Monday, December 31, 2007

while you were out

The three oldest kids went to spend time with their cousins and we did all we could to get this ready for the two oldest girls:

This is a picture of what once was our master bedroom. It is now the two oldest girls' room (#1 and #3). Oh, how I wish it would stay as beautifully clean as it is now.

When we got home from picking them up from their little three day get-away, they knew nothing of it. We had managed to keep it a surprise. We all went upstairs. Things at the top of the steps were still cluttered. "You'll have to go around through our room," I said. They entered their new room.
Number 3 was shocked and cautiously loved it.
Number 1 was snippy, yet stoic, and cried a little. Quietly. The air was a little thick with tension. Nervousness on our part, hoping she'd like it, and for her, the source of tension was probably pressure to like it when she really just wanted to scream.
I told both of the girls that it was ok for them to take as long as they needed to get used to the idea. "You won't hurt my feelings if you don't like it right away," I reassured the oldest girl. "It's not that I hate it, I just miss my old room".
"Yeah, I know," I said, "me too."
But y'know what I found out? I don't miss my room. I think this room (the biggest of all the bedrooms) is so much better as their room than it ever was as our room. It is calm. It is clean. It sparkles and shines. The new rug feels so soft. The beds are quite comfy. It has fun hideaway storage places.
Best of all, there are two girls in there, right this very moment, snoozing. They will soon find that they have more in common than they had ever thought. They will discover that they can become really great friends. They will develop a stronger bond than if we left things the way they were. They will make memories that they will laugh about over coffee in 20 or 30 years. These sisters. Roommates. Friends forever.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

happy butday

Happy birthday (or butday as number 2 used to call it) to my favorite sister.
I love you.
ps- watch out for nine-eyed dogs

Sunday, December 23, 2007

talk about your bella lunas

Tonight's moon is absolutely breathtaking. It is huge and clear and beautiful. There is a bright celestial orb just underneath, which I am thinking is Venus. In any case, it's no wonder there are so many poetic tributes to such a gorgeous creation.

ah, Christmas vacation

I must say, as nice as it is to have a routine, it is also nice to not have one. This morning the kids wanted to play Scattergories. In order to avoid arguments which stem from an overly competitive first-born, I reminded them that they needed to concentrate on the fun rather than on who wins. And for the most part, the game was relatively quarrel-free.

On a separate note, I am working on completing a small list of things that I have been putting off for awhile, one of which is to put pictures in albums. Ten years ago, the film would have been promptly developed, the dates written on the backs of the photos and they would have been stuck into photo albums right away. Now that I have five children, I am roughly 9 months behind. Not too bad, really, I suppose.

King and I have a little "While You Were Out" surprise for my daughters when they go to visit their cousins for a couple of days at the end of the week. I'll have to blog about it later, as number 1 is trying to peek over my shoulder.

Just in case I don't get back to the computer in the next little while, I just want to wish you and your family a beautiful Christmas season. So many people I hear about are so looking forward to Christmas afternoon when they DE-decorate their lives of all Christmas decorations. I want to grab a megaphone and say "People, people, people, this is the FIRST day of Christmas. Relax. You've got 11 more days to bask in the glow of Christmas. Wait until Epiphany to put all those things away."

Ennyhoo, I am off to plot and plan my secret for my girls and to play board games and to have lots of pajama time. xoxo :o) mg

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like....

Christmas!

Over the past couple of years I have discovered that I am a lover of "simple" and "understated". Therefore, I prefer no ornaments on the tree. I know, I am an oddball. But, when the kids are all tucked into bed, King and I love to sit up in the living room and stare at our beautiful Christmas tree (pre-lit Lowe's special) and chat. The fact that my view is not obstructed by old, tired ornaments calms my frazzled nerves. Not to mention the fact that I don't have to shoo any toddlers roaming about away from said tree during the daytime hours is a very good thing as well.

King is just the opposite. He prefers colored lights (even the big bulb kind) and tons of ornaments. He scoffs at my need for simplicity in the tree department. (And from the looks of my dining room table - Christmas gift central - I can understand the paradoxical nature of my logic.) He has mentioned several times that we need to decorate the tree. He even wrote it down on our "to-do" list. I had firmly held a "no ornament" stance on the downstairs tree until I looked in the two bags he brought down tonight.

Then, well..........my resistance weakened.

Now we have a few things on it (which does honor my desire for simplicity), a smattering of ornaments which commemorate the past year. At the very top is the tiara that Bia gave me when I turned 40. There are two silly-faced glittered snowmen that make me giggle when I think about the people who think that the human race is in control of the weather. The two little American flags that make me remember that we wanted to go camping over July 4th, but decided not to because of the wee ones (campfire + toddlers = disaster). The Moravian stars we got at Old Salem as well as the blown glass ornaments we got at the One Eared Cow studio make me remember the great trips we took with the kids this summer.

This is nice. Both of us are pleased. Tonight we snuggle up with a big, steaming cup of compromise.

Friday, December 14, 2007

new version of an old favorite

Christmas is coming and I am getting fat.
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.

I don't know if it is stress, trying to stay awake, because the little ones around me are eating all the time, the fact that we are smack dab in between two yummy holidays, a combination of them all, or just what, but I am feeling the need to munch non-stop.
Then the fact that I feel guilty about it makes me want to eat too. What the heck?!?!
Maybe Santa needs to put a therapist in my stocking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

this wouldn't happen to a Proverbs 31 woman

I was asked to host a group of Christian women today at a Christmas luncheon. It started at 11:30. It is now 11:40. NO one is here.
I have prepared a talk on the Proverbs 31 woman and how we can try to incorporate her characteristics into our lives. NO one is here.
My house is clean, table linens are set out on three tables. NO one is here.
I have made 20 bracelets ..... a gift for each of the Proverbs 31 women. They are made of 24 pearlized beads each representing a characteristic and a teardrop ruby in the center to remind each of us to be willing to God's will in our lives as we strive to be the woman in the scripture. NO one is here.

No one except me.

Do you suppose God is trying to tell me something? Or maybe He is my lunch date. I would have started cleaning earlier had I known.


update: After sitting, and watching the street to see if anyone pulled up for 30 minutes, one lady showed up, then after another 30 minutes another couple of ladies arrived together. Even though I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to say what needed to be said to whomever He needed to hear the message, I am still convinced that today was a lesson for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

sirens

There is a reason it is called the witching hour. Though tonight it was more like the bewitching hour.
I left the kids downstairs doing a few chores while I ran upstairs to bathe #4. While I was washing away the remains of the day from his little body, I hear a siren.
Whoooooooooo OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Then I realize it is not an ambulance, nor is it a sea nymph luring me to the coast, it is a child. Someone who is tired and cranky and hungry and whose oldest sister has just gotten the best of him.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

it's even a little warmer in there

Last night we had crackling fire in our living room. It was so nice to listen to the pop and crack of the logs as they burned. So cozy. King and I sat up and had a glass of wine and watched the dancing flames. We spent time together, relaxing, like we have not been able to do since I can't even remember when. How utterly romantic and way past due. We were so unwound that we even fell asleep curled up together on the couch.
But you wanna know something funny? We have a fake fireplace. A beautiful mantle, but we removed the unvented gas logs when we were restoring the house. We now have our flat screen tv in that space. And a dvd player.... and, you guessed it, a "movie" of a roaring fire.

Goofy as hell? Yes. Best $7 we've ever spent? You betcha!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

here goes

OK, after monogramming nearly 100 scarves for the school Christmas bazaar, (or as King calls it, the Christmas BIZARRE because the kids get him the same coffee mug year after year) I am finally taking the time to step up to the challenge of Bia's tag.

I was, oh, five or so when I got a Chrissy doll. It was so neat. She had a ponytail that you could pull and it would "grow" long. Then to make it short again, you turned a knob on her back. I don't really remember playing with her like every day or anything, but I do recall how incredibly happy I was to see her that Christmas morning waiting on me under the tree. It must be one of my earliest memories. I can remember my green felt stocking with my name on it too.

As a grown-up, I do love the "things"... like I am rawther enjoying my new embroidery machine, which must be capable of so many things that I haven't even discovered yet. But, it's the intangibles that I most appreciate....
-seeing Christmas through the eyes of my children.
-the Christmas I found out I was expecting #4
-friends stopping by and spending a bit of time out of their crazy schedule to get caught up with us
-hearing that a dear friend of mine, whose birthday happens to be a few days after Christmas (what a great Christmas present she must have been) is in the process of reconciling her marriage
-the "no pressure" feeling of Christmas break ("riding" the day as if it were a stallion on a mission all it's own)

As far as my future Christmas gift goes..... don't know if I can dream that big, but I'd want it to include my children, all grown and happy and healthy, and tons of grandkids.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

tagged

Ok, Bia, this is the first time I've been tagged. I have a few more scarves to monogram for the school's Christmas bazaar, but after that I will get right on it. I think I know my favorite present from childhood... but you know how it is when you get older, you don't really get gifts. But, I'm thinking. Watch this spot.

something to ponder

A friend brought lunch to me today and we were talking about Christmas shopping. Her kids got her up at 3 am on Black Friday to take advantage of those bargains. She told me that someone who was standing near her in the line to pay asked if she'd get up that early to go to a church service. Answering honestly, she laughingly said, "no, probably not."
But it made her think.... "it's easy getting up in the wee hours to save 25% on some stupid gift, but getting up by 9 a.m. to make it to church on Sunday, now that's hard to do!"

shopping for my favorite people

Each year for nearly a decade our parish has had what is called an "Angel Tree" which is put up on the first Sunday of Advent. It has lots and lots of paper angels on it and each angel has a gift request from a needy family in the area.
My tradition has been to get as many angel gift tags as we have children. So this year we picked 5 angels from the tree. Like clockwork, when we come home from Mass that day I find that I am just chomping at the bit to go shopping for these people. I have no idea who they are, but my heart is bursting with love for each of them. If I could buy them the moon and wrap it up for them to open on Christmas day I would.
In fact, I think it is safe to say that I enjoy getting the Angel Tree gifts more than any of the other shopping I have to do this time of year. I almost resent anything I get for my own kids, yet I will gladly get an 8 year old a "hand held sports game" or an "outfit for a 4 year old".
Wrapping them, though, is the best. "Merry Christmas to a beautiful little girl" or "Merry Christmas to a very special young man" is the message I tuck into each package. I always pray that when they read those words, it will make them feel as special as they are to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

six a.m.

Having worked the "late shift" last night with #1 and her crazy dance schedule, I didn't get to bed until after midnight. This morning to my chagrin, the baby decides 4 a.m. is a great time to awaken for the day. Goodie.
Fast forward to 6 a.m. and I have just brought the dirty laundry downstairs to get it started in the washer. Number 4, (bless his little "NO, David!" heart) was eager to help out. I was trying to be as creative as I could about having him help. But his eagerness to be helpful outran his mother's ability to find something to have him do. Then it happened.

I was forced to use his whole name... All. Three. Names.

Each said with such clarity so that there would be no mistaking the fact that my gentle ("no, that doesn't go there, don't push that yet, etc.") reminders weren't just meaningless utterances. Secretly, I did get a little tickled, because, even though, believe it or not, this was the first time I had to Use. Three. Names., he knew exactly what it meant to hear them like that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

'nostril'damus

Number 4 (the only one of any of my children to be so clever) decided tonight at dinner to take two kernels of corn and tenderly place one kernel up each nostril.
Logically speaking, of course, they are the perfect fit. Perfectly shaped for such an orifice.

Note to self: Keep the carrots on the top shelf of the fridge until he gets a bit older.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

risky business

There is nothing that will make a toddler "soil" a diaper faster than just having had a new one put on. Also, the frequency with which this happens is directly proportional to the number of diapers you have left.

Moral of the story: The Pampers Rationing game we sometimes play until hubby comes home so that we can run out and "pick up a couple of things" (bread, milk, diapers, 15 minutes without kids) will occasionally come with risks.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

thankful lists

On Thursday morning, when #'s 2 and 3 were the only "big kids" awake, things were fine. Then when #1 was added to the mix, things got a bit septic.
Still trying to make lemonade from the lemons we were presented with that day, when the fights broke out, I made them all sit down at the dining room table and make a list of AT LEAST 25 things for which they were thankful. Big or small or both, it didn't matter, it just had to be at least 25.
They took turns reading them aloud after we ate "dinnuh". They were all thankful for their parents (whew), siblings (double whew), and extended family.... for their home, and for their Church and school. But each kid had a couple of really unique items. Here are my top three favorites for each:

My ten year old son is thankful for:
  • being healthy
  • having books to read
  • having a good back and front yard

My oldest daughter.... who I should really call Violet (from the movie "The Incredibles") because it is written all over her face that she wishes she could disappear and have a force field around her and all that jazz.... is thankful to have:

  • Jesus
  • intelligence
  • enough money to live

Finally, my tender eight year old, who has just begun to enter that very awkward, gawky time of life between, oh, eight and 16, give or take a year or so, is thankful for:

  • her birthday
  • her guardian angel
  • love

We are going to make a paper chain out of all the items on their lists and string it on our Christmas tree to remind us during the Advent and Christmas season how rich we really are.

i'd even wait another whole year for a perfect moment like this

First and foremost, we are smack dab in the middle of my very favorite time of year. Hands down. You can have spring break and summer break. It's Thanksgiving and Christmas break which has my heart.
Thursday could have gone so many different ways. We had a lot of invitations to go many different places. We were even considering surprising my grandparents, which would have been a blast. But, we stuck with our plan which was to hole up in the house and not let anyone in or out. Our plan was to have NO PLANS.
Waking up at 5:30am, thanks to two beautiful, but early-rising, children, we decided to make lemonade with our lemons. King made a big pot of coffee and I got breakfast for #'s 4 and 5. (Or was that the other way around? Oh well, it was so early, who the heck knows!?!?!) We sat down at the dining room table and made the final decisions about our menu for the day.

Pecan coated chicken breasts
Homemade (aka not from a can) sweet potato casserole
Broccoli (hey, you've just got to have something green, right?)
Stuffing
Pecan Pie
Tea ~ Coffee ~ Milk
Then we worked on getting breakfast for ourselves and everyone else, who were finally descending the stairs in dribs and drabs. After all the dishes were cleaned up, we started on the big meal. Got the chicken all soaked in buttermilk and then coated in pecan meal. Got the sweet potatoes all diced and into a pot of boiling water, mashed, mixed and covered with marshmallows, etc., etc., etc.
We decided we'd eat at 1pm. At 12:30 I decided to try to get #4 down for a nap. He couldn't hold out for a 1pm dinner date. So he had a peanut butter and nutella sandwich about noon. When he started to get cranky, # 1 took him to the front porch swing to calm him down. I went out there to get him and he was all smiles and giggles. Though I needed to take a shower and get dressed for "dinnuh", I decided to sit on the rocking chair and watch him giggle.
Just as those dribs and drabs descended the stairs oh so much earlier in the day, so they started arriving on the front porch. All the kids decided they needed to be on the porch swing. Uh-oh, this is the recipe for disaster. However, this time, no one was fighting. No one was whining. All five children had smiles on their faces. They were all happy at once.
You have to understand, this is more magical than when my grandmother puts all the food out on the table that will feed 80 or so people and it's all hot at the same time.
I couldn't move. I was paralyzed. I couldn't breathe. It was the moment I had been planning for weeks. For months. Maybe even a year!
"Oh, honey, can you come out here to the front porch a minute?!" King came out there and sat in the other rocker and we just rocked and held our breath. We drank the goodness of the moment into every pore of our body.
This moment is one that I will remember as long as my brain cells will let me. It is a moment that I will tell people about for as long as they will listen. I am so excited that I was there to witness it. But mostly, I am glad I was able to appreciate it.
When we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, a bit later, we had yet another item for our Thankful List.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

religious persecution

For quite some time now I have had this secret guilt: that I have not had to endure persecution for being a Christian.
I was reminded of that as I was reading the scripture for Mass this past weekend during a rare moment that I took for myself to actually prepare to hear the Word of God. It is nice to be able to reflect on the scripture beforehand. I am not always organized enough to make it happen. Ennyhoo... I digress.
So, here I am carrying around this guilt. I have never had to go through a holocaust. Or a nightmarish hostage situation where my life or my death depended on my answer of "Yes, I am a Christian." Others have had to endure such hardships because of their faith. I have not. That doesn't seem fair.

Fast forward to Mass on Sunday.

King was chasing number 4 through the narthex and I was holding a very squirmy number 5 for quite some time before I decided to just let her crawl. Our other three children, who have outgrown this "you can't sit in 'big church' if you cannot behave" stage, were sitting in the Sanctuary so sweetly. They even looked to be paying attention. The whole while King and I were going through a hellish nightmare of kid-chasing.

Then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks right between the eyes. I am being persecuted for my faith. I believe in Christ. I believe all that has been handed down from the apostles which are the beliefs of the Catholic Church. And I believe in handing down to my children their heritage of Christianity. It ain't easy!

Actually, chasing a toddler for an hour or so during Mass is the easiest part of it. The real hardship is explaining to the children why we don't listen to just any ol' music on the radio and why we have to limit what they watch on tv and why King has to turn to the Weather Channel during the commercials of a Sunday afternoon football game so we don't have to explain what genital herpes is. We have to define abortion and gently break the news that they can't just ride their bikes to the park by themselves, and give them reasons why they have to be cautious of strangers, what a sexual predator is, the list goes on. All sorts of ways that humans have profaned God's Holy Design. Having to explain all of these things... difficult topics, different levels at different times... five times over.

The most annoying part of it is that we can't let our guards down. Ever. I am called to be a model of a Christian ALL the time. Not PART of the time. There is no time off for good behavior. Besides, what would "time off" mean anyway? I can only imagine it would lead to sin... can't you?
So, I shan't feel guilty about the fact that I have never been in a concentration camp or in a Columbine-type situation. I am being persecuted each and every day for my beliefs. Sure, there is no gun in my face. But I am looking down the barrel of the future. Raising five souls who will, in turn, pass along to their children such a rich, beautiful inheritance.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

nothing sweeter

This afternoon, we were invited to the 91st birthday party of #3's Godmother. She was widowed nearly 5 years ago and now lives in a personal care home.
While we were there, the baby was due to eat. Luckily I had remembered to pack a jar of food and a bottle. I sat down and began feeding her. Shortly afterward, a bright-eyed, cheery woman, came over and smiled at #5. She knelt to the baby's level and spoke in soft tones trying elicit a beautiful, gummy baby grin. She wanted to know how old she was, what her name was, how many children I had, etc. She cooed and played with her and then told me that her own mother raised 7 children (5 boys, 2 girls). We marveled at how busy her mom must have been. Cooing again, she said, "There's just nothing sweeter than a baby." I agreed.
I then got distracted with the antics of #4 and came to sit back down after a bit. The lady came back up to us and began ogling over the baby again. We spoke for awhile longer. "There's nothing sweeter than a baby," she crooned. I agreed.
She then went over and helped show #4 the fish tank which kept his attention for a good, long time. (whew!) Walking back over and catching the eye of the baby she asked how old "he" was and was surprised to learn that I was holding a baby girl (I had dressed her in navy after all). My elderly friend was also surprised to hear that she was 8 months old and that she was the youngest of 5. By this time, my suspicions from the second encounter were confirmed. This gentle soul, who adores babies, has absolutely no short term memory. "There's nothing sweeter than a baby," she said with a smile. I agreed then thought to myself, "There is also nothing sweeter than a dear, old lady with bright, sparkly blue eyes who doesn't remember meeting my little girl for the first time, so many times, in less than 30 minutes."

Friday, November 16, 2007

pass the ibuprofin

Ok, you know how every week that you are a mom one of your children is on your nerves and can do no right. The other kids are rolling along smoothly which makes the "booger" kid even more obnoxious. Every once in awhile, if you have enough kids, you might have two that are playing hopscotch on your last nerve.
Well, tag! #4 is it for this week.
This morning I awoke feeling chipper and ready to start the day. Then it started. Whine whine whine. Cry cry cry. Whine some more. Ditto with the crying. Ad nauseum.
At first I just felt a twinge of something in my neck. Then after a bit I felt a little tightness in my shoulder. Now I can barely move my head. The term "crick" doesn't even come close. Totally stress related. A true pain in the neck!

Now if I could just track down the origin of this tailbone pain.....

monograms anyone?

A B C
Guess who got the embroidery machine that she has been wanting for at least a decade? (me)
And guess who is going to get gifts with their monogram, or perhaps one of the thousands of embroidery designs I now have, on them? (you)

it really wouldn't be plagiarism, would it?

A friend of mine has to write a persuasive speech. I helped her come up with the topic: An Argument for Organ Donation. Let's help her come up with some reasons why you should sign up to be an organ donor. I'll start.

1) It's easy to sign up. Here you can do it when you register for your driver's license.
2) You get $$ off the cost of your driver's license.
3) What will you need those things for after you're gone anyway?
4) Organ Donation: The Ultimate Recycling Program
5) Part of you will live on after you're gone, giving much comfort to your grieving family.
6) You will be remembered as a thoughtful, unselfish, generous soul.
7) Dude, you have the potential to save a bunch of lives! I mean, hello? Is this thing on? What? Were you born without an ego?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the squeaky wheel and the grease

Why is it that the child who is the most trouble... (the one who is constantly getting into something he shouldn't, the one who is always doing something dangerous, the one who you chase all day and when he finally goes to sleep, you heave a huge sigh of relief and absolutely fall into bed from exhaustion, only to be awakened at O'dark thirty by a raring-to-go, well-rested toddler) is also the one that makes your heart melt the most when he comes up and wraps his sweet little arms around your neck and practically squeezes your head off?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

whirlwinds of activity

I have just blown back home and am about to be swept away on another whirlwind of activity. Since the week of Halloween, so much has happened. Number 4 "ran away from home" ... toddled off following a neighbor's cat and ended up on the front porch of a house two doors down. It is a whole post in itself, and perhaps one day I will want to revisit it... but not today.
He also decided to finish off a bottle of homeopathic teething tablets... his first attempt at overdosing. God, help me keep this boy safe! (But send a protective army of angels just in case I need to turn my back!)
Number 3 turned 8 on All Saints Day. What a wonderful day to have a birthday. My mom came down, as she always does on each of their birthdays, and took her shopping. I am thankful that I have once again squeaked by without having to build a stall for a pony which the overindulgent grandmother has threatened to purchase many times.
We squeezed in hours of dance lessons, trips out of town for Irish dance competitions, a science project, a couple of football games, fiddle lessons and a workshop into the few short days of the beginning of November. The sad news is that our calendars are full from now until December 3rd. At that time, I think I will close the blinds, lock the doors, and not let the children leave the house for at least 48 hours. There will be no getting dressed, no eating fast food, no chores. Nothing but climbing up into Mommy and Daddy's bed, reading stories, telling funny stories, laughing, and taking naps. We will make hot chocolate and watch movies. No one is allowed to say: school, homework, dance, ball practice, fiddle, or "costs too much".
Dreamy.
*sigh*
Yeah. Then I'll awaken to the ice-cold wet rag of reality smacking me right in the tushie, right?

Monday, November 5, 2007

the hard way

One of my children (who shall remain...er.. numberless) had to learn the hard way that you cannot eat the entire contents of a bag of candy and then be normal the next day. As in, "oops, that wasn't gas pain."

Friday, November 2, 2007

learning to be gracious

I got a phone call from a friend of mine this morning. She had made two batches of lasagne and wanted to share one with our family. She said that her mom started this "Lasagne Ministry" and she has carried on the tradition. Her family says a little prayer for the family they have shared the meal with. What a beautiful thing! I love that idea.

What I also love is how wonderful my kitchen is smelling right about now. As soon as she brought the dish into the house, the aroma of the lasagne, despite the fact that it was covered with foil, wafted through the downstairs.

Y'know sometimes it is hard to let other people do nice things for you. Why is that? Do I think I have to always be the one who does the "doing"? There may be a fine line between love and hate, but there is also a fine line between humbleness and pride.

Do you have a hard time letting others do nice things for you? What about when someone pays you a compliment? What is your reaction? Do you disagree and tell them they surely don't know what they are talking about or do you graciously say "thank you"?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

an ode to mister rogers

I love Mr. Rogers.... I loved him as a kid (much to my parent's chagrin, as a 5 year old, I wistfully told my mom "I wish Mr. Rogers was my dad". To which my mother replied "If Mr. Rogers was your dad, I wouldn't be your mom.") and I still love watching him alongside my kids.
He was the only person who took 30 minutes out of his day to do silly stuff with me, to encourage my imagination, and most importantly to tell me that he liked me "just the way I am". He didn't even know me. He never knew how far-reaching those words would go.
Or maybe he did.
I love the way he put himself in the way of being "humble". He didn't mind doing something that most people would not do: something humiliating like wearing a newspaper hat, or asking a question on a "field trip" that a kid might ask.
As a parent, I appreciate the simplicity of his show. There is no jarring of one's nerves. No flashing words or bright lights or politically correct message beating you about the head and shoulders. There is just a calm, caring man and a couple of his friends from the neighborhood.
I have been made fun of all of my life for my love and respect for Fred Rogers. I don't mind one bit. He was a Presbyterian minister (I stand corrected, as I had thought he was a Methodist minister), and if God is at all as loving and caring and calm and loves me just the way I am the way Mr. Rogers did, well, then I am glad to be a part of His neighborhood too.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

and furthermore

My sister and I were talking about it, and she thinks (I second the motion) that the Pope needs to condemn the whole thing as Heresy.
Whether the Earth is getting a degree warmer is a non-issue. The hype surrounding "Global Warming" is in direct oppostion to everything that we are told in the Bible.
After creating, God said "It is good."
He did NOT say, "Muah, ha, ha, ha and now I will sit back and watch these stupid creatures destroy themselves."
He tells us many times in scripture not to worry.
So, hey, I have other things to do.... I'm doing what "the Man" said... I ain't worryin'.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

on global warming

There is a substitute teacher (fresh faced college graduate) at my children's school who, it seems, every time she fills in for a teacher, feels the need to passionately spout her opinions on the horrors of Global Warming.
Now, anyone who knows me can tell you that I am, if nothing else, opinionated (hence the blog, I suppose). I will let something like this slide the first time, but when it becomes a repeated pattern, I just have to insert my two cents worth. Here is the letter I wrote to our principal. (with names changed to protect the ...er... innocent) :

Hey Mr. Super-Duper Principal!
(I know you must cringe when you see my name in your inbox.)
I just wanted to bring this to your attention.

Last year at the end of the year, Number 1 came home and said that Mrs. Math's daughter subbed for one of her classes. Miss Chicken Little apparently took a lot of the classroom time and passionately spoke about the horrors of Global Warming. Frankly, I figured "it's the end of the school year, she will probably get a job somewhere and I won't have to deal with it again."
We are trying to raise our children to have level heads and to think rationally and logically - not falling into falling for "the sky is falling" mentality. In fact, this is exactly the kind of thing I think about when, during Mass, the Priest asks the Lord to "protect us from anxiety as we wait in joyful hope".

So, fast forward to yesterday. Miss Chicken Little was filling in for Mrs. Language and brought the subject up again. If it were a "thoughtful conversation on both sides" that the class was having.... maybe even the subject for a debate... I wouldn't be so concerned. But, I am afraid if this doesn't get nipped in the bud, the next attempt to indoctrinate will involve Hillary Clinton and the push toward Socialism.


If you could climb into their collective brains, here is what you'd see written on the insides of their skulls:
"We don't want the earth to EVER change. It has to stay just like this without any sort of deviation. We want to save every animal and every plant from extinction. There is to be no killing for fur. Or leather. No tree can be "murdered". (It's ok to kill an unborn baby, though, because let's face it, people are the enemy. If one baby must die to save a tree, so be it.) Now, go out and buy your politically correct cars and equally as "PC" light bulbs and go hug a tree!"

God, save us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

car troubles

Hey, Mom, I think something is going on with the engine block in my car.

Monday, October 22, 2007

oh, and I got a facial, too

This weekend I went with my Mom and sister to Westglow Spa in Blowing Rock, NC. We stayed for two nights. We've had this planned for about a month or so now. I had forced myself NOT to think about it, for fear that I would be a "good for nothing daydreamer" until the day got here.
Well, the day finally did get here. I did so well with not thinking or planning for it that I was scrambling around at the last minute packing stuff.
King has been telling me for over 3 years now that I should get away for the weekend to get a break from these four walls. In typical MOM fashion (aka Martyr syndrome) I just pooh-poohed the idea until now. But we had a fantastic reason for celebrating: my Mom turning 65, my turning 40, and my sister turning 35 this year. (You can see another need for celebration in 5 years, right?)
With our two night stay, each of us got three "treatments". We had to choose from body massages and facials with fancy names and salon services out the wazoo. It was going to be one very relaxing weekend.
Sadly, as a mom of 5 I don't take the time out to laugh as much as I should. The closer I got to the weekend, the more I looked forward to not necessarily the "services", but the laughter.
Well, we laughed.
And laughed.
And laughed.
Then we took a break and laughed some more. At one point (dinner at the really fancy "Rowlands") I actually spewed my lemon-infused water all over the place. It was one of those times where you actually get a head rush & headache from being without oxygen for too long while you are gaffawing. We laughed about everything. Everyone. Ourselves. And then did it all over again. I daresay we had more laughter-filled fun than anyone in the state of North Carolina that day. When I got back into town last evening, I saw a friend of mine who commented on how great I looked. I doubt it was any of the "treatments". I am betting it was all that laughing that made me look and feel so great. Even though after the kids got used to me being home again, I was met with one mini-crisis after another, I am still on a high from all that laughter.

Yep, I can highly recommend the Westglow Spa.
The location is breath-taking, the services are relaxing, the food is beyond incredible, and the laughter.... mmm.... it's absolutely intoxicating.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

so, here's the plan....

Y'know how you pull up to a red light and some "whipper snapper" has their music up so loud (usually rap music) that even they have to escape it by rolling down their windows. Their side mirrors are shaking with the beat, the bass turned on all the way. Well, my plan is to get a cd with a bunch of kid show theme songs on it and retaliate by playing something like the theme from Bob the Builder at such high decibles that even my rap music counterpart has to stop and listen.

Just imagine... "Backpack, Backpack!" playing so loud that it makes whipper-snapper's sinuses hurt!

Friday, October 12, 2007

ok, enough poking for one day

I've been poked with enough needles for a whole year, much less one day. Counting it all up, it is 6 times.
This morning, I had a small surgery on my scalp. A type of cyst removed. The "old timers" would call it a wen. But now I am wen-free. (Just don't call me Oprah, as hubby was wanting to do.) Four times the dermotologist poked me with his novocane-filled syringe
The next needle experience was late this afternoon. I was altering a formal dress for a party that # 1 is invited to. Whirr, whirr, whirr on the machine and then BOOM, sewed right through my finger, which would have been bad enough, but then I instinctively pulled away.
Yeeeeee owwwww!
King insisted I go to the ER (which makes this altered dress from Goodwill over $100 rather than under $5!!!) where they took x-rays (couldn't find the end of the needle at home) and decided the only treatment I needed was a tetanus shot. Chalk up the sixth run-in with the painful end of a needle.
Sigh.
I'm going to bed before something else happens. I'll probably dream about needles. Good thing it's not Halloween night and I don't have an apple in my hand, huh? (or is that razor blades?)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

so this is what "strung out" feels like

OK, after several days of making good use of my espresso maker, pushing myself to the limits, and a couple of really lousy (and very short) nights of sleep I have hit a brick wall. My mind is still wanting to go and do and be productive, but my body is slamming on the brakes to that plan.
I am thankful that the kids have a day off from school tomorrow. Not that it will be less work, really. Maybe it's just that there will be someone around to hear me complain!
And if I play my cards just right, I may even get a nap in! Muah ha ha ha.

Monday, October 8, 2007

what's for breakfast

Number 4 is cracking me up with all the additions to his vocabulary. This one in particular got me tickled:
oatmeal = oat-no

Sunday, October 7, 2007

salv-ation



Salve- definition one: A greeting, "hail".


As in Hail, holy Queen. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Number 1 and I went to a Living Rosary tonight. It's something I had looked forward to since last year, and it was simply beautiful. It's held on the field of our local Catholic high school football stadium. Everyone gets there just before dusk. Right after the sun sets, we begin praying the Rosary. Volunteers from around the area Catholic churches stand in the place of the "beads" of the Rosary. The field slowly gets filled in the shape of a strand of Rosary beads. Each person holds a candle so their "beadness" can show up. There is a huge wooden cross erected in one end zone and the people loop all the way to the other end zone and back. Simply beautiful.



Salve- definition two: A soothing remedy which heals.

The wonderful way that taking a break from household chores and sharing with hubby what a really good cup of cappuccino tastes like. Reconnecting after a particularly crazy week and before we start an even crazier week, the time we spent together healed us from the bumps and bruises we acquired. Slowing down. Reminding each other why we are here in the first place. Not racing to see who finishes first. Not squabbling about who has less and who has more. Or who is right and who is wrong. None of that.
We are all here for one reason and one reason only: to get each other to Heaven. To remind each other, every chance we get, that Christ is our Salvation. Our healing. Our wholeness.

Friday, October 5, 2007

yard sale----------> over here

Tomorrow we are planning to have a yard sale. We have scoured the attic, the basement, and both floors in between. Though I am sure I will find a ton of stuff "which should have gone in the yard sale box" next week.

I was on my way to the dollar store to try to find those little circular stickers to price the stuff when I decided to call my mom. We chatted a little and then she wanted to know what I was looking for.

uh oh

Me: "Stickers."
Mom: "Stickers? What kind of stickers?"
Me: "Oh, round, button shaped stickers."
Mom: "Like yard sale stickers."
Me: (cringe) "Yep."
Mom: "Are you having a yard sale?"
Me: "Mmmm hmm"
(Here it comes, she asks this every time. Even when I donate stuff. It's her version of a Jewish-mother-guilt-trip.)
Mom: "You aren't selling anything I gave you, are you? Oh, what am I saying, of course you are."
Me: "No, ma, I'm not selling anything you gave me."
Mom: "Oh yeah, how would I ever know?"
Me: "I'd never do that Mom. And I'll tell you why. Because I never want to answer 'yes' to the question."

e is for espresso (e is for envy)

A friend of mine invited me over to have cappuccino yesterday (and I just realized that I misspelled the word in my thank you note to her). She has a Barista Espresso machine. Let me go on record as saying that was the most delicious beverage I have ever had in my life. I told King that it was as good or better than the cappuccinos we had after Mass in that cute little sandwich shop in London a few years ago. Mmmmm... good memories. Which brings me back to yesterday.

After my reaction to the incredible, creamy goodness that's only 100 times better than "regular coffee" I inquired about the machine. Although hers was a gift from a very generous sister-in-law (hint hint Tish or Kath) she told me that Starbucks was phasing them out and had them marked down to $100 or less in their stores. When I got home, I promptly called every single Starbucks we have in this town (which is approximately one storefront per capita). Sadly, they were all sold out. Every last one.
Color me green.

language development: body parts

Number 4 was busily playing with his toys (aka making a huge mess of the living room). Number 5 was interested in the ball that her older brother was playing with. He did not want her to have it, so I suggested he bring her the Elmo ball we re-discovered the day before.

All of a sudden, a surprised/happy/excited look washed over his face! He dropped everything, raised his arms, then bent one and pointed.... "Elmo, elmo" he said as he pointed to the bend.
He was so pleased with himself that he knew a body part.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

it's official

I have finally gotten to the second point of parenthood I have been dreading ever since I became a parent: the point at which my oldest daughter thinks I am blind and stupid. (The first dreaded moment was having "THE talk".)
We were getting ready to go someplace this afternoon where she had to look nice. She had a beautiful outfit on. I suggested that the only thing she change about her outfit was to tuck her shirt in rather than pulling it down, halfway to her knees, as if (size zero) she had anything to hide!
She tucks it in at my request and then makes a face like she had just been made to eat poop. "EW!"
"What?!?"
"I look TERRIBLE!"
"What are you talking about? You look fabulous."
"NO I DON'T. I look awful. I look stupid."
"Trust me, I would not let you go out of the house looking terrible, awful, or stupid. You look gorgeous."

This went on for awhile. Back and forth we went.
"How can you look in the mirror and be looking at the same thing I am looking at and tell me that you look awful? Honey, you are gorgeous." (Insert meltdown here- complete with tears and eye rolling.)

Deciding that I should leave her with her tantrum, I come downstairs and inform hubby that I have finally arrived at "blind and stupid" and that number 1 has finally arrived at "my hormones are making me think I look terrible when I am actually just the opposite". That and "oh, and my mom is an idiot for thinking otherwise".

Just before we left, after she had calmed down a wee bit, she asked if I would do her hair. "Sure, honey, let me get a comb." Then in an attempt to help her lighten up a bit, I giggled and said, "I'm gonna have to blog about the fact that I have "arrived".
"OH GREAT, DO YOU HAVE TO TELL THE WHOLE WORLD?!?!?!"
(Insert more tears and eye rolling.)

hmmmph.

Hormones!


Besides "the whole world" does not read my blog!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

nuttin but fun

Friday night King and I hosted a costume party to ring in 40 (as someone else). He was a retired, now-living-at-the-beach New Yorker named "Mel" complete with black knee socks, sandals, a Hawaiian shirt halfway buttoned, a sun hat and opaque white sunscreen on his nose. All he was missing was a gold necklace with an Italian horn charm.
I was the Baroness d'Antiquity (aka Lipoma Dutchess) and donned a powdered wig, pearls, and period costume.

Many of the people we invited ran into babysitter problems, which makes me sad, because it was truly a fun night and we missed their presence. Among those who were able to make it: The scariest woman in the world (I'll give you three guesses), a purple-headed witch, a 1920's flapper, the Count and Countess Dracula, a Geisha, a dirty old man (I'll leave it at that), a pregnant woman and the mailman that made her that way, a soccer mom and dad, a pirate and his wench, Bat Girl and a harried, pregnant, cigar-smokin' housewife with a baby attached to "her" chest, Shaggy and Velma, Fred and Wilma Flintstone, a ball-and-chain wife and her husband who came as "chicken, cord on blue", Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci, "Dumb Ass and Smart Ass" (donkey t-shirts with Smarties/Dum-Dum candy glued to them), a gypsy and her friend (who came with her because her husband was at home with a sick kid), and finally, a "man who was dressed just like our friend Terry".


Several of our friends brought us wine (yum!) and my friend with the Mona Lisa smile brought me a tiara to wear in my new laundry room.

It was the first time we had hosted a party in our newly-landscaped back yard. I always worry a little that people won't have fun and will want to go home early and will "have something else going on" the next time we invite them over. I think this taps into feelings of inadequacy that are left over from me at a younger age. Hopefully, now that I am nearly a week into being fourty, I will be able to discard those thoughts and sally forth into this new era.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

one day in the life of a mom

Check out this video... so funny.
William Tell Overture for Moms

I felt like cheering at the end!

remind me later

Something I saw one too many times this morning gave me reason for pause.
The next time I am in the market for a used vehicle, remind me to ask the following questions:
-how old are the tires
-did you keep up with all the required maintenance
-has the car ever been involved in an accident
and most importantly
-has a man ever used his electric razor and shaved his face while driving this car?!?!?!

Guh-ross!

Monday, September 24, 2007

our new babysitter

Well, in less than a week, Mr. Fixit has outdone himself! In the first picture, there is a yellow glare from the camera flash, but it is the only way I could get the whole room. The second picture, on the right, shows more of what the room actually looks like. We spent the better portion of this afternoon and evening getting all the crapola put into the cabinets/throw away/put into the yard sale box.
I have actually done three loads of laundry too! I just can't imagine how the clothes are getting clean without using much water, but they are so nice when I take them out of the dryer, so I'll just assume they're clean. Hmphf. High effeciency washer.
You know how with a top loader, when the wash cycle finishes, you take the clothes out and they are shaped like the inside of your washer.... well, when these come out of the washer, it's like the magic frontloader fairy shook all the clothes out for you. That way, once they are finished in the dryer, they have less wrinkles. So cool. Also, we might as well sell tickets to the "laundry room show". We've been standing in there staring at the washer while it does its thing. As long as number 4 doesn't press any buttons, we will be calling it our new babysitter.
On a totally separate note, I have been 40 for 17 minutes. Oh wait, 18 now. What "they" say is true, time flies when you are older. That minute went by way too fast.
So, back to the new laundry room.... I decided for a couple of reasons to go with white. The first reason is that we had a full gallon of white satin paint. The second reason is... well, I wouldn't have to spend money if I just used what I already had. I was thinking about using a color that I had used when we restored the house, but what if I ran out and had all but a 2 ft section painted. I would have been mad.
I've always dreamed about being in a white padded cell anyway, so this might be as close as I can get - without the actual application of the straight jacket. Fine with me.
For the record, I was thinking about painting the walls black. No, wait, just think how beautiful a piece of artwork would look against it.... see? Anything at all would just POP against the black. Anyone who actually knows me will tell you I'm not afraid of color. After all, its only paint. For another $10 you can start over. But when my sister reminded me how much light black walls would absorb, I threw in the towel. I like the white. I really do.

Been 40 for over 30 minutes now. Heavens to Betsy! I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This is a picture of what my laundry room looked like Monday. The shelf with all the crapola was behind the door.

Mr. Fixit (yes, the one from Richard Scary books) is supposed to come tomorrow and put up sheetrock over the wooden slat wall that we've lived with for 6 years now. He will board up the window (despite how it might photograph, it's really a very cheap, sad, little window.) and vent the dryer through an opening in it. The outside of said boarded-up window will have a "Bahama Shutter" so we can avoid having to stucco it.
My plans are to have a front loader washer and dryer stacked on the left side and a big ol' cabinet on the right and at the top of the washer and dryer. There will be nothing behind the door. 'Cept maybe a great piece of art. I am going to also have three recessed lights. My mom suggested a crystal chandelier, which I would do if it didn't interfere with the opening of the cabinet doors. I even have a tiara I could wear whilst doing the laundry. Alas... it has to be the recessed lights.


Here is what the room looks like at 11pm on Tuesday night.

I am trying very hard not to get too excited, just in case Mr. Fixit has a mix-up tomorrow. I'll keep snapping pictures and updating the process. I told Fixit Fox that I would like the cabinets to be a creamy white, sorta like Mayfield vanilla ice cream. I am thinking about Tiffany Box blue for the walls. But, I'm not completely sold on the idea. I am open for suggestions. I may have something totally radical in mind - my favorite color. There isn't much wall that will show, so I think I can get by with it. Besides, artwork would look fabulous against it. I'd feel like I was doing laundry at a museum each day. I dunno though. King would have a conniption. Although he does know by now what a risk-taker I am when it comes to paint color.
Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

uh oh

Told ya so.... guess what broke last night? Here's a hint: read the last post.
I will probably have to frequent the laundromat for a little bit, but hopefully this will translate into a new washer/dryer and updated laundry "room".
The traditional 15th wedding anniversary gift is supposed to be crystal or, for the more modern choice, a watch but I will take the appliance option.

Friday, September 14, 2007

this can't be good

Our washing machine has been making an awful noise for the past week. Sort of a cranking noise. I know it can't be a good thing. Even if it is nothing serious, it is at the very least an unnecessary, obnoxious noise. Something I have plenty of throughout my day.

Am I going to do anything about it? erm... no, I don't think so. You wanna know why? Because calling a serviceman would be at minimum $65 just to walk through our door. Then there is no telling how much it would cost to fix it.

Besides, if it breaks, I am going to jump up and down and beg for these:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

these hands

Once every couple of years, King really moves me by allowing me to see his emotion through his creativity. One Mother's Day, he wrote me a poem that expressed his love by incorporating characteristics of each child... it was pure genius. Well, he got me again last night. Look at the front of this card he made for me for our anniversary.


Is that not the sweetest picture? He got #2 to snap a picture of his hands as he held #5 in his arms.


"These are the hands..." refers to an exercise we did at the Engaged Encounter we went to before we were married. I remembered thinking "this is going to be so lame" when we sat cross-legged facing each other. My soon-to-be groom held my hands as the weekend's leaders read, "These are the hands that are smooth, young, and carefree that will hold yours as she gives you her pledge to love you and accepts your ring on your wedding day in committing to you all the days of her life." They went on describing the role of my hands through various stages of married life.


Then, it was my turn to hold the hands of my fiance. The leader started:


"These are the hands, young and strong and vibrant with love that will hold yours on your wedding day as he promises to love you all the days of his life.


These are the hands you will place with expectant joy against your stomach, until he too feels his child stir within your womb.


These are the hands that look so large and clumsy, yet will be so gentle, as he holds your baby for the first time.


These are the hands that will work long hours for you and your family.


These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes - the tears of sorrow and tears of joy.


These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and hold you when fear or grief rack your mind.


These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes - the eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you."



I don't know about anyone else in the room that day, but my face was soaked with tears by that point, just like last night..... as I read the inside of the card he made. By hand. Those hands!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

you mean it hasn't been forever

King and I have been married 15 years today.
Our wedding - what a great day that was. We felt so grown-up. So... married. What babies we were!
Just like now. Even though it seems like OK, NOW we are grown, I know that in 10 years (and we will have been married half our lives) we will look back and say how immature we were.
In any case, "Babe", Happy Anniversary! If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.

Well, nothing except my choice of wedding gowns.... and maybe those awful bridesmaid's dresses.

now here's something to smile about

Took #3 to the orthodontist this morning. What a wonderful place! First of all, the waiting room was calm. Serene. Yet very kid-oriented. There was a huge fish tank (#4: "ish! ish!") and at the end of the waiting room, there was another room which was a kid-sized arcade. Way fun! The sad part is that we didn't have to wait very long. Once you get past the desk, into the inner sanctum of the office, it was even groovier. Everything was open and bright and cheery. There were birds (#4: "eep-eep") And a gong! Kids get to ring it the day they get their braces off. Number 4 thought this was "marvey". (I know, the seventies called and said they want their adjectives back!) A friend of mine who works there - whom I shall refer to as "St. Michelle" - said, "Here, let him come with me," so that I could carry on a conversation with the doctor. (I smell bonus pay!)

Once number 4 was otherwise occupied chirping and gonging, I was able to focus on the appropriate child. Doc-Doc thouroughly examined 3's mouth, reviewed her x-rays, and concurred with my unprofessional dignosis: Let's wait. Watch the growth pattern, which, though crowded, isn't all that awful. She still has a bunch of baby teeth which need to come out.

Whew! I thought I heard a sigh coming from inside my purse, but I couldn't say for sure if it was my checkbook or not.

As we were preparing to leave (I needed a sponge to soak up my daughter, who had just been morphed into a sad, little puddle of disappointment because she wouldn't be getting braces any time soon) the girl we were working with handed us 5 coupons for free Chick-Fil-A kid's meals.

All that and a free orthodontic consult.

Dire Straits' lyrics "money for nothin' and your chicks for free" are floating through my brain about now.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

happy birthday, my love

Today is King's birthday. He is 40. Unlike the brat that I am being about my big day in exactly two weeks, he did not kick or scream or stomp his feet. Patient. Kind. My hero. Forever and always.

Friday, September 7, 2007

the moron in oxymoron

Yesterday, when I was heading to the car after my workout I noticed that someone had stamped out their cigarette just before going in the gym.

"I do care about my health, therefore I am going to work out at this gym."
"I don't care about my health, therefore I smoke."

Maybe this person had dual personalities. Inner conflict. Perhaps s/he thought that the good that was being done inside the gym would counterbalance the bad being done outside of it.
All or nothing if you ask me. When I smoked I couldn't have cared less about my health or exercise. In fact, I used to scoff at folks who would walk this fairly steep grade of a road in our neighborhood. hmmph.
Health- the slowest possible rate at which someone can die.
However, when I decided to quit, I did it for good. Made a promise to God. I only asked that He keep the cravings at bay. Done deal. Thank you, Jesus!

Now, with all of that said, don't even try to pin me down on why I will celebrate a successful week of being good on a diet with a chunk of birthday cake. (NOW who's the moron?!?!) If you look up "self- destructive" or "fear of success" in the dictionary, that will be me waving at you.

planes, trains, and automobiles

.... a list of the three most favorite things of a 2-year old boy.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

our loss

but Heaven's gain:



Now joining the choir of angels and saints who sing unending praise to the Lord: Luciano Pavarotti.

Pavarotti had an infectious smile, but I can only imagine how radiant it is now, as he looks upon the face of Jesus. I thank God for sharing this incredible talent with the world.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well

Remind me of this next week, after the orthodontist consult. Where we find out just how much #3's mouth will cost. So that she will never have to be called "Jack". As in Mr. O'Lantern. And remind me again in the spring when we are planning to have the peeling paint on our house removed and the surfaces repainted. And each time something huge comes up and I want to stick my fingers in my ears and sing "nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah" pretending not to notice the "elephant in the room".

No matter how frustrating it is to be a stay-at-home mom, whose only contribution to the family buget is shopping at Goodwill and buying meat when it is on sale, I know that all will be well. I am inspired by the optimism of Julian of Norwich. I have known for quite some time now, God has me in the palm of His hand. He has never turned His palm upside down and laughed as I tumbled out into an abyss. He never will.

So, even though sometimes King and I may feel a little panicky, as in, "Oh my stars, where are we going to get the money to pay for THAT?!?!" In our hearts we know that there is nothing to fear.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

ew, gross

Last night we had some friends over for dinner. Earlier in the day, when we were planning the menu, I said that I would do the kid's menu... hot dogs, tater tots, salad, and dessert. I knew I had a lot of jello and pudding. I thought I even had some Dream Whip. They have four kids, we have 5, so I figured I could whip up something fun, tasty, and kid-friendly as a sweet little after dinner treat.

After peeking in the cabinet, I decided to make a cherry/vanilla layered concoction. So, I got busy making all the ingredients. First I made the jello and poured it into my rectangular Pyrex dish. Into the fridge it went to set. Next up, the pudding. Pop! Into the fridge it went too. Fast forward an hour or so, after both were no longer in a liquid state. I spread the pudding on top of the jello layer then made the Dream Whip. I figured we'd just spoon it on top of each serving.

After dinner and a little playing, the kids wanted to taste my cherry vanilla surprise. As it was being spooned onto dessert plates, I realized this dessert looked a lot like......... well, ......an infection.

All of the adults were cracking up. I was so thankful that the kids (none of which has ever lanced a boil) were all raving about how yummy it tasted. File this under "Whew, I'm glad I didn't experiment with cherry/pistachio!"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

chugga chugga

Today is number 4's birthday. He is two. He is head-over-heels in love with trains. You can hear them in the distance from his bedroom and he never misses one.
"Nnn-nnnn-nrya" he says when he hears the sound of the horn from far away.
"Yes. Choo-Choo train," I reply, vigilantly listening to his garbledy-gook.
After my mom and I took him to his two-year check up at the pediatrician this morning (no , he didn't have shots on his birthday!), we went downtown and hunted trains. King said when he thought there was a 10 o'clock train. So, off we went in search of it. No luck. We drove down a little further and saw a Norfolk-Southern office. I pulled into the gate and asked the young man if there was a train that would be coming by soon. Just as I asked, I heard the sound of a train whistle. (I could also hear the sound of an excited gasp from the back seat.) He showed me where to park to best see it. We got out of the car just in time to wave to the engineer , who tooted the whistle especially for my newly two-year old boy.
Doot-doo-de-doot-doot.......Doot-Doot!
Number 4 waved and the engineers both waved. I wondered if they were crazy over trains when they were his age. His little body was frozen, barely breathing as he watched that enormous engine rumble by. And another. Then, so many that we couldn't count them all, boxcars filled with gravel rolled past. Finally, as the last one passed by, he took a big breath and smiled.
When the older kids got home from school, and King got home from work, and "Poppy" came over bearing gifts, we had cake and ice cream. The cake had a little plastic train on top. And lots of candles for him to blow out. (We've been practicing!)
As I type this, he is safe and sound in his bed totally zonked after a jam-packed, way too much fun day. I wonder if he is dreaming about today...his very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Monday, August 27, 2007

like sands through the hourglass

....so are the days of our lives. And so go the cells of my brain.

Today I got dressed, then got #4 and 5 ready and out the door to the pediatrician's office. I was met with very little traffic, found the perfect parking spot, and got into the waiting room with ten minutes to spare. I did think it was odd that there were no other patients waiting, but then, it was 8:50 and their office opens at 9:00, so I mentally rationalized it.
When the receptionist came to the check-in window, she asked which doctor I was there to see. When I told her, she said, "She's not in this office today". (They have two office locations.)
"Oh, no, don't tell me I came to the wrong office."
"Well, let me just check. What is your son's name?" (looks something up on her computer) "Oh, yes, here it is. His appointment is Wednesday."

When I got home, I checked my calendar. Hrm, I had it written wrong. We'll just call this the "dry run". And like a cat who had an unplanned fall from the couch after a really good stretch, I will retreat to a corner of the room and lick my paws. And I'll try not to feel so stupid. Or old.

Friday, August 24, 2007

y'see, stuff like this doesn't help

Yesterday I took #4 to meet his Mother's Morning Out teachers and let him play in his new classroom at Open House. There were a lot of 2-ish year olds running around, testing out the new toys, fighting over the cars, (there are a lot of boys which will be in his class) putting odd stuff into the little washing machine and dryer (what do boys know about washers or dryers?) and scribbling with crayons on color sheets that the teachers had out. Fun, right? Yes. It was for him. For me it was a different experience. I picked up on the slightest difference between the
OTHER MOTHERS ........................AND MYSELF.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

just call me puddleglum

In about month, I turn 40. My body is falling apart.
If the day just comes and goes with no fanfare, I think I would like it better.
I don't want anyone to call me that day. I don't think I will want to answer the door either.
I don't want to hear anyone say "Happy Birthday" because it won't be.
There is a slight possibility that my eyes will be swollen from crying.
I loved 30.
Everyone I know who turned 40 in the past few years makes it look so easy.
Everyone I know who is older than that even makes it look easy.
Wonder if they held up in their house like a hermit on their 40th?
Then emerged the next day and bravely got on with life.
I don't think I will be so gallant.
As childish and infantile as it sounds, I may have to "have a spell".
To quote (as best I remember) my cousin who was once 3 (or thereabouts) and very tired one day:
I don't want it. Don't look at it. Don't think about it for me. Don't put my name with it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

we should all be so creative

Check out this clever solution to when the kids try to "pull one over on Mom".
I have giggled all morning reading from her blogspot.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

a series of unfortunate events

While on the phone with hubby listening to why he will be late tonight, here's what happened:

  • I had to tell #1 and #2 for the millionth time to stop playing and get busy on their homework
  • #4 descended the stairs after having been up there alone for 20 minutes or so with the toilet brush in one hand and a wad of something unknown in his mouth.
  • Oh great, it's a wad of toilet paper! (and to think I figured he was just up there creating a nuclear diaper)

At this point, I hang up the phone and #1 and #2 run upstairs to assess the damage. Number 1 does it because she is wanting to minimize the number of decibles with which I will scream at finding an enormous mess. Number 2's reason for going up there is to be witness to a delightful mess created in the toilet and surrounding areas. And to wallow in the hilarity of the moment, wishing it had've been him who had all that fun and mirth. He is banking on it being something to tell his friends on the playground.

  • #2 descends the stairs in a hurry and takes back up with him a garbage bag.
  • I slowly go up to find #1 has done all that she can do by standing at such a great length away from the toilet, which is sitting in a lake of toilet water.
  • I "take over" which involves a lot of antibacterial spray and paper towels and being on my hands and knees for about 20 minutes (in which #4 is downstairs making a new mess and #1's and 2 are again avoiding homework) From upstairs I yell "dadgummit, stop playing and do your homework!"
  • I make my way backward down the stairs so that I can more easily clean up the wet toilet paper which is littering the floor (think Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail so that they could find their way back).
  • Then, in a rush to get dinner (spaghetti) ready so that#1 can eat before dance lessons, I shake the parmesian cheese to break up the clump inside. I discover that the last person to use it left the top open (need I say more?).
  • This is about the time I hear #5 crying because #4 is being way too loud.

I'm thinking Lemony Snicket must be in a dark corner taking notes or something.

Monday, August 20, 2007

whether i wanted to or not

The VCR we have had since before #1 was first born entered the death process earlier this year. I went through the five stages of grief you've always heard about.

Denial came first: "THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING! Honey, where is the tape head cleaner? Did one of you kids mess with this thing?"

Next, came anger: "WHY ME?!?! How come this stupid machine won't work right?"

Bargaining: "Oh, pleeeeze work. Please, oh please, oh please? Come on. Ugh. Please? Cherry on top?"

Depression: *sigh* "Great. Just great. The kids will never be able to watch Winnie the Pooh or Toy Story again. We've got a whole cedar trunk filled to the brim with VHS tapes that will just sit there and rot, I guess. Hmmph. They don't even make plain VCRs anymore. We don't need a VCR/DVD combo, we've already got a DVD." *sigh*

Acceptance: "OK, I guess when I think about it, you have served well. You have gotten us through countless hours of rented movies, our Disney movies, Veggie Tales, and our own precious home movies. For over a decade you have been steady as she goes. Only needing your silly little heads cleaned every so often. I guess I will let you go, my sweet little VCR."

Yep, the 20 some odd minutes I spent this morning trying in vain to get Winnie the Pooh to play, I finally hit the last phase and have accepted it. Shortly thereafter, I packed up #4 and 5 and headed to Best Buy.

And actually, there is a bright side: This new VCR/DVD combination thing will record our movies onto a blank DVD. That means that all those movies will now take up much less space! Hey, this just might be a good thing after all.

Friday, August 17, 2007

on the use of kosher salt

I have seen kosher salt called for in enough recipes that I finally decided to buy some.

Word to the wise: DO NOT USE THIS SALT LIKE YOU WOULD NORMAL TABLE SALT

I "sprinkled" some on some cauliflower that I had at lunchtime. Blech. I might as well have licked a New York highway after a blizzard. Or perhaps drank the brine from the ice cream maker.

Let's just say that I know a lot more about kosher salt now than I did an hour ago. I guess the fact that it is used in cooking should have been a dead giveaway, but I swear I heard Martha Stewart say that she uses it as table salt. Maybe it was sea salt that she said she used. I thought they were basically the same thing.

Hrrummph. Being wrong never tasted quite so bad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

hallowed 'grounds'

Gosh. Today has been a whirlwind of activity. Except for the fact that I had to take two showers due to the extreme heat, it was quite a pleasant day.

A friend of mine came over for coffee after dropping her kids off at school. T'was great to sit and enjoy a cup o' joe with a friend. Yep. That ranks on up there as one of my favorite things. Coffee with a friend. Yum.
After she and I got nearly half-way caught up on all that has happened since we saw each other last, she, King, #'s 4 & 5, and I went to Mass. Today is the Feast of the Assumption. It is the day that the Church celebrates Our Holy Mother, a faithful servant, being assumed body and soul into Heaven. What a fantastic reward for saying "yes" to God when He really needed her the most! Not only that, but going along with the rest of His plan, which was no doubt the hardest part.

I often wonder what it must have been like to have been Mary's friend. No doubt she was a true friend, as evidenced by the generous gift of time she spent with her cousin, Elizabeth. But, I wonder what they did together. I wonder if they spent time chatting over a cup of... well... whatever they drank, talking about pregnancy and feeling babies moving (my personal favorite thing about being pregnant). Wonder if they laughed about Elizabeth's bellybutton as it turned inside out? I wonder, too, if Mary had a deja-vu moment when she heard Elizabeth say, "Blessed art thou among women", since she had heard this very same thing from Gabriel. I wonder if this visit with her cousin helped reassure her that she had done the right thing instead of saying, "Hmmm....hey, Joseph, just what was in that hummus we had for dinner?!?! It gave me nightmares! You're not going to believe this dream I had..."

It is a given that each woman had her faith in God strengthened by the other. Such beautiful scripture is Mary's song, the Magnificat. I am sure that they must've spent a lot of time discussing God's plan and rejoicing over how magnificent He is. Good friends do just that - they strengthen each other's faith. They lift you up - a gift, of sorts, that is exchanged each time you are together. Helping each other get to Heaven, our goal. Paradise. Home. Where there is endless rejoicing and unbeatable java! mmmm...!

Monday, August 13, 2007

pass the butterflies, please

The first day of school is officially here!

We woke up extra early. Everyone got dressed without complaining about being sleepy. I got their hair all coiffed so that they could make a good "first impression". After everyone ate breakfast and got their teeth brushed, I pulled out my ever-handy camera (duct tape holding its battery door closed) and snapped the traditional "pose in the kitchen" before heading out the door. (Why do I have a case of the butterflies?!?)

We loaded up the car.... er...truck, no... hmm what DO you call this thing I drive now... SUV! and headed to school. On the way I asked if anyone was opposed to me taking their picture in their new classroom (read: too cool to be seen with a camera-toting mom or proud/ smiling dad). To my shock, all were willing. After walking each kid to class, snapping several shots, then milling around chatting with other excited parents, King and I came back home to get our Monday morning started.
It's quiet. Number 5 is down for her morning nap. The only sounds I hear are the hum of the dryer and number 4 in the living room playing with his toys and watching Sesame Street (gosh, I despise the sound of Elmo's voice!).

So, here I am. Just as the kids are launching into a new school year where they will make new friendships and acquire more knowledge and experiences, so too am I launching into the hustle and bustle of the season, which has a hum all of its own.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

and there was much rejoicing

Well now. All our perserverance has finally paid off, well for an hour at least. Number 4 has reached an important milestone in his little life: sitting through Mass without having to go out into the Narthex! Whoo hooo!
Although he didn't actually "sit still" and, in fact, only had moments of "sitting", he did not get out of hand so much so that King had to scoop him up and rush him out of the sanctuary.
Not only that, but, after the reading of the Gospel, when the congregation responds, "Thanks be to God", he said "dit'n" (which in his little vocabulary means "thank you"). King and I both looked at each other and giggled.

It will be a long time before we see the results of our sweat equity in these little people. But, for a moment this morning after Church, hubby and I just had to give each other a "high five" for this miniscule yet momentous occasion.

Friday, August 10, 2007

sounds like a troup of monkeys

I just announced to the masses that it is time to drive up to the school to see what teachers they are assigned for this school year. There is much rejoicing.

I like how this is gently and without their realizing it, getting them excited for Monday morning.

Here's hoping we all get the teacher we want (or need!).

sad, but true

Today is the last day of summer vacation. We have had a blast. No, we didn't get to go camping like we had wanted and we didn't get to the beach, but we DID get to do a lot. In fact, we did way more than I thought was possible for a family with 5 children, one of which is still an infant, one of which is a monster.
Yesterday, as we were stuck in the car running a million errands, I asked each of the kids what was their favorite thing we did. Not one of them could narrow it down to one thing. So they each gave me their top three. The two big family reunions we went to ranked big with all three kids as did getting to spend time with their cousins. Swimming with friends was high on #3's list. The glass blower was part of #1's list. When they thought back over these past 10 weeks, and we reminded each other of just how many opportunities we've had for fun, they were amazed. I was too. (Gold medals in the "effort" category for Mom and Dad!)

We did not sit idly by, whining about having nothing to do. My favorite part was the fact that (except for that first week) I did not once wish that school was still in session

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

my kind of bargain

Tonight King and I did something we've never done before. We worked out. Together! Thirty minutes on the treadmill, ten on the elliptical, and then we did ab crunches on one of those oversized ball thingies. (I'm sure they must have a more formal name.) Finally we stretched those muscles that haven't seen activity in awhile. It's been a few weeks for mine and then 9 months before that. Hubby's haven't seen this kind of activity in quite awhile, despite his royal slimness.

It sort of dawned on us about the same time this afternoon. I was lamenting not working out lately and he was agreeing that "yeah, I really wish I could get some exercise too". As simple of an idea as it is, it hadn't been feasible before for various reasons. So, I put in a call to the "Y" and found out that for an extra $16 per month, we could upgrade to a family membership.

Life with 5 kids and one income ain't cheap, but if a little over $200 per year can not only give us the opportunity to achieve better health, but can also give us quality time together, it's a very good thing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

someone's getting a good laugh

I was just flipping through the channels and saw that Oprah (second airing of today's program) had Al Gore on as a guest. Whoever is feeding him information on this whole Global Warming scheme must be sitting back laughing his rear end off.

If anyone actually remembers anything they learned in Physical Science class in the ninth grade, they will question the concept that melting ice in Antarctica is creating such chaos. If the Earth were not so unfathomably enormous, perhaps humans could make a difference by changing a light bulb. But, when you consider that you can fit all the humans on the entire planet in the state of Texas and still have plenty of "personal space" left, I just don't see it.

You can argue with statistics. (Since it was one of the few courses in college that I aced, I know that you cannot trust statistical data. It is so easily manipulated.) You can cite all kinds of research on both sides of the scientific spectrum. However, it all boils down to a simple truth for me.

Why in the world would God create such a wonderful place for us to live, with its overwhelmingly beautiful landscape, fascinating animals, and breathtaking botanicals but yet make it so delicate that a lightbulb can lead to its destruction? This planet we are on is ever-changing. Always has been, always will be.

I think these wacko extremists with gargantuan egos are not content. Their souls innately cry out to answer to a higher power. Their minds have convinced them that they ARE their own god. And then, sadly, they use scare tactics to bring people over to their way of thinking.

Here's something to think about.... so what if the Earth were to be destroyed tomorrow. If I can put my head down at night with no regrets, what's the big deal? I'm thinking that folks like Al Gore must not be able to do that. They are so unhappy with their lives that they want to be immortal ... living forever in a world that never changes.

Monday, August 6, 2007

when things are found

I don't know if he reads blogs or not, but we are indebted to St. Anthony!! With the help of his intercession, hubby's keys have been found! What a light feeling "relief" is. No more gloomy black cloud. No more worrying that a stranger will find the keys outside and have not only a key to our home, but keys to three cars, one for himself and two others for friends.

After thanking God for the nagging feeling that I should look on top of the tv cabinet (thought we had looked there) I went to Google and once again searched for a prayer. This time I looked for a prayer of thanksgiving. King and I prayed it together and then let out a huge sigh of relief.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
St. Anthony, God has helped me abundantly through your prayer and has strengthened me in my need. I thank God and I thank you. Accept this prayer and my serious resolve which I now renew, to live always in the love of Jesus and of my neighbor. Continue to shield me by your protection and pray to God for the final grace of one day entering the kingdom of heaven to sing with you the everlasting mercies of God. Amen.

a peaceful moment



For just a moment, no one was thinking about how oppressive the heat and humidity was. We were just marveling at this beautiful sight.

at least

On Friday we were excitedly packing for a trip to the mountains. We had such wonderful expectations for our last little hoo-rah before school starts. Our main goal was to attend a family reunion on Sunday. However, since it is a three hour trip from here, we thought we'd venture up on Friday night and enjoy the surroundings. Perhaps it would be cooler than it is here. Perhaps we'd enjoy meandering through the quaint little downtown, poking our heads into the neat little shops. Maybe we'd be able to dip our toes in a mountain brook under the shade of the dense forest canopy. If we played our cards right, the little ones would nap long enough for us to splurge on a nice family dinner somewhere. These were our expectations.

Here was the reality:
The cooler temps we were hoping for... well, let's just say that upper 90's and extreme humidity weren't what we had in mind.
We did meander through downtown.... in the car.
Poking our heads into neat little shops turned into me running through a thrift store while King waited in the air-conditioned car with the kids.
Splashing in a cool mountain brook was not realized, though we were teased by watching the river run through the protected land of Pearson's Falls.
The nice family dinner ended up being burgers at Wendy's after an hour of riding around trying to find a restaurant whose wait time for being seated was less than 45 minutes.

Expectations. Kathy from Lessons from the Laundry writes about them this week too. She so eloquently paints the image: "When a day doesn’t live up to the pretty little picture we’ve painted then we feel like a kid the day we found out our mom throws our art in the trash." So true. So true.

But, I refuse to let the reality of it all to get to me. We did have some fun moments. Like when the kids were all sitting on a boulder, watching the massive amount of water tumble down . Perhaps the picture we took can become the photo we send at Christmas. King and I got to go down to the lobby both Friday and Saturday night after the kids went to bed and have a glass or two of wine. We got to unwind with the one of the owners of the inn. And we had a great time visiting with relatives we don't get to spend as much time with as we'd like to.

I choose to see it as "that trip to the mountains" where nothing seemed to go right, but at least we never gave up trying to make it as great as it could possibly be.

Friday, August 3, 2007

when things are lost

For the past two days we have been tearing up the house and yard looking for hubby's keys. He (or #4?) lost them when he was detailing the van to get it ready to sell.
I'm sure everyone has gone through this black-cloud-over-the-head feeling when they have lost something fairly important. My sister reminded me to ask for the intercession of St. Anthony. I have heard the little sing-songy "prayer" which goes "Dear St. Anthony please come around. Something is lost and cannot be found." But I thought I would do a Google search and find something a little more respectable. I found this on a site that has many more beautiful prayers asking for the intercession of St. Anthony.
Dear St. Anthony, you are the patron of the poor and the helper of all who seek lost articles. Help me to find the object I have lost so that I will be able to make better use of the time that I will gain for God's greater honor and glory. Grant your gracious aid to all people who seek what they have lost---especially those who seek to regain God's grace. Amen.

Man, it's gonna feel good to be able to say we found those things.... and shake this feeling of doom.

Monday, July 30, 2007

translations

I just love it when kids start using their new language skills. Number 4 has been talking up a storm, but so far, it has all been gobbledy-gook. The only thing we could really make out was "dit-n" for "thank you" and "blabble-lah" for "I would like a milk bottle please mother, dear."

Each night, before I tuck him in, he likes to look at this lighted globe. There are little pictures of animals that are found in each country scattered about. For example, Australia has a kangaroo, a wombat, and some other "creachers" that someone who doesn't have her glasses cannot see. Tonight he was so adorable telling each of the animals good night, the cutest of which was "bat-bo" or "hippo". Finally, he told all the animals goodnight at once, which sounded like "bye bye-dee" (goodnight everybody).

Other cute-isms:
cah = car
bee = please
tee = tree
boot-boo = erm... use your imagination (here's a hint, it belongs in the potty)

Then, there are a few that would actually require that I know how to spell in Swahili. Like, the way he says choo-choo. It actually comes from the nasal passage. Sort of like when you stifle a sneeze.
The sad thing is when he starts talking to someone who doesn't know his little language. And he says the same thing over and over, very patiently. It makes you just want to scoop him up in your arms and hold him forever.

I think this age is wonderful. I love to see them learning...like little sponges, soaking in all the details. And, trust me, he doesn't miss a trick! There is so much about this age that I forgot since #1,2, and 3 were this little. Like, the good morning smile I get each day, which serves as a reward for getting through the day before. God sure knew what he was doing when he created two-year-olds (well, nearly two anyway!).