Monday, June 30, 2008

Purple Cat Costume--Every Kid Needs One--UPDATED

For Big Ben's birthday, we splurged on the super deluxe train table and Thomas the Tank Engine track, trains and accessories.  Thomas stuff is expensive but you can often find it half price at Michael's Craft Stores.  This has been a great purchase.  Not only has he played with it non-stop for the last four days, but his older sisters (ages 11, 8 and 6) have really gotten into building different track configurations and running the trains on them.  This got me thinking about toys, especially really great toys that kids will really play with and are worth buying. Here are the best toys our gang has loved over the years.
  1. Dollhouse -- We bought one for our oldest daughter for her second Christmas and she loved it almost as much as her younger brother did.  JP really got into setting up the house and family.  We bought extra dolls so that our kids would have a big family. That first dollhouse survived the first four kids and then came our little tornado.  She is a force of nature to be reckoned with.   By her fourth year of life we had to replace our original dollhouse with a new one. 
  2. Kitchen set -- Our kids all love to cook.  I wish I had more patience in the kitchen with them and would allow them to help more often.  A kitchen set was my way of letting our kids "experiment" in the kitchen without making the mess I so dread.
  3. Trampoline -- I know many will think we are crazy for getting a trampoline, but this was a great purchase for us.  We got it as a combo gift for all the kids one Christmas.  They jump on it almost everyday.  They have come up with great and very imaginative games to play on it with their friends.  The tramp wears them out like nothing else.  Sometimes I assign tramp time if I have a particularly rambunctious kid in the house (I alternate between tramp time and laps around the house).  Our fifteen year old jumps everyday for exercise. She's into physical fitness and the tramp makes fitness fun.
  4. Bicycles -- We have a great neighborhood for bike riding.  We live at the end of a cul de sac and our kids can spend hours circling on their bicycles.  We also have several miles of paved paths through the neighborhood and woods. Once we feel confident in a rookie's riding ability, we allow them to head out on their bikes with their big sister.  I always send them with my cell phone.  How did we ever survive childhood without cell phones?
  5. Train table with track and trains -- Daddy has even gotten into the act on this one.  He was so proud of himself when he built a track that had only one piece of curve left over.
  6. Assorted costumes and dress up gear -- Pretend play is really important in childhood. Just check out this article from Scholastic, if you don't take my word for it.  Our next door neighbor laughs to see our little princesses out on the tramp in all their regalia.  We have all manner of cloaks, skirts in every hue (Thanks Nana!), purses, hats, crowns, wings, and rags in a box in their play room.  The best and most worn costume we ever had was a purple cat costume our neighbor gave us when JP was about two.  He loved that costume. He wore it everyday and he wore it everywhere, much to my husband's dismay. I remember even taking him to Burger King wearing it.  We had to bribe him to take it off, so it could be washed occasionally.  I have a picture of him wearing that costume and he has the most self satisfied grin on his face (I'll post it, if I ever come across it).  JP is now 13, loves to be stinky and greasy, drives me crazy with sports stats, and lives to give me a hard time; but to me he will always be an adorable two year old and wearing that purple cat costume.

*** UPDATED:  I found the picture in one of those creative albums I tried to do over the years. Wasn't he adorable?  

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time to Recharge

It's always time to go to confession. . . . when I just can't take it anymore. The whining, the neediness, the sniping, the bickering, the complaining is getting on my last nerve.  It's time to go to confession. . .  when I start getting in the kids' faces and letting them know I am on the edge.  If I hear one more screech from the two year old, if the six year old whines one more time, if the 11 year old huffs again,  I'm gonna go ballistic.  They do not know how lucky they are that I can go to confession today!  I can't wait for 3 o'clock to roll around.  I really need a recharge! Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, June 27, 2008

Look Who's Two!

Happy Birthday Baby Wingnut!  We can't believe how much you have grown.  Time goes by too quickly!

He has been waiting for this day all year.  He loves birthdays and singing the Birthday song.
He actually knew when to blow out the candles and managed it all by himself.
Chowing down on his yummy cake.
Baby Wingnut loves Thomas the Tank Engine.  He got a train table and all the gear he could want for his birthday.  He's played with it all day today.  We had to drag him away just to sing Happy Birthday and have cake.  A train set will be going down on my list of toys that kids will really use and are worth the purchase price! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Locks of Love part 2

I wanted to post several pictures of our day at Robert Andrew's International Hair Salon. These are of The Quiet One.  Locks of Love was her idea.



She has always had very long hair.
Making the first cut.
OJ donated 14 inches.  We are so proud of our girls.

I'll be posting more pictures next week when Special K and I have our locks lopped off.

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Locks of Love part 1

My girls have always had long hair, really long hair, Rapunzel hair, as my oldest daughter called it years ago.

About a year ago our #3 expressed an interest in donating her hair to Locks of Love.  I talked her into waiting until after her ballet recital in June so that making a bun in her hair wouldn't be such a pain.  I told her if she waited, I would do it with her.  This led to her three sisters wanting to join in.  Yesterday we had our first appointment.

Skoshi A has her first cut.
She's a little "tomboy" so this cut will really work for her.
Karate Kid has had "Rapunzel" hair since she was 4.
Wow, that is a load off her head.
Isn't she beautiful!  They really pampered the girls at Robert Andrews! Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wordless

Rock . . . 


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Monday, June 23, 2008

Someone Must Be Praying for Me

I remember being completely fascinated by all things Catholic when I was a child. I remember seeing nuns and wanting to be one. One of my favorite movies was “The Trouble with Angels” and my heroine was the young girl who went on to become a nun. I remember watching, with great curiosity, the election, and installation of Pope John Paul I and I remember my sadness when he passed away so early in his pontificate. I remember how excited my younger brother and I were watching the white smoke rise from the Sistine Chapel announcing the election of John Paul II. I’ve always been drawn to the Catholic Church.

I was raised in a charismatic, evangelical church that eventually became the “no-name cult” in Eastern Washington. Thankfully our parents recognized the danger our family was in and left long before the group took complete control of our congregation. We spent the next several years wandering in search of a community my parents agreed with spiritually. I can’t remember how many different churches we attended in those years, but I don’t recall my parents ever feeling at home in any one denomination.

When I entered college, I stopped going to church, funny since the school I attended was a private christian college. If I met a guy I particularly liked who was a church goer, I’d go just to impress him, but it never stuck. My mother warned me I’d be back; that God had something great planned for me. I’d just laugh.

My second year in school I met my husband Wingnut. He was raised Catholic, but was never confirmed and hardly ever attended Mass. Sometimes he’d go to Mass just to please his mom but it was always short lived. He and I dated off and on for the next three years, mostly long distance. He was at the Air Force Academy and I was in school in Washington State. My senior year Wingnut proposed and I accepted. The week after his graduation from the Academy, we were married, outside of any church affiliation. I often smirk now, when I recall the conversation my mother had with me the day of our wedding rehearsal. She told me he would make me Catholic (like it was some kind of disease) and I reassured her it would never happen. Neither one of us was religious, he didn’t even believe in God and I was hiding from Him. Becoming Catholic was the furthest thing from any of our ideas for our future.

Our first year of marriage was very difficult.  Wingnut was in pilot training which only put that much more pressure on surviving marriage. We both drank way too much and fought almost everyday. We discussed ending our marriage more than once that first year, but then we got pregnant. Pregnancy was beautiful. Hubby and I were both fascinated with the new life going inside me. It added a new dimension to our relationship and re-sparked the fire we once had for each other. When #1 was born it was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to either one of us. The experience itself impressed upon me that God was really there and I had better stop ignoring Him. She was gorgeous and every new thing she did or discovered was a miracle and I knew it.

Wingnut graduated from pilot training and we were assigned to AWACS in Oklahoma City. The first year of #1's life Daddy was deployed a lot. He spent weeks on end in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. We both missed him terribly. I felt an ache and yearning in my heart that just wasn’t being filled and I knew I had to do something to fill it. I began to bug Wingnut to go to church, any church. I wanted our daughter to be raised with a religious background of some kind. Wingnut insisted we find a Catholic church because that was what he knew. I was secretly thrilled. I sought his mother’s advice and I continued to hound him about going. His mother once said if I could get him to go just one time he’d never stop going. She is a wise woman! I finally convinced Wingnut to take us to the Midnight Mass for Christmas at Saint Eugene’s in Oklahoma City and he’s been going to Mass ever since.

We went faithfully every Sunday for a time without doing much more. I expressed a desire to have #1 baptized and so we investigated that option, only to find out we had to jump through a few hoops first. Hubby and I needed to have our marriage convalidated, or blessed by the Church, before having her baptized. We met with our parish priest and he spoke with us about the importance of going to Mass and raising our children in the church. As a protestant, married to a baptized Catholic, I had to promise to allow our children to be baptized and raised Catholic. I willingly agreed and planned on remaining protestant myself. We had our marriage blessed, #1 was baptized, we continued going to Mass, and we registered in our parish.

A few weeks later we began receiving our diocesan newspaper. Our first issue was completely devoted to Natural Family Planning. Neither Wingnut nor I had ever heard of it. We were faithful and responsible contraception users, being open to life was a whole different world to us. I read that paper front to back and I was completely struck with the truth in it. I was impressed with the idea that the church that got the whole idea of the sanctity of life correct had to be correct about most everything. I was intrigued and wanted to learn what more the Church had right. Wingnut and I decided we should go to RCIA classes. I had just become pregnant (a side effect of loving the idea of NFP), so we decided I would attend classes first and he would go the year after our second child was born. The RCIA course in our parish was co-taught by our two priests. It was a no holds barred introduction to Catholicism. I loved every class and would go home to Hubby and tell him each week what it was he really believed. Wingnut grew up going most of his school years to Catholic schools but somehow he had never learned what it was to be truly Catholic. He was amazed by the depth of what the church offered.

We began to pray together and pray especially for people to enter our lives that would help us navigate this new Faith. Almost immediately our prayer was answered. Wingnut had met an extremely orthodox Catholic co-worker who invited us to attend a weekly rosary prayer group. For the next year we attended this prayer group, made life long friends and received the guidance and support our fledgling Catholic Faith needed. I don’t think I thank God enough for the gift of this answered prayer!

I was nearing my initiation into the church and one of our final classes in RCIA was a walk-through teaching Mass. Our priest took us step by step through the entire Mass and explained what would happen and the significance of each event. When he spoke about the Eucharist he explained in detail the form and the intent. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We eat the body of Jesus? I raised my hand and asked: “Do we have to believe that?” Father Fuller stopped and very calmly let us all know that unless we did believe the Eucharist was the body and blood of Jesus we may as well not go on to become Catholic. At that very moment I believed. It was an act of will, but it was also a great gift of Faith given to me at that very moment. I will never forget it. It was the easiest choice I have ever made. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Hubby that he believed the Eucharist was the body and blood of Christ. The choice to believe was just as easy for him.

The rest is quite simple. I went on to enter the Church at the Easter Vigil two months before our son JP was born. Wingnut was finally confirmed by one of the auxiliary military bishops the following fall. We’ve gone on to have four more children, have become NFP instructors for CCL, and have been a mentor couple for engaged couples in our home parish. The path I travelled is still a source of wonder for me. I truly believe there has been someone praying for me my whole life and this is the place those prayers have led me. Print Friendly and PDF

He's a Real Regular Guy


My hubby and I have been on a fiber kick lately and so we always have a box of All Bran in the house.  We manage to choke the stuff down while most of our children enjoy their Count Chocula and Cookie Crisp.  Our youngest, however, loves the All Bran.  He is always bringing us a box of it with a cup in his other hand, asking for cereal.  I try to substitute the bran garbage for Cookie Crisp, but he'll have none of it.  He won't even take milk with the stuff.  He drinks it dry out of the cup like it's some kind of beverage.  Argh!  I think the fiber has kicked in!  I wonder who I can bribe to change his diaper for me.
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Every Mother Wants to Hear


We had a new priest ordained from our parish last weekend.  He is a sweet, young man who was baptized and raised in our parish , who served faithfully at the altar as an altar boy, and whose parents are very active in volunteering and serving the church in many ways.  It is a wonderful tradition for a new priest to say his very first mass in his home parish.  For catholics, ordination is as big of a deal as a wedding.  The parents of the ordained are honored, there is a reception, gifts, etc. This past Sunday, Father Regan said his first mass at Sacred Heart.

Father Regan said a beautiful mass.  The priest invited to preach gave an inspiring and memorable homily.  But the part of the mass everyone will remember most, came at the end. Father Regan spoke at the end of the mass about some of the traditions surrounding priestly ordination, especially regarding honoring the parents of a newly ordained young man.  When a priest is ordained, the bishop consecrates the new priests hands by rubbing a fair amount of chrism oil over his palms.  This oil is subsequently wiped off with a special cloth called the maniturgium.  This cloth is then presented to the mother of the newly ordained priest.  Father Regan then brought forward a beautiful wood box that contained his maniturgium to be presented to this mother. Choking back tears he thanked his mother for all she had done for him; from bandaging his childhood scrapes to supporting his vocation.  As he spoke his words of deep gratitude you could hear the sniffles and see the tears being wiped away by every mother in the church.  There was a small contingent of nuns toward the front of the church, invited by the family for this special celebration, and they were all weeping.  As a mother I thought how blessed Mrs. Regan was to have such a son and how blessed she was to hear such love and appreciation for all she had done and sacrificed for her son.  Every mother present was blessed by his tribute.  Thank you, Father Regan, from every mother of Sacred Heart.
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday Stat Boy!


Today is our son's 13th birthday.  It's been quite a ride. . .


Full of sweetness. . . 



pure joy . . . 


and a little silliness. . . 


Happy Birthday!!!!



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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Torture of Summer Swim Lessons


Our family belongs to the local pool and our children have all learned to swim there.  Currently our three middle girls are in swim lessons.  So, I've been making the morning trek to the pool to sit and watch my little ones agitate the water.  This morning was particularly painful, as it was only 65 degrees outside and heaven knows how cold in the pool.  It had to have been freezing because the littlest ones began whimpering before their tootsies hit the water.  My brave little girl(6) hopped right in and immediately her lips turned a lovely shade of purple.  

I really began to feel sorry for the little ones.  Some of these children are only 2 and 3 years old. Three of the youngest swimmers began crying to get out of the pool, much to the disappointment of their mothers.  All three were plopped forcibly back into the frigid water, kicking and screaming. After several minutes of crying one mother gave up and pulled her two year old daughter out of the pool, as she did so, she let the little girl know she was heading directly home and to bed. Now, I have a two year old; at least he will be next week; and I can't imagine telling him he would go to bed if he didn't get back in the pool.  How could I expect him to understand that? 

A second mother plopped her screaming daughter into the pool and left her there the entire 30 minute class.  That poor little girl cried the entire class and refused to participate in any way, shape, or form.  She just stood there, waist deep, wailing for her mother.  She couldn't have been older than 3.  

The third mom must have threatened her little guy with something pretty powerful.  He stayed in the pool, whimpering the entire class, turning his pitiful little face to his mother with eyes that begged for mercy.  He managed to participate in class between sobs.  The poor lifeguards were in complete distress wondering what to do with the criers.

Poor little dears.
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Welcome to my blog!  This first post will be a quick explanation of the purpose of this blog.  I suppose I should begin by introducing myself. My name is Mau.  I am married with children, in fact my hubby and I have six beautiful children ranging from 15 years old to nearly 2 years old. We are Roman Catholic in the true sense of the term.  We love being Catholic!  We love the Church, the Holy Father, the Mass and our Blessed Mother!

We home school our six kids and always have.  I also love being a home school mom!  I'm one of those moms that has next year planned before the current year is finished and I love new ideas and curricula.  I've tried packaged programs but I really enjoy building my own and doing my own thing.

We are also a military family.  My hubby has been in the Air Force 21 years and was prior enlisted in the Army for 2 years.  We love America and are proud to serve our country.

So what is the point of this blog?  For me it is a journal of my days as a wife, mother, educator, catholic, and any other title I can think of for myself.  I've come to realize how fleeting this time is and I want to document, as much as I can, our lives together. I hope to encourage other women like myself, express ideas--new and old, share my thoughts, joys, frustrations, and often very strong opinions.  The topics are limitless!

So once again, welcome and God Bless!
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