Five For Friday

By | Posted January 20, 2012

Posted in Baby Z, Five For Friday, Goose, pictures, Squirt | No Comments »

What am I doing this weekend?  Overseeing my son work on a project he’s had two months to finish.  Not the junior, the second grader.  It’s not even a difficult project, but he has done nothing to get started on it except read the book.

It’s a biography of Jackie Robinson, and he has to give a report to the class about the book.  When you ask him about Jackie Robinson’s life, he can’t remember a thing.  Picking up significant details is becoming more and more difficult for this child.  And quite frankly, it’s getting on my nerves.  Last night he was in tears and declared school too hard because he had to write a few sentences using vocabulary words on any subject he wanted.  It took him three hours to finish.  Three hours and three sets of tears.

I understand writing not being someone’s strong point.  It’s not mine, I rarely capitalize when writing emails, my writing is basically a conversation, I never went over the page limit on research papers and so on.  I get not being creative.  That said, he can either start writing without tears or get ready for a summer camp on creative writing.  Enough is enough.  And he picked the wrong time to decide he wasn’t going to finish his MAJOR project.  Guess who isn’t watching football this Sunday?  Finished or not.

Next week is Baby Hulk’s last week of swim lessons.  I am so ready for this.  I’ve been going to this place every Wednesday for five years.  I need a break.  Our time slot happens to be the best time to go there for lack of crowds, so while I am tempted to start No David, I have decided a break is a must.  No David has some major attitude issues, (read: he’s a brat), and I think I would rather hold two small children in the pool the entire summer than pay for swim lessons where my kid screams nonstop.

Tomorrow is the big day: Goose’s first confession.  He asked me if he needed to confess the times when he hates me.  I told him to go for it and assured him that I confess the times I hate him.

Today was Squirt’s District Inspection for ROTC.  He passed with flying colors and is quite the leader.  I did hear him tell his squad to “shut your mouth” which sounded kind of like me.  I might need to start watching what I say.

Cute baby shots:

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Wordless Wednesday

By | Posted January 18, 2012

Posted in Old 97's, pictures | 4 Comments »

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Daybook~ In Winter

By | Posted January 15, 2012

Posted in Daybook | 4 Comments »

For Today…January 15, 2012

Outside my window…it’s dark.  Quiet.

I am listening to…the television in the background.

I am wearing…yoga pants and a green shirt.  I love this shirt, it makes me look skinny.

I am grateful for…family.  The laughter of boys that show such true happiness, the smile of a little girl, the passion of my husband about his football team.  And parents.

I am praying for…several people who are dealing with loss, my son as he prepares for his reconciliation, my husband as he begins draft season and for patience.

I am reading…nothing, I need suggestions.

From the kitchen…menu planned, trying to eat good until the weekend when we’ll have a couple of celebrations.

Towards rhythm…our days have a definite flow to them.  I am really trying to make our days easy going, especially for the Baby Hulk.  There is a big possibility that he will be starting K next fall.  If that’s the case, then I want this Spring to be fun for him.  If he does go to school, he is more than ready academic wise and will only need to learn how to behave in a classroom as well as deal with other kids.  Funny thing about our rhythm, it seems to include food every. single. time we walk through our door whether we’ve been gone for 45 minutes or three hours.

Around the house…I went through all of the kids drawers.  Getting ready to dive into the hall closet and empty two Rubbermaid crates full of pictures and frames.  Will keep the pictures, frames go.

Learning all the time…We’ve slowly eased back into a routine, and for science we’re about to start learning about the Moon.  Something simple and easy.  No David loves the moon so it should be a good week for him.  Of course, it would help if I actually checked out some books on the moon.

I want to learn…how to knit.  I think it’s pretty popular these days, and there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube, but I need someone in front of me helping.  Goal by next Christmas is some handmade gifts.  That people would actually want to use.  I also want the boys to learn some woodworking. Basically, I want us to use our hands and learn some skills that require thought and patience.

One of my favorite things…people and their love of sports.

A few plans for the week…finish Goose’s project/rather start his project, see Jenn, movie playdate, Reconciliation and a birthday.

AND…the Old 97’s!!!  CANNOT. WAIT.

A picture thought…

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By | Posted January 15, 2012

Posted in Goose, Spiritual Life | 2 Comments »

Goose is receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time this Saturday.  For those that don’t know Catholic speak, it’s confession.  Pray for him, will you?

He’s young enough that he isn’t really scared or freaked out by it.  Plus, he hasn’t really done anything too bad that would warrant uneasy feelings.  And I’m glad.  (About both.) There are kids who freak out about it, and that’s never good.  I should know, I was one of them.  In fact, despite the fact that you are supposed to receive this sacrament before receiving the Eucharist, I never did.  I managed to somehow slip through the cracks and nobody realized it until the next year.  Ha!  Even at age 7, I was pretty sneaky.

Confession is one of those things that is misunderstood by most people.  That includes most Catholics.  Nothing annoys me more than Catholics who brag about not going to Confession.  And I know that their relationship with God is their business, I just don’t understand why you would be Catholic if you don’t believe in the sacraments.  My issue isn’t with those that question the need for confession, it’s those that brag about not going.

My journey with confession got off to a very slow start.  After finally receiving the sacrament at age 8, I didn’t go again until I was 23.  I was traveling through Europe and thought of all places one should go to confession, it would be the Vatican.  Turns out I was wrong, it wasn’t a great experience.  After that I didn’t go again for another five years.  Since then I’ve gone on a very regular basis and am so grateful to finally get what this sacrament is all about.

So here I am bragging too, right?  Well, not really.  While not a big follower of rules under normal circumstances, there are some rules I consider sacred.  One is you don’t go to communion if you’re not in a state of grace.  While I didn’t “remember” that for many years, (read: while in college), I can promise that once I knew about that, I never went to receive communion again until I had gone to confession.  And quite frankly, at least I was going to mass during college.  At least, that is how I justified it.

Once I finally learned about confession and the healing grace you receive from the sacrament, I’ve been a pretty regular participant.  Here’s the thing though: not everyone who goes to confession comes out feeling different.  And those are the ones I admire the most.  They are still trying, they are going to confession even though they might not quite understand how awesome it really is.

So the lecture about confession is over.  I have one story to share though: two years ago the family went to one of those communal penance services during Advent.  Lance, Squirt and I each went to different priests.  I was probably confessing the longest.  Afterwards we all compared our penance.  I had to say two shorts prayers, Lance had to pray a decade of the Rosary and Squirt, well, he was scrambling for a Bible.  He had to look up two different scriptures and reflect on them.  Of course, after that Lance and I wondered what he had confessed!

Saturday our entire family will be there to support Goose, then Lance, Squirt and I will also celebrate the sacrament.

Goose is required to celebrate the sacrament three times before May when he receives his First Communion.  I challenge any Catholic to do the same before May.

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By | Posted January 14, 2012

Posted in football, Goose | 3 Comments »

Goose’s team lost tonight, the Saints, (actually his second favorite team) and he started crying.  Again.  And we’re smiling.  Again.

I was talking with a friend whose son loves football as well and started crying several weeks ago when the Texans we’re playing to make it into the playoffs.  I have to admit that both of us enjoyed comparing stories of that nature.

As a sports fan, I love that kind of enthusiasm.  As a mom it breaks my heart to watch my son cry, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I don’t get it when people scoff at someone’s love of football.  In fact, I kind of feel sorry for them.  (Kind of like how I feel sorry for people who have never had Whataburger.)

As I watched my son tonight, I realized it’s not the fact that he loves football so much that I like, it’s that he is that passionate about something.  I want kids who are passionate.  Of course, the fact that he is passionate about football is a bonus for me and  Lance since we both enjoy it as well.  It also provides a great threat in getting work done.  “If you don’t finish your homework, you can’t watch football this weekend.”  I used that one quite a bit this past Fall.  Let’s just pray he isn’t crying tomorrow afternoon.

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Five For Friday

By | Posted January 13, 2012

Posted in Five For Friday | 2 Comments »

Highlights from what seemed to be the longest week in history.

::I didn’t get stuck in the rain on Monday.  Considering my normal routine, I have no idea how that happened.  I even kicked my cousin out of the house Monday so that I could leave in time to make a 9:30 class at the gym.  Then I decided I didn’t feel like dealing with the rain, which wasn’t even bad at that point.  I would have been stuck at the gym with no food for anyone for a long time.

::I went to the zoo today assuming the worst.  The last time I went to the zoo in January (when it was cold) the animals refused to come out.  It’s like they were mocking us for even being there.  On the way there, I was telling a friend what a waste the zoo was going to be today.  I was more than wrong.  The young female lions were jumping in the water, the male was roaring nonstop.  Turns out there was a turtle in the water the lions were trying to capture.  We sat there watching them for almost an hour.  We were able to see the turtle get rescued as well.  He had some nasty scratches on his shell, but was going to be fine.  The rest of the animals were out and close to the windows which made for a fun trip.

::A friend came over this afternoon with her son.  Goose was playing with him and all of a sudden the kid runs out crying.  When I asked Goose what happened, this was his response: “we were playing football, the score was 28-14, I was winning,”  I interrupted him at this point, “what happened???”  He started over again with the 28-14 bit instead of just saying the kid fell on his back.

::My friend made homemade kolaches for our family.  I made some comment about how we would have them over the weekend since they were fruit filled.  Every day I’ve been having one right after my workout.  Tonight the Baby Hulk totally busted me in front of Lance about my actions.

::Speaking of food, my kids literally ask to eat nonstop.  It is starting to get embarrassing.  Nobody else has this problem with their kids.  It’s like I don’t feed them.  When everyone else is trying to get their kids to eat their lunch, mine are done and asking what else they can have.  This afternoon, both Baby Hulk and No David threw huge fits when they could only have one snack before dinner.

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Daybook~ Joy

By | Posted January 11, 2012

Posted in Daybook, pictures | 7 Comments »

For Today…January 9, 2011

Outside my window…it’s dark and rainy.  I can’t see the curb anymore.  My yard is a mess.  Kind of glad I came right home after dropping the boys off at school.  Even though I could use the gym.

I am wearing…my workout clothes.  I’m hopeful that maybe later I’ll get to the gym.

I am listening to…the sound of heavy rain.

I am praying for…the repose of the soul of a dear friend’s father who last his battle with cancer, rather quickly.  For my mom’s friend who is close to losing her battle also.  Join me please.  For a friend who is pregnant.

Updated to add…sometimes life just kicks you in the ass.  My mom’s friend passed away before I could even post this.  And my friend, she had a miscarriage.  Sometimes there are no words that seem sufficient.  I can only pray to a new little Saint that I know is praying for his mom right now.  He is taking all those prayers to Jesus, I know this.

Lessons learned about…purgatory.  When I told the Baby Hulk about my friend’s father his response: “well we know he’s in purgatory.  Guess we need to pray for him.”  I wondered if my friend, not Catholic, would appreciate the story or want to punch him.  Just in case it was the latter, I didn’t tell her.

I am grateful for…several visits with friends over the past couple of weeks.  Of course, there was our time with Paul and Brian that I’m always grateful to have, but we also met with the gang from Apedonkey, my friends from Michigan, had lunch with a friend and my cousin and his family came for the weekend.  There were lots of kids involved.  And it was all wonderful.  We were with people we enjoyed, and the kids had a great time.  At one point, we were at Star Pizza with ten kids.  It was pretty incredible how much fun we had.

Around the house…the Kings came and went.  I’ll admit that by Friday evening, all of my decorations were put away even though we didn’t celebrate the Epiphany until today at church.  I cleaned like a mad woman and now it’s time to get rid of the clutter.  Again.  My new goal is to clean every. single. drawer in this house.  I want to finish this by the end of the month.

Learning all the time…the big boys went back to school this week.  And the little boys started back as well.  Noticing that our unit on Winter has little meaning for the Baby Hulk right now due to such warm weather.  I am trying to find new ways to engage No David because he is ready for more.   Except he doesn’t know he’s ready.  And not a lot, just some fun stuff, possibly getting him to learn how to write something, hold a pencil.

Towards rhythm…we’re heading back into ordinary time in the church.  Christmas will be officially over tonight.  I’m hoping to reflect this season of the ordinary in all that we do from eating to learning to living.  Ordinary doesn’t mean boring, but it’s certainly not the same as Christmas.

In the kitchen…new goal: each month we will make a large menu to reflect seasonal foods.  We will have about twenty choices in which to make a menu for the month.  I’m already behind on this small goal.

Baby love…no, we’re not pregnant.  That said, I was holding my cousin’s new baby with stars in my eyes, and Lance just shook his head no.

For the year…I want to be joyful and grateful.  I want to cultivate the virtue of joy, which isn’t as easy as one would think.  And I want to be grateful.  For everything, the good, the bad, the fun, the frustrating.  How do you cultivate joy when there is such sorrow right now?

One of my favorite things…watching my kids play with their cousins.  My Godson was here this weekend, he turns 4 this week, and the boys just loved him.  My brother, his wife and my niece came over  as well, and the kids were running all over the place having a great time together.  Squirt went to another cousin’s sweet 16 birthday party Saturday evening and had a blast.  Tonight, Squirt was listening to me and my cousin and said, “cool, one day me and K will be like this with our families.”  I pray they are.  Families are a funny thing.  You can’t pick them, they drive you absolutely crazy a lot of the time, but honestly, few things can make you happier.  I’m glad to be close to my cousin and his wife so that one day our kids will indeed be having family gatherings too.

On being fit and happy…For the most part, the pain from the shingles is gone.  And I’m happy about that.  Now to get into a routine at the gym again.  Trying some different things to get motivated.  Maybe trying on my jeans will do the trick.

A few plans for the week…hopefully a trip to the play-scape, learning, finishing a project with Goose and starting on those drawers.

A picture thought…

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By | Posted December 29, 2011

Posted in Christmas, Family Life, pictures | 2 Comments »

I love traditions.  I love hearing about what people do with their families year after year.  And since I love hearing about others, I’ll tell you about our traditions.  (That is meant to  be a warning that this is a long, rambling sort of post.)

Traditions work really well for someone like me who doesn’t like change very much.  That said, we had some deviations this year and started some new ones.

Tradition is about family, being together, giving a sense of rhythm in a time (especially Christmas) that barely has a rhythm at all.  In my opinion, our traditions allow us to celebrate the season properly.  From the preparation and excitement that is Advent to the actual Christmas season, 12 days in all.

One of my favorite parts of being Catholic, is that we are forced to see Christmas as a separate season that doesn’t begin until Advent ends.  I’ve tried lots of different things to teach my kids about Advent and preparing for the gift of Jesus.  We have books, the Advent wreath, we sing O Come Emmanuel, we don’t decorate until Guadete Sunday and this year we had a Jesse Tree, or rather Jesse greenery.  We also did something I’ve been dying to do for years, we decorated the tree on Christmas Eve.

For me, we start with books.  Tons of books.

We have a lot of Christmas books, probably more than we need.  This year I limited myself to four new books, (while typing this I have changed this number three times already), but truthfully, there are about four more I really want to add to our collection.  I try to separate the books into certain weeks during Advent in order to make sure we don’t read the same thing over and over as well as make sure that we don’t skip any of our “good” books.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without our favorite children’s author: Tomie De Paola.  Each kid has a favorite Tomie book as do I.  And yes, one of our new books was Strega Nona’s Gift.  My personal favorite is Clown of God.

Last summer, a friend asked if I wanted to participate in a Jesse Tree swap.  Three weeks before the deadline, I was regretting my decision to participate.  I called on Jenn for help, and she didn’t let me down.  I am so glad I didn’t back out at the last minute.  Most of the ornaments were really good, and my kids really enjoyed this new tradition.  Next year we start the O Antiphons.

We purchased this amazing Advent spiral wreath this year, and then failed to light one candle all Advent.  It just didn’t work for us this year.  I still set it out and will again during Lent, and hopefully, my boys, one who will remain nameless, will learn not to mess with my stuff.

If only my kids behaved every day the way they do at Trulucks.  I’ll admit that with the downpour of rain and the thought of the boys at a really nice restaurant, I wondered if we should even go.  I have no clue what I was thinking.  The dinner was as wonderful as always.  And the boys couldn’t stop talking about how it is our tradition.  I can’t wait for the day when they finally order something besides fries and chicken strips.  Or maybe I can.  I don’t think I can afford 7 orders of stone crabs.

Then there are the pictures on Christmas Eve.  Cookies for Santa.  Tracking Santa on the computer.  Baby Hulk finally asked if he could go to bed so Santa could visit our house.

Then the work begins…in getting presents ready, but more importantly in changing out our vestments, putting away the Advent wreath, and bringing out our Christ candle.  Realizing that the time of preparation is over.

One of best things we do Christmas morning is place Jesus in all the nativity scenes throughout the house.  I’ve been collecting nativity scenes for years.  I started before Lance and I got married.  I have so many that I have no room for new sets and now just buy an ornament for my nativity tree.  After No David broke one of my favorites, I decided to keep things really simple this year and only set out a few.

Then there is Mass.  We go to Mass on Christmas morning.  Before opening gifts, before going to the stockings.  It’s what we’ve done since Lance and I got married.  And the kids have never once complained.  It’s tradition.

Christmas morning is about our family.  Our little family.  We don’t see the rest of the family until later in the day.  After mass, we open gifts and I get rid of all the mess.  Then my family comes over.  And the kids go wild again.  And this year, Lance’s parents joined us for dinner as well.  A first for them, and hopefully a new tradition we’ll enjoy each year.

One tradition, I’m not sad to let go of is the real Christmas tree.  Four days before Christmas, I went with a friend and purchased our tree.  I don’t regret it one bit, and my kids didn’t say a word.  Not even Squirt.

I had a lot of misses with this kid this year.  I told Paul and Brian to get him a bird house, which upon opening that gift sent him running and crying from the room.  This book, poems about insects, was a total hit.

One tradition I’ll never repeat again: doing the yard as a gift to each other or any other home improvement project.  Lance and I opened one gift a piece on Christmas: from my brother and his family.  And while I appreciate the gift, it obviously wasn’t some huge gift you would receive from your spouse.  The reality is that our yard must be redone, but it sure is a sucky gift.

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Daybook~ Tis the Season

By | Posted December 27, 2011

Posted in Daybook, holidays, pictures | 2 Comments »

For today…December 27, 2011

Outside my window…the sun is shining and it’s cold.  I love this weather.

I am listening to…my boys play with new toys.  They are playing so nicely together.  For now.

I am wearing…my pj’s.  I am not going to mention just how late in the day it really is.

I am praying for…a friend whose dad has cancer, a friend who is pregnant, my children and my husband.

I am grateful for…a Christmas Day and Christmas Eve that were wonderful.  The chance for a visit with our best friends.  Family.  Hugs from sons.  Traditions.  The Holy Mass.  Lance.

To be fit and happy…I cannot wait to get back to the gym.  Can’t wait to lose the holiday weight that has found a home on my body.  Besides the benefit of losing a few pounds, hopefully, I just like working out.  A lot.  I want my time at the gym.

From the kitchen…No more sweets.  Or eating out.  Or forgetting to plan my menu.  I’ve come to realize that when we don’t plan, our meals suck.  No other way to put it.

Around the house…Decorations are still up.  Everything stays out until the Three Kings arrive.  I finally bought a tree the Wednesday before Christmas.  I love it.  I loved decorating the tree with the boys.  We lost our star.  The boys want a star.  Need to order one before next Christmas.

One of my faovrite things…Rold Gold Peppermint Dipped Snowflakes.  No David and I found these at Costco one day and went back for a sample three times.  Since early December we have purchased 4 bags.  They are so good.  So very good.

A few plans for the week…hopefully I’ll get to the gym, a visit with a dear friend and family from Michigan, meeting my newest Godson (a year after the fact!), park, a trip to the library so Goose can find a biography for his book report.

A picture thought I am sharing…


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By | Posted December 24, 2011

Posted in Brian, friends, Lance, Paul, pictures | No Comments »

All you need is to see your best friends.

And all is right in the world.

I love these three guys so much.  It’s been too long, but I can promise we won’t be waiting this long ever again.


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