Friday, December 6, 2013

the list

Dear Santa,
After we recently spoke to you and agreed that since things were a bit squeezy, you'd bring each of our kids just one thing, we broke the news to our kids.  For some reason the spoiled rotten brats older kids moaned and rolled their eyes, but the same sweet girl who left the list above said, "That's ok if he only brings us one gift, because then he can bring the poor people more stuff."
So, just in case you wanted a few stocking stuffer ideas, I decided to share this list with you.  I know you probably are well-versed in the language of 'First Grade Phonetic', but I thought I'd make it easy on you, seeing how it's so close to The Big Day and all:
bunny slippers, big Hello Kitty doll, big pack of gum x 2, a toy shark, whale, and baby whale (ps she wants it to be able to go into the water), oh and last but not least, high heels with "see through."
Love,
mg

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

let's move on to the next fad

I am done.  So tired of:
chevron print
bubble necklaces
cowboy boots with dresses or Daisy Dukes
hands on hips "facebook pose"

And if a picture has all four, just go ahead and shoot me.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

one beautiful girl + $7k + 2.5 yrs =

Before
First phase: Herbst install
During


After
What an incredible difference two and a half years makes~





Monday, August 19, 2013

move-in day

"You know you have made the right decision when there is peace in your heart."
Welp, we spent the day Saturday getting No. 1 all moved into her dorm room at college.
 
We set our alarms, woke up at the buttcrack of Dawn, then started our two-hour journey, bleary-eyed yet thankful for the warm cup of Starbucks.  When we drove up College Street, we were amazed at how organized the upperclassmen were as they handled the onslaught of over-packed cars loaded to the hilt with bags, baskets, boxes, nervous parents and anxious, overwhelmed freshmen. 
 
One especially cheery-faced girl met us at our car and directed us as to what to do.  In no time flat, we had her clothes hung up in the closet and had her bed in place and made up with its comfy foam topper and clean, new sheets, blankets, and pillows.

 
 
Is this great or what?!
 
We grabbed lunch at Chick-Fil-A, checked out the cafeteria, met the mailroom lady, figured out how to open her post office box, and then went to the gathering where we prayed with the school's president, heard encouragement from an upperclassman to "get involved," and learned the Fight Song.  We then went to Mass and were grateful to stop and worship God for the amazing blessings, too many to count, and then we dropped my sweet firstborn back off just in time to give her a big squeezy hug, a kiss, and a reassuring word:
"ohmygoshIloveyousooooomuchyou'regonnahavethebesttimeeverandI'msojealous!"
before she and her roommate headed off to join the others for a Class of 2017 photo. 
 
I read on Facebook about other mom friends who were also taking their sons or daughters to college and how many tears they shed.  Although I did get a little misty-eyed, I must admit that I have not (yet) bawled.  I have no qualms in stating the fact that the decision for her to go to this particular college was God-directed.  And, because I know how much fun college is, I am certain she will completely enjoy it.  I also am reassured by the fact that she chose to go through sorority rush so that she can meet new people.  The cherry on top is that her childhood priest is a few blocks away, the pastor of an incredible parish and gorgeous, cathedral-esque church.  A Latin Mass even! 
 
So, even though I bought extra stock in Kleenex, and warned everyone I am going to be a basket case, I have reserved the right to cry as much as I want, whenever I want, wherever I want.  But, so far so good.  Everything is right about it, much glory and praise to God!  And I am peaceful. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

surely there's a reason...?

What was God thinking?

college aged children & peri-menopause at the same time

Oy vey!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

plain goofiness

The last page of the recent issue of House Beautiful featured the plans of nine decorators when/if they encounter a rainy Saturday afternoon.  King, the kids, and I giggled at the ways these fakers described what they would do.  One, Steve, said he would prepare plates of figs or grapes, sausage, cheeses, and wine for anyone who might drop by to relax on the deep couch he has on his covered porch (figs, sausage, and a deep couch, eh?).  "Everybody's welcome," he added. 

What would he do if our motley crew showed up at his Sag Harbor doorstep? 



So, no. 4 decided what he was going to do on the next rainy Saturday was to "put on his metal underwear and go fly a kite with a key on the string in the front yard." 

Goofball!

Friday, July 12, 2013

well, no not exactly

Me to King:  "Wow you wouldn't believe the rain we just went through.  I was driving along and all of a sudden, the bottom fell out of the sky.  It was pouring!"

No 5, sounding a bit scared:  " .........  a...... bottom... fell out of... the sky?"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

who cares if they are comfy or not?!

No 5 needed new shoes so we headed to Payless Shoe Source.  In less than five minutes, black Mary Janes, Hot Pink Champion tennies, and hot pink plastic thong style sandals were the three shoes we had picked out, tried on, and walked to the cash register with.

Imma be real honest:  The older girls and I sort of went gah gah over the pink plastic sandals.
"Are they comfy?" the girls wanted to know when she tried them on.
"Yes!  W....well.... they sort of are," she corrected herself.



Sold!

Today is the day in which we teach the lesson Style Before Comfort.

She has 40 years before she learns the lesson in reverse.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

stoically standing at six but remembering four

She sees that she is growing taller and that her clothes from last year are too small.
She knows that she is heading to First Grade in the fall.  She's got things figured out and she doesn't care for them one bit. 
She "misses it when she was four and used to get to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed."  (aka King would not have the wherewithal to say no when she would get up in the middle of the night)  She has been needing hugs a lot more frequently.  We snuggle a lot these days.


She is mourning her toddlerhood.


I am a diligent mother and am standing right beside her, keeping her company. 


Mommy and a Yellow Butterfly

Hello Kitty

After all, one day we will be standing at eighteen and remembering six.


Friday, June 21, 2013

first official entry

It happens so frequently, that I suppose I need to start keeping a log of them all.  Such depth of thought.  Pure.  One day, say, if he becomes a priest, he may want to expand upon the depth and meaning of the snippets he whispers in my ear. 

You know the one.
My butterfly.

"I need to whisper something in your ear," he said to me at the minor league baseball game this evening.
I leaned close, just in case it was something embarrassing like those beans from dinner gave me gas or the lady behind us has weird ears.

"There are no perfect circles," my savant child began, "only God's love."

I looked at him.  Knowing that I must begin His Log tonight.

"You get it?"  he wanted to know.  "Only God's love is the perfect circle."

I smiled a Mona Lisa sort of smile and said, "yep, I get it." 

Log Entry 1

Saturday, June 15, 2013

happy fathers' day

Never is he not missed.
 
 
 
But some days it stings more than others.

a snippet of inside

We all have our crosses to bear. One of mine is my weight. "Simple to remedy," folks will say (judge). I try. I fail. Over and over from the time I was about 10. In shape.. out of shape... back into shape... back out of shape. I've grown weary from it all.
I often look at folks who are thin and can look good in whatever clothes they put on. They look so carefree. I envy a slim figure with a tank style tee and billowing linen pants. "God surely has favorites," I quip.
But my true heart knows and wonders what cross(es) must they bear? I suppose despite the fact that it is not something as conspicuous as mine, it must still be equally as painful. Their own private hell.
I guess it is summed up best in the meme I've seen going around many times... be nice to people, you never know what they are going through.
Anyhoodle, let's hold each other in prayer for strength - not only in carrying the obvious crosses, but for those we suffer in the most private chambers of our hearts

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

update: kefir

Remember when the baby would spit up on your shoulder?  I think that was kefir.

Upside: the little kids (sugar monsters) love it with honey (of course, we didn't think they'd drink it plain, did we?).   Course, it probably negates any beneficial element to add it, even though it is a natural sweetener. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

kefir

I just made kefir for the first time.  Should be ripe in 48 hours.  If I live, I will report on how it turned out. 

If you don't know what kefir is, it is sort of like plain yogurt, 'cept you drink it.  (Two weeks ago, if you were to ask me what kefir was, I would have said, "It's what we call my cousin, the second born son of my father's brother."  His name is actually Keith.)



I combined and warmed Half and Half (note the extremely cute, vintage-styled milk bottle it comes in) and organic whole milk (pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized) with the kefir starter grains and am now storing it at room temp in the microwave for the first 24 hours.  Then I am supposed to strain it and let it sit another day. 

Adventures in home chemistry.  Wheee!

Friday, June 7, 2013

margin of error +/- 900 islands


"I know what we can do," declared No 5, "we can take our boiled eggs and dip them in A Hundred Island."
I am again sharing something that I read online.  I am re-posting it because a) it is important, and b) I want my children to read it when they are married with children and feeling like the kids will never learn to behave in Mass.  (Note that the main article was written by *that Mom*.)

********************************************

Dear Parents With Young Children in Church.

Today I want to express my gratitude to *that Mom* for giving me permission to reprint her blog post “Dear Parents With Young Children in Church.“  *That Mom* is a stay at home mama to two little boys and a pastor’s wife. Her blog is well worth exploring.
This particular post really touched my heart. I would encourage you to read it carefully and prayerfully consider the questions afterwards.
“Dear Parents with young children in church,
You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.
I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.
And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper.  I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.
I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.
When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.
I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary.  I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.
I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.
It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.
I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”

well, she is sweet like an angel, but we call her fairy godmother

No 5 (w/ a full bladder):  "Hurry up!  I've gotta go, bad!"
No 4 (who has set up shop in the downstairs bathroom):  "Go upstairs."
No 5: "Noooo. Nobody is upstairs and I'm afraid to go by myself."
No 4: "Don't worry, God and your Guardian Angel are up there."
No 5: "My Guardian Angel?   Nuh uh, Mrs. *Insert Surname of Godmother here* is NOT upstairs.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

it's not just the kids who are growing up

No 1 graduated high school three days ago, Pentecost Sunday, following a beautiful Baccalaureate Mass.  I wore false eyelashes so that when I cried, I wouldn't look all raccoon-eyed with black smeary mascara marks.  (Course I still probably looked too much like Tammy Faye Baker, but What.Ev!)

Surprisingly enough:  I.didn't.cry.  And, trust me, that came as a complete and total shocker!


The Bishop handing No 1 her diploma

if you love me

It looks like I am not the only one who is gah-gah over lemons.  Over at Made, that adorable Dana whipped up the most beautiful batch of lemon cupcakes.  *Please note this whole post (recipe, words, pictures, and wit) is from her blog.  Please visit her blog often, she is a creative genius, not only in the kitchen, but in front of a sewing machine!
I wanted to be sure to have this recipe on file for my children to make for me when I am very old and do not recognize them. 
Kids, remember how much mommy loves lemons.  I love their color, their smell, and their taste.  If you love me, you will make me these:

RECIPE: Lemon Lemon Cupcakes

by Dana on May 3, 2013
I’ve never liked the old adage “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”….cause when life gives me lemons, I wanna yell, freak yea!, eat lemon bars till I’m sick, and finish the affair with 24 ounces of lemon-berry slush.

Dude.
Lemons.

Thank you for making the world smell, taste, and look better.

And thank you for giving me Lemon Cream Pie.
And now a gazillion of these in my kitchen (since I had to test the recipe 3 times to get it just right):

Yay! Zesty bundles of yellow with fluffy lemon buttercream on top. Mmmmm.
Seriously, this frosting alone is to die for. And if you’re not a Lemon-Lemon kind of girl, it also tastes fantastic on vanilla cupcakes.

(These are part of the Celebrate Mom series, since you and your mom probably love lemons too). Okay let’s start baking.

LEMON LEMON CUPCAKES
Makes 22-24 cupcakes (or 48 mini cupcakes)
Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes (10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes)
You need appx 4 lemons for the recipe
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup lemon zest *
* NOTE: I prefer a lot of zing in citrus desserts. So while my husband thought 1/2 cup of zest was too much, I thought it was fabulous. If you’re a mild lemon girl, start with a 1/4 cup zest, taste it, and add more as needed. OR….make your favorite vanilla cupcake recipe instead of lemon and then top it off with the lemon buttercream frosting (recipe below).

photo credit: Dana Made It
Okay, start by zesting a few lemons and squeezing the juice in a separate bowl. Set both aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add to flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
Add the milk and lemon zest and mix again just till incorporated.
Line two cupcake trays with liners and pour 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake (for mini-cupcakes, pour 1 Tbl of batter into each one)
Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes and allow them to cool completely before frosting (bake 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes).

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.

Photo Credit: Dana Made It
Photo Credit: Dana Made It
LEMON ZEST BUTTER CREAM FROSTING
1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
3 Tbl milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
6-7 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon zest (see note above) *

Let the butter soften to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer (I prefer a hand-mixer for frosting).
Mix in the milk, vanilla, and lemon juice.
Add 6-7 cups powdered sugar and mix.
Add the lemon zest and mix….and take a taste.
Add more sugar and/or zest, juice, or milk if needed.

When life gives you lemons…


Photo Credit: Dana Made It


…dollop them with frosting and enjoy.
 
Photo Credit: Dana Made It
All photo credits: Dana Made It
Have a great weekend!



avoiding sappiness = happiness

Wowza.
Even though I am pretty sure she just graduated
from diapers to Pull-Ups,
somehow No 1 is turning 18 today.  

Meep.

But, rather than looking back through the years, or diving into a deep reflection of the progression of the young life of this adorable girl of mine, or even contemplating how old that makes me, I think I'll just go pinch her until she wakes up, giggle awhile, and then schedule a time when we can go to lunch and have pedicures.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

it's what's for dinner

"Yummmm, Sticks!"
 

couldn't be more ready

Number 4 received his First Holy Eucharist this weekend.  He awoke so excited.. truly I thought I was going to have to hide all the sharp instruments so that he wouldn't accidentally get popped.

After breakfast he daydreamed aloud about being a priest... then the pope.

I daydreamed about how interesting that would make our family tree.



"You ready?" King asked. 

"I couldn't be more ready,"  he confidently replied.



Thursday, May 2, 2013

the jostens order

The high schoolers always have their Class Ring Ceremony at the beginning of their Junior year.  Order time is during the Spring of Sophomore year. 

Back then, No. 1 wasn't interested in buying a high school class ring, as she already had a Purity Ring and a Claddaugh ring.  She figured both ring fingers were spoken for, and when I told her that she would only be wearing it for just over a year, The Logical One decided to forgo the class ring tradition.  Smart girl.  Good listener.

Secondborn, however, was thrilled that this is the day that he gets to order his.  No. 1 assured him that she thought it was much cooler for boys to have class rings.  We told him the same truth that, truly, he won't wear his class ring much beyond the first week of his Freshman year of college.  This being our first time at this rodeo, we also informed him that we would pay for the basic cost ($80) of the cheapest class ring possible.  If he wanted to upgrade to "Yellow Lustrium" (which was another $125 and not even real gold), he would have to cough up the overage himself. 

I've never seen someone's face look quite as strained. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

punny stuff

No 5 doesn't usually find the things she says that crack the rest of us up as funny.  No matter how I try to explain to her that she has a great sense of humor, she thinks we are laughing at her.  She inherited the Naturally Funny Gene, which comes from both sides of my family.  My sister's girls inherited it, too. 

Saturday morning, she and I were headed to the birthday party of one of her friends.  We were on time leaving, but had to make a stop by the dollar store for something, which was going to put us about 5 minutes late to the party.

"Boo for red lights on a Birthday Party Morning."



Deciding to just go out for seafood instead of cooking.  We gave the waitress our order, which, much to No 5's chagrin, only included our drinks and entrees.

*Sigh*   "I wanted a Something-tizer."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

big day

 
Yesterday was Braces Off Day for Numero Uno.
Next up: Graduation, Summer College Orientation, and then in mid-August we give this fledgling her first long-distance flying lesson.

Monday, April 15, 2013

pass the crumpets, and put on the kettle

No 4: Why are there English muffins out on the counter?

No 5: Are we going to be English today?

Friday, April 5, 2013

color me melted

"I can see the stachyou of libirtea."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

sweet honesty or a sock to the ego, you be the judge

King shaved his hair (what's left of it) with the shortest blade last night.  It's easier for him to deal with going bald, I suppose.  Plus, I agree with him that it looks neater and cleaner. 
He hadn't cut it this short in quite awhile, and he was interested in getting the opinion of the kids.  So, this morning, no 5 comes in and King leans the top of his noggin toward her and says, "Rub the top of my head and tell me what it feels like."

She obliges and then, relatively unimpressed, says, "Mm, it's still just greasy and pointed."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

and how sweet is she? 100%

The Fifth Station was announced, "Simon Helps Carry the Cross."

No. 5:  "Someone?"

Me:  "No, sweetie.  Simon.  The man who helped carry the cross was named Simon."

No. 5:  She looked impressed and then said, "How nice is he?  100 percent!"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

after just five votes

Habemus Papam~
 
 
Francis the First!
 
I don't know much about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, but his humble demeanor won me over today.
So, I must trust that this election was divinely inspired and as one person said previously:
Well played, Holy Spirit.  Well played.
 
It's so uniquely and richly wonderful being Catholic.
 
 
and, ps... is it just me, or does he look a smidge like a thinner, glasses-wearing version of John XXIII? 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

meh

ur·sine /ˈərˌsin/ Adj: of, relating to, or resembling bears. Synonyms: bearish

Imma be honest, I just don't feel like doing any of it anymore.  I mean, I'm ok, so nobody don't get all worried and such, it's just that my inner ursine is crying out for a long winter's nap.

Since the odds that King and the kids are going to let me sleep through the rest of March are pretty slim, I'm going to up the iron supplement and see if that'll help.  In the meantime, I'll keep plugging along.  But, suffice it to say that this Momma Bear is ready for Spring.


 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

start at the beginning, it's a very fine place to start

Since we have been in this house for more than ten years, we decided we'd start the process of freshening up the paint in the inside of the house.  King and I sat down and did the math. Although we would much rather hire a professional painter and never have to climb on a ladder or get down on the floor to paint baseboards again, it just isn't smart, financially speaking.  One room can be painted with a $30 gallon of paint, plus share the trim and door gallons with other rooms.  So our whole house should be able to be updated with a tiny fraction of what we'd spend otherwise.

We had two days to kick off the project (since we are trying hard to rest on Sunday), and decided that the two rooms that needed updating the most were the kids' rooms.  On the long list: ceilings, walls, crown, baseboards, and windows.  There was no way we could get it all done, so we did what we could.

Starting with the boys' room, we finished the ceiling, walls, and the two doors.  The walls are painted in Valspar's Evening Eclipse, a blueish gray.  It looks so nice.  They did have a pale yellow in there, which I loved, but it got smeared by one too many toddler boogers.  The antique beds they have look amazing against the color.  They are very proud of how their room looks.  I hope that translates into "we keep our room clean now."

The girls' room.... well, let's just say everybody makes mistakes, shall we?  Upside: waking in the morning should be a bit easier.  King has decided that Valspar's Aqua Quartz should be renamed Aquatic Nightmare.  Oy!  Is it ever bright!  Normally I would include a handy dandy little linky-poo, but since I have gotten spooked with this new level of security, Imma letcha Google the colors if you want.  It doesn't look terrib... hell, who am I kidding, yes it does.  But King did do a spectacular job painting.  Very professional.  If you are really good at the Pretend Game, you could convince yourself that you are a diamond ring inside a Tiffany & Co box.  But then, if you aren't that good at pretending, you try to focus on other things, like what a good job King did applying the paint to the walls.  And what straight lines those are along the ceiling.  Our juries are all still out on the color.  Their black furniture and black and white comforters complement it well.  I'm trying to like it....

Another thing we are doing to update the look of the house is to paint all the doors black.  Not the trim around the doors, just the doors themselves (look up "black door" on Pinterest.  You're welcome.)  It's a long process, as each door needs two coats of paint.  We've finished two doors.  No 1 is taking all the glass & brass doorknobs and brass keyhole thingamajiggers and boiling them in vinegar to soften the 100 year old paint and grime.  She then polishes them up with steel wool.  They look amazing.  Especially up against the black doors.  I oughtta take a picture and put it up h'yuh some day. Maybe I'll do that.  But just in case I get busy doing other things, don't hold your breath.

So in this whole painting thing, I have found yet another way to classify folks. Y'know, Movers/Shakers, Haves/Have Nots, etc.  So now we have the Rollers and the Cutters.
Some folk2s like to jump straight to the wall rolling first, rather than being patient and doing the "cut in" work.  I mean, get the instant gratification thing, that's exactly why we have a coffee pot that lets you sneak a cup in the middle of brewing.  But really, there are some things you just have to be patient and wait out.  If you are up late and think about it a lot, you could almost come up with a book title for the philosophy of it all:  The Tau of Paint.

But Imma take my tired arse to bed now.  I decided that offering up time on the elliptical machine for Lent isn't enough, so I have started getting lots of souls free from Purgatory by doing 30 second planks.  Was I really born with muscles in all those places?  Wow.  Ermazing.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

giving my family and friends fair warning

Because of some rather upsetting news (as in Blogger tells me what news feeds sends people over here and one of them is a not-so-nice site... and I am a little freaked out that some freak might use photos of my children on one of their sicko websites) within a day or two I will make my blog a "By Invitation Only" site.
I certainly still want my family and friends to read about the ramblings that come from a brain run by an overworked and underpaid mouse on a wheel, but I don't want any freakazoids coming here by accident and helping themselves to pictures of my wee tots.
So, when you return next time, you will be prompted to ask for permission to be part of those who can read about the drool on my blue suede shoes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

randomness

1) Why is a Stargazer lily so beautiful, but smells so bad?
The Amaryllis, on the other hand, has a light, fresh smell that I love.

2) Leek and potato soup.  Yum.

Monday, February 18, 2013

a picture postcard

Greetings...


from the base of Mt. Washmore

Sunday, February 17, 2013

review

much ado aldi about nothing 
Our town recently got an ALDI store.  We ventured out today to see what the fuss was all about.  I think it's cute how they have their little "ALDI facts" spread throughout the store, on their website, and in their weekly specials paper.
Our findings:  meh.  It's just ok.  I came up with some "facts" they can add to their own.

  • ALDI fact # 78: got moo?  No 3 thought it was too cramped, "I felt claustrophobic in there."  I couldn't agree more.  We were cattle.   
  • ALDI fact # 46: Cash only  They take cash, debit cards, or food stamps. Only.  They do not take credit cards, and they really don't care to take a check, although I guess they made an exception when I was about to walk away from $80 worth of groceries. 
  • ALDI fact # 83: Meat n' two veg  They have carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions.  And that's about the extent of their veggie section.
  • ALDI fact # 13: BYOB  They do not provide bags free of charge, although they are available for purchase.
  • ALDI fact #96: You won't see the homeless guy downtown pushing one of our carts, nor will you see one knocked over like a dead deer on the side of the road.  I don't mind so much the "insert your quarter *here* to get a shopping cart" business, because it kept the kids' interest piqued for the end of our trip when we could get the quarter back.  However, the guy who was in charge of helping folks figure the process out was a tad+ weird.
  • ALDI fact # 66:  It's not ok to spoon people you don't know.  Some freak followed me through the store and then bumped into me from behind on the way out of the store.  Eeek!  Do not touch me, stranger!  Haven't you ever heard of personal space?!?  Creepy Creeperville!
They have some really good bargains, like $2.69 for a gallon of milk (at least .30 cheaper than anywhere else in town), but, frankly, and I can't believe that I, of all skin flints, am saying this:  it's not worth the hassle.

file under: remember this forever

King and I wave to a friend as we pass by his home.

No 5: "Why were you waving?"

King: "Because we knew that man."

No. 5: "Well, who was it?"

Me:  "It was Ivey's dad."

No. 5:  "Who is Ivey?"

Me:  "She is your sister's friend."

No. 5:  "Ivey Profin?"

Friday, February 15, 2013

cutest thing ever!


Sometimes when things are misspelled, it is annoying... other times, it is as sweet as sugar pie.  Sort of like in this, that I found on the dining room table this morning. 

No 5 says it is a picture of a lamp.  And all the faces are the light beams coming out of the lamp.  Mommy, Daddy and her four siblings are represented by smiley faces. 
Isn't it so sweet that we mack her happy?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

unsettling

Last night at midnight I was in a deep sleep when I heard an awful banging noise, I even felt our bed and the floor under it vibrating from the racket.  Determined to pull myself  out from the deep slumber, I forced my mouth to form the words. "Somebody is in our house!" "Somebody is in our house!"  No noise came out.  My eyes wouldn't open.  I was paralyzed in my bed. 
Time was of the essence, there were people who had broken into our home by climbing in the window of our dining room!  They didn't even care how much noise they were making, the brazen thugs.  They would be upstairs in no time.  We were not safe.  I had to get the phone and dial the police. 
My eyes were glued shut.  I could tell my tongue and teeth were trying to make the words, but my mouth wouldn't open.  I knew I'd have to keep saying it over and over until I was fully awake.  "Somebody is in our house!"  "Somebody is in our house!" My breath had to be pushed out to finally get even a whisper of a noise out. 

Finally I was awake.  "Somebody is in our house!" I was at last able to say in an audible tone. 

King awoke.  "What?! Are you sure?  I didn't hear anything?"  He looked over at the keypad, "The alarm is still on."  But with my insistance that I felt the bed shake from all the noise, he grabbed his shotgun and headed downstairs.   

Nobody.  Everything was safe.  He looked out the windows and all was normal.  We heard traffic sounds from a couple of blocks away.  He climbed back into bed and I tried to settle myself down.  We listened to the nighttime noises for awhile and tried to explain away what it was I could have heard and felt. 

Such a weird feeling.  Such a very weird feeling. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

my first granny square

Lookie h'yeh what I done did, y'all! 
 
 
I am so excited! So, I suppose if I am going to make an afghan, I only have about a bazillion more to do.  Better get started.

my plan for today

After I go to Ash Wednesday Mass today, I am going to the CSS Thrift Shop with crossed fingers to try to find a crochet hook and some yarn that someone may have donated... because today is the day I will be learning to crochet.  Thanks to a cold, wet, drizzly weather forecast and a seriously awesome series of YouTube videos, I am planning to have at least one Granny Square finished by the end of the day. 

I am lucky to have had two grandmothers who made things with their hands.  My father's mother, whose treadle sewing machine is still oiled and ready to be used, has made a gazillion or so quilts (hand-made actually), among many garments.  My mother's mother was a master at Needle Arts (I'd bet if you were to ask my Mom, there's a joke in there somewhere!) - needlepointing, cross stitching, knitting, and crocheting.  She taught me how to needlepoint, cross stitch, and started teaching me how to knit - although the visit ended before I learned how to "tie off", but, I'm just gonna brag a little about the fact that I had one seriously cool, extremely long strip of an unfinished knitting project going as a teenager!

Never before now have I appreciated the beauty of Granny Square afghans.  Perhaps it is seeing them on so many Pinterest photos, but more than likely, I suspect it is the fact that it makes me nostalgic for the rare times I spent tapped into the creative mind of a previous generation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

the next 40 days

What are you giving up/incorporating into your life this Lenten season?

My kids have sworn off:
  • fighting with each other
  • candy
  • gum (^? You'd think.... but no.  It apparently needs its own classification.)
  • cracking knuckles
  • TV
  • computer time
  • sweets ('cept the cake and ice cream on no 5's burffday)
King and I are also giving up sweets, offering up the torturous time on the elliptical for souls in purgatory (or where ever there are souls who need somebody offering something up for them), and, as special family time, reading/discussing the upcoming Sunday's Mass readings (y'know.. since we'll be all "Kumbaya", "the Lion shall lie down with the Lamb", etc.  from the lack of fighting siblings).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

your family will thank me

I made dinner ahead of time, as I had a meeting at 5:30.

Midway through my meeting, I noticed that King had sent a text.  It read:  Best sweet n' sour chicken I have ever had. Period.

I got the recipe from .... well, Pinterest...  but when I followed the links, I traced it back to an adorable wife and mother named Holly who has a food blog called Life as a Lofthouse where she shares simple and delicious recipes. 
(ps- Simple + Delicious = my two favorite words)

It is dead easy and King was right ~  Best. Ever.

*Note where I tweaked the recipe a bit.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
 
The chicken coating:
3-4 boneless chicken breasts *I used a package of fresh chicken breast tenderloins because that was what no 1, who lovingly agreed to run by the store on her way home, picked out
salt + pepper *I was lazy and left this out
1 cup cornstarch *or 3/4 of a cereal bowl full
2 eggs, beaten *I used four eggs
1/4 cup canola oil *mm, that was prolly about right
 
The sweet and sour sauce:
*If you like things "saucy", I would double this.  I noticed when it was baking that the chicken was soaking it up, so I made a second batch and we had enough for the sauce to get mixed in with the rice.
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbs ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. Rinse your chicken breasts *or not in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste *or don't. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs. **If I had've had green onions, I would have sliced them and added them at this point.  Next time.  Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes *or once if you are lazy like me.
 
**Holly also includes a recipe for fried rice on her post.  Because I was rushed for time, I just made regular rice with some handfuls of the frozen pea/corn/carrot mix and added some soy sauce to the water when I first put it on to cook.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

forever in our hearts

February.

Foreign exchange students arrived for the month a few days ago.  We didn't host anyone, because I know that no one can ever compare to our sweet girl.
Whenever any of us smell Coco Chanel's Mademoiselle perfume, we think of her.
Bright eyes, beautiful smile.
Though she belongs to a wonderful family all her own, she fit right into our family.  She even looked like one of our kids with her blonde hair and blue eyes.


I hope the families that host this year will fall in love with their exchange students just like we did five years ago.

Monday, February 4, 2013

bombycilla cedrorum en mass

Once per year, just before Spring bursts forth, the Cedar Waxwings stop by to say hello.
Today was that day.
King and I were having lunch and I noticed that there was some clambering just outside.  Through the open shutters I saw that our birdbath was covered in a throng of the sweet little cheery sprites.
I wish they would stick around, but alas, over the years I have learned that my birdbath must be some sort of landmark, a little rest stop along their migration route.

a day in the life: dinner conversation

"What part of the animal are we eating?" no. 5

"Beef."  no. 3

"What does beef come from?" no. 5

"A cow."  King

"Ugh! (completely disgusted) We're eating a cow!?!" no. 4

"What? (equally as disgusted) Are you going to become a vegan or something?" no. 3

"No!  Pfft. (in an exasperated tone) I don't want to be a veterinarian! Pfft." no. 4

here's my sign: work in progress

Lookie here what I done made.

But, as it usually is with me, there's a story behind it.  Y'see, it's like this:

Without sounding like a Holy Roller....
wait, who said, "too late!"? 
*glare*
 
 .....our group has been looking at the Big Ten with a little bit stronger magnifying glass.  This week's chapter was regarding the Fourth - Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
 
Yeah.
Well, He has had me work on this one before.  I remember a couple of years ago hearing that I should not be doing work for which I earn money, so I have made some progress on this one.  But with seven people living in these 3000 sq ft, and what with Monday being the next day and all, well it's a little difficult not to take full advantage of the fact that everyone is home from work/school and I have many more hands to help do the chores.  So Sunday has typically been our catching-up-from-the-week-getting-prepared-for-the-next-week chore day.
 
When I looked through that magnifying lens....
I realized that it's not just the "work for pay" thing He means.   
And so, I realized I have some more time coming up soon in the Refiner's kiln.
 
My sassy, "*ugh* Why now, Lord?!" stream of consciousness moments included: 
  • Frankly speaking, it's a little inconvenient, seeing as the house has not had a decent spring cleaning for many springtimes now.
  • Grumble, grumble.
  • But, I have a list!
 
However, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, and I can't ignore His voice.
I shared what was going on with King.  We talked it over and then together came up with a goal, which he thought was brilliant.
("Aahhh, more time on the golf course for me", he no doubt realized.)
 
So, we sat down with the kids and told them what was going on.  "We've been getting it wrong for quite some time now.  And so because Daddy and I are still learning and growing in God's ways, we have come up with a goal...
not. doing. anything.on.Sundays.
 
There was much rejoicing.
 
I told them how hard it was going to be (for me especially), and to not expect (me) to get it right all the time, but that it was a goal to work toward.  "We are going to start the spring cleaning process (trust me, it'll be late summer before it's all done) on Saturday and bust. it. until time to get ready for Saturday night's Vigil Mass.  Then we are done until Monday.
It is so stupid, but I was petrified.  I even had to pray about it, "Lord, I don't know how to relax.  I'm gonna need help on this one."
 
What would I even do to relax?  It's too soon to think I could just sit around on a couch or laze around outside (besides it's much too cold for my self-diagnosed-Raynaud's-diseased self).  I thought about it for quite some time.
 
What will I do to relax?  What do I enjoy? 
 
King and no. 2 had no problem coming up with their relaxing activity:  golf!  Heck, even no. 5 signed up to accompany them.  "I wanna go, I love golfin'!"  She even picked out an outfit and had it sitting on the bed for the upcoming "holiday."
(Interesting to note: the origin of the word holiday
is actually from two words holy day)
 
Sunday morning.  I had decided what to do.  First of all I was going to put on my dressier clothes - the ones I wore to Mass the night before.  It would remind me that I couldn't do any cleaning, lest I bleach my favorite pants.  Second of all I would play games (Parcheesi with no. 4 and no. 1), and the thing I would do to relax would be to make the doll I have always wanted to make, but never took the time to.
 
And so there you have it.  But I think I may have still gotten it wrong....  because as I type this, I realize that I am still using the term 'do'... to try to define the concept of 'relax.'
 
I am going to be on the lookout for a stronger powered magnifier to see if I can find the answer on how to simply 'be.'  In the meantime, I guess I will stick to 'doing' things I simply enjoy.

ps-Jayne and I folded laundry this morning.  She agreed to be my visual reminder of the 'no work on Sunday' goal.

does this bother any of y'all...

...when people who 'aren't from around here' think that
Southerners are so damn stupid?
 
 
Slow burning coals of anger,
passed down through
generations.
 
 
 
 
Yankee, go home!
 
 
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

just.that.easy.

Ok, let me start by saying I can't stand it when the kids (or "whomever....") heat up something in the microwave and then walk away from the mess it may leave.  I have begged and pleaded, but... (I know, I don't really have to finish that sentence, do I?) 

So, I saw on a certain website a tip for cleaning microwaves. 

"Surely it can't be that easy," I thought.

But, yep.  It was that easy.

I put 2 cups of water and 1-ish cups of vinegar in my one quart capacity glass measuring cup.  Then I put it in the nasty microwave and turned it on for 6 minutes.  The water started boiling.  I got nervous, but plodded along with my experiment.  The microwave turned off, but I left the door closed.  Five minutes later, I opened the door, wiped the steamy microwave clean simply using a paper towel.  Amazing. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

the new game

Have you ever noticed that you can see faces in the silliest places?
o.O
 

A few weeks ago, no 5 was playing with a pair of craft eyes (we call them googly eyes).  She got busy doing something else, and forgot she left them on the dining room table.  I put them together on the end of my finger and casually asked no 1 if she ever felt like she was being watched. 
She looked puzzled and then I shifted my gaze down to my finger with the googly eyes on it.  She nearly jumped out of her skin and then fell over with a case of the giggles. 
Since then, whenever I see a face in something, (a pair of scissors, cloud formations, coins on a table, etc) I will just as casually ask her if she ever feels like she is being watched. 

I love it when she goes limp with laughter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

yay her! yay me!

No 1 got back from her senior trip to Disney yesterday afternoon.
 
While she was away, somebody asked me if I missed her.
 
"No, not really," I replied.  "Mostly I am just so excited for her to have a wonderful time.  So even though I miss her, it's not nearly as much as I'm gonna miss her this fall," I said... surprising myself with a slap in the face from the cold, wet, rag of reality, then fighting back a gasp of emotion.

This was her trip.  I wanted her to completely enjoy herself.  I was so proud of myself that I refrained from being clingy (like I tend to be).  I didn't inundate her with phone calls and texts.  Nor did I insist that she touch base with me every day, although she did of her own volition.

But, y'know, it's funny how the trip had two main layers of meaning. 

  1. For her, it was the last childhood hoorah with friends she has had since Kindergarten.  The last hold on being a carefree kid.... I mean, it's Disney after all.
  2. For me, it was a trial run of being without her, something I thought I'd not be able to do, but at the same time, being graced with the realization that, really and truly, I am excited about what lies ahead for her.
I guess this means we're growing up, doesn't it?

what goes up must come down

In case you hadn't noticed over the past several years, no 4 gets pretty excited about stuff. 
Think: helium balloon

Late last week, he climbed into the car after school and could barely breathe he was so excited about the fact that the next day, his class was going to have a new student!  That would have been thrilling enough in itself, but the main reason he was over the top was that the student was coming from Poland! 

See, this is new and exotic stuff to a seven year old.

Immediately when we got home, he crashed through the door and got on Google translator.  He looked up phrases like, "Hello," and "I'm glad you are here," and then he got distracted and typed nonsensical words to see if he could stump the translator.  Then he decided he would bring his book about the Vatican to school with him the next day to show to his new friend.  We discussed the fact that PJPII was the first Polish pope, so, no 4 was going to point that out... y'know... in case the new kid hadn't yet heard.

So, yeah, um, the story gets a little anti-climactic at this point.

Next day's report:  "He talked with an accent, but can understand English pretty good."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

special night

When I said my prayers this morning, I thanked the Lord for what was going to be a day filled with graces.  This was one of them:


The face of one
very excited young man
just before he made his
First Reconciliation!
I don't remember being quite as excited about my First Reconciliation as he was about it.... so much so, that, well, let's suffice it to say the span of time between my first and my second confession may have been a tad too lengthy. 
I have since learned that Reconciliation is a beautiful thing and that I should look forward to it with as much zeal as no 4 did this evening.

Monday, January 28, 2013

on becoming a culinary daredevil

After the rutabagas were such a hit recently, I figured this week I would try to sneak in another new vegetable.  
Beets.

I remember back in 1980 or so, my dad had to have an emergency appendectomy.  Mom took me to see him in the hospital and his main complaint was that the hospital served canned beets every day.  I may have inherited a bias against beets from his hospital cafeteria experience.  
Several times over the past year or so, friends have raved to me about how yummy fresh beets are.  When they see me start to retch, they usually insert the fact that canned beets, like canned pineapple, are a whole 'nuther animal, and are not worth consuming.  Canned beets are surely what Satan must serve for dinner each night, probably alongside calf liver.  
*shudder* 
I hope I never have to find out.


I decided it was high time I give them a fair shake, so three beets came home from the grocery store run.

....sounds like the start of a joke, doesn't it?  Three beets walk into a bar... 

After I scrubbed the beets thoroughly, I diced them, tossed them in olive oil, coated them in grated Parmesan cheese, wrapped them in tin foil, and baked them at 450 for about 40 minutes.  They were delicious.  King and I definitely liked them, the kids mostly loved them.  

After dinner we researched the health benefits of beets.  One thing I was happy to learn is that beets contain something called betaine, which lowers homocysteine levels in the blood.  The highly toxic homocysteine makes platelets clot and atherosclerotic-plaque form.  High levels of homocysteine in the blood lead to the development of heart disease & stroke. 

Hrm... I might just be following a trail of beet juice here, but since my dad died of heart related issues, my guess is that he should have learned to love beets!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

ps - real men (and kids) love quiche

So... quiche was what was for dinner tonight.  I made it with a store brand pie crust.  In slicing it, the crust got all crumbly and came off.
Oh darn. 
Falling on the sword with martyr-like bravery, I ate the crust rather than serving slices of quiche surrounded by messy pieces of crust all over the plate. 

No 5 came tipping into the kitchen and peeked around me to check the empty pie pan, then inquired,

"Where's the stem to my quiche?"

perspective

I always hated the song "Amazing Grace" when I was a youngster.  Then I grew up and recognized that I was the blind wretch who had been saved.

Now the song reduces me to tears.

Friday, January 25, 2013

very nearly... if only we were playing horseshoes

"Hey Mom, remember that place we used to go to called Sidetrack?"

Sure do.  Yum, they have great hamburgers.

"Yeah, and they had that fun game, Neato."

I think you mean Keno. 

"That's right.  How do you play it anyway?"

Well, it's sort of like Bingo, except you pick the numbers.  And you can win money, sot of like in Poker.

"Oh, I get it.  Sort of like Texas Hold 'Em Up."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

a stone in my shoe

Presentation Ministries' One Bread One Body daily reflection is in my inbox each morning when I check my email.  Today's was like a stone in my shoe...

....Jesus is also calling you to repent. You want Him to drop the subject, but He loves you so much that He will confront you and bring to a head your rebellion against Him. As the Lord calls for your repentance, what will you do?
Jesus is too insistent on repentance for us to ignore Him for too long. We must either repent or get rid of Him. If the Lord would only "mind His own business" and stop insisting we repent, He wouldn't have to be crucified again (see Heb 6:6). Instead, He keeps bothering us. If He only would shut up, we wouldn't have to shut Him up.
What will you do? What will you do to Him? Will it be your repentance or His crucifixion?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

never fully grown

It's easiest to say the question was put upon my heart...
......but truthfully
it appeared in the "knowing place"
where the Holy Spirit writes upon my soul.
 
The Conversation Room, I'll call it. 

Is your faith growing? Specifically, how has your faith grown in the past five years? 

Imonna be honest, it's a tough one to answer.  Sometimes I feel as though I am either stagnant or moving backward.  Am I going to Mass more often?  No.  Am I reading the Bible more?  Sort of, but not measurably.  (I am in a group that is studying Scott Hahn's course Our Moral Life In Christ) 

I guess the most growth (albeit reluctant) has been in the times that God has gently reminded me that He is in control.  He has shown me I need to
 
1) step out of my comfort zone and step onto a stepping stone, the "thin air" of faith - ie going along with King's crazy idea of increasing our tithe by 25% during a year when we need to be socking money away for a quickly approaching tuition due date.
 
2) step away from anything that distracts me from glorifying God
 
3) say "no" and not feel guilty about it
 
 
Erg, I am such an Israelite stuck for so long in a big desert.  This may take awhile.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

pure genius postscript

A Pinteresting math problem:
 
empty toilet paper roll
 + dryer lint (we have an endless supply)
fire starter for our new fire pit! 

So.Clever!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

happy hum drum

So each day I check on my new fran, whose name is Pinterest. 

And every. single. day.  I remark how the incredible people who post things on Pinterest are simply genius.  The creativity (I only go on Arts and Crafts/DIY) that these people have been gifted with is mind boggling.   

I mean, a mirror that looks like a chrysanthemum made out of plastic spoons?!?! 

BAM

I just got some more brains on my computer screen from my mind being blown away (again). 
 
"These people are genius!"
my kids keep hearing me say. 

You won't even believe what all you can do with an old incandescent light bulb, or how easy it is to free yourself from the dreaded popcorn ceiling.
************************** 


But, I will say that Pinterest doesn't talk to me.  I do miss checking on and chatting with my real frans on Facebook.  But, truly, my life has just received an influx of time.  I almost don't know what to do with it.

There is a ribbon of loneliness though, Imma just be honest.
Mostly 'cause that's how I roll.

I am cooking each  night with some of the grand (yet easy-as-pie) recipes my new fran tells me about. 
We eat by candlelight now.  The kids think it is so cool.
 
Fancy Dinner they call it.
(We connect so much better by candlelight somehow.)

The TV is not on as much anymore either.  Unless it is our fireplace dvd, which is groovy, since our tv is in inside a fireplace mantel. 
 
Hard to explain, but there is a new-found peace.  We all feel it.  Things are much less..
frantic.
Not that they really were, I guess...  there's just a happy hum that wasn't audible before.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

cute things kids say

"Salad is so good with Treasure Island on it."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

every parent needs to read this article

One of my favorite cousins sent me this article.  While owning a blog is narcissistic in its own rite (hm..guilty as charged), this really hits the nail on the head with what is going on in our current society on so many levels.

We are Raising a Generation of Deluded Narcissists
by Dr. Keith Ablow

A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.
This data is not unexpected. I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.
On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”
We must beware of the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.

Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.
Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters. And while they can turn off their Wii and Xbox machines and remember they are really in dens and playrooms on side streets and in triple deckers around America, that is after their hearts have raced and heads have swelled with false pride for “being” something they are not.
On MTV and other networks, young people can see lives just like theirs portrayed on reality TV shows fueled by such incredible self-involvement and self-love that any of the “real-life” characters should really be in psychotherapy to have any chance at anything like a normal life.
These are the psychological drugs of the 21st Century and they are getting our sons and daughters very sick, indeed.
As if to keep up with the unreality of media and technology, in a dizzying paroxysm of self-aggrandizing hype, town sports leagues across the country hand out ribbons and trophies to losing teams, schools inflate grades, energy drinks in giant, colorful cans take over the soft drink market, and psychiatrists hand out Adderall like candy.
All the while, these adolescents, teens and young adults are watching a Congress that can’t control its manic, euphoric, narcissistic spending, a president that can’t see his way through to applauding genuine and extraordinary achievements in business, a society that blames mass killings on guns, not the psychotic people who wield them, and—here no surprise—a stock market that keeps rising and falling like a roller coaster as bubbles inflate and then, inevitably, burst.
That’s really the unavoidable end, by the way. False pride can never be sustained. The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting. That’s why young people are higher on drugs than ever, drunker than ever, smoking more, tattooed more, pierced more and having more and more and more sex, earlier and earlier and earlier, raising babies before they can do it well, because it makes them feel special, for a while. They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.
Distractions, however, are temporary, and the truth is eternal. Watch for an epidemic of depression and suicidality, not to mention homicidality, as the real self-loathing and hatred of others that lies beneath all this narcissism rises to the surface. I see it happening and, no doubt, many of you do, too.
We had better get a plan together to combat this greatest epidemic as it takes shape. Because it will dwarf the toll of any epidemic we have ever known. And it will be the hardest to defeat. Because, by the time we see the scope and destructiveness of this enemy clearly, we will also realize, as the saying goes, that it is us.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached at info@keithablow.com.
 Here is a link to the original article