Sunday, January 31, 2010

Celebrating Catholic Schools

Well, it was this time last year that I wrote an email which became the 'beginning' of my blogging days.  It just took a little over a month to make it happen.  If you're interested, I decided to post it.  It is dated on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (in commeration) :)  The plan was to post it back then, but it's up and running now!

This year's kick off to Catholic School's Week has not been as exciting, but still notoriously filled with active children.  A 3 year old yelling across the alter, towards the choir members, in the silence following the Alleluia, "Hi Gabrielle!!" and waving, then saying, "I love you!"  Then looking at me as I'm trying to get her to stop and stating, "But I see Gabrielle and I love her!"  We then had to reposition her so she would not sneak out into the isle to dance during the songs. However, she wasn't the only child in our family that got repositioned!  

We also had a cry-er, due to big brother's strong hands not remaining to himself. And a stealthy 2 year old who managed to crawl under the pew and run out in the communion isle, not once, but 3 times.  At that moment, I was really wishing I could have sat closer to him, because sometimes, his Daddy just doesn't notice these things - obviously. 

Today was simply a typical Mass experience (more or less): corrections, smiles, tears, movement, peace, listening, speaking, singing and dancing - sounds like a typical family to me.  This evening, I'll be reading the readings again; somehow I missed them today.  But really, what would this celebration with God's family be like without the gift of children - probably less distracting, but also less meaningful!  

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." -Matthew, Mark and Luke!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Milk and cookies...

A small glimpse of 'Mother Hen's' day:

I've played hide and seek with a big kid. Twice.  By the grace of God, I am getting better at this game! So are my younger children.  While I stealthily searched, two other children climbed onto the counter to scarf down as many oreos as they could before I returned.  'Are you kidding me?' I thought to myself.  Nope - the big chocolate toothy grins with make-up crumbs surrounding their mouths were a bit of a give away- they must have thought I'd be gone longer.  I'm telling you, prayer works, we are getting better at this challenge!

I also taught my preschooler and older 'found' child.  With the preschooler, we are working on rhyming.  It just so happens we are rhyming with the sound 'oo' today.  First sound, 'm'.  He got it perfect!  I exclaimed, "What, we have a cow in the house!"  Giggles and more "MOO!"  "Where's John, get this cow outta here!" Then we have, "Moo, Poo" and more giggles.  "Moo, poo poo!"  'Eww!' I exclaim.  "Moo, Doo doo."  more giggles.  This 'cow' is out of control with giggles, and his mama is not helping. You could say I was maybe the hen; egging him on.

Whose idea was it to rhyme with 'oo'? 

 Oh, yes,  the great reading book shown on the left!  

I milked this 'cow' for thousands of giggles, all the while thinking, God, I hope You're laughing with us, and smiling in His presence. And wondering if he milks us for smiles as well- like in the sometimes challenging moments of the day: for example when above children were scarfing down cookies right before lunch as I searched for the older child.

He DiD milk a smile out of me when I saw their chocolate covered teeth and great big crumby smiles.  Oreos, dipped in milk - oh, delicious.  

And so, once again, God teaches me through my children: Grace, Love and Mercy.  In my milk and cookies kind of day, I'm grateful for life's challenges.  In a prayerful mind they are delicious. First I am humbled, which calls for grace. The Grace strengthens my weaknesses and brings joy. Joy allows me to love and show mercy. 

The parable of Milk and Cookies:Take the gift of cookies (kids) dip them in a bit of Milk (squeezed from the work our Father) and the outcome is delicious - (love, mercy and a touch of laughter).

"Whoooa! Are you writing on the windows?"
Culprits in unison, "Sowry mom, I sowry."

I reiterate: 
And I add:  Consequences...ya know, to purify.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  
-Matthew 11:28-30

Monday, January 25, 2010

Daily Conversion

So, it has been a year since I wrote the following short story.  It was the story that made people ask if I was blogging.  After saying No, no, no, no, no...

You get the picture, I finally gave in and said Yes. I made a leap of faith and to this day, by the grace of God, continue to give it a try.  The best thing it has done for me is force me to write things down - and take pictures.  History in the making so to speak.  It's a glimpse of our life story.  I've been able to share what I'm working on in my vocation of marriage and motherhood: its joys, challenges, and random life lessons.  And I've been able to read other life stories.  You see, we are never alone, and I guess that's the point of this blog.


What a beautiful Sunday morning (until I got out of bed!)  Maybe that was the problem? Dad was out the door early to round at the hospital so he could meet us at church. I needed to get Kathryn, Gabrielle and Michael up to church early so they could help with the Catholic Schools Week Mass!  Kathryn, going on 14, forgot that she had to sing in the choir.  We woke her up to remind her, but then she forgot to get out of bed-yes, teenager!  Gabrielle came into our bathroom on Mom's orders so I could help her comb her hair. She is 11, but doesn't seem to think bed head is an issue when you go up to read in front of everyone at Mass.  She thought it would be a good time to come into the bathroom as I was puking in the sink, and exclaim, "Isn't there a toilet?"  Yes, there was, but it was sat upon by another child.  The particular scent is what quickly pushed me to the sink. 

I got myself together, did Gabrielle's hair, got the toilet occupant cleaned up, and yelled down at Kathryn, again. Hmm, no answer.  Gabrielle helped Gina get dressed, and I woke up the boys.  Michael was not so happy about it.  I removed Vincent's diaper, and was preparing to get him dressed.  The diaper was placed next to us.  I did not take the time to roll it up yet because he was poopy and I was still wiping the stinky guy.  My plan: keep the poopy mess all rolled up together for one trip outside! Michael however had a different plan.  He thought it was a good idea to toss it onto the floor.  Nonchalantly, I told him he was lucky it didn't spill out (maybe that was my mistake). Since he was able to get it to the floor, I told him he could now take it to the garbage for me.  Well, that literally backfired!  He took it into the other boys’ room and slammed it against the wall (near the garbage).  Maybe he thought it was a bank shot?  Shi+ was smeared everywhere!  I wasn't so happy, no, I'll be honest, I was madly out of control.  After a "little" beating, I continued to get the rest of the crew ready. (FYI, after the fact, Michael told Dad, "I threw it at the air and didn't think it would get all over." - yes, he threw it at the air!)

Now I'm sure some may know where this is going: the nice big Catholic family getting ready for Mass this morning was not so nice!  Kathryn got an earful on the way to church, with a bit of pedal to the metal driving.  “Responsibilities, being a part of a family, you name, it came out of my mouth.  Thanks, Michael, this needed to be done – but not in the fashion I took.  As I pulled up to church, I came to my senses a bit, remembering where we were going to be soon, "I love you!  See you shortly!"  Kathryn rolled her eyes. I don’t blame her, I wasn’t exactly the most loving person for that ~5 minute tank ride.  

I got back home, Luke evidently was playing smart and helped more than he ever has before. He continued to tell me all about it. (He better get on my good side, today ;) )  "Mom, I helped John get dressed, and got Daniel's clothes for him."  As Daniel was buttoning his shirt, he says, "Mom, something's wrong here."  I look at him, and immediately go to the closet to give him another shirt! (The one Luke gave him was hanging in the closet waiting for Vincent to wear it.)  The long sleeves fit Daniel like 3/4, and the shirt barely covered his belly button!)  Now if anyone was going to be dressed as the Incredible Hulk, I can guarantee you it was not him today!  Ok, the boys are almost finished getting ready -I've calmed down, and we are going to make it to church on time!  Ut oh, John can't find his shoes.  Everyone else says they have theirs on.  “Well, wear the tennis shoes, we don't have time to look anymore.  This is why we put our shoes back in the closet after church!”  We are loaded, and ready.  We climb into the pew all happy!  As everyone settled in their spots, I went to tie Daniel's shoes.  Guess what, he had on John's!  Evidently Daniel was the one I was supposed to inform of the proper location for his church shoes.  A big sigh! We're here God, if you want to vomit me out, I can understand!

Church went well!  Gina was singing, John was singing - together they were louder than everyone else.  Aren't we so cute?  After Mass we went down to a pancake breakfast put on by the 8th Grade class.  Yes, Kathryn DID remember she was in 8th grade, and was going to help with it!  Thank God, I was beginning to wonder if she had Alzheimer's at such an early age!  After we ate, Kathryn and I helped serve the next round, and Dad was to take the rest of the kids back home.  Ut oh, no Gina.  “Anyone seen Gina?  Go look for Gina.  Check the elevator.” (God, I hope she wasn't attending another Mass upstairs).  That prayer was answered the way I wanted!  Bob checked the bathrooms (which I didn't think she could open the door to).  Yep, Gina is in the girl’s bathroom!  Gabrielle went in to get her.  "No potty, just poop." Just POOP -on the back of her tights, and in the bathroom: on the floor, on the toilet, the walls...Ugh!  What is it with shi+ today?

Kathryn and I finally got home. Gabrielle was fighting with Luke.  Dad now understands how this can wear on a person.  Gabrielle has an amazing affect on people – she has the power to make you happy and the power to bring everyone down.  Why we give her this power, I don't know, but it happens.  I began to think about taking back what I said when I dropped her off at church.  A bit later in the day, she wanted to make cookies.  The first pan of peanut butter cookies came out very brown (to go with the “poop” theme of the day?).  As I told her she needs to pay attention to the recipe and how long she should cook them, she stated, “I’m sorry, I’m doing the best I can.”  My quick reply, “God Help Me, then!”  Yes, I said that to her precious face.  At first it was sarcastic, but a few seconds later it was a heartfelt prayer!  As she finished up, she decided she had enough dough to make one more cookie.  The last cookie was the size of a waffle!  She made it for Luke.  To tell him she was sorry – after fighting all day, she suddenly snapped out of it.  Ashamedly, this sounds a bit familiar for me, too.

So, dear family, what did you do to me?  As I reflect on the day, I think how ironic that today is the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.  Many of us reenacted it in our own home.  Today, you taught me about conversion!  From ravage, to mercy, to love.  I'm glad I got out of bed!  I'm glad I got to witness conversion of heart; both as an active witness and an eye witness. That is what life is all about: Constant conversion.  Every sin overcome, every new turn to God.  On any given day, someone is the forgiver AND someone is the forgiven – Yes, that someone is both!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tackle Snow Football

We're having a heat wave!
31ยบ F

This throw is SO tempting ME to join the game!

After one more picture of the princess,
and some quick thinking:

Babe is fed
Toddler is napping
Big girls will babysit

Scramble for a pair of snowpants!
YEAH, They Fit!

And I am off to join the game
And this Mama had Fun!

An hour and a half later:

Nice game face!
I swear I didn't do it!
He was on my team!

(Not that being on my team would make a difference on some days)

Thanking God for Biggest Brother!

Is there a tooth fairy floating around blog world?
The one around here might be a bit sore...

It does a mama good!
Pass it on!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Home Improvement?

Evidently this is what happens when lil' kids take pictures:

He may just be the Wilson of this family.
Anything you want to talk to him about?

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pool Day with a Rainforest in the Winterland!

This morning, Gina woke up and immediately put on her swimsuit.  She then proceeded to announce that we need to take her swimming!  I can't believe cabin fever is setting in already.  After about 7 hours of persistence, on this 'snowed in' day, I gave in to a pool party - in the tub.

She seemed to like the idea

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Orange Bowl!

A little fun with the camera tonight!
Another child updated for my wall
Only 3 more to go!

Christopher 5 Months

Go Hawks!

Feast of the Epiphany

How does the Gift of Christmas begin?

The Angel came to Mary to tell her she would have a son; the Spirit breathes the life of Jesus into her womb. And Mary proclaims, “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” Then, Mary got ready and hurried to visit Elizabeth.

Mary was “Charged with the Spirit” and she was never alone!  Fr. Joseph Donders tells us in his book, Charged with the Spirit: Mission is for Everyone, “No one has ever succeeded in following God’s plan alone: there is too much fear to overcome, too many obstacles to clear, and too much resistance and confusion to set aside.”

Fr. Donders goes on to give us examples of togetherness: “What did Mary do?  She visited Elizabeth, where she received affirmation and support.  The first thing Jesus did on His walk along the lake was look for company; inviting people he accidentally met, to join Him.  The last thing He did on earth was look for company, in the Garden!  Together, with His family and friends He engaged himself for the Kingdom of God.” We too are meant to affirm and support each other as we engage on our journey!
Like the journeying wise men, each of us also has a gift to carry and share! Fr. Donders reminds us, “We each have a mission to accomplish."  Do we celebrate Jesus at Christmas, but then forget to grow with Him along the way?  Many times Jesus reaches our hearts and minds, but we miscarry Him before He grows in our soul!  Fr. Donders goes on to tell us, “We are called to realize the Kingdom of God." Realize! Realize means to understand clearly; to fulfill.  We realize the Kingdom of God, “by the way wives and husbands love each other and relate to their children; by the way children relate to their parents and future; by the way we offer our services; and by the way priests offer the sacraments.”  Fr. Donders also tells us, "We cannot complete our mission unless we attract others, and we attract others by witnessing our vision of God within our approach to life!”  Yes, within our own simple vocations; with our ‘Yes’ right where God has planned us to be! Not knowing fully what is to come, but faithfully trusting and loving from the depth of our souls!  When Love spills over, we become impregnated with the Spirit, resulting in fruit of the womb: A true witness of Love, then pain, in exchange for Joy as we greet new life and bear spiritual children for the Kingdom of God.

So I challenge you to share in my New Year’s Resolution:

To trust and to love;
Letting go.
Asking for help
to trust and to love,
Especially when my being wants to fear and throw a fit. 

How does the gift of Christmas end? 

It doesn’t!  However, it is fulfilled when we ALL make our home in the Kingdom of God!
John 14


Holy Father, You have chosen us to carry Your Son in our dusty souls;
As we say yes to You, may Your Spirit give us the courage and strength to hold your Son in the way each of us are called on any particular day.

Holy Spirit, charge and impregnate us!  Do not turn away from our ugliness, but with Mary, show us how to care for Christ.  As we travel together, guide us to love ALL the people you put in our lives, so that we may reflect His love and beauty and rejoice with new life!

Jesus, as we carry You and offer all our services to You, may those we pass by feel the Calm Breeze and Love of You, our True Life. May we all be attracted to your light; and together share our gifts and support, in humble adoration! 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter?

Who taught this girl how to cook?

Oh, wait, yes, I did.
And yes, she has learned well.
From me.
Did I just admit that?

As long as she remembers to take these chocolate brownies out of the oven on time, I can guarantee you they will be yummy!
The more love (aka mess) that goes into a project, the better it is!
Simply speaking from experience.

Gabrielle, concerning the shirt, and stated with a grin,
 "Well, it's gonna have to be washed anyway."

I may have said that before;
But that was years ago!
Or maybe 1 year ago;
Way back around Christmas time in 2009.

Mmmm, the aroma from the kitchen smells delicious!

Happy 2010!