Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dating: The view of a 6th grade boy

Nick and I were in the car the other day, talking about many things when all of a sudden, Nick blurts out his view of dating:

Nick: Mom. I think the best time to date a girl is when you are in college.

Me: Really Nick?

Nick: Yeah.

Me: (Trying to test his theory) OK then Nick, what would you do if this really pretty freshman girl comes up to you while you are say, a sophmore, and has a nice smile, outfit, and personality. And your friend tells you that she really, really likes you and wants to go out with you. What would you do?

Nick: I'd just ask her what college she plan to go to.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I would not show this video to any small children, but highly recommend it to older teens. I dare you to watch this without crying. I think we all can relate at some level.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Traveling with Mr. Bear

My son's first grade class has a program called, "Travel Bear". "Travel Bear" likes to visit different places and meet the people who live there. He usually travels with a child from class, but sometimes goes to an exotic place...oh, say, the country of Chile with only a parent. My son's teacher encourages families to send pictures or postcards of where "travel bear" goes, but Gus's dad always aims to please. Here is day one of "Travel Bear's" virtual travel journal to La Serena, Chile. Looks like he's a busy bear and enjoys a good brew too! Tomorrow he will travel up the Andes to help fix one of the telescopes there. I hope he has his flannel p.j.''s cold in the mountains!

Ora pro nobis

Matt Maher, Catholic musician and songwriter...who is very popular with Catholic youth, sings this beautiful litany of the saints. Makes me long for the Easter Vigil. The final slide is a lovely picture of JPII in the arms of Mary.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The band is back!

After hours of practice, 2 summer band camps, uniform fitting, volunteer organization, band booster meetings,horn polishing, marching formations....the band is back! And Rebecca could not be happier!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sleepy Bunny

Gus came home the other day upset because a boy at school told him there was no Easter Bunny.

Gus: Jake said there was no such thing as the Easter bunny. He told me that parents secretly put the baskets out in the middle of the night when kids are asleep.

Chris: Well Gus, what do you think. Do you believe what Jake said?

Gus: No! I told him there had to be an Easter bunny 'cause my parents are way too tired to do that.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I am yours.

One of the best contemporary christian bands today is CASTING CROWNS. You'll be moved by this awesome video made by a youth group in 2006 using one of their most popular songs. I believe they only used white gloves and a blue light. Be inspired!

A note for those of you who have kids in religious education programs:

Here is an edited article I wrote for our youth ministry newsletter:

As a mom to 5 kids and being involved in youth ministry for over 10 years, I suspect you all may be able to relate to the fact that it can be a challenge getting kids to church and to faith development. Sports, school work, home life and family obligations too often guide us away from what we need most: a relationship with Jesus Christ. All too often Jesus lands dead last in our list of priorities when he should be the first on our list.

Our youth group, and its fantastic group of catechists and volunteers strive each week to make the Catholic faith come alive for your young person. Countless hours of planning and organization go into making learning about Jesus interesting, relevant and positive. It's a tall order for any youth program, but we are up to the challenge and believe, with God's help, we will succeed in creating a welcoming environment where the seeds of faith can grow and mature into a life-long love affair with Christ and His church.

But we cannot achieve such high ideals alone. Over 170 youth in the youth program only meet for a total of about 20-30 hours A YEAR! That adds up to about one day out of 365 days in a year. That is a small amount of time to impart the christian values that we hold dear. Parents must engage in their own faith life in order to change the life of their children. Young adolescents respond to the message that their faith offers an alternative to the world. But this realization requires that parents embrace this difference. Explaining to youth that life as a Catholic is different is not enough. Parents must show how to live this difference.

So the bottom line is that we must CARVE out time in our busy day with our kids to improve our relationship with Jesus and to impart the teachings of our church to our kids. How can we do that? Here's a little exercise for you....

My favorite Catholic author, Danielle Bean, in her latest book, Mom to Mom, day to day, challenges parents to make a list of everything they do in a day...from breaking up sibling fights, to driving to school events, chatting with school parent friends, and cleaning up nasty bedrooms. It's not that hard. Write it all down, and be painfully honest. She asks parents to take a careful look at the choices we make on a daily basis. Is it that we don't have time to teach our children some basic Catholic prayers? Or to go to Mass or Reconciliation? Or is it that we simply choose to do something else like watching T.V., surfing the net, or talking on the phone.? These things alone are not bad things, but somehow they come first over talking about God with our children.

I encourage everyone to "Take 10 minutes" a few times a week to go over some basic Catholic teachings with your kids. Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Catholic Source book or The Catholic Youth Bible as your textbook, as well as many other books available online or at your local bookstore. Get started now and make the commitment to raise your child with faith, hope, and love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alpha and Omega

There are moments in your life where time seems to stand still. The beauty of life overwhelmingly strikes at your soul and you are left standing looking at your future and your past at the same time. And you are left staring in awe at the picture that surrounds you.

Last Sunday, after Mass, I was visiting with a friend I had known for many years. Jack, Gus and Nick ran to the side of the church to engage in their usual post-mass tag game and Rebecca took baby Henry out into the sunshine to play. As I continued my conversation with my friend, I glanced outside the church window to see a beautiful picture: my oldest conversing with my youngest. It was touching and tender; it was painful and poinant in a weird way. I stopped talking mid-sentence and just stared. I know my friend must have thought that I had either lost my mind or was inexcusibly rude, but I mumbled something like, "hold on a minute, I need to get my camera" and rushed off to capture the beauty on camera.

I don't know exactly what moved me so much. All I know is that time seems to fly around my house with all the craziness around me. Most days I engage in worry and wondering about how I measure up as a mom, if the kids are getting all they need, if I am doing the right things for my family and wether God is as central in my life as He should be. But at the moment I took this picture, I realized that my life will be over as quickly as it started. At one brief moment, I held my firstborn in my arms and now that firstborn will be moving out of the house in 3 short years. I now see my fifth born child, approaching one year of age, and realize he will be in that same position much faster than I ever realized. It kind of hurts...the speed of life. I am pained at the thought that one day I'll miss the smell of my baby's skin, the excitement of my daughters triumphs in high school, the sound of laughter by my little boys and the noise that I too often wish away. It's so important to make each moment matter and to give all the credit and glory to God for this generous gift of life.

I thank God for the reminder, and the stillness of this picture. I'll treasure that moment forever.

Love is....

having an uncle with "big guns".

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Happy 8th Birthday Jack

It's hard to believe our little Jack is already 8!

From the moment we saw your squished up face we were in love. Dad selected your name after praying in St. Patrick's Cathedral and asking God for a healthy happy baby. We knew our prayers had been answered as we watched you grow from a sweet baby to a big 2ND grader and stellar big brother to two younger brothers behind you. You are our middle child; gentle and quiet. Stuck in-between some strong-willed siblings. Thank you Jack for being so gentle and easy-going. Your unassuming demeanor reminds us to be patient and kind with others, and your mischievous, sneaky side always reminds us that you are very much part of this big, loud and crazy family. God knew what he was doing when he sent you to live with us. He knew you would make us a happier family, a more loving family, a more complete family. Without you, we would never have known how to love as deeply as we do now. Thanks Jack-e-boo...we love you.


Rebecca and I slipped out to the mall the other day to get her fitted for a dress. She will be a maid for a friend's quinceanera in November. Afterwards, Becca requested some new clothes for the new school year, and seeing all the Labor Day sales, I was happy to spend some girl time at the mall.

Rebecca instantly found some Levi jeans on sale. She rushed into the dressing room and came out looking sleek and slim in her 550's.

Me: Oh, man Becca! You look so good in those jeans! I remember when I was that thin....before 5 babies!

Becca: (laughing) Oh, mom. Don't worry about the extra weight. The old you is in there...... somewhere.