Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Green Grass Grows All Around

This is pretty long, but very cute :)
I didn't know Mary Clare even knew this song, let alone all the handmotions. Thanks to Barney, once again!

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The song is dedicated to +Capt. Sean Lyerly+ who was known to be attempting to grow green grass in Iraq. Sure enough, right after he died, his little patch of grass began to sprout! May we all be inspired by his message of hope in the midst of war.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Three Joys Today

At a mom's group this morning, the children created "Crowns of Thorns" with leaves and toothpicks. They have a bag of little roses which they will get to put on each thorn whenever they do a good deed, to help soften the thorns of the Crown. The mom's group was at a park with absolutely gorgeous weather (we'll hopefully take advantage of the weather again at the zoo tomorrow!).

Ellie found a baggie with a chocolate chip cookie in the car today (from previously mentioned Fish Fry). This was what I saw when I turned around! It got even worse before she finished :-/

And here's what I got to watch and enjoy this evening, my dear hubby who came straight home from work to cook his most delicious pasta dish...yum, yum!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Mary Clare brought this to me the other day. She wrote CAT and drew the picture on her own (I wasn't even in the room!). It was on the back of the Valentine's card she gave her daddy. The only advice I gave after she showed it to me was to add little triangles for the cat's ears. I was really impressed! Way to go, Mary Clare!

I love weekends!

(Pics from cousin's birthday this morning)

We attended our first Knights of Columbus Friday Night Fish Fry. I think our parish might have the most successful fish fry anywhere. The drive-thru line was all around the parking lot. The eat-in line was outside the church hall and down the plaza. Tons of families there. I don't like fish. The fries were okay ;)

We sold our Toyota Corolla yesterday. Karol the Corolla served us well (named after Karol Wojtyla, aka Pope JPII). We got her when Mary Clare was a few months old. Before that we had been driving a truck and Ford Probe, both of which had no a/c and only allowed for the carseat in the front seat (airbags off)! At the time I was also tutoring a little girl each day, picking her and her sister up from school and driving them home for tutoring (along w/ Mary Clare). I still remember driving them with the windows down in the Texas heat, and little Rita kept saying, "One day you drive your mom's car, one day this car?" They were probably more excited than I was when Karol joined our family! Karol also served Steven well over the past few years driving to and from work in the middle of the night, last year it was about 75 miles each way for him. I hope Karol is able to serve the young man she went to just as well. We're sold on foreign cars now! Especially since we figured out we only spent about 70 cents a day for her...they sure hold their value too!

We attended our first Tridentine Mass today. I love Latin and love the Church we went to (the oldest in our city, absolutely beautiful), but I will say that I'm happy with my Novus Ordo Mass. We were pretty lost in the Tridentine, even though we've attended many Latin Novus Ordo Masses. The weekend was also spent getting our dishwasher repaired, checking on the cattle at the ranch, attending our niece's birthday, having my family over, cleaning out the garage, and doing some more unpacking. After 3 years of hubby working weekend shifts, I'm just so happy to have weekends with him and our family. Lots can get done, having lots of fun!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mary Clare funnies

(After a visit to see her grandparents' who have a pregnant Cocker Spaniel, and watching home movies of their other Cocker with her puppies...)
MC: "Mommy, have you ever thought about being a dog?"
Me: "No, I like being a person. Are you thinking about being a dog?"
MC: "Yes. I'd like to be a dog because they get to have lots of babies when they're really young and they don't have to get married. I don't want to wait till I'm married 'cause it will take a long time."
MC: "Mommy, we're going to move to the S family's house when I'm 5, if Daddy gets a job in San Antonio." (they're the ones we bought the house from)
Me: "Actually I think they plan to stay there for a long time, and we plan to stay here for a long time. But maybe when you're older Daddy would love to move to a farm."
MC: "Yeah, but let's not tell him. He'll get excited and want to move tomorrow."
(looking at a Children's World Atlas and pointing out a country)
MC: "Mommy, this is Australia"
Me: "That's right. That is Australia. How did you know that?"
MC: "Because there's a picture of a kangaroo on it."
MC: "Mommy, do you know what Swahili is?"
Me: "What is it?"
MC: "It's a language they speak in Africa."

My Baby is Growing Up :*(

Ellie turned 22 months today on the 22nd. She is talking so much more. We went to a Pro-Life benefit tonight (Alan Keyes is an AMAZING speaker!) and when we picked the girls up at my parents' she kept staying, "Mommy here. Daddy here." and just grinning.

Last night after she had another fit about nursing we decided it was time to start weaning. We're using Steven's mom's method of gum...yep, when she wants to nurse I give her gum! Or Cheerios with milk in the middle of the night. It's been over 24 hours. I'm a little sad, but her behavior has been really good today. I think it's the right time (but maybe I'll change my mind at 3am!). Mary Clare weaned at this age, but I was also pregnant. Praying that we might be blessed with a new little nursling in the near future. I already miss my little baby...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Nice Day at the Park

The weather got hot again here in Texas yesterday. We had a nice walk to the neighborhood park!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lent begins...Oh Happy Cross!

I'm trying to look at Lent in a joyful way, seeing the Cross and sacrifice as a way that I'll grow more in love for Christ and love for my family. I usually dread this season because of all the things I'm deprived of...the somber vision of it all...

I remember when Mary Clare was just born, and feeling like I couldn't really enter into Lent because it was such a joyful time with a new baby. In the same way, I feel like our own family has just come out of our Lenten journey and have started our new joyful life here in our new home. I guess that's even more of an opportunity for me to make little sacrifices, take on new prayer commitments, and seek out little chances of personal mortification...all for love of Him who loves me so!

I was also thinking of today and the black ashes I'll receive on my head. I put on a black shirt to get me in the Lenten attitude. But I also was remembering my friend Stephanie and how she wore pink and white to her sweet Mary Clare's funeral last summer. I thought it was a true sign of hope. And that's what Lent should be for me this year...a sign of hope, the hope of Easter, the hope of the Resurrection, the hope of Heaven.
I finished painting the school room in the yellow color. It's a bit bright but I think it will look alright once we put things on the wall and later paint the playroom next to it. Here's what I'm working on right now, trying to find places for the alphabet, maps, number charts, and calendar.

And here's what I've been working on with Mary Clare this week, practicing letter sounds and strokes, addition, reading her BOB books, and you can also see the artwork (Jesus on the cross) she likes to do in my prayer journal.

Finally, for Kolbe (one of our house's previous residents who wants to see his old room!), here's where we've moved the computer, to a spare bedroom so it's not in our main living room. We choose not to have a T.V., so it's kind of silly to keep our computer w/ DVD player in the living room, just what we're trying to avoid!

And a little prayer request...if you could please offer a prayer for my aunt who is in a very challenging situation, and for her (grown) daughter who is mentally ill, profoundly deaf, and homeless. And also a little prayer for our discernment in a related issue. Thanks!

Happy Lent to all!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saturday at the farm

Mary Clare in her new cowgirl hat from Aunt Paige! Sitting in the "Gator".

Ellie isn't so sure about these animals...

Some of the 17 cattle

Steven with the giant horse from the next property!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Some nights...

I'm just really thankful for the DVD player on our computer and for Barney movies :)

Reason #2 to homeschool

The other moms in the group are great! We had a mom's night out at a restaurant last night. I felt right at home with all the ladies, we all had so much in common, and it was so much fun to just visit and share and ask questions! I could've stayed there all night and felt like we'd all known each other forever! There are several young moms with kids the ages of mine, so that's really nice too. I just feel like God has planted me right where I need to be (obviously!), and I'm so thankful to have this huge (35 families) but close-knit Catholic homeschool group right in our area, to help us further discern and become more confident about our decision to homeschool.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pray for Major Jude!

Update: He's out of surgery and recovering in the NICU. Please pray for his continued healing, thanks!

Two of my triplet nephews have made it home, but the last one is going into surgery in about 15 minutes. Please offer a little prayer that Major's (abdominal) surgery will be successful, that he will heal quickly, and make it home soon to his mommy, daddy and 3 brothers. Thanks!

O glorious Apostle, St. Jude Thaddeus, by those sublime privileges with which you were adorned in your lifetime, namely, your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh, and your vocation to be an Apostle, and by that glory which is yours in heaven as the reward of your apostolic labors and your martyrdom, obtain for us from the Giver of every good and perfect gift all the graces of which we stand in need: that Major Jude will be touched by your hand as the Doctors perform the surgery on him today. We pray this through your Son, the giver all that is Good. Amen

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Mary Clare helped make her candy Valentines and a Valentine box with my mom last night. My parents run an online business called Candy Spirit out of their house. There are always lollipops, life savers, and stickers hanging around...my girls both have a big sweet tooth like their mommy and daddy! My mom printed some stickers to put on lifesavers singles with "Jesus Is Love" on them...so cute, thanks Mom! Mary Clare enjoyed putting them in envelopes and then passing them out at the party.

The Valentine's Party for our Catholic homeschool group was at a park today and VERY cold! High 30s in Texas makes for some very chilly people! Ellie cried almost the whole time :( And I didn't even get any pictures of the ~75 kids there. It was a lot of fun, but I'm looking forward to the next indoor event ;)

And here is a wonderful article about "Real Romance," the thing movies aren't made of...but Saints are! Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

More Paint Color Quandries

I can't decide if the yellow is too bright here in the homeschool room. It's hard to tell in the pictures, it seems more fluorescent in real life. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our Romance

Since everyone is sharing their love stories...here's mine!

It was spring of my sophomore year of college when one day I noticed a new and very handsome guy sitting at the back of the church for daily mass. We finally met a few days later on the steps outside the church after I'd been playing guitar at mass one evening. "You rock," he said. "No, Jesus rocks!" I replied poetically. And there the romance began!

I still remember the day I called my friend Michele and told her what Steven's last name was (it rings rather cutely with my name) and that he played golf (I thought that was rather attractive)...of course the most important ingredients to a healthy relationship! We got to know each other over the coming weeks as he was hanging out at the Catholic community house I lived in, and he was getting more involved in church activities.

One evening a big group of us planned to go out country dancing. He called to tell us that he wouldn't be able to go because his buddies were making him "go stag" to a formal dance that night. "Aw," I told him, "the girls and I would all love to be your dates." "Wanna go?" he asked. A few hours later we were on our first date! His buddies were rather impressed that they left him at the dorm with no date and he appeared at the dance a couple hours later with a date!

I still have a great picture of us at my house before the dance. One of my housemates had a lot of family visiting for her graduation and wedding, and all the little kids helped me get dressed that night. The picture is of Steven and me with the kids, and I always hoped it would be providential and that one day we'd have a brood of our own!

The next morning we went to Sunday mass together, he helped me move my stuff home for the summer, and he met my family. A few days later I met his entire family at a big surprise birthday for his brother. That itself was rather attractive as I'd always hoped to have a big family and his own family with 6 older siblings and many nieces and nephews was so wonderful. That summer I worked across the state at a summer camp, so we spent our days on the phone, sending love notes and care packages, and trying to visit on weekends.

We knew rather quickly that we were meant for each other, but had to wait for school and job things to fall into place. We started marriage preparation before we were actually engaged, but knew we wanted to marry soon. The proposal came on the Feast of St. Joseph, May 1, 2001 (3 years into dating and a couple months before the wedding) in the Adoration chapel of my home parish. I came out of the catechism class I was teaching and he walked me into the chapel. He knelt and asked, "So, do you have any plans for the next 60 years or so?" I wasn't sure how to respond! But the elderly ladies there in the chapel got very excited. One even had a cheesecake in a bag and gave it to us!

After the proposal, we went out to dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant. Just a few weeks ago we were eating there and I started tearing up at the dinner table thinking about how gracious God has been to us over the past 5 1/2 years of marriage. How we went from 2 college kids with big dreams, to a family of 4 trying hard to live them out. Although the past years have been wonderful and challenging, I am excited to see what God has in store for our future. I feel like we're really starting our settled family life now with our house and an area to call "home."

And so, this Valentine's Day is a very special one...one where our family shares in a deeper love and new joy we haven't yet experienced. We will get to share the day with new and old friends from our homeschool group and with our own little family at home as we start to make holiday memories that our children will keep with them for years to come. I also pray that our own romance is revitalized as we begin this new phase in our lives, that our faith and prayer life grows deeper, our marital bond even stronger, and that God might continue to bless our marriage with faith, hope, and charity...and new life too!

Happy Valentine's Day to my own handsome Valentine, Steven, and to all of you! May God's love permeate your soul and bring joy to your life!

Monday, February 12, 2007

A reason to homeschool

During the move I found about 5 big storage bins of things from my teacher days (I taught Kindergarten and First Grade B.C., "Before Children")...books of lesson plan ideas, calendars and alphabets for the wall, scissors and glue, decorations for my desk, art supplies, and more! I brought the bins into the house yesterday and the girls are going wild with all of it! Steven bought some yellow paint for the walls of the schoolroom last night, so hopefully I'll get it painted today and fixed up and organized over the next few days. Right now it's a danger zone, but at least they're having fun. It's another rainy day, so we'll enjoy some new things to do. I definitely have almost all I need to homeschool, so that's a big bonus! We've worked on addition and circle letter strokes already today :)
On another note, a friend sent me this quote last night, from the EWTN readings for today. Today is the birthday of St. Agnes, the early Church virgin and martyr. It's the name we chose for the baby we miscarried, so a beautiful thing to ponder today...

This is a virgin's birthday; let us follow the example of her chastity. It is a martyr's birthday; let us offer sacrifices; it is the birthday of holy Agnes: let men be filled with wonder, little ones with hope, married woman with awe, and the unmarried with emulation. It seems to me that this child, holy beyond her years and courageous beyond human nature, received the name of Agnes (Greek: pure) not as an earthly designation but as a revelation from God of what she was to be.
-- St. Augustine

As I was thinking on it last night, I got an idea of a name for our homeschool, "Agnus Dei Academy". It would be a reminder of our intercessor Agnes, and most importantly a reminder of Jesus, the Lamb of God. Both Steven and Mary Clare love the Agnus Dei in mass as well. I could very well change my mind, but it's a nice idea for now. Well, I'm being beckoned to the schoolroom..."it's a homeschool day" she says! Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

On a Cold and Rainy Friday...

Wear PJs all day long...

Get some painting done...

And then kids will want to paint...

And paint...

And paint...

Then find the box of dress-up clothes...

And invite your grandpa to come over and spend the night. He loves to play games!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My Silly Girls!

I've been having problems uploading videos recently. Let's see if this works. Here are the girls last night showing off Ellie's animal sounds :)

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bed head

Who are "his companions"?

Yesterday was one of those memorials of a saint and martyr, Paul Miki, and his companions. I've always wondered about those "companions" who are honored on that day but not usually mentioned by name. I like to pray to "the companions", figuring they don't get many prayer requests! So today I looked up the names of the actual martyr companions. There were actually 25 of them who were crucified with St. Paul Miki in Japan on February 5, 1597 during a Christian persecution. They were converted to Christianity by the great Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier. Among them were were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church. Here are a few of them mentioned by name in an article I read:

Francis, a carpenter who was arrested while watching the executions and then crucified; Gabriel, the nineteen year old son of the Franciscan's porter; Leo Kinuya, a twenty-eight year old carpenter from Miyako; Diego Kisai (or Kizayemon), temporal coadjutor of the Jesuits; Joachim Sakakibara, cook for the Franciscans at Osaka; Peter Sukejiro, sent by a Jesuit priest to help the prisoners, who was then arrested; Cosmas Takeya from Owari, who had preached in Osaka; and Ventura from Miyako, who had been baptized by the Jesuits, gave up his Catholicism on the death of his father, became a bonze, and was brought back to the Church by the Franciscans. They were all canonized as the Martyrs of Japan in 1862.

At least 4000 technically suffered the fate of martyrdom in Japan over the years, with estimates as high as 35,000 or more. Most of these holy martyrs will remain nameless, including women and children who were killed off as family of any condemned person. May these holy martyrs inspire us to live holy lives, make us thankful for our freedoms, and pray for us to be saints one day too.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Homemaking Meme

Here goes:

1. Aprons – Y/N?
No, I think we finally got rid of our old ones from Cook Staff on the Aggie Awakening retreats. I'd like to find a pretty one someday

2. Baking – Favorite thing to bake:
Cakes and cookies with the girls

3. Clothesline – Y/N?
Nope, I love my washer and dryer!

4. Donuts – Have you ever made them?
I've made them with refrigerated biscuits before. But we usually like to go to good old Shipley's...a Texas chain that really has the best donuts ever!

5. Every day – One homemaking thing you do every day:

6. Freezer – Do you have a separate deep freeze?
No, but I think my parents might pass theirs over sometime soon

7. Garbage Disposal – Y/N?
YES! It was Steven's first handyman project and I was so proud of him :-)

8. Handbook – What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Hmmm, blogs? Flylady? NFP message board?

9. Ironing – Love it or hate it?
Hate it! I'm trying to get better but am just thankful that no one has daily clothes that need regular ironing.

10. Junk drawer – Y/N? Where is it?
Yep, one of the 2 kitchen drawers!

11. Kitchen: Design & Decorating?
Right now the kitchen has a whitish mauve color on the walls, rose-colored countertops, and white cabinets. I've always wanted a yellow kitchen, and all our plates, napkins, etc are in blue tones. So hopefully in a few years we'll remodel the kitchen (since hubby's company does flooring and countertops) with pale yellow walls, new white cabinets, and a light colored granite countertop.

12. Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking?
I'm really enjoying making our new house feel "homey", painting walls and decorating. I'm not real crazy about the everyday cleanup stuff, but I like when the house is clean and tidy.

13. Mop - Y/N?
No. I clean with a scrubber and dishtowel under my feet, and on my hands and knees for the bad parts.

14. Nylons - Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
I only wear tights, since I get so many snags in my hose. They go in the washing machine.

15. Oven - Do you use the window, or open the door to check?

16. Pizza - What do you put on yours?
I never make it, but the girls and I like plain cheese. I also like chicken alfredo pizza.

17. Quiet - What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Surf the net or call a friend

18. Recipe card box - Y/N?

19. Style of house

20. Tablecloths and napkins - Y/N?
Yes, but they don't match our current kitchen :-/ We still used the cloth napkins with guests the other night though.

21. Under the kitchen sink - Organized or toxic wasteland?
Organized. When hubby fixed the disposal, I put in shelf paper and made it look pretty.

22. Vacuum - How many times per week?
2 or 3

23. Wash - How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
1 or 2 each day

24. X's - Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?
Sometimes, especially at a busy time like now since we just moved

25. Yard - Who does what?
Not sure since we just moved in. Hubby will probably do most of that.

26. Zzz's - What is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Depends. Usually dinner dishes or a laundry load

I tag whoever is reading this and hasn't done it yet ;-)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Our Home is Blessed and Jesus was Here!

It was a beautiful Mass and we were blessed with the presence of our parents, a friend and her parents, and another family who are all good friends of Father Matthias. My friend's father played the guitar and she sang with her angelic voice. I made a crockpot of mac 'n cheese and all was well...

Before everything started:

Before blessing the house:

Blessing the candles:

Our Lord at our house!

And here are some pics of other rooms which are starting to feel like home, and are now blessed...

The living room from another angle

The girls' room, which was already painted and had other special touches from Lillian :)

Our bedroom

And 2 pics of the playroom

Friday, February 02, 2007

Jesus is coming to my house

TODAY! Thank you for the prayers, I am feeling back to myself and had some energy to shop and clean yesterday. There's still a lot to do today to get our house immaculate so that the King of Kings can take refuge here in physical form for a few minutes during the Mass :) But since He was born in a stable, I'm sure He will understand if things are not perfect. I'm going to try my hardest though! I'll also be requesting help from the saints, particularly St. Anthony right now as I can't find our camera! And St. Cecilia to help me choose some songs (any ideas, readers?).

Lord, prepare our hearts to receive You in the Most Blessed Sacrament and prepare our home to be a worthy place for your Holy Mass. May our children find sweet joy in Your Presence and may our lives be ever changed each time we receive you. We present ourselves, our family, and our possessions to You on this day of the Presentation, we ask that you would continue to purify us so that we can love you more, and we ask for you to allow your shining light to conquer the darkness of our sin. You who are the Light of the world, the King of Kings, and the Sweet Joy of our souls. Mary, Queen of our family, help us to always look to your Son and 'do whatever He tells us.' Amen.
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