Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Month of February

Bitten by the love bug?

Not us, not this month. Instead we've been hit by the flu bugs! First up was a nasty stomach bug, now it is the cough and fever bug. On top of that, we are cooped up from snow and sickness and it is starting to wear on all of us.

The girls are bickering. The little ones are restless. I am ready for March and Spring and yes even Lent. Last night I came across this little prayer and it reminded me that there are just a few more days of February to endure.

God of our life,
There are days when
The burdens we carry
Chafe our shoulders
And weigh us down;
When the road seems
Dreary and endless,
The skies
Gray and threatening;
When our lives have no music in them,
And our hearts are lonely,
And our souls
Have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light,
Run our eyes to where
The skies are full of promise;
Tune our hearts to brave music,
Give us the sense of comradeship
With heroes and saints of every age,
And so quicken our spirits
That we may be able to encourage
The souls of all who journey with us
On the road of life,
To your honor and glory.

Saint Augustine.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dinnertime Shootout

One of my favorite sayings to zip out at my children (and often dh) is, "Say what you mean and mean what you say." I heard an ending to that a few years that goes, "but don't say it mean." I'd add that to my zinger, but often I am not saying it in the kindest of tones :) Still, I have a thing about convoluted, not to the point, mess around with the truth, kinds of answers. I want to hear what you mean, and nothing else.

This has been a little lax in our house lately so at dinner one night last week I decided we would revisit the subject of speaking as truthfully as possible as soon as asked a question. I was letting my children know that there would be MORE punishment if I had to ask twenty questions to get to the bottom of a situation rather than just getting an admission, an explanation if necessary, and an apology the first go round. To drive home my point, I said to them with a little smile, "In this house we are going to be straight shooting son of a guns!"

Banana thought about that for a moment and then said with a grin, "I guess that makes me a little pistol."

And that she is...

Happy Third Birthday Juju

On Saturday we celebrated this little one's third birthday. Let me just say that February birthdays and big families do not go well together. We have now celebrated Juliana's birthday three times, each time we have been battling some illness. This year it has been a fever/cold bug. Currently all six children are in various stages of high fevers, runny noses, headaches, and some coughing. It was a blessing I got it first so that I am feeling better so I can run the infirmary ward that is now my upstairs.

Nonetheless, a birthday must be celebrated. All Juju wanted was, of course, a yellow cake. Thankfully she didn't get a fever until after her celebrations and was able to enjoy at least one piece of her cake. Bophie commented on Juju's birthday that although Juju was now 3 she still looked like she was 2. While she is small, she is growing in so many ways. Her vocabulary is booming. She is learning colors, shapes, and counting at record speed. She is also my danger alarm. She likes to let me know when her brothers are either causing or headed for any harm. Right now she is laid out on the bottom stair yelling. She is preventing Gabe from trying to climb the stairs.

Several times this weekend I have thought of how many happy little moments Juju and I have shared. I have thought of the joy and sweetness she brings our family. What a blessing to have shared another birthday with her! Here's hoping for speedy recoveries and a healthier February next year!

Friday, February 11, 2011


This seems to be a recurrent theme in our house this week...

It isn't just shoes either. We still haven't located math books. The math manipulatives everyone swears they didn't touch are still not where they belong. We had to just skip that math lesson as it was taking too much time and my frustration meter was off the charts. We did eventually find the missing grammar essay although it took more than twenty minutes and by the time we found it the baby was up from his nap. I gave up on the missing binkies and went and bought more. As far as shoes, I am about 85% sure Joseph threw his shoe out of the cart in the grocery store last week, so I'm probably going to have to break down and buy new ones for him...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Day Late

Or a week late... Depending on how you look at it.
I wanted to post a few pictures my very talented little sister took over the weekend when we celebrated Gabriel's birthday, a week late because of the lingering sickness in the house. Then yesterday got away from me. What was to be my Wordless Wednesday is now a Thursday post which means I get to add my commentary, right?

Little Gabe is such a cutie I am not sure I should add anything to these sweet pictures. He is definitely a photogenic little boy, but maybe I'm just biased.

Look at that smile, I don't think it is just me... He's a cutie pie! A cutie pie that is growing much too quickly.
His temperament is as sweet as his smile. Unless, of course, someone is taking away a toy he would like. He also has some fussy moments when he isn't being served food fast enough. I thought it was only teenage boys who would eat you out of house and home, but this little one is very fond of eating. He knows the crinkle of wrappers much too well.

He makes up for it with his cuddling. His sweet kisses melt my heart, until he uses those teeth to bite my cheek. Then I yelp, he laughs, and is lucky that sweet smile keeps him out of trouble.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I am so blessed to call this my parish.

Breakfast Conversation

Bear: Banana, did you brush your teeth this morning?

Banana: Yes, why? Did you brush yours?

Bear: I brushed them twice last night so I didn't have to!

Me: Sorry, dear, it doesn't quite work that way.

Bear: Well, then can I at least not brush my hair?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Name That Tune Part 2

As if her first song weren't cute enough, Juju again showcases her talent in another song. Installment 1 here.

While she sings beautifully, we may need to cover a little ground before we begin formally homeschooling her.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mt. Never-Rest

Mt. Never-Rest is the name Banana fittingly gave the pile of laundry that grows on my couch after it is removed from the dryer and awaits me folding it and having the girls take it upstairs. I used to call it Mt. Washmore, but her title seems more apropos.

In a house of six children, laundry piles up fast. Throw in the stomach flu we passed around last week and the laundry piled up exponentially. All week my poor machines have huffed and puffed. Thankfully we replaced them recently, so the new guys were up for the challenge.

This afternoon, I worked and worked and finally all the laundry was washed, dried, folded, and even put away. I was basking in a chore completed. Now, less than three hours later, all the kids are in their jammies and in bed, but their laundry bins are no longer empty.

Mt. Never-Rest indeed...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ailments of the Throat

Early in my conversion I fell in love with the saints. I was inspired and fascinated with the examples of virtue. I grew in my faith by leaps and bounds as I learned more and more about the Church Triumphant. When my kids were born, I was determined these holy people would be their heroes. We would read about them, learn about them, use them as constant intercessors. Naturally, some saints became family patrons. St. Joseph, St. Therese, St. Frances of Rome, and many more. All of our children are named for saints we hope they will emulate.

This Thursday is the feast of St. Blaise. As a long time sinus sufferer, sore throats have been a common occurrence for me especially in this Midwest climate with weather that goes up and down. For many years, we received his throat blessing with beautiful blessed candles (I love the candles intertwined). For those unfamiliar with St. Blaise, he is the patron of throat ailments, he received this distinction because he cured a boy choking on a fish bone. On his feast the following blessing is given by priests:

May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.

While I was familiar with St. Blaise and received the blessing, I didn't make much of it. I didn't really find myself asking the intercession of St. Blaise on the occasion I had a sore throat.

Then a few years ago it occurred to me that I had a bigger throat issue than the occasional post nasal drip. That the physical suffering was small in comparison to the spiritual suffering I was enduring, and inflicting on others, by the things I said. That in reality I was much more ailed by a sharp tongue than a sharp fish bone.

Now on this beautiful feast I not only ask to be preserved from physical ailments of the throat, but also to be preserved from the uncharitable, unkind, sharp words that well up in my throat. I recommit myself, with the help of St. Blaise's intercession, to work harder at making sure my throat and words are used to help others and myself grow in faith. To be certain, I will fail before the day is out, but I now see this feast as a necessary tool in my battle to tame my tongue.

O glorious St. Blaise, who by your martyrdom left to the Church a precious witness to the Faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend — without concern for human respect — both by word and example, the truth of that same Faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. You miraculously restored a little child who was at the point of death because of an affliction of the throat.

Grant us your mighty protection in similar misfortunes. And, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification, together with faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which keep us from offending almighty God. Amen.

**Updated to add: I must really need this lesson this year for just after I posted this, I clicked my way to this post.

Doesn't this sound a lot like me: "we have learned to tame just about every wild animal, but the tongue, such a small part of us physically is barely able to be tamed. One may conquer many sins by God’s grace, but speech is usually the last. It almost seems that a different and lower part of our brain has a life of its own when it comes to speech. We can be halfway through saying something before we even realize how stupid and sinful we are being. Every now and then we even forget who we’re talking to or that what we say might get repeated." Do read the full post by Msgr. Pope