Sunday, September 28, 2008

Keep Them Busy and Thinking!

I came upon this cool blog while blopping around tonight [this morning]. This would be cool for the kiddos to do when those I'mboredbeyondbelief moments come around.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Name That Title

Give me the title of this video! You, of course, need to fill in the blank ;)

[blank] on an Escalator

Paula and Megan... you need not apply!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Keep Them Busy

It's such a gorgeous time of year here in the southeast - and probably most of the country, as fall settles in - replacing the humid air with a light, crisp, cool breeze. The kids are outside more these days than they were during the summer... understandably. So, for now, they aren't too bored when they have down time.

But I know that won't last ;)

I saw this link over at Cozy as Spring and thought that my girls would just love to sit, probably outside, and stitch these little folks and animals. They look very simple and very sweet. So I ordered a few of them. Once we do those, I'm sure they'll get creative and design their own little creatures! I can't wait ;)

St. Therese Novena ~ Day 4

I love this picture of Therese - why do you suppose she's posing chained to the brick wall?

[yes, I skipped day 3]

Fourth Day

Dear Little Flower of Carmel, bearing so patiently the disappointments and delays allowed by God, and preserving in the depths of your soul an unchanging peace because you sought only God’s will, ask for me complete conformity to that adorable Will in all the trials and disappointments of life. If the favors I am asking during this Novena are pleasing to God, obtain them for me. If not, it is true I shall feel the refusal keenly, but I too wish only God’s Will, and pray in the words you used, that I "may ever be perfectly fulfilled in me."

Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.

Thought for the day:
Abandonment to God. I fear only one thing---to keep my own will; take it, my God, for I choose all that You choose.
The only happiness here below is to strive to be always content with what Jesus gives us.
I can demand nothing with fervor, except the perfect accomplishment of God’s will in my soul.
O my Beloved, I offer myself to You, that You may perfectly accomplish in me Your holy designs, and I will not allow anything created to be an obstacle in their path.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Month in Pictures

Fall season of softball.... practicing with Dani and Grandpa on a glorious Sunday!

[as I look at these pictures, I'm just amazed how big Sophia is getting! Gees!]

Boys of the Round Table

Charlie in his new MeToo high chair - the best thing!


"Enough I said!"
Dani warming up her pitching arm before a game

Thank you Jessica for your help!

Awesome Award -

... from Kimberly @ Awesome God! Thank you, Kimberly - that is mighty nice ;)
Here are my picks - they are all in my sidebar, so go over there to click and visit them [just 'cause I'm being lazy and don't want to do the extra work]!
7 of them? Hmmm...
1. Shower of Roses [love to see what she's doing next] - not to be confused with...
2. A Shower of Roses [a neighbor with great hair whom I met through the blogosphere]
3. Pondered in my Heart [very creative family]
4. Galloping Grace [love seeing her pictures! - plus, she's so fun]
5. Gloria in Excelsis Deo [love seeing her John grow-up, my Charlie's age]
6. Washingtonians [very cool, funny, oh, and helpful bloggin' buddie ;) - who starts some spirited convos]
and.... drumroll -----------
7. Whoever is coming here to read my blog, I'm sure I just LOVE your blog too. It's yours - the award, that is!

St. Therese ~ Novena Day Two

Little Flower Novena

Prayers to be said each day:
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.
V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray: O God, who have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love: O my God! I believe in Thee: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee: do Thou secure them. I love Thee: teach me to love Thee daily more and more.

The Act of Contrition: O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance , and to amend my life. Amen.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day:
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

Second Day

O dear little Saint, now that you see the crucified Jesus in heaven, still bearing the wounds caused by sin, you know still more clearly than you did upon earth the value of souls, and the priceless worth of that Precious Blood which He shed to save them. As I am one of those children for whom Christ died, obtain for me all the graces I need in order to profit by that Precious Blood. Use your great power with our divine Lord and pray for me.

Intercede for us all the days of our life, but especially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.

Thought for the day:
Sin. The only grace I ask, O Jesus, is never to offend Thee.
By love and not by fear, does a soul avoid committing the least fault.
Yes, even if I have on my conscience every possible crime, I should lose none of my confidence; my heart breaking with sorrow, I should go and throw myself into the arms of my Savior.
The remembrance of my faults humbles me and makes me afraid to rely on my own strength, which is nothing but weakness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

St. Therese ~ Novena Day One

Little Flower Novena

Prayers to be said each day:
Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.
V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray: O God, who have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love: O my God! I believe in Thee: strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee: do Thou secure them. I love Thee: teach me to love Thee daily more and more.

The Act of Contrition: O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance , and to amend my life. Amen.

Concluding Prayer Prayed Each Day:
O Lord, You have said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beg You, so to follow, in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of the Virgin blessed Thérèse, that we may attain to an everlasting reward. Amen.

First Day

St. Thérèse, privileged Little Flower of Jesus and Mary, I approach you with childlike confidence and deep humility. I lay before you my desires, and beg that through your intercession they may be realized. Did you not promise to spend your heaven doing good upon earth? Grant me according to this promise the favors I am asking from you.

Intercede for us all the days of our life, but specially during this Novena and obtain for us from God the graces and favors we ask through your intercession. Amen.

Thought for the day: Confidence in God. We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so powerful and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for.
If you are nothing, do you forget that Jesus is everything? You have only to lose your nothingness in His Infinity and think only of loving Him.

Feast Day of St. Pio

" Pray, hope and don't worry"
Beloved Padre Pio, today I come to add my prayer to the thousands of prayers
offered to you every day by those who love and venerate you. They ask for cures
and healings, earthly and spiritual blessings, and peace for body and mind. And
because of your friendship with the Lord, he heals those you ask to be healed,
and forgives those you forgive.

Through your visible wounds of the Cross, which you bore for 50
years, you were chosen in our time to glorify the crucified Jesus. Because the
Cross has been replaced by other symbols, please help us to bring it back in our
midst, for we acknowledge it is the only true sign of salvation.

As we lovingly recall the wounds that pierced your hands, feet and side, we not only
remember the blood you shed in pain, but your smile, and the invisible halo of
sweet smelling flowers that surrounded your presence, the perfume of sanctity.

Padre Pio, may the healings of the sick become the testimony
that the Lord has invited you to join the holy company of Saints. In your
kindness, please help me with my own special request:
(mention here your petition, and make the sign of the Cross)

Bless me and my loved ones. In the name of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Back in the Day...

Here's a picture my Aunt Maryann just emailed us - my parents, brother, sister and me. So I'm sharing it with all of you!

We always remark how doggone cute my brother's lip is! He still does that ;)

It also hangs on the wall going upstairs at Mom and Dad's house. This is definitely a classic!

Thanks for sharing Aunt Maryann!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Kayla came home from her youth group last night and told me how they watched a little movie [which she thought was German] called Most. She said it was very sad and wanted me to see it online. I was busy at the time preparing for the Little Flowers lesson today - so I didn't watch it at that time. Plus, to be honest, I was not in the mood for sad. She proceeded to give me a little detail and as soon as she did, I knew the story. And you may too. You may know it as The Bridge. Most, which is Czech for 'bridge', is a beautiful story. A story of love. A story of sacrifice. I didn't see the movie online, but I did see the trailer here. I think I'll have to order the DVD's. Well, I got another trailer here:

Most The Movie from Dano Magazine on Vimeo.

A Dry City

Gas is no where in sight 'round here. Gas stations are shut down.

Canceling all extra activities this week... maybe next week too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

6 Bags Lighter

After reading this post today, I thought I'd share my good news for the day. After the early softball practice this morning [for Therese and Fia, not me ;)], I decided to once and for all tackle our master closet.

My dear husband was so kind to install a new closet system last year, which really utilizes our space in there. Unfortunately, not in the way it was intended.

I started using our homemade ottoman in there as a small ironing pile. Boy, did that thing get out of control. Whenever I took out all the ironables from the dryer, I'd put them into a pile and carry them straight to my small pile. The boys shirts, Paul's shirts, an occasional pair of pants for one of the girls, Paul's pants... one load at a time, they went right on top of the ottoman. Clearly, the problem was that I did not keep up with ironing as I should have. Another problem - we keep our ironing board/iron in our closet too. The board is usually a piece of furniture in there - we have to work around it. But not only that, where else do you think clothes go? Yep, on top of the ironing board. Piles create more piles. I've seen it! It isn't pretty.

So today I just started cramming clothes in bags. Some things I just had to part with. Some I had to trash. Some should never have been bought in the first place!

I did have some clothes that still had tags on them - they were given to me by a neighbor. I'll try and sell those on eBay.

So 6 bags of clothes later, a little trash thrown away, the closet vacuumed - I had a nice clean and roomy closet. I'll have to post a picture tomorrow! I drove them up to Goodwill down the street and heaved a sigh! It's a good feeling to be lighter!

It's difficult to get a picture of your closet - especially with the zoom lens on!

The drawers I used to keep the wrapping paper and supplies in. I just threw in my old purses in there in the meantime. For the wrapping paper, I bought an under the bed plastic container at Target. It's long enough for those longer rolls too. Plus I have plenty of room for supplies. I used a smaller box for all those gift bags/tissue paper which also fits under the bed. I could put them up on a shelf in my closet, but I want the kids to be able to have access to the boxes.

Here's the ottoman Paul and I made about 7yrs ago. Its base is MDF - so it's a real substantial piece.

The best $8 I've ever spent! I love this iron holder. I didn't take any before pictures, but just try and imagine not seeing carpet on the floor and clothes everywhere, and my small ironing pile on top of the ottoman ;) Surprisingly enough, it didn't take that long to clean it out. Now I just need to MainTain!

Oh, you may be wondering what I did with my small ironing pile... I just hung them all up. I'll iron them as needed! At least that's my plan ;)

Lay Down Your Life for a Friend

What an amazing story of the sacrifice of love and life.
We're just so much wiser in these last 4o yrs or so then in all the history of the world [dripping with sarcasm].

h/t: Real Learning

Education, Faith & America ~

In speaking with faithful Catholics all over the world for the past twenty years there is a consensus among them that the average Catholic doesn't know much about their faith. Likewise there is an overwhelming consensus that if we did, the world would be a very different place. In the United States of America we have over sixty million Catholics. If these Catholic citizens knew their faith and then voted and lived their faith, this country would be incalculably better off. In turn, so would the entire world.

In the past few months leading up to what may prove to be the most crucial presidential election in this country's history, it is outright frightening how many Catholics think they can vote for a pro-abortion candidate. As many of our good bishops have pointed out, under the current circumstances this is not possible. Abortion is the overridingly most important moral issue of our times, all others being important, but rendered irrelevant if the preeminent right—the right to life—is destroyed.

As Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon recently pointed out, clarifying the teaching of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in their excellent pastoral letter "Faithful Citizenship," a candidate or office holder is disqualified from receiving the vote of a Catholic in good conscience if they hold a pro-abortion position. In other words pro- choice candidates under the current set of circumstances are disqualified because of their pro-death political positions. We cannot vote for them. As the Bishops of Kansas recently asserted in their excellent voter's guide, "Catholics would 'commit moral evil' by voting for a candidate who supports abortion and other intrinsically evil things. Voting is a moral act, and voting for pro-choice candidates is evil in itself. One becomes a collaborator in evil by so doing. No amount of rationalization can escape this logical and moral conclusion.

There was some confusion over this based on a statement made some time ago by Pope Benedict, who was speaking in general terms, saying that for a "proportionate reason" it would be possible to vote for such candidates. However, in the concrete situation we face, with a candidate who is pro-life, this would not be possible. No amount of "other reasons" would excuse voting for a pro-choice candidate. The Church clearly teaches that life begins at conception. As Pope John Paul II stated many times, "abortion is murder." Following logically from this, if a single abortion is murder, then 48,000,000 (the approximate number of abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade) of them is genocide. What would be the "proportionate reason" supporting such an outrage? There is none.

Lack of understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches is grossly harmful to the individual Catholic and to society in general. It is for this reason that I have always tried to promote and teach the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is a sure norm for teaching the faith, as Pope John Paul II asserted in promulgating the Catechism. "Guarding the Deposit of Faith is the mission which the Lord entrusted to His Church," are the first words of the Apostolic Constitution "Fidei Depositum." These are the words the Holy Father used to introduce us to the Catechism.

For this reason we are making my series "The Teaching of Jesus Christ" more and more available through television, radio, and the lowest prices ever offered for DVD and CD versions. Ignorance of the Faith can prove fatal—for individuals and for nations. Learning our faith is the best investment we can make. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the very best way to do this.

May God bless you, each one, and may God bless America in this time of national crisis,

Father John Corapi

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Deodorant Post

Okay - let's get a little personal, but not too personal. I made a change about 6wks ago. This is my testimony about that change.

I saved a post a while ago concerning home-made deodorant. It was quite intriguing to me... since I never really thought about that before. Okay, NEVER thought about that or knew people made their own. But with trying to be conscientious about what we put in/on our bodies, I thought I might give it a try.

It seemed a little pricey, all those ingredients in the deordorant recipe. And I never did get around to buying all the specialty items, or any items for that matter. Then my sister and parents told me how they started using just baking soda - that's soda... not to be confused with powder - we're talkin' Arm and Hammer stuff. Anyway... actually it was just my dad at first. He read the recipe from the link on my blog and did a little more research and started using the baking soda and raved how it was great and how he had "no problems... and I sweat!" Then my mom started using it next and liked it. Then my sister. In that order ;) So I tried it. And was A-Mazed! [the words in red are meant for my mom! Sorry Mom - is this better? Love you!]

A little TMI, perhaps, but there was no odor whatsoever. None. Zilch. All. Day. Long. Period. The plain baking soda may irritate some people's skin and they'll have to add something to it [can't remember what it is that my sis and dad had to add?]. Maybe a cream of some sort? But it has not irritated me one bit and is the best deodorant I've ever used! I just have a little Pyrex container of it on my bathroom sink and dip two damp fingers in and rub it on. Done! When I'm done applying it I go straight to my teeth LOL - just kidding! Sorry. Gross... not funny!

So now I've got a $1.59 huge box of baking soda that'll last me for 10yrs easy. What a bargain!

For 'r'

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Write On, Babe!

I'm sure all of you out in the blogosphere have kids that LOVE to write. They all just let the words flow. I'm sure there aren't any battles or tears when you ask your son/daughter to "write a sentence". I'm sure they don't flail, fidget, furrow their brows, or fall off the chair from an overwhelming task... as mine do. I'm thinking of one dear daughter in particular. And if you think that image to the right is an exaggeration... well, think again.

So now you'll understand when I tell you that in recent years I've bypassed a lot of writing assignments from dd's schoolwork. Which really isn't such a bad thing as long as there is some sort of formal writing. There wasn't. And it wasn't so much just her it was that I couldn't convey to her how to construct the most simplest of sentences. It just wouldn't click with her and it became stressful and frustrating for both of us. But I also know that she needs to know how to do things she doesn't like doing. Especially when it comes to writing. It's important to learn how to put the pen to the paper - or the fingers to the keyboard - and communicate something... anything.

I've heard about a 'writing program' before but never really knew exactly what it did, how it worked, and what was involved. I'd see folks chatting about it on the yahoo group but never gave it another thought. [you can see that I'm not too good at conveying my thoughts]

So at the last Mothers Night Out [known as MNO *but* known as LMNOP 'round here :o)], a few of us got to chatting about our children's writing or lack of writing. And many were raving about IEW - yeah, yeah... I've heard about that on the email loop. I'm sure it won't help :*( - yeah, I know, good attitude, right? I didn't say that, but I wasn't too enthralled when they mentioned it.

Then one of my friends started explaining the program to me and how it works and many examples of lessons. All I could think of was: I've got to do this for my kids. I owe it to them!

So, the next day I ordered IEW's Student Writing Intensive Level B through Adoremus online. It is a bit pricey, but this is something for school and I can use it with all of the kids.

We started with the first lesson last Wednesday. I'm using it with my 12yo and 8yo daughters. We popped the first DVD in and watched the guy teach. And boy is he good!

They are given a binder with lots of printouts in it. We pulled out a 6-sentence paragraph. The students have to pull out 3 of the most important words in each sentence and write them down. This is their key word outline. I might also add that the DVD is the teacher actually teaching students at a workshop - so there is rapport with the students and cute humor. He makes it fun and interesting for them and for those of us watching in our homes. So - we worked on that 2 days last week and still weren't done with Lesson 1.

Today was 'the clouds parting' kind of day. I had tears in my eyes and thanked God in the quietness of my heart.

They had another writing assignment [now mind you, all the assignments are done with him and the students on the DVD - the kids aren't alone to fend for themselves] - it was one they were finishing up from Monday's paragraph. The following they did all on their own. This is what Miss 12yo read to me:

The Bear and the Honey Comb

One day a bear who noticed a bee hive calmly reached in to grab some
combs. He grabbed some and frantically tried to pull out his paw which
was bulging with honey combs, but it wouldn't come out. Unwilling to let go of the combs, he was unable to free his paw. He desperingly burst in to tears. A owl nearby, who was awaken by the crying, remarked, "if you let go of some of the honey and be satisfied with fewer, you can free your paw. Sometimes you must give up a little to get what you wish." - copied as was on her paper


And what the 8yo dictated to me:

The Chipmunk and the Chocolate

A young chipmunk spotted a jar of chocolate and reached in to get
some. He grabbed some chocolate and tried to pull out his paw which he
couldn't do because his fist was bulging with chocolate. The chipmunk was unwilling to drop the chocolate so he was unable to pull his paw out of the jar. Helplessly the chipmunk cried. A nearby squirrel noticed the chipmunk crying and told him, "If you let go of some of the chocolate you'll be able to get your paw out. Sometimes you need to give up a little to get what you wish."

This was all done from their key word outline. So they had 3 words from each sentence from the original story, The Boy and the Nuts - that sparked each of their sentences in their own work. The teacher told them that it would be nice, but certainly not necessary, to come up with their own characters. The girls enjoyed doing that! They also had in front of them a list of adverbs [100+] so there was no stress. They were required to combine 2 sentences with 'who' or 'which'. And they were NOT allowed to use the "Banned Words" [said, see/saw, go/went - thus far] I am just so proud of them! And amazed that this is their first real assignment and this is the fruit! How awesome is that?

The best part? There were no tears, no stressing out. There was excitement and pride in achieving this task!

Another interesting thing that I learned is the teacher guy [don't know his name] is a convert and our homeschooling group is booking him for a conference in 2010!

So - writing around here is taking a turn for the better! And now I can't wait 'til the next lesson!

Sometimes I just hate Blogger - why can't the words just be the way you want them to look. I 'm speaking about their stories. They were supposed to be blocked! I feel a comment from Regina coming on ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008


Dani made our neighbors dinner tonight - who just had a baby boy a couple wks ago - complete with baby blue frosted cupcakes. There were a few left over for her siblings to enjoy :0)

Smart Martha

Have you ever heard of Smart Martha? Well, I just attended one of these seminars on Friday at a local parish. Their motto is "Real Organization for Real Moms with Real Priorities" - cool. I need that.

The premise of the program comes from Luke 10:38-42 [Martha/Mary] You all know this one, I don't need to tell it ;) So it's all based on being a "Mary" to your family, friends, neighbors [who are the "Jesus' " in your life], but - we still have to be "Marthas" too. After all... we've got a household to run. That laundry ain't gonna take care of itself! So - be a Smart Martha.

I was very bummed that this seminar was only 2hrs long instead of the usual 4hrs - she didn't cover all 6 topics. She told the contact lady from the parish to choose 3 topics - and 3 were picked, but only 2 were touched on in the end. I guess the women's group only booked her or the room for X amount of hours. Anyway, Tami, the presenter, felt bad leaving so much out of her presentation. She kept saying, "Maybe I can come back some time and give you the other 2 hours." Why they didn't do that in the first place is beyond me. Anyway, that's my only complaint.

Here are some creative ideas:

Errand Bag - hang by your door for returning things to people or stores

Keep toys in one area of the house [ I know!, but wait!] - some exceptions are the "Toddlers" who bring toys wherever they go. So put a special basket/bin with some toys in it for them in the main living space in your home.

Keep supply of diapers/wipes in basket in main living space [to keep from going back/forth up/down to the changing table]

Puzzles: Don't keep them in the boxes they come in [we all know what happens to those boxes!]. Put them in a zipper baggie - the first time your child puts the puzzle together: color or somehow mark the back of the puzzle to know which piece goes with which puzzle! Brilliant idea!

Toy Boxes: Only use big bins such as toy boxes for big collections - weapons box, dress- up clothes, etc. Throwing a bunch of toys in gets crazy-messy and none of the bottom dwellers get played with b/c they forget they're there!

A Thank-You Basket: make the task of sending/writing thank-yous easy. Keep a basket filled with various thank you cards, return address labels, stamps, common addresses, and... a pen!

Kids' Room/s: Take a picture of the room spic-n-span clean and hang it on the inside of their closet door. "Does your room look like this?"

Catch-all Basket in the laundry room for all the stuff you find in the pockets [ummm, except for cash... that goes into my pocket!]

Always have a "dirty" dishwasher! Empty dishwasher as soon as it's run its cycle. Continually put dirty dishes in throughout the day. There should be no dishes in the sink because they are always going into the dishwasher! So your sink will always be clean too.

That's just a few examples of some ideas. We've been doing the dishwasher thing ever since. It used to be that we'd run it at night and it got emptied by the girls after dinner the next evening - and then refilled with dinner dishes. Not anymore. The dishes are put away either first thing in the morning or at snack time and we load as we go. If they can take a plate to the sink, they can put it in the dishwasher [ has to be emptied!]

I reorganized my pantry on Saturday. It was a semi-involved task, but so worth it! There's a certain 'ahhh' feeling when I open it now.

Paul just hung up my bulletin board near the pantry for the Organizational Center [Communicatin ctr, or Command central]. So I'm on my way to Rome [which wasn't built in a day by the way!]

Tami told the story of the Magic String - there was this man who had this magic string and whenever he pulled on the string it would fast forward his life to get through the sorrows, trials and sufferings in his life. So when his son got sick... zippp... he was beyond all that pain and suffering. All the irritating things in life... zippp... he got through just like that! Pretty soon he looked and he was an old man. He used his Magic String through his life so much that he hadn't lived and now it was closely ending. So don't say "I can't wait till..." - because it'll be over before you know it. Look at your own kids... you know what I mean.

So, go be a Smart Martha and ENJOY THE DIAPERS - they'll be gone before we can blink!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stop the Madness!

And no, this does not have to do with politics - although it really could :) It has to do with how many times am I gonna fool around with this blog! LOL

This is my new blogger template and I got it through a site called Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. I did a lot of searching and hers were the prettiest, most creative, most original and colorful, IMO. I didn't really care for the previous kind and how it scrolled differently.

Now she has free ones - which this is - but it will only work if you use Firefox server to download [copy/paste] the code. So.... what I did, was downloaded the Firefox, added the new template and then went back and deleted Firefox [I'm in my comfort zone with Explorer]. Heads Up: I will let you know that I lost all my widgets in doing this. So all my homeschool resource links, my blogroll, etc..., etc..., etc... - probably something I did wrong, but anyway... it happened. I'm a little bummed - but am so pleased with the new look that it's worth it to me.

I need to work on my header a bit... can you say Photoshop! But I am extremely happy with the cheeriness of the new look.

So thank you Lena! Thank you for your creativity in the blogosphere and your generosity :o)

Saturday, September 13, 2008


See what happens when I try to download a new template [which I didn't like, thus didn't keep]? I lost my Blogroll!!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Different Drummer

This is my husband's son. Well, okay he's mine too. He's supposed to wait until he eats his lunch before he drinks [esp. when it's chocolate milk, otherwise he'll just get filled up and ... well, you know] So I kept telling him that he wouldn't get any of his chocolate milk if he didn't finish [my back was to him] - I turned around and started to reprimand him - when all I could do instead was laugh! So, I asked him [all the while smiling}, "Joseph, did you drink some of your milk?" Then he stuck his one finger up and said, "Only one, Mommy. Only one." I mean this is classic. He thought he was being sneaky - little did he know! LOL - I'm still laughing! [you'll notice the sandwich in his hand!]Which leads me to this.....

I received the following beautiful words in an email from a friend in our group. These words just really spoke to me. Really touched me.

I peek in at him late at night lying in bed, fast asleep, my no-longer-little guy sprawled out across his bed, long unruly mess of hair covering his face. . .and I smile. I smile because he is full of personality. He is so different than me in many ways, different than my expectations, different than the little boy I had always imagined. And for that I am grateful.

He's his own person, knows what he likes and doesn't like. I look in at him, peaceful and innocent while he sleeps. The fight is gone and his little mind is resting. He's gone full force for the last sixteen hours, he needs a break.

I like it that he pushes the limits, like it that he questions everything, because one day he's going to do something spectacular. Along the way, he's going to make some big mistakes, but he's going to live large and dream large. Underneath the spunk and mouth is a heart not only lined with gold, but filled with it. It is large and feeling, and it wants to do good even when his impulses lead him astray at times. I think God must look down and confuse him with a little tornado. But I also think God looks down and likes what he has created, likes the little tornado who is growing into a man.

I think He sees Himself in my little boy, funny as that sounds. The part of God who is the Creator, who by the sheer force of His energy and being created life and all that is in the world. The part of God who was willing to step into humanity and persevere on a rugged cross because it would help people. The part of God who walked among men, largely misunderstood, often reviled because He was different and didn't do things the way the rulers of His era thought they should be done.

But He kept going. Because He, too, had a mission. He didn't care what others thought. His vision was larger than a mere thirty-three years on earth.

I think God must see Himself in the part that sometimes misses out on earthly things because he's in tune with something deep inside another person. The part who remains an idealist even when the world around him is less than ideal. The part that isn't afraid to look into eternity and see better things in all of us.

That is my son sleeping there. We fought each other until we couldn't fight anymore. Until I realized that I was the one who needed to change, because I wasn't going to change his nature. Perhaps he has been given to me so that I would change.

That is my son. Sometimes he inspires anger, sometimes frustration. Then he makes me laugh, even smile in resignation. And as I look at him, he makes me cry. He is a wonderful creation. Through all the struggles, I can see the imprints of the Creator.

He is my son. He marches to the beat of a different drummer. Thank God.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Broken Hearted

Well this is officially the last day I'll be spending with my sister. Tomorrow she flies out to LA to enter Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. It is indeed bittersweet.

I've been trying so hard not to dwell on it, but this week has been extremely difficult to hold it all together. I try to think of it as no big deal - but it is... she's my best friend and she's leaving. For the rest of her life.

Now it's not a cloistered convent, like Mother Angelica's, so - for us, the family - that's a plus. So why am I so sad? This is her vocation. Her calling. Her route to Heaven. She'll get to come visit in 3-4yrs - and every 3 yrs after that [?]. And I think we can go out to see her. But in reality, I know how that won't happen for this mother of 7. It'll be phone calls and letters - which I'll cherish.

I know I'll see her again. But that's not helping me to see her off. I see her every week right now. And we are extremely close. The really sad thing I keep thinking of is my kids. She'll really miss seeing them grow up.

She'll miss Sophia's 7th birthday in November. She'll miss Christmas with us. No more receiving dollar store gifts from my kiddos :o) She'll miss seeing Charlie play ball. She'll miss seeing Dani improve in pitching. She'll miss Kayla's graduation this May. She'll miss all the sacraments of all my kids. She'll miss weddings or ordinations. But she'll miss the weekly visits most. Just being here.

She'll miss hugs and kisses. And artwork.

She'll miss the craziness of my household.

She'll miss Margarita Sundays! :o)

And I'll miss her laugh. When I need it. Her light-heartedness and goofy-ness. I'll miss watching a great movie with her. Or a bomb of a movie - which is more the case! I'll miss our talks that go well into the next day. I'll miss talking to someone about the struggles I'm dealing with at the moment or the little incidental things that happened during the week. I'll miss all the joy she brings into this home.

I'll miss sitting around with Mom, Dad, Karen and Paul just chatting, eating and drinking.

I'll miss hearing "Aunt Karennnnn" as my kids see her come through the door. A sound I can hear in my head as I type!

But that's all my human-ness. My selfishness. Which wants to yell out "Don't Go!". In my soul, I know that this is wonderful. It's her vocation. It will be her life. And she'll finally feel as though she belongs somewhere. That she's finally found her place. I know once she breaks the strong ties with all of her family it'll be a big sigh of relief to have gotten over that hurdle. I know that leaving for her is harder than her leaving for me. If that's possible.

Here is an excerpt from My Sister Saint Therese by her sister Celine [who was in the same convent w/Therese]:

That there should be interior struggles over such trifles in the religious life
might come as a surprise to many readers. I confess that at the beginning
of my Carmelite life I also experienced some astonishment at this very
thing. To me it seemed that, having made the supreme sacrifice of complete
separation from loved ones, and utter renunciation of the world, it should have
been relatively easy to bear the thousand and one minor crosses of community
life. My own petty re-actions, however, to the personal trials that came my way
shortly after my entrance disabused me of this false notion.

I love you Karen. Love you so much. I can't even fathom how much you'll be
missed. [is it possible to cry more than I am at this moment?]


He Loves You MORE!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Dani spotted this beautie a couple weeks ago on the roof of our back deck. What a sight! [this was taken through the window and screen, so the photo quality isn't that good -- you should've seen me sneaking up to the window! You can see him looking at me as he spotted the camera flash!]
Anyone know what his name is? There are those sites to identify birds, but I'm just not sure on this guy. I thought he was some kind of hawk - but none that we saw looked like him. It's the beginning of our bird study!

Oh, and speaking of bird study... Pepi the Mighty Kitty has been studying birds too. If you remember the feeder we recently put up - you'll understand where her studying takes place. To make a long and funny story short, she caught a bird at the feeder and brought it inside the house! She started to take it upstairs but Aunt Karen coaxed her into dropping it on the stairs. Dani thought it was dead, until it fluttered in her face and flew away! You can imagine the girly screams :o) It was really funny. She ended up landing in the toaster, Grandpa finally scooped her up and set her on the deck railing. We were confident she was okay as she flew to her nest! I wonder if she'll be frequenting the feeder again?