Archive for April, 2007

I have to remember that leaving my little eager beaver dd (7) in the care of an over active older boy while playing on some playground equipment is a bit of a dumb thing to do.   It was a beautiful warm spring day and I was overcome with the beauty of it and my common sense was not up to par, I must admit.

I was watching from anear but missed the whole thing.   She said that they were playing tricks down the high zig-zag slide by trying to slide down the outside.  So the slide zigged then zagged but she didn’t and she flew off onto the ground landing full force on her wrist.  Thanks be to God it was not broken. 

She is so full of life that she just wants to capture and emulate the full enthusiasm of everyone but fails to have that enthusiasm checked by the prudence processing center of her brain.   I pray for this child every day.  I am not looking forward to her older "teenage" years….gulp!

I did talk to her about playground safety and how she needs to act prudently so that she can
~avoid any more accidents to herself
~avoid being a bad example
~accidentally injuring another little one that may be playing around her…..

She thoughtfully mused about the wise words of motherly wisdom that I was using this object lesson to convey and her heartfelt response was…

"It is not fun when you get your wrist strangled (read strained) and I wouldn’t want to strangle anyone else while we are playing either! …We just can’t let strangling accidents happen, Mom!"

no, we mustn’t let that ever happen, dear! ;o)

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I just couldn’t get motivated today  so I am indulging a musing mood today. 

I am contemplating the new normal my family is creating and I am liking what I see…thorns in little things and all.  I am beginning to think we are like pioneers and the blessings that accompany this life are worth the fight for. 

Do you mind if I am slightly long winded?  (just slightly ;o) 

Something Dh and I were discussing last night…This is kinda what I mean…who do you share the JOY with??:

After my ds’s First Holy Communion
…after everyone went home and I decidedly turned my back on the mountain of dishes I was left with, I sat with my dh in the living room feeling odd.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt…lacking.  I know the house wasn’t perfect (lol …what would THAT look like anyhow 😉  But the food was good and plentiful and we extended hospitality.  Why did I feel…so…empty.  After all, what a great feast!  What graces!  What blessings we enjoyed together!!

My dh…very wise man my dh…said,

"it is because you are so far ahead of them and they know it.  I was confused and I asked him to explain. 

He said, "you are trying to really live fully your faith.  Faith is a tangible necessity in your life.    Don’t take this the wrong way but you are a "religious fanatic".  You would have rather stayed at church all day today.  You would have looked at Jesus and had Him look at you so much would have happened between you.  (our church had adoration yesterday after the mass through devotions at 3 and confessions…I sooo wanted to be there)  It is like you are a sports fan and want to rattle off every amazing stat and no one around you even watches the game.  The just don’t understand what they see."


"They" don’t get it and wonder why it is such a big deal.  It is though their body language says "Isn’t church just an obligation they meet for their prescribed hour each week?  I am so stressed out, don’t ask me to do too much more unless I grew up with it…like stations of the cross is ok, but keep those beads away from me…I have no TIME.  It isn’t my "thing""  It is like their life comes to a screeching halt right before the JOY part kicks in. 

I, on the other hand,  would disintegrate into many many atoms scattered throughout the universe without this kind of devotion on an hourly basis!

He grew up with it and is only now understanding what I have been trying to say and live for the last 14 years of our married life. (I love you St Monica!!)  I never knew what God was working in me since my "Emmaus moment" that took place right around the time we got married.  My heart burned with a mission and no one in our families really truly shared that with me.  But it was soo good, so meaningful…surely they can see that too? ( why could they not embrace the idea that being open to life does not equal living in poverty…it is a fear, not the reality.)  Too bad I have such a hard time using words to explain myself with.  Maybe it isn’t the use of words, but the reception of the ears that hear them…no place for them to relate.  No box to check that off in.

I grew up with a very big extended family made up of many great aunts and uncles that hugged and laughed ate and talked and hugged you again.  I belonged.  I fit in…I was family.  I mourn the loss of family in the deeper sense of the word. They are gone now, and their kids have no time.  Their families are small.  We speak different languages.  They are curious, but can’t imagine what it is like to think more about others needs on a 24 hour clock.

Our extended family members act like they are empty in some ways rushing around life and keeping up with  images…and here I am trying to fight my own feelings with having to serve…faithfully every day..no real help.  I get the "you chose this life so  it is your responsibility to live with it " attitude.  Not like just trying to live a good life doesn’t find you down at times, or sick or lonely.  They see us trying to instill devotion in our children and they are wary of it…how will they ever get along in the "real world"  I am not working…and they are waiting with an "I told you so" in regards to financial hardships we encounter with me being home.  Which is a heartbreaking thing to hear from them.   

Furthermore if any child carries a cross they blame that cross on home education or being part of a larger family, which is just using these things as a scapegoat for imperfection which are two totally different animals altogether. 

Poor souls!  They could have so much but they build hard high walls around themselves.  They give "wow" gifts for Christmas, Easter and birthdays.  That is the way they show they care, when we cannot return in kind we are not being loving towards them.  We try, but!  The fact that I have a bad memory for somethings that they hold in esteem is a problem too.  We have different "normals".  I have too much on my mind.  That is what comes from trying to do it all on an island of simplicity…I am just happy to find shoes that match and such.  Every time we have another child, that is one more child that they have to buy for.  "I can’t spoil them like I should."  "I can only visit with a few of them at a time." 
they don’t see that we are the ones being spoiled with the youthful exuberance of each child and we are blessed by the time the children spend loving us. 

"They" don’t see that it is them that we want.  We want to assimilate them.  We will take no bribes to love.  We want to love them as the great big hearts of our children so desire to. Resistance is futile.  Take your medicine for your heartache and like it! 

can I say that? ;o)

They interact with our family rather formally and not personally.  I am the kind of gal who likes to work hard then grab a cuppa to chat and gab…I love to share laughs while doing dishes after we have eaten at someone’s home.  They visit like they are punching a clock.  If dinner isn’t served within a half hour of them arriving, they wonder how late they will have to stay..so therefore it SEEMS I barely have my act together when dinner hits the table after an hour and a half…after dh and I ran like crazy to serve it by ourselves.  After dessert is gone, so are they ..leaving dishes and my emptiness in their wake. 

I would love to socialize with any family with a paintbrush in my hand and home made cookies in the other.  I am more at home with a broom in my hand making someone else’s life easier…and I don’t care what may be found lurking under the couch…it may be a good science project, for heaven sake!  I don’t judge someone’s worthiness as a parent by THAT…silly people…if crumbs under the table make you feel uncomfortable maybe it is because God just wants you to  grab a broom…not grab a moment to make that person’s life harder to bear.  God plants moments ( or allows them) so we can rise to the occasion and grow.  But there is that "God thing" again.  You can have your own life, but being part of our family you can choose to be the weed or the flower in this garden…your choice.

We are the ones with a "different mission" to plant this garden.  We have to be obedient to the mission entrusted to us.  This is our calling.  We are open to life, willing to live more simply to find joy in the little hidden places…our hearts have grown from it.  Every sigh, every piece of laughter magnifies that joy ten times over for us.  Others see something they are attracted to, but don’t know what it is they are seeing.  They want to come back for more, but what IS the more they want?  We want to live a family-centered Christ-centered existence and the more the merrier…the more joy the better.  and I am known to say "if you need me, tell me what time and I will be there with bells on!"  But whoever it is has to realize that the children are my primary mission.  Many times I can do both at the same time because living the life that is one of a servant makes both possible.  We are choosing to love with our actions as a family.   The more reasons to celebrate and make the ordinary extra-ordinary the better.  The more things we can do as a family with everyone in tow the better.  We have no formal living room so to speak….  (lol) Life is a little messy…so what?  That is what God made soap and water for and many hands to make those neat little footprints in the puddles!  Don’t worry, I know what a mop is and how to use it.  Be not afraid! 

Sharing burdens makes your heart lighter and more courageous to fight the good fight and win the race…together.  WE learn to make lemonade out of those lemons we have and we deliberately enjoy every valued sip.  …and all the blessings hidden in the crosses!!  Praise God!  And we reuse every part of that lemon that there is to use..even that neat sticker on the outside of the rind. (I can hear Archbishop Fulton Sheen yelling out "THERE IS JOY IN THAT CROSS!!" Amen.

But it is such a bummer finding this JOY and not finding a blessed soul to share it with!

When we visit…we visit!  We talk laugh and love.  Pass the chocolate and I will save the best piece for last and it belongs to you so I can see you enjoying yourself! :o)

I like a good cry amongst friends. 

I was once visiting my bil and sil and they had a friend there that said

"I firmly believe the disintegration of our nation lies in the fact that we no longer put front porches on our homes" 

Communication…we don’t know how to visit anymore.  We don’t know the art of conversation and love that should transpire amongst family.  Family is a gift.  and it’s fruit is joy …to be shared!  God makes the best deep joy…you just HAVE TO share it…or the rocks will just cry out!  Do you hear the rocks in my yard singing?

"by their fruits you shall know them"

Oh golly…does anyone want some of my "I like cocoa with my coffee" cocoa or some "I like coffee with my cocoa" coffee and a piece of left-over (it’s better that way, you know) creamy cheesecake??  We can just belly-laugh through our sugar high…LOL! 

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Have you ever heard of Freecycle?  I HIGHLY recommend it.  It works like any other email list.  You sign up and people post items that they want to give away or are looking for and the very best part is…it is all FREE!  Better than garage saleing!!  You sign up for the group that is closest to your area and the emails pour in…I do recommend them coming in a daily digest form unless  you want to see the listings as soon as they post because of the volume in some areas. 

Just think of the homeschooling and household items you can get from freecycle.  Most of us homeschool families live on a limited budget…but that isn’t a hindrance folks.  It is the beginning of an adventure!  And to boot, it is nice to gift others with your excess!  Wonderful stewardship!

Last week I was the receiver of a freecycled bag of fabric scraps of fleece and flannel which we are promptly using for hats and coats for the dolls and teddy bears of the house ;o)  Even the 4yo ds is interested in sewing a coat for his cuddly pal. 

ds:  "Mom, do 4 year-old boys like me sew?" 
"honey, they do if they want to have fun!!"
ds:  "Yippee!!"

And the BEST….I mean BEST thing I was able to get this week was a wooden playset complete with fort for the kids.  The other one in my backyard deserves to be shot.  It is one of those typical metal jobs and it is missing most of its supports and middle looks all twisted up in the middle like my curtain rod over the kid’s favorite window in the dining room.   (What self-respecting kid doesn’t like to run through his mom’s lace curtains on a beautiful spring day when the balmy breezes are blowing through the window, I ask! 😉  The only thing this old swingset  is good for is a laugh.  Time to recycle the metal!

Allllll we have to do now is dig the darned thing out of the side of a hill (!!) and haul it home.  All I have to do for the compensation of some manly labor is bribe gift my dear dear brother with a good Irish ale.  I CAN afford this!  Just think of the family bonding experience.  (gulp…oh, let it be a smooth one, God;o)

The playset is a higher quality one and replacement parts (if needed) can be obtained for a small fee…yippee.  I asked St. Joseph for help and help he did!  Thank you St. Joseph.  I love the joy you are bringing to our home this day!

Armed with pics and shovels and a good sense of humor our party descends on the unsuspecting playset.  We are giving it the ole’ family-centered try!  Can you hear it?  Hi-Ho Hi-Ho Hi-Ho-Hum!  Aw! Come on!  Whistle along! :o)

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I know most of you live in perfect kitchens ;o) but truth be told, mine is continually marauded by food nappers of the sticky fingered kind. 

Contrary to popular belief, cocoa goes far when it is dropped on the floor and I have to say that the toddler’s footprints running through it and into the dining room is awful cute…in a manner of speaking.  (and you know when you are done for when you think "Ooh that would have made a GREAT Blog pic!")  Tomato sauce does stain the inside and outside of the fridge door when scooped out by a furtive hand and it makes neat smeary marks on the white kitchen floor….that can be washed into light orange neat smeary marks. 

And against medical advice, the Easter Chocolate is gone….the only thing left is a wake of dark and light brown looong  almost parallel lines across the molding and around the kitchen doorway….(how thoughtful!  I have help with a kitchen remodel).  How did all this good fortune befall me?  I tell you, there is an epidemic and I need to arrest this beast because I am not willing to clean up after it anymore! 

Oh, this marauding beast, (because none of my CHILDREN would ever DARE to do such a thing…) is quite a purloiner of pablum.  He is feeding himself in ever deepening capers that are deposing even the most carefully planned meal.  The object of his furtive fetish is mostly my refrigerator. 

And worse thing…about this underhanded urchin, is that he leaves a fast-food trail of ick wherever he goes.  Even IF one of these capers was swung by some "innocent" child,  IF said child was ever snagged, the masterful kleptomaniac  never remembers any wrong doing….ever.  And those big baby blues (or browns) speak total truthfulness I tell you!

Those artful dodgers …oh yes, there must be more than one….they must post a guard and they must be extremely cunning as they lie in wait till the coast is clear and the moment is theirs alone!!(ie when Mother is in the bathroom or on the computer….nah, they wouldn’t DARE take advantage of a mommy moment when I am perusing my emails ahem…culture….would they??!)

How do you catch them?!  It must stop.  It must stop now.

I marathon cooked yesterday and this large beautiful 18 lb turkey was one of the things that I cooked.   Can you see it?  Its crispy golden brown skin…meat~cooked to perfection~, not a dry spot of meat anywhere…  It is a work of art!

I left it in the fridge till today so I could slice and dice it into several "heat and eat" meals.  I was patting myself on the back for my time saving skill thinking about how I am just beginning to evolve into a masterful homemaker.  It was just last night as a matter of fact….then… dh asked with a touch of "Real Life" in his voice…
"So, how are you going to keep the kids out of it when they awake?"
Gullible Mommy… "Oh, I KNOW they won’t touch THIS.  It says "Dinner" alll over it!"
Dh…..just don’t call me at work when your plans don’t hatch the way you are planning ;o)
Gullible Mommy  .."Oh Ye of little faith! I will just post a note!"

I heard the fridge open.
I sounded out the warning…"Don’t even THINK of touching that bird!"

I finally got back to the kitchen, opened the fridge and found (to my dismay) several rough gouges taken out of the bird’s poor wounded side. The note, smeared in turkey fat with it’s neatly printed sharpie words bleeding as though it had encountered a mortal wound was laying in a crumbled heap on the floor.

"Ok, which one of you TURKEYS did THIS?!" Mother demanded with a hand on the hip as most of the suspects were assembled.  There met her ears a slight snoring sound in the distance.  Aah…the missing character was located.


I *THINK I know who did it this time…the one dear dear son sleeping soundly in the bedroom.  Snagged by tryptophan! Who needs to be a CSI and find trace under the fingernails…I have this powerful tell-tale chemical on my side.  Finally, I am not alone in the responsibility for fingering the fiend.

hmmm…I do think that the floor under the fridge should be the next area that the malefactor attempts to burgle into cleanliness.  I tell you, crime does NOT pay! 

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Some time ago, I fell in love with Altered Composition books after being introduced to them by Kim of Starry Sky Ranch.

While spending one of my favorite gifts…a gift certificate to a book store ;o)   I came across this book~ The_decorated_page
The Decorated Page Journals, Scrapbooks and Albums Made Simply Beautiful by Gwen Diehn.  This book is a grab bag full of ideas and step-by-step visual directions (that include suggestions for materials and material gathering) that help you add dimension and creativity to journals. 

This book was not one that I read all at once.  I kept it by my "nursing chair" and would read a few pages at a time and then talked casually about what I learned to my twin dds (13) (it was a good exercise of persuasive Mommy-Narration)
I asked them to do the same thing (read 2 or so pages at a time) so they could absorb some ideas about creative journaling.  I wanted them to see that they could create something personal and meaningful with their journaling, whether it be a nature journal, a personal journal or one that fit some academic subject or idea.   I asked them to think of it as their own "art class".  I thought of it as "notebooking grows up".

Not surprisingly, this author did make some other books that I am interested in as well…like this one… 

The Decorated Journal
, and this one….

Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist & Turn: Books for Kids to Make

Ok, so my fever doesn’t stop there… Look at this from the book
More Making Books by Hand: Exploring Miniature Books, Alternative Structures, and Found Objects

And this book….had some interesting pages when I cked out the inside of the book…Visual Chronicles: The No-Fear Guide to Creating Art Journals, Creative Manifestos and Altered Books

I also found this interesting site that promises to join the scrappers and the journalers together.

I am on a mission.  I will let you know how it all turns out!  If anyone has a decent digital camera they are looking to get rid of…let me know.  Mine died and untimely death when it hit the floor :o(  I would looove to share some pictures of what we are creating with you!

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You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!


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