Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kids: They Say it Like it is

When there was a mix up with my order, the clerk at the grocer had to spend quite a bit of time fixing things today.

"Thank you for being so patient," she said to Zachary and Nicholas who had come with me.

"You're welcome," Zachary replied, "but that's just on the outside. I'm not being very patient on the inside right now."

On Trash and Treasure

Things Found while Cleaning out the Garage this morning:

  • Three old cereal boxes filled with paper airplanes
  • A washed and saved bone from the Thanksgiving turkey
  • A bag filled with "snow" that had half melted/half frozen to ice
  • Several dead crayfish in a bin of murky water

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Half A Star is Born

Nicholas: Mom, you know how some people play the guitar and dance at the same time? I can do that.

Me: (suppressing a laugh) Really?

Him: (getting shy) Well...half way.

Note to Husband:

Zachary's schoolwork this morning asked him to write a sentence or two about how he helps his mother around the house.

Zachary wrote: I see what Dad does for Mom. I try to do those things for her when he is not here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Healthcare (For the Computer)

Malware infected my computer yesterday. Thanks to the generosity and patience of my very smart brother, J, my computer is no longer infected. That took some time last night, and then this morning I had to work via "live chat" with my virus protection software company to repair their compromised system on my computer. All is well now, but I want to keep it that way and while I really have no way of knowing how the Malware got into the system (My brother assures me you don't have to do anything stupid to get this one) I still wanted to cover my bases.

"Boys," I said to the group of them, "You know you may never, ever download anything without my permission, right?"

"But Dad says we can't download anything without HIS permission, does that mean we need BOTH your permission AND his?"

"Yes," I said, "That's what it means."

"Wow," that boy responded, "That's like getting a bill through Congress."

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and alms-giving.

First, prayer: St John Chrysostom has this to say...

The highest good is prayer and conversation with God, because it means that we are in God’s company and in union with him. When light enters our bodily eyes our eyesight is sharpened; when a soul is intent on God, God’s inextinguishable light shines into it and makes it bright and clear. I am talking, of course, of prayer that comes from the heart and not from routine: not the prayer that is assigned to particular days or particular moments in time, but the prayer that happens continuously by day and by night.

To begin on this path, start by adorning your house with modesty and humility. Make it shine brightly with the light of justice. Decorate it with the gold leaf of good works, with the jewels of faithfulness and greatness of heart. Finally, to make the house perfect, raise a gable above it all, a gable of prayer. Thus you will have prepared a pure and sparkling house for the Lord. Receive the Lord into this royal and splendid dwelling — in other words: receive, by his grace, his image into the temple of your soul.

Read the whole meditation here...

On Pots and Kettles

Nicholas was busy this morning coloring a detailed picture of an enormous Christmas tree he had drawn. Inspired by his picture and to keep myself occupied while scrubbing the pantry shelves I sang a verse of "O, Come All Ye Faithful." When I came out of the pantry, Nicholas looked up from his Christmas tree and said with exasperation, "Mom, Christmas is OVER."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not Nebraska

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers regarding my upcoming training. Since several have asked, I wanted to say here that I will not be going to Nebraska. I will, amazingly enough, be going for classes in NH very close to my parents' home. I couldn't have done it any other way, actually, because Micah still nurses and as cute as he is-- because he's so cute, I think he'd be a huge distraction in class. This way, I can take him with me and leave him with my Mom when I'm in class. I'm so grateful to my Mom for agreeing to do this and also so very grateful to my mother in law who will here with the other boys and my husband while I'm away. I couldn't do this without the help and support of these two women. I am very lucky to have them. Thanks, Moms!

My older boys laughed when I told them the plan. "So, you will be with your Mama and Papa will be with his Mama?" I guess that's right. In fact, I will be staying with my parents in my childhood home and they will drive me to school every morning. I'm supposing they'll pack me a lunch, too. Gee, I hope my mother makes it because if I remember rightly, my Dad always put the peanutbutter and jelly in a big clump in the middle of the bread and I never liked that. Then again, he also used to sneak packages of my favorite cookies into my suitcase when I was leaving for college, so either way is good. How much is milk money these days? It can't still be a quarter...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Turn of Events

Years ago, my father sponsored me to fly out to Nebraska and take a course offered at Creighton University that was the first requirement toward certification to become a Fertility Care practitioner in the Creighton model. When I returned home, living in rural NH as we were at the time, I couldn't find enough clients to complete my certification and so I never finished. That was that, or so I thought.

What I didn't realize is that all things happen for a reason. Since moving here, we've joined a parish with a dynamic pastor who promotes the Church's teaching on marriage and life issues with fresh perspective and without apology. I might have mentioned before that he's been encouraging me gently to see how I might help. He may not even know he's done that, but he certainly has and I've been praying about it for some time now. Through a series of events and an overwhelming demand for women's heath care from a Catholic perspective in our parish and the surrounding areas, I now find myself returning to Creighton to begin again and complete what I started.

It is rather surprising to me, but also not at all surprising to announce that my parish will be sponsoring me to become a Creighton model Fertility Care practitioner. I will be working closely here with a dear friend who is also training under the sponsorship of the parish and a local doctor to help women suffering from such things as hormonal depression and repeated miscarriage. We will offer natural, affordable, and highly effective alternatives to IVF. We will also be giving couples the tools they need to understand their fertility, and hopefully thereby strengthen marriages and families.

This is really an exciting turn of events for me. I have so much peace about it that I have reason to hope good things will come of this. It may be a long way off, but we dream of one day opening our own Gianna Center here as a beacon of hope for new life and genuine respect for femininity. Your prayers for this cause would be so much appreciated.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Best of All Possible Worlds

I had the chance today to spend some time with one of my favorite Valentines one on one. Zachary and I went out grocery shopping, just the two of us. On the ride home he asked me what world I would like to live in.

Me: Hu?

Him: You know, like cotton world, or toy world, or shopping world, which world you like to live in best?

Me: Oh, I see, well...maybe chocolate world.

Him: Ah yes, chocolate world. That would be good. Or coffee world?

Me: Yes, cappuccino world would be good. How about you?

Him: Well, I think it would be best to have everything. I would like best to live in everything world. And you know what? We do. This IS everything world and we DO live in it. Aren't we lucky?

We are lucky. And if I could go back I might have asked for Zachary world, or Simeon world, or Nicholas world or Jeremy world...but you know what? It doesn't matter, because I DO have all those...and more, because we DO live in everything world and we ARE lucky. Very lucky, indeed.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Caring for Him

A funny thing happened when my oldest son asked me to buy him deodorant. I stood in the pharmacy aisles looking over my options and I knew I would pay the higher price for a natural product. After all, this was my baby and I have been careful over the years not to expose him to chemicals or artificial additives of any kind. I'm not sure if the aluminum in antiperspirants causes Alzheimer's disease or not, but I've been inclined to shy away from any suspect ingredient when purchasing products for my son these last eleven years. It seemed the safer bet and I felt like a better mother paying a bit more for natural baby products.

The funny thing is, I buy my husband's deodorant, too, and I have for years. For him, I look for the strongest product and the cheapest price. That's what I've always done. I never even thought about Alzheimer's. But that day, when the products I buy for my husband and those I buy for my former baby somehow and suddenly converged, I realized the difference in my approach.

To my credit, I've had the same approach for myself. I'm not overly picky about the products I buy for myself either. It's like I've seen our marriage as a team of grown ups, laying our lives down, taking the cheap price for ourselves and absorbing all the chemicals so that others might live. It's a funny way of looking at things because Alzheimer's in either of us would be a problem for our kids.

That aside, this experience made me reconsider my approach in other areas of life. For example, if I think my kids would benefit from any book or affordable resource, I buy it. Similarly with extracurricular activities. If I think my kids will really benefit, I don't dwell on costs. I can see that they know this as they come to me freely expressing their interests in classes or materials of all kinds and at all times. It makes me happy when they do this. It's like they're saying to me, "I know you want what's good for me and are always looking to give me good things." I consider it a compliment of the highest degree.

But do I have the same approach for my husband? I've seen books here and there that I knew he'd enjoy and I've passed them up. They cost money, after all, and we need that money to pay for lessons for the kids. I know I'm educating my children at home and not my husband. He's already received an education, but what about him? Shouldn't I take that extra care with him, too? Shouldn't he feel, like my boys obviously do, that I'm always looking to supply him with good things?

Well, I haven't changed deodorant brands for my husband or myself and I probably won't, but I did buy my husband a book this week for no special reason other than I thought it would be good for him and that he'd enjoy it, and I didn't consider the cost.

Alex Cooks

Alex has always been interested in cooking. He even had a play "chef name" for himself when he was smaller. He went by Chef Wallette whenever he was busy creating something in the kitchen. This is the first time, though, that Alex made dinner for all of us.

A program my husband is participating in at work encourages healthy families and when he signed up they sent us a healthy cook book for kids. Alex loved it and asked to me to pick up some ingredients for the recipes he wanted to make. We made our list and tonight was the big night.

He made lamb kabobs with tomato dipping sauce. He needed some assistance from me, but not too much. He did a fantastic job and his meal was so well received by the others, I think we'll try this again next week.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Funny Bones

Micah has exactly two sets of pajamas. While I am almost always on schedule with the laundry and don't feel the need for more, it does happen on occasion that neither set of pajamas can be found. Tonight was one such night. On these nights, my husband usually puts him to sleep in his Halloween costume. It may sound odd, but his skeleton outfit isn't anything more than a pair of very comfortable pajamas with a glow in the dark print on the front.

We all had a laugh tonight when my husband was making the rounds having everyone say goodnight to Micah. Simeon kissed him on the head and said, "Rest in peace."

Little Tough Boys

Nicholas: I don't cry. I never have.

Zachary: Yes, you did. When you were a baby you cried.

Nicholas: That was a fake cry.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Nautical Flags

Our nautical flags from The Land of Nod finally arrived. I didn't like paying so much for shipping, I didn't like how long it was before they shipped, but now that they're here we're very happy.

According to the Dangerous Book for Boys they read from left to right: GOLF: I require a pilot, CHARLIE: I am on fire and have dangerous cargo, OSCAR: man overboard, WHISKEY: I require medical assistance, YANKEE: I am dragging anchor, FOXTROT: I am disabled; communicate with me, NOVEMBER: Negative, KILO: I wish to communicate with you, VICTOR: I require assistance.

So, basically, we're disabled, dragging anchor, on fire, in need of a pilot, medical assistance, and somebody is overboard. It's like Valentine's conversation hearts for boys.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Christianity is Not for the Faint of Heart

In the readings these last few weeks, we've witnessed Saul stepping into a cave to "relieve" himself, David killing a giant Philistine, and today we got John the Baptist's head on a platter.

These things have a way of getting the boys' attention and they've asked a lot of questions--a lot of tough questions like, Why didn't Jesus raise his cousin from the dead? And if this is what the world dealt John and later, Jesus, what does this mean for us, his followers? And, how were the saints happy if they suffered so much in this life?

I've had some really interesting conversations with my kids lately. This is relatively new for us, they are getting older and suddenly this new phase of life with older children that I thought might never come is on our horizon. So, while I still found it hard to put the pale blue outfit Micah is wearing in our header photo in storage today, I just want to go on record saying: I like having really interesting conversations with my kids. I like that they're growing up.


Baby Micah learned the word "hot" early on. He loves food and would eat it right out of the cooking pot on the stove, but we hold him off, "Hhhot....hhhot." He likes the fire in the fireplace, too, but we caution, ""

When he started using the word himself, however, we discovered that it had a larger meaning for him than just, "This thing has a quality such that were you to touch it, you would be burned."

"Hhhhot...hhhot," he whispers in reverence before a computer screen he'd like to touch. "Hhhot, hhhot," he says touching a statue of Mary and the infant Jesus.

For Micah, "hot" means something more like, "This thing has a quality such that it makes me very excited and I really really want it, but I have to wait or stay back or be careful around it and I can't just take it, though I want to."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Prognosticating Punxsutawney

Snow days here in the south aren't anything like snow days up north. We got four, maybe five inches throughout Friday and Saturday. Up north, the plows would have come through and that would have been that.

Do you know what they use for snow plows down here? The sun. If the sun doesn't melt the snow away in short order, they have a back up plan--your car. If you're brave enough to go out on the roads, you're leaving tracks and if enough people do this, eventually, the roads will be clear(ish). Not many people do this though, and so four days after the storm school is still out and all extra curricular activities are canceled. Crazy.

I guess this gives us time to get some schoolwork done so we can take a break when the weather is nice again. I was hoping that would be sooner rather than later, but Furry Phil says we can expect more of the same for while yet.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Snow Day!

This snow actually showed up on Friday night and it's still here! Micah really didn't like the cold white stuff at first, but he warmed up to it in the end.

Facts and Figures

In the last week...

Simeon: Sixty percent of people mispronounce my name.

Alex: It is a little over two weeks until Ash Wednesday. Then, after that, it is forty days until Easter. So, it is forty days, two weeks, and a few more days until Easter, right?

Jacob: I'm turning eight in exactly sixty two days!

Zachary: Mom, why am I still in this car seat? I've had this car seat for like four years and two and a half months and three days.