Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Maybe George Bush should have used this one.

Nick was recently elected by his 5th grade class to be a representative on the student council at his elementary school. He decided to take it one step further by running for President. Here is his campaign poster:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Gus!

Wasn't it just yesterday when you surprised me with your conception? When I cried with fear when I realized you were on the way and how I didn't know how I would handle 4 children? Wasn't it yesterday when they put you in my arms for the first time? When we held you as a baby and now marvel at you in Kindergarten? How can it be that you are 6 years old, over halfway to 10 years old? You were the one who was the "baby" for the longest although it seems you had to grow up faster than all the others. Your entertaining and sometimes frustrating traits always give us something to talk about. You will always be our "Goose" and are so thankful that you taught us that having 4 kids is not hard; it's a blessing! We can never imagine life without you Gus! Happy 6th Birthday!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Prayer to Christ the King

O Christ Jesus, I acknowledge Thee to be the King of the universe: all that has been made is created for Thee. Exercise over me all Thy sovereign rights. I hereby renew the promises of my Baptism, renouncing Satan and all his works and pomps, and I engage myself to lead henceforth a truly Christian life. And in an especial manner do I undertake to bring about the triumph of the rights of God and Thy Church, so far as in me lies. Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer Thee my poor actions to obtain the acknowledgment by every heart of Thy sacred Kingly power. In such wise may the kingdom of Thy peace be firmly established throughout all the earth. Amen.

For more information and activities about this important solemnity, the last Sunday in the church year, clickHere.

Holiday Hunt...

OK, yeah, I admit it. I was there. It was me that you saw, fumbling through the bargains and sale items. I was there with all the other ga-billion people shopping on black Friday (that's what they call the shopping day AFTER Thanksgiving). I was there, looking for a good bargain, unique gifts for my loved ones, freebies and anything else that would make the holiday complete. I confess that I love crowds and sales, but most especially sales. Those red tags marking certian items down are just my cup of tea, but it needs to be a particular kind of sign that says: CLEARANCE or 60% off or more to get me to actually stop. It's more of a rolling stop though; where I kind of slow down, take a long look and maybe stop. Now, to be clear, there is another kind of Stop that I participate in and that's when a sign advertises 75%-90% off. Hey, now...that's when we are talking!!! That is when I stop in my tracks, turn and march DI-RECTLY to the items on display. I tell you, those tables are where you can get the best deals...especially if you are willing to store it for half a year or more until it can actually be used!

I admit to having a small closet in my bedroom called the "Christmas closet" where I store all my bargains for the year. You can find kids toys in bulk, after Christmas sale items, seasonal decorations and birthday party favors. It's not just for Christmas stuff as you can tell, but for everything that I buy on sale! In fact, I can't wait to decorate the house this year; I bought some fantastic ornaments last year...we're talking 90% off....and I'll be using them this year and giving some away as teacher gifts.

This is where I LOVE to go for after Christmas SalesMy sister and I visited about 6 of these store between the two of us to check out their after Christmas prices. If you can wait, these items will go down to a really low price. For the best scenario, visit one of their stores and check out their unique selections of gifts. Very sweet stuff. Oh, and good food too!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More thankfulness

I'm thankful for:

1. My infant, Hank, and his new smile.
2. Thanksgiving Mass
3. Rebecca playing "America the Beautiful" on her trombone at Mass
4. My "new" King size bed
5. Friends who cook for me
6. My husband, who lets me shop on the busiest shopping day of the year
7. Chocolate cake and Diet coke
8. Nick, Jack, and Gus teaching each other to juggle
9. Washing Machines
10. The beginning of Advent

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

But for the grace of God....

The junior high youth group I head up collected numerous food and basket donations from members of the parish as our October/November service project. We then gathered on Monday night and filled baskets with the food we had collected. We trimmed each basket with colored tissue paper, ribbons and attached a $10 gift card to Food Lion along with a prayer card and holy card hoping to make the holiday a bit more cheerful for the 20 families we were helping. The day before, I had called all the families to let them know that their Thanksgiving Baskets were ready and that they could come by the church anytime on Tuesday or Wednesday to pick them up. As I spoke to the final woman on my list, she explained that she had no way of picking up the basket and groceries since she had no mode of transportation. In addition she informed me that she had 5 young children at home to care for and that limited her time outside her home. I could hear the children crying in the background and instantly sympathized with her situation. I told her that I could drop off her basket and groceries if she would give me her address.

It was a drizzly, blustery, and dark evening when I knocked on her apartment door. She stood there silently and unsure as my daughter, daughter's friend, son and I smiled with our arms full of food and baskets. We quietly entered her small apartment and were met with 5 sweet faces ranging from age 1 to (I would guess) 10. They were eating toaster waffles for dinner and were crammed in a very small eating area. As we prepared to leave, I said goodbye to the children and closed the door. I walked to my car feeling like we had not done enough. I told the girls to take the extra food reserved for the food bank and the extra food lion gift card and place it on her doorstep. I drove away in my warm SUV feeling as if we did as much as we could and that at the very least she would be able to put together a half-way decent Thanksgiving Dinner for her kids. It's hard to see such poverty, most especially this time of year.

Today is Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving and I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, and most especially not in the mood to cook a big dinner. The house was covered with toys, the refridgerator needed a good cleaning, my five children were starting to pick on each other since they had been cooped up in the house because of rain and I had not yet made it to do my own grocery shopping. It was raining and miserable outside. I asked Rebecca to watch the sleeping King Henry and the other 3 boys while I made a quick trip to the Food Lion for my groceries. I was in a rush so that Rebecca would not have to watch the boys too long. I made it to the store, picked up the necessary things for a large feast, and pulled out of the parking lot onto the highway. But as I drove onto the access ramp, I saw her. I saw the woman that we helped the other night. She was trudging along the sidewalk with all five of her children on the way to Food Lion...presumably to do precisely what I had just done. I could not stop, I had to pass her by. My heart sunk at the realization that I did not help her...could not help her. She was Jesus and I just passed her by! Oh pathetic Christian am I!

I went home and changed my sour mood instantly, remembering all that I have and all that I am thankful for. I hope this post will remind me in the future of how blessed I am and how I should always remember that "But for the grace of God...."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Milk Moustache

As I sat down to breast feed King Henry, Gus sits down next to me and asks:

Gus: Is that 1% milk?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All boy

You must understand, my 5 year old son Gus is a bit of a bruser, a bully of sorts, a bull in a china shop kind of child, a child that embarrasses me with his abrupt nature and ability to call things like he sees them. He is the biggest in his kindergarten class and bigger than his older brother, Jack. He loves to play with swords, play guns, and knights. When neighborhood boys come to the door to play, Gus is the first one to get his shoes on. He always gives his opinion...unsolicited... and grunts and groans when he does not get his way. He's honest, independent, smart, confident and LOUD! He rarely uses his napkin, he prefers to use his hand. More times than I would like to admit, he "relieves" himself OUTSIDE of the house instead of trekking inside to use the more modern facilities. He sleeps spread-eagle in his bed; it would be impossible to sleep next to him since he is a bed hog. Kids are naturally attracted to him. He brushes off other "wimpier" kids his age who try and manipulate him into doing what they want. He's not interested in negotiation or reason.

But there is another side of Gus, a softer side, that only a few see:

Gus has two stuffed animals that he carries around as his best buddies. He lovingly kisses King Henry every day and whispers secrets in his ear. He loves to listen to story after story before bedtime and laughs a huge belly laugh at the funny parts. He sneaks into Nick's room when everyone else is sleeping and crawls into bed with him and snuggles closely. He is theatrical and funny. He loves to draw pictures and hang them on the doors of the house. Just the other day, he handed me a awkwardly spelled note that said, "I lov u mom...gus" He always notices when I am dressed nicely and tells me that I am beautiful...(that makes me melt). His blue eyes sparkle with mischief when he asks for his candy. Imagine my surprise when he handed me a Playmobil toy that includes a Princess, Prince, flower arbor, and bird bath. It was most definitely a pink kind of girl toy, but he was totally enamored with it. He insisted that it was NOT a girl toy and that the birdbath included a cool gold dragon that was for boys. This is the softer side of Gus, the baby side that I sometimes forget. He IS still a baby, but is trapped in a big boy body. Sometimes I feel sad for Gus since he never had a baby-like childhood. Because of his older siblings he flew past the "Barney" "Teletubby" stage and went straight to things like Star Wars, Playmobile and Video Games.

Gus is still a baby in many ways. I'll try and remind myself of that more often. Meanwhile, I'll try and stay sane while we raise him into the strong man he will, no doubt, one day become.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Living for Him

Well, it seems as Fall has officially started with the cooler weather and the gorgeous colors all around us. It's this time of year that I always think of my passing. I know it sounds little morbid, but it is true. When I look out at all the dying plants, trees...the bare branches and the cold sky I am reminded that one day the winter of my life will emerge and I will die. What a beautiful way God reminds all those living that one day, it all ends. We have a Spring/Summer time in our youth, and a Fall/Winter with our old age and death. It all ends... even though at times we like to fool ourselves that it won't. It is at the end of our lives that we will stand before Jesus where he'll ask us not WHAT we lived for but WHO? Did we embrace Christ and his church or did we follow the crowd and settle for that ever-present--middle of the road, self-centered, self-indulgent kind of life? I thank God for our seasons and for the reminder that I must always be working/living harder to live a life that Christ would approve of "now until the hour of my death".

Friday, November 10, 2006

I don't know where they pick these things up...

I was changing King Henry's clothes this evening. All he had on for a few minutes was a diaper. Gus was totally pleased with his baby brother's squatty naked torso. He pointed to the baby's chest and gleefully exclaimed:

Gus: Oh, look at his 'man--ly boobs'

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Prayer for election day

Lord God of all creation,
You rule and judge all nations,
You scatter the arrogant of mind and heart,
You cast down rulers from their thrones and raise up the lowly.

Today we elect those who will serve in our government:
the voices that call us to go this way or that way are confusing,
the signs of these times that we must discern are tragic and unjust,
the culture of death that afflicts all people is powerful.

Open our eyes to see your Reign in history,
our hearts to share your love with all people,
our ears to hear the cry of the widow, the orphan, and the stranger among us.

Send your Holy Spirit upon the people of this land:
Teach us to make wise and prudent decisions.
Increase our faith and hope.
Help us to live the Gospel we profess.

May all who are elected this day:
do justice,
love goodness,
and walk humbly before You and all people.

We ask for these blessings,
confident in your providence through all time,
calling upon Mary our Mother
and all the saints who have served the cause of justice,
through your Son, Jesus Christ, Redeemer and Savior, Amen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Knock your socks off!

Folks, this is the SONG! to end all songs! I am a big Josh Grobin fan I'll admit. He turns me into a bumbling, sobbing, teen-ager when I listen to his music. But his newest album, AWAKE, is due out on Tuesday and I plan to be the first at the music store to buy it. His song, "You Are Loved", will fill your heart with joy, especially when you view the video. It's clearly a Christian theme with a Christian message. It's a message that the world needs to hear. Simple and straight to the point.

View the video by clicking HERE! After you view it once, view it a second time...it's more powerful!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Dancing Queen

When I was a younger girl, I would frequently put a favorite song on the record player downstairs, make sure that no one was around, and then I would DANCE! Oh, how I loved to dance to a great tune! It was fun, relaxing and in my imaginative world-I was the BEST dancer around. That's what the judges in my mind would say! They would hold up their score cards: 10, 10, 9.5, 10. The audience was always on their feet and I would repay their affection for me by bowing a deep bow and then dance ONE MORE DANCE for my adoring fans! No one in my family knew my little secret..they had no idea they were living with the greatest dancer around. I never told them.

Every now and then I still get the joyful urge to DANCE! Depending on the moment and the song, I'll still dance. But instead of dancing when no one is looking, I'll usually dance around my children. They are my adoring fans and I'll always reward their love for me with another dance which usually includes them. I had not danced for my children in a long time due to my pregnancy and the fatigue associated with it. Yesterday, my dancing urge returned when Rebecca turned on the song, Takin' it to the streets
which has recently been re-recorded by American Idol star Taylor Hicks. I tell you, when I hear that song, I NEED to dance. Only problem was, I had just put my audience to bed...all except for Rebecca and Hank. Rebecca was sitting in my room rocking Hank in the rocking chair.

My audience was spread out in three different rooms, so I decided to take the dancing show to them! I got varying reactions from my adoring fans. I immediately started dancing in my bedroom for Rebecca and Hank. I started bogeying up a storm people...and I was GOOD! I tried out all kinds of new dance moves to impress my daughter and son but all Rebecca would do was laugh. "Mom! What are you doooing? Ewh!" I replied, "What? I'm good. You don't like my dancing?" Hank just sat on Becca's lap like a limp bean-bag and stared at me. "Hanky poo..check out these moves!" I said, moving about to stimulate my infant's senses. Hank expressed his delight by promptly spitting up. They weren't impressed. I decided to take my show to the next venue: Nick's Room.

As the music played on, I gingerly tip-toed into Nick's darkened room to the beat of the song. Nick opened his eyes, sat up and started to laugh. He was totally delighted. I danced for Nick and in no time, my adoring Nick could not resist the music either. He popped out of his bed and accompanied his mom in the dance. He. Was. Good. (But not as good as me.) Nick copied my moves like a pro and so we just danced together in the darkened room. I gave my Nick a kiss and sent him back to bed. Next stop: Jack and Gus's Room.

I entered the room and danced my fantastic dance for my younger sons. Their response was less than enthusiastic. They just laid there. Staring. I danced some more, waiting for a response but got nothing but silence. After about 2 minutes Gus said, "Mom, can I have a kiss?" I stopped my dance and said, "Boys? Don't you like my dance?" Jack ignored me and said, "Mom, I'm going to the bathroom."

Well, there it is! My fans of today...they may not give me a score of 10, but they still adore me. I may not be the greatest dancer in the world anymore, but I'm the luckiest mom!

Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween notes for next year:

1. Don't buy candy early. Before you know it, you'll eat two bags before the holiday arrives.
2. A gigantic pumpkin purchase is not necessary, the smaller, more manageable pumpkins do just fine and take less time to carve.
3. If you are in need of an interesting science project, carve your pumpkins early in the unseasonable warm weather and see what grows!
4. If you let your kids wear their costumes early, they'll want to be something else by the time Halloween rolls around.
5. If your husband asks if he should dress up, tell him NO! (see pic)

Can you guess what he is?

6. Limit the number of weapons carried by your boys while trick or treating.
7. Have plenty of Diet Coke on hand.
8. Remember to buy CHOCOLATE candy to have something to snack on while waiting for trick-or-treaters.