Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

A friend mentioned that as a former Catholic, she never knew exactly why she gave up things for Lent. She said that no one ever explained the reasoning behind having to give up particular foods, habits, etc. Of course she found it a dull, dry and hollow tradition. I paused and had to remember the reasons behind the whole "giving something up" for Lent in my Catholic tradition. At times it feels hard to explain, but once reminded, I am grateful for a time in the year where my habits are challenged...and challenged for a really, really good reason.

One of the best ways to begin Lent is with the Holy Father’s message:

From what I have said thus far, it seems abundantly clear that fasting represents an important ascetical practice, a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves. Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person. Quite opportunely, an ancient hymn of the Lenten liturgy exhorts: “Utamur ergo parcius, / verbis cibis et potibus, / somno, iocis et arctius / perstemus in custodia – Let us use sparingly words, food and drink, sleep and amusements. May we be more alert in the custody of our senses.”

May we all find freedom from our human desires and seek God in all that we say and do this Lent.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mardi Gras Madness!

The other night, I organized a mini Mardi Gras event for the youth group complete with D.J., King Cakes, silly carnival games and lots of door prizes! The event went smoothly and attracted around 100 youth group kids and their friends. Of course, my boys were very interested in attending an event where there would be food and prizes. They found my box of wacky Mardi Gras costumes and decided to show them off for the camera! Doesn't Henry look fabulous in purple??

Here's to ringing in the Lenten season with plenty of fun and frolik!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

6 boy pile-up

Since I have four boys in my house, it is expected that these boys will want other, louder, more boisterous boys over for some play time.  I don't know why they can't settle for each other...I mean, I think I have been plenty generous in giving them enough male siblings to pick from (don't you think?) but alas, they eventually beg for another male friend to play with. When the friend/friends come over, rough play becomes part of the play-time routine.  Boys can't help it.  They have the desire to dominate in their nature.  The rough play starts innocently enough, starting with the universal name for all buddies:"Dude". It usually goes something like this:  

Boy #1 "Hey, Dude, check out my moves with the sword." 

Boy #2:  "Awww, Dude, yeah, that is pretty cool, can I fight you?" 

Boy #3:  "Yeah, Dude, let's train to be fighters! We will have a competition to see who is best."

Boy #4:  "Doooooood, you can't beat me, my dad tells me I'm the best fighter in the neighborhood."

OK, so you see the progression here.  They eventually invite as many testosterone filled boys to participate, challenge each other and finally move toward wrestling. (All of this despite the pleadings of the mom to "be careful or you'll take someones eye out!!")  This gets especially interesting during the winter months when much of this behavior moves inside.  

Boys come by this naturally; mostly by learning from other boys.  They give each other advice, encourage more daring moves and take pride in showing the younger set "how it's done."  This brings us to a moment this past holiday where there were 6 boys involved in competitive wrestling in my house (see pic).  Now the interesting part of this is that while these boys were wrestling on the ground, King Henry decided that it looked really fun. He decided to insert himself in the activity by jumping off the ottoman onto the pile of arms and legs below. 

We all were shocked at the enthusiasm of our 2 year old!  He was not afraid, he was empowered!!!  Over and over Henry would release a guttural growl, and then fly through the air onto the pile.  Why not?  His brothers were doing it and Henry loves his brothers.  See, there you have it, learned behavior...all in the span of 10 minutes. 

Part of me watched and enjoyed every minute...part of me just wanted to scream, "Dude!!!  Watch out for your baby brother!!!"

Sunday, February 01, 2009

2009 Clemens Family Superbowl Predictions

Jack: Cardinals 21, Steelers 14
Gus: Cardinals 37, Steelers 27
Becca: Cardinals 26, Steelers 20
Nick: Cardinals 39, Steelers 47
Dad: Cardinals 17, Steelers 21
Mom: Cardinals 27, Steelers 28
Henry: no opinion

Superbowl cuisine: Create your own taco (bar), chips and hot sauce, grapes, lemonaide and for dessert: create your own ice cream Sundae!!

Just for kicks, the entire family is rooting for the Cardinals....because we are Catholic!!