Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thank You

This pic is for friend, reader, and fellow TAC alumna, Mary G. Thank you for this beautiful blanket you made. It's a favorite!

Matter over Mind

Zachary: These pants are still damp from the dryer, but that's OK, I don't matter.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Lego


Percival was humiliated. He felt he'd been demoted from"toy" to "play thing."

When I discovered this, I thought of a LEGO a day right away.

Animal


This is all the rage at our house right now and what a deal!

We've discovered egg laying mammals besides the platypus, sloth bears...sloth bears! racoon dogs...racoon dogs! flying lemurs and desert dwelling "tadpole shrimp," whose eggs can lay dry and dormant for years. Fascinating!

The layout of this book is ideal for teaching animal classification and habitat. The kids are actually remembering where to find animals they want to show me by looking up the habitat.

Amazing photography, fascinating facts and all laid out in a visual spectrum like a glorious color wheel of animal life.

Love it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sticks and String



It's a boy thing.

Twitterpated

I've been watching all my internet friends, one after another, start up at Twitter. In the last two weeks, I have told at least six different people that I would NEVER tweet. Well, that should have been my first clue.

It's never going to happen to me.

Well, maybe I'll just give it a try.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday: To Dust you shall Return

Last Sunday, I listened as a priest blessed a group of catechumins. He was speaking about their preparation time before coming into full communion with the Universal Church on Easter. He spoke about how "exciting" and "joyful" a time this was for them and all of us, but somehow the tone he had was one more of trying to convince us all of something than actual joy.

I've heard this tone before and it seems it is always in church that I hear it. I couldn't imagine a birthday party, for example, where the host would feel a need to explain to the children that cake is a good thing and something we should anticipate with true excitement. No, children don't need to be told to like cake, they just like it. They see the cake and they want it. It's that simple.

The spiritual life, however, isn't so simple. We really do need to be told to seek what is truly good for us. Spiritual goods, unlike material goods, are difficult to see and understand and because of our fallen nature, we do not desire them as we should.

As Christians, however, we know that the whole material world is coming to an end. We remind ourselves on Ash Wednesday that you and I and every created thing is returning to the dust from whence it came. It is all dust and is all meaningless vanity unless it somehow helps us to obtain spiritual benefit because only the spiritual life is everlasting. We also know that though we appreciate material goods less once we have obtained them, we only begin to enjoy the riches and beauty of the spiritual realm once we have started down its felicitous paths.

During the season of Lent that leads up to Easter, we try with particular earnestness to "reinvest" ourselves in this spiritual life we believe in and know. We practice fasting and abstinence especially from those material goods we so naturally desire, but that distract us from the higher, lasting goods that are more difficult to appreciate. We invest our funds in alms, detaching ourselves from wealth, hoping to help our neighbor and learn charity along the way. And we invest our time and our hearts in prayer, seeking a closer union with God, the source of every blessing and the substance of eternal life.

May you and your families have a very blessed, grace filled journey through Lent toward Easter.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Baptism Day







I renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born into this world and who suffered and died for my sins and rose again. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church.

It was a beautiful day!
Thank you, Kristen, for loaning us this beautiful gown!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two for Two

Two Complaints:

1. The Berenstein Bears theme song drives me nuts! It is so very stupid. That line, the one that goes "They are kinda furry around the torso. They're just like humans, only more so." What!? That is a STRETCH to get a BAD rhyme, and just what does it mean to say these bears are more human than humans? I wouldn't complain if the song weren't stuck in my head. AHHH. Kill me now! Please!

2. I have a system for organizing food in my refrigerator and pantry that is both simple and sophisticated. There are many principles of organization, but they are all based on common sense. Gallons of milk, for example, go in the only place that gallons will fit. All other beverages go there as well since beverages are kept together and so on. Anyway, it occurred to me the other day, as I was moving the ketchup out of the place allotted for beverages and putting it in the obvious condiment area, that I am the ONLY one in this house that is at all aware of my clever little system.

Two Things that are Making me Happy:

1. Books. An overdue trip to the library last week reminded me of how lucky we are to have a good local library. We picked up many, many beautiful picture books and sweet little story books as well as some audio books. Our lives are enriched and it is all free! We took one day last week to just read, read, read. Today, we made bookmarks for some of our first time chapter book readers. Books are just lovely. We love books.

2.

I love this kid. So. much.
Last Sunday as I was leaving church, a woman approached me to say she thought Micah was adorable in his sling. Her teenage son sauntered up behind her, casually looked down at us, and said in a voice that just oozed cool, "He is awesome." I have to agree. He is awesome.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Making History

Even before I was awake on Friday morning, the children had declared their independence. They had elected Jacob to serve as their first president and were printing their own currency. The declaration reads...

The Little Nation of Independence
We will be a free little nation. We will vote on matters and do good. We will do our duty. We will choose one boy to be our president. He will not be a king. We will have a good nation. A president can last three days before a new president. We will have a court. It will decide who is guilty or not. We will form our own schools, military, and police. We all will have many rights like life, liberty and freedom. We will be a good nation under God.


I love how what they are declaring is one and the same with the name of their new nation. I love the emphasis on how "good" they will be, the idea that they will "all have many rights," and that the president only lasts three days.

Naturally, I corrected their spelling. Then, I helped them boil water for tea to make parchment paper from a sheet of watercolor for an authentic looking draft of their declaration. I drew light pencil lines on the parchment when it was ready to be drafted and I helped more than a few boys sign their "John Handcock." Surprisingly, all my assistance didn't make them feel any less independent.

Saturday morning while my husband was making pancakes, the boys were already busy amending their constitution to allow for impeachment proceedings against Jacob. I guess they couldn't just wait the three days out before electing a new president. I'm not clear on what he did to merit such severe action. Constitutional amendments and impeachment proceedings on the second day of independence? So much for a "good" little nation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some Women Get Flowers

Some women get chocolate. Me? I got three new toilet seats for Valentine's day. Well, they're kinda heart-shaped and the best part is they have "Ever Clean" finish....

...I'll let you know how that works out.

Goodmorning, Indeed

Zachary: Goodmorning, Mama. Today is for making love hearts and eating treats.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Kind of Love

With Valentine's day around the corner love is on everybody's mind. Everybody loves love, but so few ever seem to really find it. St Augustine's words come to mind for me each year about this time "You have made us and drawn us to yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." Our beginning and our end, it is love. It is all love. But if it was all made for love and is all moving toward love, why is it that there is still so much hunger for love in this world?

I was listening to a radio show the other night where a woman was explaining how her childhood was troubled. Her parents were heavy handed and reluctant to share themselves, their emotions, their money, their love with the children. She recalled a particular instance where she had asked her father for a simple gift and he denied it saying that it "cost money" and "money isn't free." She felt rejected and associated tightness with money with a lack of love.

So, when she became a mother herself she lavished gifts upon her son regardless of whether she could afford them. She drove herself into unmanageable debt buying things for her son who did not even want these things and eventually resented her for her extravagance. After several years of asking her to stop he finally had enough. He came to her one Christmas night and returned the pile of gifts she had sent him. "I don't want this stuff," he told her. "You have a problem and I've had enough of it. I'm leaving and I won't come back until you have it under control." At that point, the woman realized she had been trying to buy love from her son. She realized that he didn't see gifts as love the way she did. She realized her son wanted a mother who was happy with her life, confident, and in control. She was none of those things and her son associated her excessive gifting and emotional neediness with a lack of love.

I thought long and hard about this woman's experience. It is important to consider how we perceive, receive and give love to others. It is so difficult to move beyond our own perceptions, our concerns and experiences to love others as they need to be loved. It is hard, even when we are trying to selflessly consider the good of others, to really know what they want and need from us. It takes effort and time and a willingness to reconsider our own judgments in light of what we learn. It takes a humble and gentle spirit to listen closely and observe. It takes honesty to admit our own shortcomings. It takes fortitude and patience and a willingness to persevere and not become discouraged. In short, it takes a loving heart to love. And a loving heart does not come easy.

Is there some way we have been loving others that is too much based on our own perceptions of being loved? Have we been thinking of ourselves or others when we decide what and how to give?

Is there some way that others have been asking us to love them that we have been refusing? Is there a brother who wants your forgiveness? A spouse who just wants you to listen?

Is there some way we've let our own failings stand in the way of love? Have we let our own sensitivities keep us from being the friend we know we should be?

Is there a daughter who needs more of your time? A spouse who wants affection? An in law who could use a little more understanding?

Could we give a little more? Could we love a little better?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

How Long Does a "Newborn" Last?


A few hours?



A day?


A few days?


One week?


One month?


Seven weeks?

We ask, because we would like ours to last forever.

Where Credit is Due

Jacob reaches for a chocolate milk,

Me: Hey Jacob, why don't we choose regular milk since we're having chocolate cake.

Jacob takes a regular milk.

Me: Good choice.

Jacob: (with a smile) That's because it was YOUR choice.

Oh

Zachary: Hey Mom, you know that new rug our bathroom?

Me: Yes? (bracing myself to hear what condition it might be in)

Zachary: Well, it's made in India.

Me: (phew)

Zachary: ...and it has poop all over it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Literal

Zachary: Can I put a sticker on the chore chart by my name? I picked up the livingroom.

Me: No, Zack. The stickers are for your morning routine. The stickers say you got your morning routine done without being told.

Zachary: Oh, yea. But that's not what the stickers really say. They say things like, "Great job" and "Let's work together."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Condolence Offering

There is a collection being taken at Faith and Family live for Amy Welborn and her family. Please consider donating something to help cover funeral expenses.

Updated to add: There are more ideas on how to help here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

In Sympathy

My heart aches for Amy Welborn who has lost her husband and their children who have lost their father today. Grant to your servant, O Lord, blessed repose and eternal memory.

Father Z is assembling a spiritual bouquet here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Candlemas Day


Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:
Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace;
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples:
A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
image HT: Tea at Trianon