"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)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lent - Week V

Wow! Doing this once-a-week review has really made me realize (1) how quickly a week goes by, and (2) how much we do around here in a week -- and I only list the out-of-the-ordinary stuff!

Since last week ...

... our Lenten calendar has gotten browner.

… we celebrated the Solemn Feast of St. Joseph (and a name day at our house).

… I took my husband out for dinner to celebrate the Joseph he is to our family. (And we finally tried the fried cheesy pickles at our favorite local place -- yummy!)

… I surprised my husband by picking up his dry cleaning, only to be surprised myself -- he had brought in my summer dresses to be cleaned! (I smiled at the lady at the dry cleaners -- "That's what married people do, right?")

… we celebrated the Feast of St. Benedict with some Baileys before bed -- the University where my husband teaches is Benedictine after all.

… The Boy, The Baby, and I attended the local Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally at the capitol with over 700 other attendees.

… the girls attended their second Greek mythology class at the University. This time they learned about Antigone. (By the way, they know way more about Greek mythology than I ever have.) (And they're ready to be University students!) (Hold up! Slow down!)

… the girls also attended a series of art classes at the University offered by Artists Celebrating Christ.

… The Boy visited the fire station at the airport.

… The Baby had bad dreams about Rumpelstiltskin’s long fingernails (from a play we saw a few weeks ago) and ended up in our bed. (The Baby really needs a new blog name. Sad.)

… I found myself with two hours alone. I couldn't remember the last time that had happened. It was so quiet.

… my DH and I went out to dinner with some of his colleagues and Denis McNamara and David Hooker -- in town for the Artists Celebrating Christ art show.

… I attended a lecture by Dr. McNamara based on his book How to Read Churches. (It was very good, I thought -- this is the part of being married to an academic that I love.)

… we made it to Stations of the Cross at our parish.

… I stayed up too late at our monthly Young Adults gathering.

… I ordered and received The Boy's first communion suit and his gift. (Prayer request here, please -- April 14 is the big day.)

… after three weeks, I officially fell in love with on-line grocery shopping -- totally worth the $6 delivery charge. Totally.

… I finished and filed our income taxes. (Yeah, federal refund!)

… Miss Sunshine made chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. (And I can eat them today!)

... we all ran errands as a family -- Easter outfits, including shoes (!) are all in-house (except for Mom's shoes, that is -- I don't have the patience to shop for myself with the whole family in tow). We then celebrated with dinner at the Chinese buffet and snuggled up to watch Hugo together. (By the way, this was a fantastic movie -- except for the one brief, stupid, irrelevant-to-the-plot dialogue that the kids didn't seem to hear anyway -- and I highly recommend it.)


... we attended another Knights of Columbus sponsored pancake breakfast.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. It's cloudy and chilly here ... jammies, books, and games all around for the rest of the day.

Blessed final weeks of Lent.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lent - Week IV

Since last Sunday …

... I had a hard time getting out of bed almost every morning due to the long (fun) weekend, combined with the Daylight Saving dark in the morning. Here's to a new week.

… I took The Boy to observe an Aikido class.

… the girls were bummed about having no Irish dance performances this St. Patrick’s Day for the first time since they can remember.

… we watched The Odyssey (minus Circe and Calypso).

… we studied the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems.

... we enjoyed our first week with Pip and gave her her first bath.

… we went out for muffins after Mass on Thursday just for the fun of it.

… we had a pizza picnic at the park.

… we played bingo with the residents of a local nursing home.

… we attended a soup and sandwich supper at our parish.

… we tried to attend an evening Lenten program based on the Stations of the Cross after a long day. We left before it was over.

... the girls slept over at some friends' house.

... the girls decided (thankfully) not to audition for the spring ballet.

… we decided Thursday evening to host a last minute St. Patrick’s Day party on Saturday and had a great time -- 15 adults, 24 kids, corn beef, potatoes, assorted snacks, Guiness, Irish creme and Irish ale, a bonfire, a snake hunt, Irish jigs, and lots of green.

... The Boy attended a birthday party.

... we enjoyed another week of beautiful weather.

We're all in bed early tonight. Have a blessed week! (Sorry, too tired to upload pictures.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lent - Week III

Since last Sunday …

... the kids enjoyed making snowmen, but sadly watched them rapidly melt away.

… we enjoyed reading Longfellow’s poem, Evangeline.

… I tried a new soup recipe -- a delicious ham and vegetable.

… I began reading Winnie the Pooh to The Baby.

… we made a sticky mess devouring some really sweet grapefruit.

… I took Miss Rose shopping for an Easter dress.

… my DH and I voted in the ND Republican primary (and our guy won).

… I hosted our monthly Little Flowers meeting. The girls studied piety and St. Cecelia. They made bracelets and ate fruit kebabs while they were learning the colors of the robe of piety (a la Father Lasance).

… I got lost trying to find the pool where phy ed swim classes are going to be held this month.

… The Baby got mad at me that she couldn’t swim with the big kids during phy ed.

… I went out with some other great moms for Brazilian barbecue for our monthly Mom’s Night Out.

... I tried a yummy new fruit.

… I left my family for thirty hours for a night at a hotel with a couple of girlfriends and a Saturday Lenten retreat.

... I laughed with my girlfriends.

… I cried at the retreat. a lot. It was good.

… we celebrated Miss Sunshine’s tenth birthday with Mass, an afternoon at the zoo, a wonderful dinner, chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and a couple rounds of Apples to Apples (Disney Edition).

... we loved the baby goats.

... The Baby got the hang of feeding the goats on her own.

… we gloried in a weekend of warm weather (almost 70 degrees!) and sunshine (ahhh, Vitamin D!).

… we welcomed Pip to our family.

Happy Lent! See you next week!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lent - Week II

Since last Sunday ...

... my husband has been on spring break.

... we were forecast to get a foot of snow and looked forward excitedly to a blizzard.

... we got less than an inch of snow and were very disappointed. (I think I will encourage my children to pursue meteorology -- in what other profession does one get paid so much even when one is so wrong so often?)

... our homeschool phy ed class performed the Irish jigs and reels the girls and I taught them for their parents. And they did pretty well, if I do say so myself.

... we spent two nights at a local hotel -- swimming, playing cards, watching Little House on the Prairie, and relaxing together.

... my baby turned three!

... I missed a step and thought I broke a bone in my foot. It's still sore, but I'm not limping anymore -- I think it's just bruised.

... I appreciated my husband. a lot.

... I got a haircut.

... we attended Stations of the Cross at our parish.

... I got my menus done and groceries in the house for all meals through next Sunday.

... my DH and I watched Courageous -- good movie.

... we attended a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Saint Gianna's Maternity Home.

... we went to the zoo and the library and grilled pork chops.

I pray you are all having a blessed and fruitful Lent. Until next week ...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lent - Week I

So, I meant to post something Tuesday, saying I wouldn't be around here much during Lent, but I never got around to it -- we were too busy celebrating Fat Tuesday with grilled hamburgers, french fries, vanilla malts, popcorn, and a movie (by the way, The Mighty Macs is a good one for the whole family).


Since it's Sunday, I thought I'd stop by for a minute and fill you in on our week (while Daddy and the three big kids are sledding). Next, I'll go check Facebook, too ... I've been going through withdrawal the last few days. It's good to be more intentional and focused on other things though.

(this year's Lent calendar)

This week ...

... we all attended Ash Wednesday Mass at the University where Daddy teaches -- all of us, that is, except Miss Rose, who was home sick (and very disappointed).

... we started counting our sacrifices and good deeds with dry beans.

... we prayed The Divine Mercy chaplet at three o'clock each day.

... the big girls and I taught our final homeschool rhythms class -- we have spent the last month teaching the phy ed class Irish jigs and reels.

... we got our first real snowfall of the winter (!) and were able to take an afternoon off to go sledding with friends.

... the kids and I attended Stations of the Cross with the students from our parish school.

... we made the decision to add another non-human member to our family. Stay tuned for more.

... we attended our first Lenten Friday fish fry of the season.

... we went to see a local production of Rumpelstiltskin. The Baby was not impressed and she and I spent the better part of the play in the hallway talking about monsters and playing school.

... we enjoyed dinner at the house of some friends.

Today we are celebrating Miss Rose's 11th birthday. Every birthday we celebrate causes me to wonder at how time flies. Today we are enjoying being together at home. It's snowing again. We had a big brunch together after Mass. We played cards. We'll have her favorite spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (which we've had every year since she could say "pasghetti"), followed by banana splits and maybe a movie. I'm so proud of the young lady she is becoming.

I pray you all have a blessed and fruitful Lent. See you next Sunday. Maybe.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Seven Quick Takes - Volume 16


Seven things I love about my husband ...

-- 1 --

He is a man of prayer.

I've always admired this about my husband --
no matter how busy he is, he is faithful and constant,
never forgetting what is most important.

(with The Baby having morning prayer time last winter)

-- 2 --

He loves to spend time with me.

My husband thinks a weekly date night is important.
And he doesn't want to share me with anyone else.

(last week before the symphony)

-- 3 --

He loves his kids.

He cherishes one-on-one time with each child
and tries to get it as often as he can.

(with Miss Rose last summer on vacation)

-- 4 --

He gets up at night with the kids.

Knowing I'm with the kids all day,
and knowing that a good night sleep for the teacher is
essential for the success of our school days,
he is the one to get up with sick kids and scared kids
and whatever else the night brings.

(with Miss Sunshine)

-- 5 --

He cleans toilets and showers, among other things.

And he makes a killer weekend brunch.

(makin' bacon on vacation)

-- 6 --

He is a source of strength.

When I am anxious or overwhelmed, he holds my hand and prays with me.

(swinging The Boy on an early spring walk)

-- 7 --

He works hard.

At whatever he does.

Yet strives for balance.

Happy birthday, Sweetie!

I love you!

And I love that you chose to spend your life with me and the kids!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seven Quick Takes - Volume 15


-- 1 --

The Quick Takes

I had to go back quite a ways to see what volume of Quick Takes this was -- I haven't done one in quite a while, July to be specific. I thought I would use the opportunity to catch you up on some things that have happened around here while I was on my (unintentional) blogging break.

-- 2 --

The Job

I'm in the process of transitioning from a full-time salaried worker to working on a contract basis. This will be the first time in twelve years that I will be free -- free from having to work a certain number of hours or having to do a certain amount of work each week.

I am very much looking forward to it and to the changes that it will (hopefully) enable our family to make.

As an aside, I don't recommend working full-time and homeschooling.

-- 3 --

The Arm

August 27
The Boy falls off his scooter going down the hill in front of our house.
Mom does all the "checks" and determines his arm is not broken.

September 2
Mom finally brings The Boy to the doctor,
where it is determined his arm is, in fact, broken.
(Doctor consoles Mom saying it is a minor break
and he couldn't tell until it was x-rayed either.)
Arm is splinted.

September 6
The first of many trips to The Bone and Joint Center --
Specialist #1 agrees a splint is sufficient.

September 27
Specialist #1 determines split can come off, except for gym class and rough play.

October 7
The Boy slips WALKING (really!) down the cursed hill in front of our house.
Mom KNOWS the arm is broken without any "checks."
Doctor confirms and splints.

October 11
Specialist #2 determines The Boy needs surgery.
Apparently, this is not a minor break this time --
Mom can see that clearly from the x-ray.

October 12
The Boy undergoes a forearm reduction.
Anesthesia and The Boy do not get along for most of the day.

October 18 - November 16
Many more visits to The Bone and Joint Center for x-rays --
The Boy accumulates an expensive impressive sticker collection.

November 16
The cast comes off.
The Boy gets an expensive custom-fit camouflage splint.

November 16 - December 15
The Boy goes to occupational therapy.

Today - January 27 (exactly five months after first fall)
We visit The Bone and Joint Center for the last time
(at least for this injury).

-- 4 --

The Piano

We acquired a piano in October, only having to pay for moving and tuning costs. Miss Sunshine is going to begin taking lessons, as soon as I have a minute to figure out the who and when.

-- 5 --

The Baby's Latest Trick

I love this -- every time I put her in her Vikings outfit, she puts her arms in the air and yells, "Touch-up!" ...

... and then she lowers them and yells, "Touch-down!"

-- 6 --

The Cookies

Yesterday, as I was busy working, working, working on the aforementioned goal (see #1), the cookie jar was magically filled with homemade oatmeal raisin cookies (my favorite), without any intervention on my part, thanks to Miss Rose. (I love big kids!)

-- 7 --

The Date Night

It's Friday. I get to spend the evening with the man I love. Need I say more?

Have a great weekend.
And go check out more Quick Takes at Jen's.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom

Perform faithfully what God requires of you each moment,
and leave the thought of everything else to Him.
I assure you that to live in this way will bring you great peace.
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal)

I long to give you everything, O God,
and yet I am weak and fickle like a child.
Hold me and remind me, moment by moment,
that You are with me and that I can do all things through You.
(Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss, Small Steps for Catholic Moms)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things - Winter Edition

Cold outside. Warm and cozy inside.

These are a few of my favorite (winter) things ...

(Yes, I love them -- when I've had time to stock the kitchen,
and we're all home, safe and sound,
and it snows, and snows, and snows, and we can't go anywhere.)

(And, yes, I feel gypped this winter.)

having a fireplace
(Even if it is gas, and I'd prefer a real one, it is nice and cozy.)
(And we probably have more fires than we would if it were a real one.)

(Once the Christmas tree is gone, I still like some lights on the mantle.)

(And I enjoy my wedding gift replica of the Saint Paul Cathedral, where we were married.)

scented candles
(They make the house smell yummy.)

slow cooker
(It makes the house smell yummy.)

(Hey ... I must like a yummy-smelling house.)

coffee with friends
(I couldn't find a coffee shop picture,
but, hey, it looks like I was blogging when I took this,
so that means I was kind of with friends, right?)

(a dry skin must have)
(And I just noticed they now have it with SPF, so I'll use it all summer, too!)

bright colored, fuzzy socks
(especially new ones that are still really, really soft)

Cuddl Duds
(I have boring black ones and white ones ... no leopard print here.)

an electric blanket
(on a timer, so the bed is warm when we get in it at night)
(which is what I'm going to go do right now)

So, what are some of your favorite winter things?

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Works For Me: Personal Prayer

One of the things I like most about reading blogs (especially mom blogs) (most especially Catholic homeschooling mom blogs) is the opportunity to see what works in other people’s homes, with other people’s kids, in other people's lives. Blogs have become a source of inspiration and hope, a go-to for problem-solving and encouragement. I like to share what works for me, and I love to hear about what works for you, because I'm always trying to make things around my home, with my kids, in my life a little better. Let's share the wealth.

Today's topic? Personal prayer.
What works for you?
Leave a comment or link up.

As a mom (and I’m sure you other moms can empathize with me), I am pressed to find quiet time for personal prayer. I must have prayer time in the morning, before the kids are awake, or it doesn’t happen. I can’t wait until they’re in bed for the night because I’m just too tired. Even in the morning sometimes I struggle with staying awake, but in the morning prayer time can be accompanied by a cup of coffee, and it most always is. But even in the absence of physical noise, my heart is a cacophony of fears and worries, and my mind is screaming with the day's to-do list, and I often struggle with how to give my Lord my full attention. I find that a longer period of prayer is helpful, forty minutes or so, just because it takes me a while to actually quiet my heart enough to listen a bit. I’ve also appreciated the ancient practice of lectio divina, praying with Scripture -- often I use the Gospel passage for the day. And journaling, especially, prevents my mind from wandering too much and helps me keep my focus.

So, how about you?

When do you pray?



And what do you find most difficult about personal prayer?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas 2011

It seems that every year there is one Christmas gift I am particularly proud of. There was the year I found wooden ornaments for the girls and had a picture of their favorite horses from horse camp burned on them. And there was the year I made a scrapbook for my sister of the trip the two of us took to Europe when she was graduating from high school. This year it was my hubby's gift.

First, a little history: My grandmother made Christmas stockings for each of her eight grandchildren. I've had mine ever since I can remember.

I've carried on the tradition by making a stocking for each of my own children (although they usually have to wait until their second or third Christmas before I get it done).

Filling the stockings is Santa's job, so we have to have the biggest stockings available ... 28" diagonally. After The Baby was born, I couldn't find any that size anymore. So I waited, hoping the company that made the other three would start making the Jumbo size again. This past October, I decided to try my luck on eBay. Not only did I find a Jumbo stocking for The Baby, I found a kit to make the exact stocking my grandmother made me thirty-some years ago!

I was able to sneak in time when my husband wasn't at home to work on the stocking, and I was able to finish it in time for Christmas. I was even able to get my mom to write his name on it for me to embroider, so the handwriting would match the handwriting on mine. Christmas morning I sneaked into the living room while my hubby was making the coffee and placed his filled stocking in between the kids' stockings on the couch. And you know what he noticed first? The Brachs Stars peeking out of the top ... he wondered why someone else was getting his favorite candy. It was priceless.

Now to get to work on The Baby's stocking before next year, which will be her fourth Christmas already!

What was your favorite Christmas 2011 surprise, either given or received?

By the way ... I've missed you.