Wednesday, February 25, 2015

{Lent} Sharing a good read

...over at Aggie Catholic on personal relationship with Christ.

Being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him.” -Pope Francis
We were happy to discover the sweet little church minutes away offered evening confession and mass

I really liked this quote to share with my family:
“Acquire the habit of speaking to God as if you were alone with Him, familiarly and with confidence and love, as to the dearest and most loving of friends. Speak to Him often of your business, your plans, your troubles, your fears— of everything that concerns you. Converse with Him confidently and frankly; for God is not wont to speak to a soul that does not speak to Him.—St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Monday, February 23, 2015

Daybook- end of February already?

Outside my window...Brrrrr! A cold front is moving in, and temps drop from 73 to 39 in a few hours! Gray, cloudy, windy. Expecting to hear some sniffles with that big of a swing in temps.

or in same day

I am thinking...I'm happy we live close to Max's college, so when he needs a break from school, he can spend some of the weekend with us, building playmobile castles for his little sisters, who adore him for it. 

I am praying God-children and kids I've sponsored for confirmation.
And for persecuted Christians around the world.

I am thankful...that we are almost done with the little house demo, and can start to think of starting our next project.

In the kitchen...roasted pork butt, roasted gold potatoes and sweet potatoes with onions, broccoli and 
Pecan pie to round it off.

I am creating...project to clean up and install the medicine cabinet (out of the little house) into the girls' vanity area of their bathroom.

I am take the kids to this exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts
It's so exciting to see Catholic works displayed in the museums. 

I am (still) reading...
Jesus of Nazareth (Pope Benedict)
Four Witnesses (Rod Bennett)

Because of my friend Carol's enthusiasm for Swallows and Amazons, we started reading it this week.
Kids love it. It's fun to imagine a sailing adventure with siblings.
They did not like Lawson's Ben and Me. They just couldn't get into the mouse's p.o.v. of Ben Franklin.

I am watching...Downton, well, I will be later, because uploads the video later and later the following day from when its aired, making me practice patience. Haha.

I am listening to...Lilly and Ceci play Zingo. Craig took Nick, Euly and my nephew to a Mikes Christi youth retreat talk. Molly is doing schoolwork so it's just me and the girls hanging out.
Ceci made us dinner, and we prayed our rosary, and now they are trying to settle down for the night. My kids all negotiate during game playing, it used to drive me crazy, but I actually think there is value to some of the chatter.

I am hoping...they get a lot out of the retreat and tell me all about it. The topic is "The Virtue of Unselfishness.'

I am looking forward to...a good week of school, my middles have a plan of how to get their work done this week, with the goal of finished math lessons by mid May. They have incentives and a schedule. I hope to have limited distractions to help get them started off on the right foot.

I am try to give my kids more direct attention and eye contact, instead of answering questions on the run.

Around the house...finally making plans with my Sheetrock guy. He looks like he will be able to do the work, which he estimated taking 7-8 days. Not sure how soon he can start, or how we will live around the work happening. Craig patched some areas but with his work and travel, the sheetrock repair project would take a long time. We are getting used to the flaws, but I know we need to have it repaired to ensure the foundation repairs we made sufficiently.

I am pondering...Lenten thoughts
Saint John's words:

He must increase,
 I must decrease.

Good words to be my Lenten motto.

I am rambling and wondering... about helping my children foster a friendship with Jesus, to feel close to Him, that "personal relationship" that is important for one's well being.

We are discussing how to change habits that lead unintentional sins, be conscious of our actions and words, use self control. So we are trying to get to know Jesus through reading this lent
Through mass, and sacraments,
Through holy hour,
And sacrifices we can relate our "suffering" to Christ
And prayer to increase of faith.

Lilly said she really wished she could see Jesus in His body. It's challenging to bridge that longing to  understand God Christ's presence in the Eucharist.
I know if have felt that way and wished I was on that road to Emmaus many times. We also are trying to think of and to look for Christ in the people around us.

When getting to know anyone, we have to spend time together. We share feelings, thoughts, hopes and aspirations for the future and take time to listen to them. When we love another, we want to be with this person whom we love. This is true for all types of relationships. Love seeks to be with the object of its love. Jesus is love. Jesus is wholly present in the Blessed Eucharist, all of Him, so to better our relationship, we have to spend time.

We started using the Holy Defender cards just to throw out random anti Catholic or confused questions Catholics get so they will be a little better prepared.

A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...
"The truth is like a lion;
You don't have to defend it.
Let it loose; it will defend itself."
St. Augustine of Hippo

One of my favorite things...
helping the girls get to sleep, especially when Craig is out of town, and they keep me company. I love listening to them sleep.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
School, maybe passport renewal, more government form filings, dance class, teen dance party. We are going to receive another kitten from an old friend.  This one is a descendant from my sister's good mouser cats. She gave one to my friend many years ago and now my friend is selling her small farm, I said I'd take any kittens who needed to find a home.

A peek into my day...we don't have a lot left on the demo. I took photos each day this week of the progress, but really it looks a mess and a fire, so I'll spare you.  Almost done. I want the dumpster hauled off this week.
Here's some of the mess:

I am pondering...celebrating/living Lent in different climates. We have days of spring like weather. Is it easier or harder if the weather is bleak? If you look out at a gray day and say, yep, it' still Lent. (Gray days feel like penance to me, sunny days are like heaven!) Or are others not affected by weather and temperature as I am?  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Little Long, A Little Messy and a Sweet, Sweet 16 year Old Son'sBirthday Daybook

Outside my everywhere I look!


See the butterfuy?
a Clouded Sulphur
 according to this identification website

I am thinking...young love is sweet and exciting and I have learned to trust my children and their choices of friends.

I am praying for..conversions of sinners, conversions of non believers, reunion of the faithful into the one, holy, catholic, apostolic church.

I am thankful...that my kids talk to me about life, their experiences, opinions and dreams. Life is good.

In the kitchen...we still have some these. 
Come eat them for me, quick, before Wednesday.

I am creating...Our garden.
We cleared rocks and stumps from future gardens plot.
We planted seeds of a variety of veggies.
When we have other projects done,
we will build the  gate and fence.

I am sign the kids up for four more weeks of dance classes and another teen dance. Might as well learn while they are excited to try new dances. As much as they dance now, I should be able to use as a PE dance credit.

I am reading...
John Treegate's Musket
Peter Treegate started in Boston, spent some time at see and with an interesting Scotsman in South Carolina. We enjoyed this read aloud, maybe meant for a younger set but we enjoyed reading Wibberly's book knowing we have many more of his to look forward to. It corresponded with this time period in our Teaching Company High school American history.

Thinking of reading a short book on Ethan Allen by Stewart Holbrook, then Captain Courageous and assigning A Spy in Williamsburg.

For kids Lenten reading:
I have for me:
Four Witnesses  by Rod Bennett in my Lenten reading basket, but had time last night to read and started reading about Saint Clement of Rome and couldn't put it down. I love learning about this time period of the Early Church. This book is easy to read, run to keep reading and get lost in and learn from Bible references and other supporting books. 

I am watching...
Little House on the Prairie. We finished season 2. Now we have to wait because we don't have season three yet.
Lilly has Frozen on right now, lounging up against me.
We watched School House Rock for a grammar and multiplication refresher to lighten the mood for school. 
Craig and I watched Catching Fire and he and Nick watched Fury.

I am listening to...
Lilly and Ceci play dress up. 
They found old shears for curtains, draped around themselvs and walk into rooms loudly introducing themselves or taking turns with intros:
"Here is Cecilia Marie..."
"Here is Lilliana Rose..."

I am hoping...
bringing a tv into my room and dusting off the wii will get my rear in gear and in shape. I love the wii but never saw big results in the past. I saw results from walking, something I can't seem get in routine here. The girls love to do it with me.

I am looking forward to...Easter. We always host my family SO that means I have to get a lot of work done around here: little house removal, fence repair, spring clean up, Sheetrock contracted, paint colors selected... Gotta get busy!

I am little I know! 

I am pondering...
Euly and the reality she is old enough to go to a cotillion and have her sisters help primp over her. See post here.

A favorite quote/verse/prayer for today...from the prayers for Ash Wednesday Mass:

Let us pray.
O God, who desirest not the death, but the repentance of sinners : graciously regard the frailty of human nature; and in thy goodness vouchsafe to bless
 these ashes, which we purpose to put upon our heads in token of our lowliness and to obtain forgiveness : so that, as we know ourselves to be but ashes, and on account of our guilt, doomed to return to dust we may deserve to obtain of thy mercy the pardon of all our sins and the rewards promised to the penitent. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

One of my favorite things...our Sunday tradition: up early for Mass, Ccd, lunch out, relaxing the rest of the day. Today is Nick's birthday and he wanted key lime pie for desert. Yum. I didn't have time to make one, so we picked up a delicious pie from Pappadeaux. 

Adding other things, wanting to focus on family prayer life and developing habit of spiritual reading.

Something that made me laugh, chuckle..mommy parody videos and her blog.

A peek into my Saturday...
the deadline to meet the insurance company's demand that we remove the little house, we made some mad progress this weekend.
To answer the question of whether we really needed to get rid of it:
Yes, rotten wood in places we would have never seen until problems were unfix able.
It is sad to see it go, but it needs to go, so we are making progress with it.
Craig was sad to see that it hadn't been that long since it received a new roof, but it had every layer of every previous roof making it sag. If there is a job, especially as big as a new roof, do it right.

Oh well, so long little house.
Hopefully the next post you see with the little house is an open space (Since I have to give that to the insurance company) and the dumpster leaving full of old house stuffs.
We saved lots of materials to find new life in an other project.

What it looked like at 9:00 am, after removing the big windows for easier access to final junk removal.

The guys trying to save wood floor, but this room was unsave-able, too badly damaged from either excessive water or excessive dryness.
At about 1:00 pm
It reminded me of the view into a doll's house.
A little progress at 3:30

About quitting time at 5:30
 we are sorting what can be burned, to what needs to go to the dumpster.
We have been thinking of tornado, hurricane and fire victims all day.

So instead of me saying goodbye after making you look at our mess of a little house, 
I will leave you with the view of these beautiful, feisty, and very funny girls:

Have a great week and happy/successful start to the Lenten Season!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Their First Cotillion Ball

I hope they have many more experiences like this.
We spied an email in the homeschool group back before Christmas about Etiquette and Dance classes ending with a Dinner and a Ball. 
Nick and Euly love to dance, and asked if the classes could be part of their Christmas presents. Good idea, I thought! They asked their cousin to join them since we now are practically neighbors. :)
We started in January and the Cotillion was held last night for St. Valentine's Day weekend.
They had so much fun.
They enjoyed the introduction and walk through a sabre arch by volunteers from nearby Texas A&M. The dinner was wonderful, according to Nick, and Euly enjoyed the dessert. Quite a treat.

Let's all go!
They clean up quite prettily/handsomely!

Euly recommended Nick bring something for his "date." Nick thought a rose might be a nice touch. They didn't know who beforehand, they were to be matched up with a partner to escort in under the Arch, after being introduced, then to have the first and last dance with this partner. Otherwise, all other dances were open with others in attendance. 

Waiting to see who their partners are and when they get to start the evening.

and then I left. I hope to get more photos from my sister and photographer there and I will update when I get them,
They had a great time, talking of learning new dances, enjoying their time with other teens.

If you have the opportunity, I recommend the experience.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nick {a birth story}

Fifteen years later...
I started this post last year and didn't finish it.
Bear with my crazy thought process and punctuation horrors as I write it now at
Sixteen years later...

Nick's pregnancy went on and on. He was (at least) two weeks overdue. His labor and delivery was wonderful but also the most frightening experience of my six births.

After Molly had dental surgery to remove her top four teeth, she went on a nursing strike.
Who could blame her? The gums had to feel so different.
She knew I brought her there, and didn't trust me the same. I had no choice, but still sad that it changed our relationship so drastically.
So around that time my fertility started back, with no signs to me. 

A few months later, my oldest sister had a miscarriage of her fourth child. We went to a mass at her home for the baby with her husband's uncle officiating. 
It was beautiful and we were all so filled with emotions related to loss and sadness of what and who could have been. Nick was born the following February so I was pregnant, didn't know it, at that time. I had felt in my heart another little one would be coming along for us. My sister did have another pregnancy and gave Nick a cousin/friend not too much younger. Soon after, I was surprised when I felt that distinct nausea, but since I had not missed cycle, I could only guess when I became pregnant.

After my first two hospital birth experiences I had decided I wanted a home birth. I heard the reputation of a midwife in my area back from my first encounter with La Leche with my oldest son.

I met with Mimi and her apprentice Christine and knew we had a good fit.
For the first part of the pregnancy we met at her office. Then things changed for her practice and we had home visits for the last half of the pregnancy. Easy for me!
This all might sound very unscientific and un-medical, which is what I wanted and sought. I didn't want unnecessary medical interventions. I wanted a lay nurse midwife to guide my labor slowly and naturally, using old wisdom at home.
But since she did not have access to the medical community expensive tools like an ultrasound machine to determine due date; we were operating on age old midwife techniques and some guessing.
I think I was due in January, but I couldn't be sure. I usually measured big and this one was measuring on the very big end.
At birth, Nick was 10 pounds 12 ounces, 24 inches long.
Yep, a full two feet!

He started measuring real big, I started feeling as if his foot should come out my mouth. Baby all over.

Finally, on St. Valentine's, 
we went to bed
I woke up
excited, nervous!
Woke Craig.
He called midwife.
I labored.
Craig prepared.
A knock at the door,
A moan from me,
Time to catch!
Everything went lightning fast.
I started to push and push and push,
As not to tear.
Finally a head!
Man, that was hard!!
What? I'm not done yet?
Only the head!! 
A toddler cry from bedroom 
took Craig from my side.
Mimi encouraged me with new strength to push the rest of my baby out 
slowly, slowly, slowly, gently,
As not to tear.
(First born's fourth degree tear memories still fresh).

In those moments Craig had returned to my side,
to his post and duty of holding my hand.
He has strong, gentle, patient hands.
I find comfort in holding and squeezing while pains of labor grab me.
He gives me confidence.
Or helps me find it in myself.
Deep down.

He returned,
also came a little toddler girl with long messy blonde hair. 
No use telling her to go back to sleep.
She stood at my shoulder, 
and never left her new brother's side.
She had always been there with me anyway.

And I'm holding this beautiful perfect baby in my arms..
Only us two in the world..
From a distance I hear Mimi telling me to talk to my baby and encourage him to breathe, 
Then ...
Yelling at me to talk to my baby and tell him to breathe.
I felt I was in a fog...
Or a tunnel...
On a cloud...
In heaven...?
Far away voice getting more and more insistent:  Mary, tell your baby to BREATHE!!

Oh! Wow!

Something's wrong?
I start rubbing and talking to this beautiful, perfect baby in my arms.
He finally took a breath and all was fine.
I don't know how much time passed.
Probably moments..hopefully not minutes.

When Nick didn't talk until after he was three, I remembered and wondered at how long were those moments? 
Could this time have caused problems for him that lead to speech delays and dyslexia? 
Mommy guilt overwhelmed me for years.

But that day,
those moments were all joy. 
No fear, no guilt, 
all joy!

Mimi and Christine were midwife doulas all in one. They had an herbal bath ready for me and brought Nick in to me. Took care of everything!
I enjoyed every minute. 

Molly was still at my side.
At his side.

Once settled and clean and relaxing in my recliner, Molly on the arm next to me,
Mimi put the little hat on his head and told Molly her job was to make sure that hat stayed on his head because he needed the warmth. 
It was February.
Molly did. 
Constantly checking the hat. 
For days.
She stayed next to him.

They are my closest in age,
at two and half years.
And have been close friends.
I told myself he didn't talk because she talked for him.
She always understood everything he said even when every one else, 
...even me...
didn't understand his words.

Those moments after birth thankfully didn't hurt his brain as I had feared.
Dyslexia is hard, no one knows why some have it, maybe genetic. 
It makes his heart stronger and his will more resolved.
I wish I never wasted a moment in worry. 

I'm very thankful and proud to be the mother of this young man! 
Happy birthday, Nick!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

At the Zoo: A little visit to see our fav's

This science day, after the big kids went to class, Lilly and I decided to skip the museum and walk over to the zoo.

We always have different favorite animals on our visits. Today Lilly decided she was going to love the meerkats (on the way over) since her siblings we talking about their adorableness.

I likes this crazy cartoony looking guy.
And this tomato frog, isn't he the cutest?
Lilly really liked the Komodo Dragon 
and I liked the thick wall between them.

She was also a little happy to see the giraffes.

But these Ankole Cattle had her talking about those big old horns for the rest of the day.

Lilly has a birthday month and year twin with Bailey, the four year old elephant, and we always stop by to say hey.

Lilly wanted me to ride the carousel with her. We were surrounded by other moms, all with little babies. It is strange how quickly time flies. Wasn't I just one of those? But no, I could hop on the seal next to her panda and race around the carousel. I am enjoying this phase of motherhood, having my youngest be mostly independent (for a 4 year old).