Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gummi Bear's Birthday

Gummi Bear's Stats
Birthday:  May 16
Age:  10
Birth Order:  Third
Grade:  4
Color:  Pink
Food:  Ice Cream
Subject:  Art
Book:  Winne Dixie
Game:  Uno
Holiday:  Easter
Season:  Summer
Past Time:  Reading
Singer:  Toby Mac
Prayer:  Prayer to St. Michael

What she wants to be when she grows up:  A Ballerina

A Note to Gummi Bear
Written by Sweet Pea

Gummi, you are my sister and I like you because you jump rope with me and because you do my hair.  I will love you forever because you are my sister.

Chicken Enchiladas and Rice was Gummi's dinner of choice on her actual birthday.
S'mores Ice Cream Sandwiches for dessert

Heading out for their Dad/Daughter Date.
Dinner at Applebees
The Paint Factory

Sparkling Sea Turtles
Home for Ice-cream cake with family

Gummi received French Toast Cereal, Widgets, her name to paint/decorate, modeling clay, pens, headbands, an ITunes gift card, and cash.  She also had two shopping outings with two different aunts, and another aunt who brought her to see Mary Poppins at a dinner theater.

Gummi is a sweet child.  She is at an interesting place in life; still a little girl, but teetering at a point of more independence.  She loves crafts and desires to learn how to sew, knit, cross-stitch, and crochet (unfortunately I do not possess these skills).  She enjoys being outdoors, riding her bike, playing jump rope, and going to the park.  Gummi has a heart of compassion and likes to help others. She enjoys school and considers all of her classmates friends.  She loves Jesus and often asks for us to pray for those in need.  She is a take-charge person at home, and I know I can depend on her to run things when I need help.  Gummi is beautiful, inside and out.

I love you Gummi!  I am proud to be your Mom.  Happy Birthday.  Love you always!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Toilet Paper Love Story

Today, Monkey and I celebrate 14 years of marriage.

A few weeks ago, some friends and I were gathered for coffee.  We began to share how we met our husbands and of our marriage proposals.  As I was telling my story, one of my friends commented on how she was surprised that Monkey and I had so many ups and downs in the beginning of our relationship.  Truth be told, Monkey and I do not have one of those love stories that can be wrapped up neatly and tied with a pretty bow. It wasn't a "love at first sight" type of tale to tell.  It wasn't a "at the end of our first date we knew we were going to be together forever" story.  The early part of our relationship wasn't pretty.  It is a story of two young, immature kids who really liked to spend time together, but really stunk at dating.  It was a 10 year period from when we went on our first date until the day we were married.  Yes, we have been a couple, for more or less, 24 years.

The year was 2000 and I was renting an apartment by myself in the Twin Cities.  I had invited Monkey over for dinner one evening.  Before he came, he called to see if I needed anything.  I was out of toilet paper, so I asked if he could pick some up.  When he arrived, he had two big packages of toilet paper tucked under each arm.  Without having to ask, he purchased the brand that I liked.  I remember making the comment, "you even bought the kind that I use," to which he replied, "Of course I did.  I pay attention."

It might be hard to believe, but at that moment, I knew we had a future together.

You see, I began to reflect on all the times Monkey had paid attention.  Like when we were talking about our favorite childhood toys.  I shared that I had always wanted Lego's when I was kid, but I was never given them. Weeks later, a small package arrived in my mailbox from Monkey, containing a Lego's set.  Or the time he overheard a conversation I was having with a friend about how I like to sit through all of the credits at the end of a movie.  He has never rushed me out of a theater since.   Then there was the time I had complained about never receiving any "fun" mail (you know, that time before e-mail and the Internet), and then for 7 days in a row, I received a hand written letter from Monkey.  The most meaningful gift he has ever given me (but it has never been mine to claim), was when I told him that I could only marry a man who knew and loved Jesus, and could share my faith with me.  In 2000, Monkey was welcomed into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil.  He, nor us, have ever been the same since that night.

In our married life, he has learned that a piece of chocolate can remedy almost any woe of mine.  He knows my favorite wine, my favorite candy bar, my favorite movie, and when I just need a few hours to myself he graciously takes the kids for an afternoon.  He understands that there are times when I just need to hang out with my sisters.  He has accepted and never complained about my "I do not cook on Sundays" rule.

If there is any wisdom I can impart to my children from our love saga, it is that God's timing is not always our timing.  When we are open to His will and guidance in our lives, things have a beautiful way of working out.  I recently read the quote, "when things seem to be falling apart, they may just be falling into place." And so it was with Monkey and I.  In God's time, we found our partner for life in each other.  In God's time, our relationship became a blessed experience.  In God's time, our story made sense.  In God's time, we said our vows to one another; "I take you to be my spouse.  I promise to be true to you, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I will love you, and I will honor you, all the days of my life."  "Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity."  In God's time, we found us.

So does Monkey have me all figured out?  Naw.  I don't even have myself figured out.  But he continues to learn and to try.  Years ago, I learned from a priest that true love in a marriage is to help your spouse get to Heaven.  The path is not always easy, but I am thankful and blessed that I have Monkey to walk this journey with me.

Happy Anniversary Monkey!  I love you!


The night we announced our engagement.

May 12, 2001

Adventure in Chicago

Monkey's Class Reunion

Saturday, May 9, 2015


To the women who have raised me, loved me, influenced me and greatly inspired me; to the women whom I have been honored to call Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma; for the love, joy and faith you have shared with me; I love you and I thank you.            

Grandma Frances

Grandma Elodie

Great Grandma Isabel

Monkey Toe's Mom

My Mom

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cucumber's First Communion

On April 19, 2015, Monkey Toes and I brought our fourth child, Cucumber, to the Table of the Lord.  It was here that Cucumber welcomed Jesus into her heart and received Him for the first time in the Eucharist. It was the first of a life-time of opportunities that she will renew her commitment and love for Jesus each and every time she participates in the Liturgy.  It is the greatest gift in our faith, and in our life, that we can offer her.

First Eucharist Rehearsal and Scapular Investiture

Receive this Scapular. 

Full of faith in the love of such a great Mother, 

dedicate yourself to imitating her and to a special relationship with her.

Wear this sign as a reminder of the presence of Mary in your daily commitment to be clothed in Jesus Christ and to manifest him in your life for the good of the Church and the whole of humanity, 

and to the glory of the Most Blessed Trinity.   Amen.

Reception Preparation

First Communion Sunday

Cucumber's Godparents

First Communion is such a glorious and significant celebration in our faith life and in our family.  There is great anticipation as each of our children have begun their preparation to receive this sacrament.  The Mass was nothing short than beautiful.  With the first note sung in the Liturgy, I had tears welling up in my eyes. There was a radiance within each Communicant that was visible to all.

As Monkey Toes, Cucumber's Godparents and I surrounded her as she received the Eucharist, I think it is safe to say that we were all overcome with emotion.  I held it together until we made our way back to the pew, then Cucumber wrapped her arms around my waist and whispered in my ear, "I am so happy."  

And then the tears fell and I could not stop them.

We returned home to a houseful of friends and family who celebrated late into the evening with us.  It was a joyous occasion; one that Cucumber will hold in her heart forever.


Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.