Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Pair of Pear Trees husband planted in honor of the new baby.
Grow healthy and strong little trees.
I can't wait to see you bloom!

The Great Debaters

Jacob and Zachary have been arguing about everything lately. Oh, I don't mean toys or who gets to be the good guy or bad guy in a game, I mean debates. It seems they are both starting to think about things and form their own opinions and this has led to some very interesting, often heated arguments.

The other night, for example, I heard them in their beds furiously discussing whether skunks are rare or not rare. The argument, it seems, revolved around the definition of rare. Zachary thought rare animals are those which are hardly ever seen. Jacob, on the other hand, thought rare was synonymous with endangered and many animals that are not seen, he argued, are not endangered. The shrew, for example, and barracudas.

And then yesterday Jacob hollered up the stairs, "Moooooooooom!" I stopped what I was doing and carried my aching body down to him to see what was wrong. "Zachary says that thumbs are NOT fingers," he said in a flush when I finally reached him. "They ARE fingers, Zack, because we have ten fingers and that means our thumbs, too." "But they are different," Zachary responded.

"They are different, but they are fingers, Zachary. We have ten fingers." I said in my most confident and knowing-mother tone. That settled it.

But then later, just out of curiosity, I Googled the question and found there is some debate. Some say the thumb is a phalange, a digit and a metacarpal, but not a finger. It differs from fingers in that it is opposable, has two phalanges rather than three, differs in proportion and stubbiness, and is attached to a more mobile metacarpus. Others say the word finger simply means a digit on the hand and so a thumb is different, but still a finger. So, I still think I'm right. It is a finger. Nah-nah, said so.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remember What You Know

Until very recently, we hadn't talked with our children about abortion. We hadn't been especially hiding the topic from them, but neither had they asked and so we really didn't see any need to introduce them to such an ugly reality.

It was inevitable, especially in our circles of concerned pro-life friends, that the topic would come up sooner or later and we'd have to discuss it. I'm actually surprised it didn't happen sooner. I wasn't there when the conversation took place and my son didn't tell me about it later. As it happened, my friend's daughter told her all about it and I received a concerned email.

It seems the topic came up as an important issue in this election. My oldest son asked what the word meant and another child explained it to him. My friend's daughter stepped in to warn that such topics shouldn't be discussed because my son may not know what it is yet. "I do now," my son said. I guess it was too late.

My poor friend was mortified to learn this from her daughter, but I was only pleased to know that the conversation had happened so that I might discuss the topic with my son. I'd rather he learn about this from his pro-life friends and talk about it with us, his parents, rather than piece it together from things he reads in the newspaper, hears occasionally on NPR (I don't always turn the volume down in time) or from other liberal media sources.

That night we sat down with our son and asked him if he had learned something about abortion that he'd like to discuss with us. "No," he stuttered. I think he thought he might be in trouble. "Well... sorta..." he went on uncomfortably. Did someone tell you what it is? I asked. "You tell me what it is," he said, hesitant to show his cards.

"Abortion is when a mother asks a doctor to end her pregnancy. The doctor takes the baby out of the mother's body before it is meant to be born."

"But..." and here's where I saw what must have been on his mind since he first heard about it, "but that's... MURDER." He was certain. There was no doubt in his mind that abortion was the murder of a human being. Along with his certainty was an audible doubt. A doubt about how this could happen in our country. He wondered how, how could this be legal? Why aren't people going to jail? In short, how is it that those who participate in and publicly support abortion are getting away with murder?

"That's right," my husband said, "It is murder. That's why you need to remember what I told you about forming your conscience. You need to remember what you know is right and what you know is wrong. People who warp their conscience to suit themselves wind up believing all sorts of evil things are good and they even convince other people of the same. Don't ever let that happen to you."

And that, I believe, is exactly Fr Corapi's point in his "Eleventh Hour Pre-election Alert"

Remember what you know. Vote your informed conscience this election. Vote for life.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Earn a Boy's Respect

Schoolwork Question: What is your favorite animal and why?

Simeon's answer: A mole, because he eats his own weight in worms every day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

32 Weeks

...and feeling like The Great Pumpkin

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gorilla Boy

Zachary had fun pretending he was the Gorilla on the back of this issue of Ranger Rick. That text reads, "I don't LIKE cheese, I don't WANT cheese, and I'm not gonna say 'cheese,' OK?" We love when a new RR magazine comes in the mail. Thanks, Grandpapa and Grandmaman!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One of Us

I can't stop thinking about this video and I'll tell you why...

I am nearly 32 weeks along with this pregnancy and we know we are having a little boy. I don't know exactly what he'll look like, but I have some idea. He'll have his own unique take on it, but he'll look like a "Temple Boy" because he is one. He's a part of this family as much as any of our born children and his brothers seem to know it instinctively. They are passionately inclusive of this youngest brother, these boys, and won't hear of it when a stranger remarks on the five. "No, there are SIX of us," they correct everyone and anyone and they will correct a second or third time if necessary with a tone of exasperation: Why won't people understand that there are six of us?

They stand around me after dinner one night, these brothers, each with a hand on my belly waiting--silent and still--hoping that they will be the one to feel an ankle, an elbow, a turn. I look at the expectation on their faces, these five boys crowded around me and take a mental picture. I hope to capture the moment forever in my memory, burn it vividly and accurately onto the slate of my imagination. These are special times, these days of anticipation, these are the days I hope to recall in my old age.

This little Temple Boy has a name and we call him by his name. There is a nearby street that bears this name and my heart skips a beat whenever I see it. I love to see the letters printed like that, just as I once loved to write my first name next to my future husband's last name in the margins of my Aristotle books during drowsy, late afternoon college classes years ago. Suzanne Temple-- this name, so new, promised a lifetime of love. Baby Temple's name promises the same.

Every Sunday at church now, Nicholas rests his head on my belly during the homily and Baby Temple kicks him in the ear repeatedly. "Do you feel the baby?" I ask Nicholas when he doesn't pull away in surprise. "Uh, hu" Nicholas nods as though it is the most normal thing in the world. It happens every Sunday, after all, and Nicholas knows these little kicks, even expects them. Nicholas knows there is a baby in there who will soon be born.

Zachary notices a baby girl in a car seat in the row ahead of us. "Mama, we need a carriage like that one, but not pink," he tells me a little louder than I'd like, "And a stroller... and more bibs." Yes, yes we do. Shhhh... Zachary knows we have a baby to prepare for.

This is a baby, a human, a child, a brother, a son. He is ours and belongs to us and we belong to him. This is not a part of my body to do with as I please, this is a unique human being with rights of his own endowed by his Creator, inalienable rights which begin with the right to life.

I packed a picnic the other day for my husband and sons because I knew I had to be somewhere that night. Along with sandwiches and chips, I packed a six pack of those little half cans of soda for the children. My husband told me later that when he distributed the cans, the boys cracked their sodas and without prompting proposed a toast "to the new baby" "here, here" and they clanked their cans together all around, drinking to littlest member of their six pack of boys.

Job Creation: Doing My Part

Me: (hollering up the stairs) Who will come and vacuum the dining room for me? Whoever does so will earn my eternal appreciation...

Older Child: I will. love...deepest respect...kisses...

Older Child: (passing me) And a dollar.

Me: OK, and a dollar.

If you can measure how difficult things have become for me in this third trimester by the amount of money I owe my children for doing simple household chores...well, then things are getting fairly difficult and my children are getting fairly rich. Still, I think I'm getting a good deal. Who will clean an entire garage for three dollars? Wash pots, sweep, and mop a kitchen for two? Even in this economic climate, only boys saving for a pet snake and tank will work for such pathetic wages. Yes, pet snake. We'll have to see about that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh, Deer

My husband killed a deer early this morning and not with a hunting rifle, but with his SUV. The stag is dead, poor thing. My husband is fine, thank goodness. The SUV is in the shop.

A doe and fawn were seen on our lawn later in the morning. You don't think that was his wife and child, do you? I don't think so either. Still, I couldn't help but wonder.

Drive carefully everyone. It's deer season.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catch of the Day

Squirrel Treefrog

So, that's what we'd been hearing at night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where Can You Get a Rosary for the Unborn?

Many readers have emailed me asking where they can order a rosary for the unborn like the one pictured below. It is beautiful, isn't it? I think so, too.

I did not include the information about where to order these rosaries in my last post because the Diocese of Cleveland thought it necessary to issue a caution against the group that sells them (PDF). The group is called Holy Love Ministries of Cleveland, Ohio. The stated reason for the 1999 caution, which is still in effect, is that leaders of "Holy Love Ministries" have claimed that they are not subject to the authority of the Catholic Church, but there may be even more reason than that for caution. Many have questioned the validity of the visionary claims of Maureen Sweeney Kyle and it was on account of her visions that "Holy Love Ministries" began distributing the rosaries.

The organization says that it is "heaven's desire" that the bulk of the proceeds from the sale of these rosaries go to care centers for unwed mothers. That sounds like a worthy cause. I leave it to you to decide whether or not you wish to support a questionable organization and if purchasing these rosaries could be considered support at all if proceeds are, in fact, donated to pro-life efforts. I just thought I should let you know.

Hey, maybe somebody else should start making similar rosaries. There seems to be a market. If you do start making them, let me know. I'll order the first dozen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Worldwide Rosary For the Unborn

Saturday, October 18th at 9:00 AM
Read more here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Theology at Bedtime

Zachary: Is God a He or a She? Is God in hell? Is God everywhere? How can God be everywhere, but not in hell?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Me: Alex, is making the sound of an air raid siren part of your schoolwork?

Alex: No, I'm doing both equally good at the same time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Just Love This

Saint Peter Julian Eymard said,

Abide in the home of the divine and fatherly goodness of God like His child who knows nothing, does nothing right, makes a mess of everything, but nevertheless lives always in His benevolence, confident of His love.

It's an angle of Our Lord's command to "become as little children" that I had never considered before and one that I can really relate to from the parent's perspective.

Reminds me, too, of Mother Teresa's

God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nice Try

When Jacob came back to the table where the grown ups were lingering and tried to steal a fourth piece of pizza...

Me: Uh, no.

Jacob: But it's my destiny.

Actually, after I sent Jacob away that particular piece turned out to be Nicholas' destiny when nobody was looking.


Hey, look what we won! Isn't it lovely? Waltzing Matilda and her children made these "tenners," or single decade rosaries, by first making beads from tightly wound paper. She did this give away in honor of the half way point of the Forty Days for Life-- October 13th by her estimation, which just happens to be my husband's birthday. So, on all these counts, we're just thrilled.
We'll be sure to bring it with us to our local clinic on the day we'll be going, and have been working to fill, for the forty day prayer vigil.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Demographic Winter - the decline of the human family

Demographic Winter seeks to

"...reawaken society to the importance of the stable, intact family and engender a discussion and greater focus in the media, in academia, in the halls of policy makers, in religious circles, in the committees of civil society, and in households around the world....

In this way, we hope to avert the storm that is now most surely coming on."

If you haven't seen it already (this came out in February), watch the trailer.

HT: Catholidoxy

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Jacob Weads

Jacob: W..w...w...wade. That's like when a movie is "waded" PG.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Mother's Prayer

O Heavenly Father, I commend my children to Thy care. Be Thou their God and Father; and mercifully supply whatever is lacking in me through frailty or negligence. Strengthen them to overcome the corruptions of the world, whether from within or without; and deliver them from the secret snares of the enemy. Pour Thy grace into their hearts, and strengthen and multiply in them the gifts of Thy Holy Spirit, that they may daily grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and so, faithfully serving Thee here, may come to rejoice in Thy presence hereafter. Amen.

Found here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Out of Touch in the Best Possible Way

Jacob: Mama, is Hannah the capital of Montana?

Respect Life Sunday

Today is Respect Life Sunday. From conception to natural death, human life is a precious gift from God to be cherished, respected, and protected.

"It is His Harvest," father said in today's homily, "We have no right to take it."

Father also pointed out that we are all responsible for the structures of sin that exist in America today. We will all bear the responsibility when judgment day comes, not just hardened, blind politicians and medical professionals and not just frightened young girls.

What are we doing to protect human life in a nation that has lost over forty six million innocent lives since Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land?

Please pray today that our nation defend ALL human life.

Participate in Forty Days for Life in whatever way you can.

Join the world in a rosary for the unborn on October 18th.

And this November, vote for Life.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Count Down

Ten...weeks until my due date, or

Nine...teen hundred twenty hours, or

Eight...million (give or take 100,000) seconds. But who's counting?

Seven...zillion things to do before then.

Six: The number of pillows I'm sleeping with these nights. (When I do sleep, that is.)

Five...anxious brothers awaiting baby.

Four (ty) pounds or so I'm looking forward to losing. (OK. maybe not that much, but it feels that way)

Three...important holidays to ready for while preparing for baby.

Two: The maximum number of meals I can eat in a day without getting major heartburn.

One...busy, hefty, sleepy, hungry, crabby, but happy Mama.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008