daughter affixing a stamp from her purse onto a church envelope. She handed the envelope to her daddy with an enormous smile on her face. No more than two minutes later, she was gone- following the kids to their own liturgy downstairs.

"Did you see this?!" whispered my husband. He bent the envelope so it opened and in it was a note that read like a check;

I Owe You, St. Anthony $6.00

Signed and dated, too. Along with the note was a five dollar bill and a buck.

When I told my little saint-in-the making how proud I was at bedtime she just looked at me and said, "Mom, St. Anthony has found so many things for me- it was time I paid him back".

You know the biggest lesson I learned from this was that she went all day long without saying one word about it. She needed no praise and no recognition. She just did what she needed to do...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Guess Where These Took Me Today?!

I should back up and preface that it was the MOST glorious day. Sun, yes, I said SUN-shining brightly. Birds chirping. 48 degrees. So the shoes gave me a nudge and said, "Up and at em, mama, we have trails to cover".

Well you know how much of the trail these over-zealous little shoes conquered? 14 miles! Yep, the longest of my training thus far. My timing STUNK but that's okay. For the first long run I needed to make sure I could find my way home from the trail. I wasn't trying to be a superstar out there or anything like that. And 2.5 hours later, I was home and hurtin' for certain. My legs have never felt that way before.

You'll be happy to know that after 2 Advil, a hot bath and a sandwich, I am good to go. And I'm looking forward to next we when week up it one more mile! (Actually, I better get back to you on that in the morning!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Pirates That Entertained

So I took the big kids to see the new Veggie Tales The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything today. I've never actually seen a Veggie Tales movie in the theater but it's a rainy winter in Washington so...

The movie was cute, I laughed a few times and the kids enjoyed it. I couldn't remember so much from past movies but it seems that there was something missing. The message about heroism was a good one - but aren't they usually faith based? There wasn't one reference to my knowledge of anything faith-related(unless it happened when I fast ducked down to grab the licorice that was headed for the floor).

But like I said, it was raining, the licorice was saved and we had a nice outing. Need I say more?

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Winter's Afternoon

Afternoon Tea

My copper kettle
whistles merrily
and signals that
it is time for tea.

The fine china cups
are filled with the brew.
There's lemon and sugar
and sweet cream, too.

But, best of all
there's friendship, between you and me.
As we lovingly share
our afternoon tea.
- Marianna Arolin

Care to join the party?

When What to my Wondering Eyes Should Appear

but a daily visit from a local deer.

I just love how the dog is in position for attack. (Belle would run out all tough and lay down quivering.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Neti Pot Play

These Neti Pots...have you seen them?

Better yet- have you tried one?

The Opening Act
I digress. Last night I skipped my group run because it was lurking... Cold number 2 for the season. Scratchy throat, stuffy nose, feeling rather run down. After early bed times for the wee ones and a hot bath followed by two EmergenC's- it was imminent.

Amazingly my husband (who is fighting the good rhino fight with me) recommended we try one of those "things" that drains out your nose. "A Neti Pot"?? I asked. "Mmmhmm, let's try one".

Scene II
We're driving away from the health food store and my daughter in the back seat is astonished as she's reading the box and instructions. My bear-fearing girl yells, "I'd rather kiss 100 ANGRY brown bears than put this thing up my nose!" Followed by a meek "You wouldn't make me do that, would you mom"? The bears or the flush, I wonder.

The Final Curtain
My husband emerges from the bathroom with a sheepish smile. He claims he feels a bit like he just took a swim. He claims he feels "pretty good". So off I went for my turn. I snarfed and hacked- I'll spare you all the details. But now I'm sitting here now feeling like $999K. That close to a million bucks...

So the moral of the story is - go ahead and try one, you might like these "nutty pots"*. Let's all raise our pots to happy health.

*My daughter swears they made a typo on the box!

Friday, January 4, 2008


So I hope I'm not alone in this issue. Last night I really thought our neighbors would call the police. The screaming coming from Joey's room was that loud. It's been cyclical with him- he sleeps like a dream for months- he's up like a newborn for months. Old school says let him work it out. Don't let him manipulate you. Attached parents say comfort him, let him know you're there. Others say trust your gut. Well you know what? My gut is two-faced.

Let me give you an example. My husband and I made a pact last night as we turned out the light. A pact that said we're gonna stick together - we're not letting him come in here. We broke that pact at 1:10am.

It would be so easy if he just needed comfort and would come lie down with us and go to sleep. But you see, that's not how Joey operates. Nothing he does is easy. He comes to bed, flips and flops and talks (loudly) about his day, his needs, wanting to go play with his trucks, etc. When we "sssssh" him he gets mad. "NO!" he yells. Then the threats begin. "Joey, if you don't lie down quietly you're going back to your bed". That's when the screaming sets in.

Last night we were up for almost 3 hours doing this. Hindsight is comical. Daddy on the couch, daddy in big brother's bed (after moving big brother to another location), daddy back in his bed. Mommy in her bed, mommy on the rocking chair, mommy in big brother's single bed with Joey. I mean it was like musical beds with NO sleeping. Does it sound dysfunctional? Well, it sure seems that way in the middle of the night.

And so, I'm torn with what to do. The nights are unbearable. We're tired. We're all tired. My little guy is worn out, too. Do I have a child that has fear or am I getting my chain yanked?

Is it nap time yet??

Sweet St. Elizabeth

Today is the feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton- a saint we feel tied to. St. Elizabeth was the patron saint of the parish we just left. It's where my daughter spent three years of school. Made her first communion. Our sons were baptized there. So many memories....*

This amazing woman was wife and mother to five. After she lost her husband she converted to Catholicism and became deeply committed to helping the poor. She was responsible for founding the Daughters of Charity of St. Joseph- a school for poor children. In essence St. Elizabeth is credited for beginning the parochial school system in the United States. These and many more selfless acts led her to be the first American born saint.

Saint Elizabeth Ann, pray for us that we may imitate your charity toward those in need. May we intercede daily for the needs of others. Amen.

*This is the beautiful picture our friends gave us at our going away party. I just love the angel and St. Elizabeth watching over the three children.