Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Well, my love allergies are still plaguing me.  Today I tried to rest as much as I could, in-between diapers, cooking, playing outside with the kids and putting laundry away.  Hopefully, tonight will be a restful one and I'll be back to health tomorrow.

Saturday night I had the privilege of going to Monkey Toe's gig.  He is the drummer of a rock band that plays mostly local bars.  I don't get the chance to hear him very often, so I consider it a treat when I have the opportunity to play "groupie."  I love watching him play.  Not only is music one of his passions, but he is also a very gifted musician.  He's been playing the drums since he was a kid and he has been blessed with natural talent.  It actually is what first attracted me to him.  I was so amazed at the talent that this "young kid" had, that I wanted to get to know him.  Now, 20 years later, I still get excited when I hear him play.  I am very proud of him.

***I began writing this post two weeks ago and never finished, because life simply happens. Since then, we have been through Holy Week and Easter.  They were incredible celebrations, made even better by the time we spent with family.  Happy Easter Season to all of my family and friends.  May you all be blessed with the gift of newness of life.

The cousins getting ready for the egg hunt

On your mark, get set, GO!

Sweet Pea & Pumpkin Pie are off
Counting their treasures

Pumpkin eating her ??? piece of chocolate

Easter Sunday with Grandma

All lined up in birth order

Scavenger hunt leads to a Hail Mary

Racing for clues

Monday, April 18, 2011

Student of Faith

Poor Monkey Toes was home sick last Thursday and Friday.  He went to the doctor and was told it was allergies.  I was relieved knowing that it wasn't more serious than that.  Now, I am again sick, with allergy-like symptoms.  I have never had an allergy to anything (except penicillin), so either I have developed something in adulthood or I have major allergy sympathies.  I must really love my husband!  Yes, I really do.  Earlier, as I was blowing my nose, Sweet Pea asked, "Mom, you got a booger?"  "Yes, honey, I have a booger."  As I was throwing my tissue away she asked, "You got that booger out?"  "Yep, I got it out"  Then she patted me on the back and said, "Oh.  That's good."

Friday, Honey Bunches had his class Mass.  He was given the Gospel Acclamation to read.  As Monkey Toes stayed in bed to recover, my sister came over to watch the little ones so I could attend his Mass.  Honey Bunches did a tremendous job.  I had a smile on my face as he climbed the steps to the lectern.  Then, barely peering over the top, he loudly and clearly read his part.  My heart instantly filled with pride.

The Mass also included the commissioning of Extraordinary Minsters of the Eucharist and a special blessing for the father of a classmate of Honey Bunches, who is being deployed to Iraq in two weeks.  I had the privilege of sitting next to him and at the Sign of Peace, I thanked him for his service.  As we bowed our heads and raised our hands in blessing over him, a lump formed in my throat.  I thought how difficult it would be for this family to have to say goodbye to their husband and father for a very long time.  The last time he was deployed was for 22 months.  I was also moved by the prayer of the community gathered.  To see all those hands raised in a common prayer was powerful.  There were so many moments during Mass that touched me, that I found myself fighting back tears. 

On the drive home I reflected on the Mass and the fact that I often get emotional during Liturgy.  My heart is saddened when I hear people, especially former Catholics, say that the Catholic Church lacks ______(you can fill in the blank).  The truth is, the Holy Spirit is alive and moving in the Church, but if we only focus on the "lack-of's" then we fail to see how vibrant and beautiful the Church really is.  I wish that those who criticize could experience, just once, what I experience each Sunday.  I never fail to leave feeling uplifted, renewed, and challenged to be better and do better.  The more I have learned about my faith, the deeper my experiences have become.  That, in turn, motivates me to want to keep learning and diving deeper into my faith and understanding of the Church.  I will forever be a student of faith.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Rosary

"Serve me up Mamsita!"  This is what Cucumber said to me as I walked into the kitchen this morning.  That certainly put a smile on my face.  Last night our dinner conversation centered around The Chipmunks - a favorite movie in our household.  Gummi commented on how smart Simon is -"I think he knows EVERYTHING in the whole world."  Honey Bunches remarked, "Then they should have named him Honey Bunches of Oats."  This is why I write a blog.  My kids are growing up fast and there are so many memories I want to record.  I have already forgotten too many.  Not only has this blog been therapeutic for me, but it has been a wonderful tool to record my children.  I hope someday they will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Now, onto a totally different subject. . .

I drive my children to and from school.  It is 40 miles round trip, twice a day.  Seeing as that is a big "chunk" out of my day, I try to utilize my time well.  I turn the radio off and use those miles to reflect and pray.  I have made it a habit to pray my Rosary on the return trip home in the morning.  It is such a wonderful way to start my day, placing me in the right frame of mind.  I also welcome the little bit of quiet that's given to me.

My Grandmother and my parents prayed the Rosary daily for as long as I can remember.  I have a very powerful image of my parents, sitting and praying together, especially my dad - the Gentle Giant - holding the delicate beads in his hands.  I never really learned how to pray the Rosary, until I was an adult.  I knew the basic prayers, but I never understood the mysteries.  Somewhere in my life its foundation was laid and even when I didn't know exactly how to pray it, I would reach for my Rosary in a number of situations -  the night I was called to come home because my Grandmother was dying.  I had a 3 hour trip ahead of me and I prayed the Rosary as best as I could.  And the day Cucumber was transported to the Children's Hospital, I had a Rosary in my pocket (not a usual habit of mine).  I layed it across her and I and prayed it.  About 4 years ago, I had a strong desire to learn the correct way to say this powerful prayer.  I learned it and fell in love with it.  It is not difficult.  I sometimes view it as a way to tell stories from scripture, placing the events in their proper order.  As our current priest has said, "For Catholics, it's not only important to read the scriptures, but to also pray them.  The Rosary helps us to do that."

Monkey Toes and I have taught our children how to say the Rosary.  As we sit down each night and pray, I have never grown tired of listening to the sweet voices of my children praying together.  My heart swells as each one takes a turn praying a decade.  Even the babies have their own beads and seem content playing with them as we recite our prayers.  I hope Monkey Toes and I will be good examples to our children, just as my parents were to me.  I am happy knowing that we are equipping our kids with tools of faith.  No matter where they end up in life, the seeds are being planted in their hearts and I pray that they will always be secure in harvesting what they have been given. 

I received this Rosary on the Day I made my First Communion.  I have had it for 32 years.  I remember telling my mom I wanted a Rosary that sparkled and looked like diamonds.  My mom taught me how to pray the Hail Mary, The Lord's Prayer, and the Glory Be on this Rosary.  For most of my life it has stayed by my bedside - even when I was in college.  Now, I carry it in my purse everyday.  

This was my Dad's Rosary.  My mom gave it to me after my Dad died.  It was his Rosary from the Knights of Colombus.  When I use it, I imagine my Dad's fingers, holding each bead.  I keep this Rosary on my nightstand.  When I can't sleep, I hold it in my hand and it comforts me.

My sister gave me this Rosary for my birthday 2 years ago.  It contains the birthstones of all six of my children.   It stays in my living room and I use it each time we pray the Rosary together as a family.  As I hold each child's birthstone, I pray specifically for that child.  I call it my "Mother's Rosary."

I received this Rosary from Monkey Toe's Aunt.  She brought it back with her from the Holy Land.  She touched it to all of the Holy places she visited, including Jesus' tomb.  I keep this Rosary in a pouch in my Bible.  I carry it with me to Eucharistic Adoration and anyplace I bring my Bible.

The Rosary is my favorite prayer.  It calms me, it centers me, and it humbles me.  It is not a lucky charm and certainly not a piece of jewelery, but I believe there is power in its prayers, especially when offered for the intentions of others.  It is just one more Catholic treasure that deepens my relationship with Christ and gives me the desire to live and be a better person.  For that, I am blessed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Is In The Air

What a glorious day!  The sun was shining, the temperature was in the 50's, and birds were out in full force.  The neighbors have a large tree in their backyard that was filled with birds, loudly chirping.  I actually closed the windows during nap-time due to their volume.  Our household is welcoming spring with arms wide open.  The kids spent most of their free-time outdoors.  They ran out of the house after homework.  I had to practically beg them to come inside for dinner.  We then prayed the Rosary and once again they scurried out until bedtime.  I loved that they automatically paired up with one another.  The boys played soccer in the front yard, the babies rode their tricycles on the deck, and the older girls played on the swing-set.  There was no arguing and no tears.  It truly was a lovely evening.  The only thing missing was Monkey Toes, who is out of town on business.  The kids and I do o.k. when he's gone, but we really miss his presence with us, especially in the evenings.  Luckily, this is a short trip and we get to see him tomorrow.  Then, once again, we will be united and celebrating this beautiful time of year together.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I've learned an important lesson. . .Be careful what you wish for!  In my last post I was yearning for peace and quiet.  Friday through Sunday I got it, due to a bug that kept me in bed most of that time.  Monkey Toes really stepped up and took care of the house and kids (including Sweet Pea who was also sick), which allowed me to hide away in my bedroom.  We are almost at 100% health again in the house, with just a few remaining coughs and runny noses.

Sunday morning as I was sitting and reading the paper, Honey Bunches showed me his newest Lego creation with a big smile on his face.  It was a small box with a removable lid.  As he slowly removed the lid, he explained that it was a bug box.  As I looked inside, I discovered real bugs.  I was taken aback.  Honey Bunches said, "Don't worry.  I have an air hole so they can breath."  Thank goodness, because THAT was what I was worried about!  A few hours later I noticed Pumpkin Pie trying to throw something away.  She had found the box and had one of the bugs pinched between her fingers.

This morning, as I walked into the boys room to wake them up for school, I noticed their egressed  window was slightly open and there was a small trail of dirt along the window sill.  I demanded to know what happened.  Honey Bunches sheepishly replied, "I had to find bugs for my bug box."  So the original bugs weren't home invaders, they were invited  guests.  Once I caught my breath, I tried to calmly (well, maybe not so calmly) explain that their window is to remain closed at all times, unless there is an emergency, and if they want to collect bugs, they need to do so while they are outside - fully - and to keep the critters in their natural habitat.  Good Monday Morning!

The day only got better - really it did.  The little girls were pretty helpful while the older kids were at school.  Eventually the sun shone and we headed outside for part of the afternoon.  We ended our evening by crafting some really cute bumble bees, flowers and butterflies.  I made a point to say that these are the only "bugs" I will welcome into my home.  The kids just smiled and Gummi Bear said, "Mom you're kinda funny."  Actually I was being serious.  Oh well.  I'll just brace myself for the next buggy surprise.

Critters created using small paper plates, coffee filters, and pipe cleaners