Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Apple Pie!

Daddy has been out studying a lot. Last night we entertained ourselves baking our first apple pie. Yum Yum!

Here are my little chefs:

Ellie decided to dump the bowl of sugar all over herself and the table. They went straight into the bathtub after this! If you notice a recurrent theme, it's Ellie in diaper-only. She screams when I put a bib on her so it's just easier to strip her when she eats or plays messy!

Finished product (recipe from Better Homes cookbook), very tasty!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How Do I...

-Make the margins so you can see my picture? (Or can you see my picture when you click on my blog? I can't.)
-Add links to the side (other websites and blogs)
-I know this is very advanced, but I'd like to eventually have a picture at the top where my title is. Anyone know about that?

Thanks from the novice blogger!
Trying again with my profile pic problem:

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Ellie playing with a rock...the cheapest of the SeptemberFest prizes!

Mary Clare winning a bracelet from the fishing booth. At first she had no interest in all the little games, but once she found out there were prizes to be had, she couldn't get enough!

The girls enjoying the bike and the backyard:

Testing Boundaries, Giving Up Control

The behavior issues are still escalating. Steven and I are standing strong, but it's exhausting! Someone reminded me recently about how consistency in the small things now will result in an easier time with the big things later. The bedtime and hitting trials are nothing compared to those issues in the teenage, rebellion, drinking...I was so sad for a mom at our couples' group last time. We were talking about all the things we worry about like health, jobs, finances, and discipline with small children. She told us that she no longer sweats the small things. Her current worry is about her oldest son's soul (he's out of the house, in his twenties). Now there's something to stress about!

I'm also trying to remind myself about the ways I test my boundaries and try to control the things in my life which should be in God's hands, just as Mary Clare is testing me. I tell her she can sleep in my bed or hers. She wants to sleep on the couch. She submits to sleeping in her bed, but wants me to read to her. She realizes I'm not going to read to her but wants me in the room. But every time I'm in the room she's trying to run out or bring up something new that she needs me to do right this second! In the same way, I ask God over and over again for certain things. He says no or he says wait. I try to take control in some other aspect of my life and he says no again, give it to him. I can't move on in my life until I just submit my will to his. This is how it is with Mary Clare right now. Once she finally gives up control she can enjoy herself, I can enjoy myself, Ellie isn't distraught watching our battles, and we can move on with our day's activities. But right now the war wages on...

Although the battle continues in little spurts throughout the day (particularly at bedtime which is why you get to hear about it!), our normal life goes on as usual. We enjoyed our parish's fall festival this weekend and have been having lots of fun playing in the backyard with the new cooler weather. I'll add some pics to my next post. Hope you all enjoy this last week of September! Happy Fall!

Balls and Dolls

I'm starting to see just how different my two girls are. Mary Clare is definitely a girly-girl. She loves all things girlish...dolls, purses, high heels, dresses, makeup, ballet, nail polish, lotions, princesses...she could spend hours gleaming at the pink girl isles at the stores! Ellie likes many of these things too...dolls, purses, and shoes. But her all-time favorite things in the world right now (maybe besides her mommy) are balls!

Maybe it's because she can actually say the word "ball," but I remember her liking them even before she could talk. I think she would rather play with a ball than any other toy in the house! Now when we go to our local mall playland, I can't keep her inside because she knows there is a ball machine (like a gum machine) just outside the playland. When she sees a ball-shaped item, even if it's the giant balls blocking the entrance of the parking lot of Target, she goes wild, pointing and yelling "BALL, BALL!"

Today I wanted to run into Old Navy and remembered that they have the bouncy ball machine for a quarter. So I scrounged around the car for two quarters, telling them both that they were going to get a ball. Well, mommy was wrong and the ball machine is not in the Old Navy in our town! What to do? Well, we went over to Target and got us each a little prize...Mommy a black shirt off the clearance rack (I think I need to start buying only black/brown/maroon shirts since I stain everything), Mary Clare a little "church dress" for her dolly, and Ellie a PINK SOCCER BALL. She wouldn't let it go. She was holding and patting it. She put it (as she does many of her balls) in her little stroller and pushed it around the house. I think she's destined to be a sports fanatic. I think Daddy needs one of those. She already has a pretty strong arm. That's my Ellie!

Hot Button Discipline Issues

What are your hot-button discipline issues? I'm a pretty laid-back person and I don't get easily angered or frustrated with my children. But I've noticed 2 things that put me over the edge this week. One is when the girls won't go to bed. Usually this is due to a late afternoon nap and/or exciting evening activities. Today we went shopping all afternoon, so they didn't take naps till around 3. Then we went to an outdoor Mass, dinner, and family dance for our church's fall festival. Ellie finally fell asleep around 10:30 and Mary Clare at about 11:45! I had really lost my cool by about 11:00 with Mary Clare. Then she was frustrated because I was frustrated and her latest means of dealing with frustration is screaming, frantically hitting me, and biting.

Hence #2 of the over-the-edge behaviors: when she starts hitting and biting me. Those just seem like totally unacceptable behaviors that need some serious consequences (which I'm trying to consistently give), but it's happened every day this week. I hope I can keep being consistent and see a decrease in this behavior, because it drives me wild! But she's 3 1/2 and is usually as sweet as can be. And she usually genuinely apologizes afterwards, sometimes tearing up, saying "Mommy, I'm sorry I did all the things you didn't want me to do. I'm just learning how to be obedient." And I give her a big hug and tell her I forgive her. Like a friend reminded me...I'm just learning how to be obedient (to God) too!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Virtues are things I never really learned about as a child. Sure I knew I was supposed to be kind. I knew I should tell the truth. But things like meekness, humility, constancy, consistency, moderation, simplicity, obedience, thrift, and order are areas where I have a tremendous amount of growth to do. I really admire those families who have these virtues without having a faith to base them on. I have a lot to learn from those people. And although these virtues do not come naturally for me, I'm thankful that I have a Faith and a Church that can help me to grow in them and teach my children the beauty of a virtuous life.

"Those who exalt themselves will be humbled; those who humble themselves will be exalted." That was my favorite scripture when I first started college. Before then I didn't know what humility was or that it was even a virtue to be sought! Pretty sad. Right now I'm working on constancy. I tend to be very wishy-washy in my decisions. I dwell on them for days, I make a decision, I change my mind, then I always wonder "what if" I had chosen otherwise. Thankfully I have a pretty constant husband!

In seeking Christian maturity I know I need to discern big and small decisions alike, but I also need to be constant. I need to be confident and think on the present, not wondering and imagining the results that might have happened if I made another choice. I find myself agonizing on simple decisions like what to eat, bigger decisions like where I will spend my weekend, and really important decisions like where our family will live. But if I'm living in Christ's grace, open to the Holy Spirit's promptings, and trusting in God the Father, then I should not be worrying about little decisions. He cares for the birds and the fish, how much more he cares for me and will lead me in all I do!

Several of those other virtues are really important for me right now...thrift in managing our families finances, order and simplicity in our home, consistency in disciplining children, moderation in food...I could go on. Needless to say, I've got a lot of human virtues to work on! What are some virtues and ways to grow in them that you all have found?

Here are some pictures from this week: my sweet Ellie reading, the girls having fun and making a mess painting, and Mary Clare dressed as a princess. Lots of smiles :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Cups of Tea

Here are my sweet girls, one from before the first ballet class of the year and the other this afternoon when they'd invaded the tupperware cabinet. They were so cute giggling and putting the bowls on each other's heads!

Tomorrow morning I'm leading our mom's group on some chapters from Danielle Bean's book My Cup of Tea. In it she describes the daily antics of her 6(now 8) children and finding joy in it all. I think it will make a good topic of discussion for our first meeting of the year. We'll discuss the ways that we may lack our personal time for a "cup of tea", but we can be filled with joy through the simple actions, words, or gifts of our children which become our "cups of tea" overflowing!

Today was a really rough morning. Once again I attempted the Mommy Dance at Mass alone...bad idea. Even alone in the confined cryroom we had some of the worst behavior ever seen in Mass. I'll spare you all the details. But this afternoon over the span of a few minutes the girls both showed little "teacups" of generosity that made me smile. Mary Clare awoke from her nap whining for a drink. Slowly I went to get it as she wandered out of her room. Then I noticed Ellie with a huge grin on her face grabbing her own sippy cup off the floor and trying to hand it to her sister! So sweet. Then a few minutes later the girls were whining (Ellie's whining probably due to the ~5 teeth she's currently cutting), so I gave them each a popsicle. Ellie's was smaller so she finished it first and was smiling watching Mary Clare finish hers. Then Mary Clare handed hers to Ellie so she could have a bite. I was really touched!

Well, the week begins full-force tomorrow...walking groups, ballet class, mom's group, Steven's tests...better rest up! It's so hard not to bask in the quiet noises of the house and raindrops outside the window right now while enjoying my internet entertainment as I peruse blogs and listen to EWTN mass in the background. It's so hard to say goodnight!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Choose the Better Part!

What a day!
-Rental manager came to treat ants
-Plumber came to fix faucet
-MC got gum in her hair once again, had to cut strand of hair
-Legs came off one of the kitchen chairs
-Ellie colored all over herself in green marker
-MC "painted" her fingers and nails with green marker
-Ellie covers self in spaghetti
-Bathed girls due to aforementioned activities
-Called shoe company to continue report of damaged shoes (I get a new pair of Born clogs, yay!)
-Called carseat company to ask question about damaged carseat cover
-Still haven't put laundry away, decided to blog instead ;)

So I finally changed the title of my blog. The address is still the same, but I wanted to make the title a little more fitting for *my* blog, which Steven may occasionally post on. I'll probably change it fairly often. Or maybe I won't. But I also wanted to change the colors and make it a little more girly! Maybe one day I'll figure out how to add an image to the top.

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Luke 10:38-42

This Gospel has been coming up a lot lately and I think it's fitting for me right now. I think about how often I am caught up in activities like those listed above and fail to just sit quietly and listen to Christ. And I also need to just be present to my friends and family, not always thinking of what I'll say or what I'm doing next. Let's see if I can list just as many blessings and positive gifts from today:

-Christ reminds me to seek charity in all things during prayer time this morning--"Love and do what you please" St. Augustine
-He gives me a beautiful cool Texas morning
-Nice walk with group of mommies at the park
-Let the kids feed ducks, watch frogs, and play in the sand at the park
-Mary Clare enjoys LeapFrog computer game and has figured out how to find the first sound of a 3-letter word!
-She gets off the computer right away when I ask, saying "Okay Mommy!"
-My amazing Mentor friend comes for a visit
-Talk on the phone with my mom and best friend
-Ellie prays oh so sweetly with me at dinner
-Now I get to go meet hubby to drop off girls so I can go to a Bunko group, yay!

Oh, and since you're on the edge of your seats, the chicken tasted fine, and I made my first yummy roast yesterday :)

Here's a beautiful icon I found of Martha, Mary and Lazarus:

And I'm editing to add a picture for my profile, the other one isn't showing up for some reason:

Sunday, September 10, 2006


MC: Takes her gum out, sneezes twice, puts it back in and says, "I have to take my gum out so I can blessyou!"
Me: "You mean sneeze?"
MC: "Yeah, I like to call it blessyou."

Had to cut her hair again after getting gum in it today :-/ Ellie is cutting about 5 teeth and has been fussy all day. The girls both have ant bites all over and I just realized ants are coming in our side door and the bites aren't from the park! :-/ I doused the nearby anthill with boiling water (advice from a Google search). Pretty fun. Our coffee table holds most of the contents of our pantry as MC plays grocery store and our crockpot is cooking some chicken breasts which may have been defrosting in the fridge a few too many days. Will we eat it? TBA...

Ellie can now say PaPa, baby, and Holly (my parent's dog). Mary Clare starts a little ballet class tomorrow at a teenage homeschoooler's house. Should be fun (and free)! Right now she's dancing around the living room with a wooden cross and singing "Agnus Dei, you take away the sins of all the world, Dona Nobis Pacem." Daddy is on his way home. The Mommy Dance for today is almost over, thanks be to God :-) Hope everyone has a wonderful week and tries to love with a passionately real reckless love!

Here are some pics of the girls from their friends' birthday party at the park last night...playing in the sandbox and Ellie's first moonwalk! One thing I love is how everyone here adds a second part to the Happy Birthday song, "We're glad God made you, we're glad God made you, we're glad God made ___, we're glad God made you!" So sweet!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Real Reckless Love

I have encountered a lot of tragedy and sorrow the last few months. Steven's good friend at work died in a work accident early this summer. Then our friends' two year-old daughter died suddenly in June. I visited my 91 year-old infirm grandmother last month. This week I've been reflecting on the death of Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter" and speaking several times with a dear friend who is miscarrying her baby. Yesterday I encountered a friend I hadn't seen in several months, a young mother with stage 4 breast cancer, and I also spoke with a friend whose teenage sister is very ill with kidney disease.

What is God's message to me here? I have never encountered such sadness and sorrow, illness and accidents in such a short time period. With my tendencies to fear over illness and other physical things I can't control, I know that God is teaching me to love and to trust. He is also helping me to have faith and hope in the life to come, that I may not live in fear of death.

But I've also tried to think about what each of these people have taught me in their lives. Whether it be the unborn baby I will never meet on this earth or my friend's precious little girl who we saw just a few weeks before her death, these souls were each created to return to God and draw us all closer to Him. I still remember a comment our friend Matt made at the wake of his daughter about how he loved her with a reckless love and he has no regrets about loving her so much. He also commented on how he will continue to love his baby boy and future children with that same kind of reckless love. This is a love which hurts, a love with no limits and no holding back. A love that isn't afraid to be passionate, to be ones self. A love that we can see so vividly in young children who have no inhibitions, no boundaries.

Steve Irwin and his love for animals, really his whole persona was an example of this. He was who he was. And many of us felt like we knew the real Steve Irwin because of this. I love this quote from him:

"You know, there's this... they kind of cringe, you know, 'cause I'm coming out with 'Crikey' and 'Look at this beauty'.

"Just say what you're gonna say, mate. You know, is it a cultural cringe? Is it, they actually see a little bit of themselves when they see me, and they find that a little embarrassing?

"I'm fair dinkum, like kangaroos and Land Cruisers, winged keels and bloody flies! I think we've lost all that. I think we've all become very, sort of, money people."

I see this realness in my friend with cancer and as my other friend described in her terminally ill sister and even in my poor grandmother who can no longer do much of anything herself. For them the fear is gone and they are who they are. Death is real to them because it could be so close. But really it could be so close for us too. We might not wake up tomorrow morning or we might get hit by a freight train, or we might have to watch our own children suffer and die at a young age. It's terrifying. But it shouldn't be.

May Christ help me to be "fair dinkum" (real) and have a reckless love for Christ and a reckless love for my family, friends, and all those around me, and even for the earth and beautiful creatures God has made just for me. May we find hope and peace amidst the sorrows and fears of this life as we learn to seek the life that is to come. Thank you Father for each of these people who teach me to love life more and love you more, with a real reckless love.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


We had a wonderful evening today, went out to a great restaurant and then came home to a German Chocolate Cake and ice cream :)

Love Ellie in that birthday picture...she wasn't so sure about the candles and singing! Steven helped the girls make a tent in their room earlier, so cute!

Well, maybe I'll be changing the blog name since he won't be participating much...ideas?

I've started reading the Gospels aloud after I read MC her nighttime books since it tends to calm her down. But tonight I was reading aloud about the woman anointing Christ's feet and all of a sudden MC starts making strange noises "p, p, eh, eh, c, c." I can't figure out what she's doing but keep reading. Finally she asks, "Mommy, what sound does H make?" She was holding a little board book and trying to read the word PRESCHOOL on the back of it! Wow. Thanks to my friend Kimberly who suggested the Leap Frog reading videos. She's starting to understand how to sound out words! I might have a reader before she's 4...

I went on a beautiful silent morning retreat yesterday and have been enjoying my mornings walking at the park with my mommy friends. I've also been thinking a lot about the death of Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter." I love "real" TV (when we actually watch TV at my parents', we have no TV at home), and prefer real life shows with real life people, like those on TLC and Discovery Health, but also shows like The Crocodile Hunter. Steven and I have spent many fun afternoons on the sofa at my parents watching Steve Irwin and his exciting adventures with animals. He was definitely a REAL person and we saw the real Steve when we watched him. Maybe that's why so many people are mourning his death. When a famous person dies, a movie or TV star, we usually don't know the "real" person. But with Steve Irwin we did. I'll reflect more on this the next few days, because I think he had a lot to teach us. But "Crikey" it's late, and I must start getting better sleep...

Happy Birthday again, to my sleeping hubby :)
I hope you have 30 and 30 more years of life, laughter, and love and look forward to sharing it with you!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Things to Consider

I considered not dignifying the ultimatum with a response however I felt that the silence would be unfair to the blog reader. I do not intend to write often enough to justify sharing naming rights though, so I am resigned to the fact of a name change.

On the topic of naming rights Blair maybe you should consider sponsorship like local stadiums, such as Blair’s Blog brought to you by Coca-Cola, or maybe Citi Bank’s Blog of Blair. Last I heard stadiums are pulling in 8 figure deals for such rights, maybe you should look into it.

As far as my life goes, with Genetics, Food Bacteriology, Nutrition, and Philosophy on my plate it will be difficult to take the time to write down my thoughts for thus said blog how ever I do share many of my random thoughts with you sweetie (Blair) so feel free to write about them if you feel so inclined.

I will however share one random thought I was having recently that was really bothering me. That is when people advertise plots of land and put the acreage to the thousandths of an acre, such as 11.931 acres for sale. Do you have any idea how little 1/1000 of an acre is? It is 39.94 square inches, slightly more than half a foot squared. I can see the conversation in the car.

Wife: Look honey isn’t that a beautiful lot and it is only $50,000, can we get it.

Husband: 50k is too much for 11.93 acres in this area.

Wife: It is not 11.93 acres it is 11.931 acres.

Husband: Oh, why didn’t you say that in the first place, that’s a great deal.

Signing off,


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Today's Mommy Dance

By Blair

Sun is shining
I am pining
For a little bit more sleep

Kids in the bed
Kicking my head
Time to get up on my feet

Start my prayers
Tangly hairs
Children begging for some food

Slowly moving
We are grooving
Try to have a happy mood

Mixing pancakes
Pouring O.J.
Bacon grease is burning me

Bathe and shower
Water the flowers
Sunday clothes for all to see

Out the door
Remember more
Always something left inside

Get to Mass
Will they last?
Another chance to lose my pride

One is screaming
One is beaming
Sing Alleluia and Amen

Please no whining
Stop the climbing
Will we make it to the end?

Christ is here
Have no fear
He is in the midst of all

I receive him
Grace is within
Now I know I’ll never fall

Still I’m chasing
Guiding, racing
Mass ends and we made it through!

Children napping
I am clapping
Now I wonder what to do?

Pick up blocks
Fold some socks
Read a weblog, write a poem

Think on scripture
Look at pictures
Kids are up and Daddy’s home!

Alone time ends
The week begins
Still I’m glad I had the chance...

By wiping noses,
Tickling toeses,
...To serve God through this day’s Mommy Dance!

(This morning I attempted and survived Sunday Mass alone, instead of waiting until the evening Mass with Steven. I thought it deserved a write-up! The idea of the rhyme of this poem came from a children's book called "Snow Dance" by Lezlie Evans.)

Here are the "angels" today after dancing on the coffee table:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sweet Tender Beauty

As a Catholic, I look to Mary as the Mother of Christ and honor her just as he did, obeying the Fourth Commandment to honor our father and mother. Tonight I was thinking on the motherhood of Mary and in particular about the time when they had lost Jesus during the Passover celebrations (Luke 2). She had lost her son for 3 days! And I recalled how there are many times when I feel like I've lost sight of Christ. But there he is, in the "Temple", waiting for me in prayer and in the Sacraments, particularly in the Eucharist.

I feel like Christ is calling me to get to know his mother better. Not to worship or adore her, but to honor her just as he did, recognizing that knowing more about her will help me to know Christ more, love him more, and serve him more. When I meet a friend who I respect, I want to know about her family. Knowing my friends' mothers also helps me to understand my friends better.

Christ calls us to perfection, and what better model of a perfect mother have I than Mary? She bore Christ in her womb, raised him, and watched him preach and suffer and die. She was the closest person on Earth to Christ and we have the faith that she is with him in Heaven and can pray for us here on Earth. I have so much to learn from her! I look forward to growing in a deeper knowlege of Mary in the coming months through prayer and in Familia this year where we will study Redemptoris Mater "Mother of the Redeemer", the encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II on the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Pilgrim Church. I can't wait to start!

"He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart." (Luke 2:51) He, the Lord, was obedient to Mary, who kept and pondered all these things in her heart, in humble acceptance of the Father's will. I pray that I can follow her example of humble obedience.

This image of Mary is almost identical to the one on Mary Clare's wall I was looking at earlier. The words Sweet Tender Beauty come to mind. May I get to know this beautiful woman better, this woman who is the Mother of the Redeemer and who always encourages us to "Do Whatever He tells you." (John 2:5b)

Tired Girlies

We had a busy week. We went walking EVERY morning this week! I'm really enjoying getting my heartrate up while visiting with some wonderful moms. Today my parents came for a visit and we did some mall shopping. The girls really enjoyed seeing their NeNe and had been a few weeks!

Ellie is really starting to make out sounds and words this week. She can finally say ball, apple, and duck. Today she was making a dirty diaper and was telling my mom "poopoo!" She also loves to babble on the phone.

We're exhausted today. Last night I decided to go to Super Wal-Mart at 9:00pm WITH Mary Clare. I don't know what I was thinking. I was going to try to leave at 8:30 and be home before 10. But we got home after 11! I am so slow in Wal-Mart. I need to do better ONLY staying on the food side. That would save me a lot of time! But I did also forget my list last night, so I have a little excuse. I got some more organic-type foods and healthy breakfast foods. We'll see how things go over the next few weeks as I try to implement healthier meals for our family. I'm also thinking of starting The Light Weigh program soon. We'll see if it works out. I've got a lot on my plate this fall, but this is something I've wanted to do for awhile.

So we had a late night, an early morning, and a busy afternoon with my parents. This week will include 2 trips to H-Town and several other big activities. We need to rest up! Mary Clare didn't fall asleep for her nap until close to 4's going to be a long night! Below is her picture; she fell asleep sitting in a chair with her head on her play kitchen! Too funny! She likes to put on a long skirt and a sweater and play "meeting" when I go to church meetings! Oh and she also snipped a strand of her hair this week so I had to give her a trim. It's been a crazy one!

Maybe I'll have some reflective inspirations later...

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