"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Official

Some of you have heard the news. Some of you know of the possibility. Some of you have been praying for us. Some of you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Well ... one of the reasons I've been especially busy since the end of March involves a big decision that we had to make. And now it's been made. The contract has been signed.

My DH has accepted an offer to help start a brand new Catholic Studies program at the University of Mary.

Yes, we are moving to Bismarck, North Dakota at the beginning of July.

This is bittersweet for me. I love Saint Paul. I grew up here in the Twin Cities and have lived here for most of my life. My DH also grew up here. Our families are here. We have many, many dear friends here. We live in a great neighborhood and belong to a great parish. I love my doctor. It will be hard to leave. I am sad.

After the job was offered, knowing my skepticism, my DH wisely packed the family up and took us to visit Bismarck. While I admit I was not impressed by the city itself, I met some wonderful people in our three days there, including the President of the University and the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who sent me these beautiful flowers for Easter.

The kids had a wonderful time on our trip and are excited about the move. We got to visit a farm. The Girls got to watch the milking and see newborn calves (less than three hours old) and ride in a pick-up truck and see deer and pheasant. The Boy was happy to stay in the yard and play with other boys! (They want us to buy a farm!)

We toured campus.

We toured the Cathedral.

I ate the best. deer steak. ever!

The Diocese of Bismarck is in the Province of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and, since I work for the Appellate Tribunal for the Archdiocese, I have had occasion to meet the priests and other staff members of the Bismarck Tribunal, so we went to visit Fr. Chad, one of those priests. One of the highlights of the kids' trip was riding his Harley!

A graduate myself, Catholic Studies programs are near and dear to my heart. I know this move is going to be hard for me, but I am excited to be involved in this new endeavor. I remember the positive influence wives of my Catholic Studies professors had on me, and I hope to be able to do the same. I am also excited to be entering a phase in life where my husband will no longer be a student (once the dissertation is completed and defended). And I am excited for stability for a change (once we're settled).

Please say a few prayers for us. Pray that we will find the house where we can best live our new mission in Bismarck. Pray for my DH as he works frantically to finish the school year, finish the dissertation, and begin his new job. Pray that the kids' adjustment will go smoothly. Pray that I don't go crazy. Pray for peace for our family as we begin our new adventure.

Thanks much!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Catch-Up Number Three - Old Friends, New Sisters

On March 24, the eve of the Annunciation, Bishop John LeVoir of the Diocese of New Ulm established the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus as a Public Association of the Faithful -- the first step toward becoming a religious community of diocesan right. Four sisters received their new habits and new names; one professed her simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Before moving to New Ulm, these young women were residents of our parish convent. They brought us soup when I was on bed-rest with The Baby last winter. They took the older kids over to the convent to do schoolwork and go on rosary walks. They hosted The Girls First Communion reception when I was overwhelmed with a new baby and the lack of space in our rental house.

My girls just adore them.

at Bishop Sirba's ordination in December

I have attended diaconate ordinations and priestly ordinations and even several episcopal consecrations, but I had never attended an investiture and profession of vows. It was a beautiful event. What made it even better is that The Girls were able to attend with me (my DH was out of town, my dad came to watch the younger two, and the three of us rode to New Ulm with our friend, Fr. B.).

It is rare that our daughters have the opportunity to see young women making this choice. Growing up, I saw primarily elderly nuns (God bless them!). Indeed, this has been the norm in America. But these wonderful women are young and alive and fun and, most importantly, they love our Lord. What a blessing for the Church that these women feel called to serve in diocesan schools and churches, being visible, so that more of our daughters will be exposed to this vocation and have occasion to discern whether this may be the life our Lord is calling them to as well. I am grateful for their presence in our lives, and especially in the lives of my girls. Please say a little prayer for them and for your own daughters. Give your daughters opportunity to witness the beauty of the religious life when you can and encourage them in their own discernment.

with Mother Mary Clare of the Heart of the Father

with Sister Regina Marie of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar

with Sister Miriam Rose of the Incarnate Word

(We didn't get a picture with Sister Magdalena Marie of the Trinity -- this time.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Catch-Up Number Two - First Family Hike and Picnic of the Year

... happened on March 21. Hopefully, this was the first of many! Here are some highlights:

walking in the woods

Mr. Beaver -- spotted on our hike


naps in the sun and first Oreo cookies


dancing on a picnic table


Spring has sprung! Get out and enjoy it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Then and Now - Concert Edition

Last night I went to a concert with my bestest friend.

I really like concerts, but with four kids and a husband in graduate school ... I was trying to remember the last time I went to a real, pay-for-your-tickets kind of concert (although these tickets were free to me, someone had to pay for them). I've been to Handel's Messiah with my DH and kids, but that doesn't count, so I think the last time I went to a concert was with this same bestest friend. in college!

Then: Michael W. Smith concert with our little sisters
(sorry for the picture quality -- it's a picture of a picture)

Now: Casting Crowns concert

BTW, another interesting then-and-now: Last concert I went to people lit lighters; this concert, people lit their cell phones!


Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You

Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Catch-Up Number One - An American Girl Birthday Party

Okay ... this is what I hope to be the first in a series of "catch-up" posts from my crazy last month!

The Younger Girl turned eight on March 11 and we had her party on the 20th. At first she had wanted a cowgirl party, just like her older sister. That was until she received her birthday present. Then she wanted an American Girl party. (And I was kind of glad she changed her mind, so I didn't have to throw two identical parties!)

I decided to do a star theme (like the American Girl logo) and I included the dolls in everything, too.

The Invitations
(one for the girls and a little one for the dolls;
the star lifts to reveal the party details)

As the girls arrived, they got their picture taken with their doll
and set to work decorating a foam frame with stickers for their pictures,
while I printed the pictures out.

Next we played some games:

Cinderella Shoe Find
(The girls were blindfolded and had to search through a pile of all of their shoes to find their own and put them on. The fastest time was the winner. I was going to include the doll shoes, too, but most of the dolls arrived barefooted.)

Guess the Girl
(Each girl had the name of a famous female taped to their back -- everyone from Minnie Mouse to American Girl historical characters to Disney princesses. They had to ask each other yes and no questions in order to figure out who they were.)

Then we made bracelets for the girls and mini ones for their dolls. (They turned out really cute!)

After games, it was time for lunch!

pigs in a blanket (hot dogs and little smokies)
carrot slices (large and small)
tomato wedges (Roma and grape)
Doritos (regular size and 100 calorie pack small size)
and Cherry 7-Up

Then it was time for presents!

And cake!

And a group photo!

Finally, each girl grabbed a goodie bag on their way out.

sparkly hair binder
Lipsmacker lip gloss
glittery star stickers
pink glow-in-the-dark star
bubble gum
floral notepad
pastel striped pencil
star bubble necklace
miniature star slinky

It was a fun party to plan and I think the girls all had a great time!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hmmm ...

What does it mean when your husband adds the above to your morning coffee without your knowledge? And you don't notice until you reheat said cup of coffee some hours later?

(a) you're out of your much-loved coffee creamer
(b) you spent most of the day before doing your income taxes and did not like the outcome
(c) it's been a long week
(d) you have a Baby who is suffering from allergies, got three shots, and has four new teeth coming in all at the same time
(e) your husband loves you very much
(f)) all of the above