Thursday, March 27, 2014

Some Hits, Some Misses :: Seven Quick Takes

1. (Hit) 

About two weeks ago, I entered a contest at Domestically Speaking for a set of dishes from  Pfaltzgraff, and I won. They arrived Wednesday amidst some toilet leaking, so I only got as far as washing them and eating some strudel cake off of the one salad plate. However, I am impressed with their quality. The stoneware and solid edges make them less likely to chip than my porcelain plates.

2. (Miss)

TV time went sky high this week thanks to my poor planning and exhaustion. Back of track next week though because...

3. (Hit)
We are going away for the weekend, people! YAY! Every now and then the military will have spouse or family retreats. We were finally after 7 years able to go on one. Hallelujah! Best part its at an indoor water park. The chickadees will be able to have some serious fun running and splashing after this loooonnng winter.
4.  (Miss)
 Car repairs this month have totaled to be around $1300 buckaroos which was not planned but thankfully our new budget has given at least that wiggle room. We only have one car right now; we have looked into getting another one but prices are a little steep even in the used section. I would love to ride out our time here in NY with one car since the weather and road conditions are really hard on a vehicle and not to mention the state taxes are cray-cray. Mental. Tennessee spoiled us so!

5. (Hit)  

Sarah's series, First Steps Toward Teaching from a State of Rest been giving me so much to consider about my motivations, my goals, and where they are fall in light of Christ's asking of me. I have come to the conclusion that as a legalist I am more likely to fall into checking the box mode faster than I am going to fall into the slovenly mode. I am thinking about cycling between a very book led curriculum that would be more rigorous and between a year that would be more immersion led. For example, this year Leo started  learning to read, write/copy/transcribe, story sequencing, and a mix of Math (I should have used Saxon 1 this year but I went with K. He's a math guy, so we are working on some addition, subtraction, multiplication alongside of K.). We have also been slowly starting All About Spelling. PAL has definitely helped him process reading and letters, but the focus has been on just getting these skills down. Next year, our plan is to simplify and practice all these wonderful skills we have been starting to master this year. I promise to expand on that later!

6. (Miss)

 Stations of the Cross, Adoration, and Holy Mass have been missing from my Friday nights. For some reason, I just can not make it. The plan was for Jeff and me to trade off each Friday of Lent; however, he only has gotten one week, and I have yet to get in one due to his work schedule or car repairs or me being ill.

7. (Hit)

My wonderful best friend who made the wreath for me also did this for Eva, her God-daughter:

Inside the card it read:
 We gratefully acknowledge a contribution in honor of :
Eva W.
given by
Awesome God Parents
You are remembered daily in the prayers of the Sisters.
Aren't they the best? I was in tears of appreciation that they would give such a wonderful gift to Eva.
For more Quick Takes head over to Conversion Diary and click away!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Celebrating the Bella Boo turning Four

Birthdays around here are pretty quiet, and they are often accompanied by a "boughten cake" as Leo says. At first, it made me sad that Leo would ask for a store made cake, since I do love to bake. However, I now get into the spirit of taking each child to Walmart or Kroger and having them pick a theme cake. This is the first year that Bella wanted a "boughten cake" instead of cupcakes.

Leo loves to plan birthdays months and occasionally a year ahead, so he had naturally been discussing this very important topic with her back in January. Finally, she settled on a Hello Kitty cake and party theme. I have to say the easiest so far to find decorations and cake themes.

On Sunday, she picked her restaurant, "the peanut place" (Texas Roadhouse) because as she says, "peanuts are good, and I want them to clap for me WHILE I eat my cake." Needless to say the last part didn't happen, but she still enjoyed her outing after Holy Mass.
Bella is completely herself in every circumstance; I immensely enjoy watching her be Bella. She is feisty, direct, and keeps very much to her inner world. She juxtaposes her love of violence with the sweet princess loving side. She has no issue in standing up for herself when she deems it necessary; she takes the world by the reigns and drags it down to her level. I appreciate that. I relish it quite frankly. She acts in a controlled decisive manner that only a Choleric could.

Some famous recent quotes:

When we were watching Mr. Peabody and Sherman at the movie theater, she says in response to the bullying part, "I'd stab her." She didn't look at me just sat there eating her popcorn.
"Bella, that's a jail-able offence. Wanna go prison for stabbing some brat?'
"I could handle prison."
(Does anyone else see the scene from Watchmen when Rorschach yells, "None of you seem to understand, I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me!")

"If you don't give me the map, I will tell ALL of your secrets." Told to her imaginary employees over the plastic Diego cell phone.

"Jesus, whose that guy?"
"Bella, you know the guy that died for sins that is on the huge cross at Church? That's Jesus."
"OH yeah, the bleeding guy. We should get him a Band-Aid."

"Kill all the heretics." Her shining moment when during the game of Risk, she conquered Australia by cheating.

Let's not forget the time she screamed, "I will eat your face off," as she proceeded to play Candy Land.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sometimes its just a Backpack

I recently was emailed some news about a boy being teased over wearing a Little Ponies (here on out we will be using LP for Little Ponies) backpack. The sender obviously thought that I would agree with the idea that boys should not be allowed to wear a LP backpack. Really? Of all the things in the world to worry about or discuss, a LP backpack on a child is the number one priority. Not Ukraine. Not Syria. Not abortion. A backpack. I have several objections to this idea that a boy can not wear any backpack he wants:

Look upon this horror of immorality.
Shudder in its utter hatred for maleness.  
1. I was not aware that inanimate objects were capable of holding a sex or gender. Sex is a biological form which either male or female is ascribed. Gender is the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex according to Merriam Webster. Who decides these traits? Why, that would be society at large. So, the backpack is not actually male or female; it is neutral. Could society decide what gender should prefer that backpack? Of course, and that is what is occurring.

 2. Double standards are abounding for male children currently. Girls are routinely being encouraged to break into typical male dominated areas. Boys, however, are not being invited into more female dominated areas; in fact, this controversy proves that. Should a girl not be allowed to have a batman backpack? She is not operating inside of the gender stereotype. If this statement was ever to be uttered, you better believe a lawsuit would be happening. But that boy wearing a LP backpack, that is pure ridiculousness. I mean who does he think he is a girl. GAH! I hope we all see the absurdity in those statements.

Finally, some good ole fashion violence!
 I love "objectifying" as a man's hobby! Ye-haw ladies!
3. LP is way more morally acceptable than most other characters I see on these "male" backpacks. Batman is a sociopath that barely has a grip on morality. SpongeBob is a rude critter that refuses to use basic manners or common sense; he is also extremely destructive to property. Oh, my personal faves are the WWE backpacks because scantily clad women who are regularly objectified by these men (who probably don't wear LP backpacks like these guys) are really meeting my understanding of Theology of the Body.

4. Why are we as parents not embracing our children's likes or dislikes? Are we afraid of them getting teased? Are we afraid of being ridiculed ourselves? Are we seriously thinking that a LP backpack will turn our sons into homosexuals?

 My chickadees are individuals; they do not fit into any mold that society has. They fit into the mold that God created for them. One of my biggest responsibilities from God is to allow the children given to me to have the courage to be who GOD created them to be. Personal expression as long as morally and spiritually in line with the guidelines provided to us from God is important. In fact, it is necessary for the growth of our children into the saints they were created to be.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Charity :: Weekends with Chesterton

Today, I failed in my vocation as a mother. I uttered words that wounded a little boy's heart and that were not even comprehensible to his wonderfully sweet mind. I was angry; I was unsure of how to proceed, so I just blurted out words that caused him to doubt my unconditional love and all of my reminders about kindness. I allowed the devil to get the best of my human nature.
Thankfully, God gives me these moments in order to show me my fragility, my lack of faith, my lack of virtue cultivated, my pride. Humility was gained when I had to kneel beside a crying little soul and apologize for being utterly cruel.


Finding this little quip in Orthodoxy, my failure was brought to my mind once again. How many times do I make myself unlovable to those given to me from God? To the world around me? Am I so unaware of my actions? How does God keep loving me when all I do is stumble?

 The domestic church is a wonderful place to build our children up, but often there is that reminder of our fallen nature. Everyday toil, routine, worries, anxieties, and exhaustion compound to bring out the intrinsic selfish nature. Priorities begin to get rearranged; sin exerts itself over the household. We fail to see the members of our domestic church as needing the charity of which Chesterton speaks.

What I am sure of is that tomorrow I get to begin again; I get to pick up my cross once again. We all do. We don't even have to wait till the next day. We get to make a continual conversion to Christ. Tomorrow, I will remind myself that I can love the unlovable. I can find joy in these souls entrusted to me.

Find other insights from Chesterton at Amongst Lovely Things!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why I Need to Pray for This Guy

Marriage. Are you in one? I am with a pretty awesome guy. However, I do not always remember that he was given to me from God. Not only does he carry the responsibility of assisting me on my journey to heaven but that he is to lay his life down for me as Christ did for the Church.

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
Ephesians 5: 25-30 ( Douay-Rheims)

I would love to say that I always know when he is struggling or when I need to step up my affections in order for him to feel loved. I would love to tell you that I always pray for him when he crosses my mind. The truth: I don't. I allow the demands of everyday, the diaper changing, the laundry, the eating, etc. to get in between true priorities for my marriage. Not to mention all of the times I have allowed myself to give into the temptations of self-pity or anger of past hurts.  
So, when Mary at Better Than Eden announced her intentions to complete a novena to St. Joseph for her husband, I was on board! Her words were the sharp reminder that I easily become complacent . Why not allow the Graces gained strengthen and lift up this man that God made for me! I even created a little pamphlet to print out and leave by my Rosary and Bible. Feel free to click over here to print it out and enjoy it!
When we were struggling as a couple two years ago and during our recent deployment, I prayed the Novena for the Family to St. Josemaria Escriva. I found his words challenge me to be openly receptive to my vocation as a wife. I was forced to redefine my expectations to that of God's truth for my marriage. My anger, my resentment did not leave automatically but melted away leaving a clear memory in which to refill with our best moments and room to create more.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Response :: Weekends with Chesterton

Before Lent began, I wrote a post explaining how my family would be spending Lent. I received one wonderful comment from a reader; however, I received about fifteen emails that spanned the gap of curious to down right rude. What was everyone so up in a ruffle about you ask. Well, it was our choice to go lacto-ovo vegetarian. I figured I would address some questions that were emailed and remark on some points that were brought up in the emails ( I did email them back personally, but I do feel that some points are worth mentioning).

Q. Why would we choose to go meatless for all of Lent?

A: Lent is about penance as well personal sacrifice. Food is highly regarded in this house. We love to eat; we love to host gatherings centered on food; we love to seek out new cuisines as well as restaurants; we love to find odd and exotic ingredients. Lent is not the appropriate time for any of that. In eating simply and without meat, we are reminded of those who eat simply every day out of necessity as well as those who are starving. After Lent, we use the money we have saved to donate a large purchase to our St. Vincent de Paul Society. This sacrifice allows time for our family to find other ways to bond outside of eating.


Q. What about social obligations? Do you really not let your kids eat cake at birthday parties?

A: My husband and I agree that Lent is not a time of frivolity. It is a time for introspection; therefore our social calendar is not filled nor do we plan large get-togethers. The Great Lent is only 46 days. Seriously, not that big of deal. If my chickadees can not handle missing out on some minor social forays, then I have to re-evaluate my parenting.
My children are NOT allowed to eat sweets during Lent, period. Learning self-discipline is more important to learn than appeasing people at the cost of your promise to God. If/when we do attend something during Lent where there will be sweets, we like to:
1. Remind our chickadees that they are not to eat willy-nilly but mindfully.
2. They are not to announce that they are abstaining but to just go through the line.
3. If cake is offered, we ask if we could possibly take it home for Sunday's consumption.
In my opinion, no hostess will feel embarrassed if you still take the cake to consume at a later time. Would you be offended if a child was allergic to the eggs in the cake? No, you would make a mental note for next time and move on. We have Muslim and Hindi friends that do not consume pork; should they have to eat pork to spare my feelings? No, and neither should anyone be expected to appease someone at the cost of their integrity.


Q: Well little-miss-stick-in-the-mud, are there any breaks? Any fun?

A: The feasts of St. Patrick (March 17), St. Joseph (March 19), and the Annunciation (March 25) are all feast days where there will be sweets but in a limited capacity. Sundays are a day of rest and is a feast day. We do allow them to watch a movie or two but we keep our Lenten abstinences. We have found that it interrupts the flow of Lent making each habit harder to overcome.  We do have a Lenten birthday, my oldest daughter Bella, and our anniversary is on March 21 (3-2-1! And that is why we got married on a Wednesday, people). The birthday is celebrated on Sunday because Bella is not a recognized saint yet. Sorry, she can have her cake and gift on Sunday previous. Same with our anniversary; the Sunday closest is the observed date.  
Did you make through it all? If yes, I think it could count as a Lenten mortification. If not, check out more fun at Sarah's lovely blog!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Some Catch-up

Last week, I managed a blog post a day! Whoo-hoo. I seem to have fallen off the wagon this week. That's what's so great about Lent though: the cementing of new habits or the trial of new habits.

Monday, we started our school lesson back up with some great success. The break was a nice refresher before Lenten challenges were upon our family. Tuesday, we had a get together with a close family friend and her three lovely energetic boys. There were pancakes, king cakes, masks, and well mayhem to boot. Next year, I would like to make a gigantic effort to get the house ready starting on Clean Monday (since we in the Latin Rite do not start our fast until Wednesday, it will make a nice segue into Lenten disciplines).
Ash Wednesday started off our penitential season nicely. The chickadees accepted the schedule with grace this year. Questions about the television and snacks were far and few between; I was super impressed. It is amazing how the energy of the season can pick you up out of the mid-winter blahs. Deciding to get our ashes last night in lieu of the morning was a comforting reminder that we never walk alone on this path of sacrifice and penance.

These last two days, I have found it quite easy to fit in my Chaplet of the Seven Dolors of Mary and my Rosary. I was perusing through my book shelves and found quite a bit of literature on the Seven Sorrows as well as variations of the Chaplet. It might be interesting to pray the variations throughout Lent. The one thing I enjoy the most about our Lenten schedule is that more time seems to open up even as we add to our days. This Saturday will be cleaning the toy room and re-organizing some bedrooms, so that Destructo can have his own bedroom now. I guess five is a great time to get a man cave. He already has some grand plans!

*In the first picture is my Chaplet of the Seven Dolors of Mary made by The Sisters of Carmel. They do such lovely work!*

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Some Clicks of Interest

I hope y'all are faring well this Sunday; we have unfortunately been caught up by exhaustion.(*the cultures came back clean! so no new bug. thank you, Jesus*) We missed Holy Mass today due to the baby throwing up and the chickadees sleeping in till 11 am which never happens around here. So, today I was able to click around while nursing (non-stop) a rather pathetic Eva.

Here are some great giveaways:

1. Jessica at Shower of Roses is giving away a rather sweet hand-painted Bl. Zelie Martin doll from St. Luke's Brush.

2. Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things is giving a spot in the Restore Retreat. I am so excited for this on-line retreat!

Here are some small businesses at which to pick up some Easter Basket items:

1. Huggie Saint Dolls: I just ordered three to fill the chickadees baskets. She was kind enough to do two customs orders for us (St. Felix of Nola and St. Julia of Corsica) as well as a St. Rose of Lima.

2. Juniper Plum: On their Etsy site, they have the most beautiful icon prints as well as religious based lacing cards.

3. Jesse Tree Treasures: I love the Parable Pouch to put into an Easter basket!

Here are some wonderful resources for Lent:

1. Audio Sancto and Romans10seventeen have great sermons to listen to on your computer or tablet. I love to fold laundry or sew while listening.

2. Laudamus Te is a small company that publishes a devotional for the Latin Mass. They now have the Triduum Missal available.

3. Feeling overwhelmed? Jen at Conversion Diary just had this great post, "The secret to not being overwhelmed" which is wonderful to read. I find it comforting that Jen can bring in the stress of being a wife and mother but does not allow it to get so gloomy that no recovery can ever happen. I also really enjoyed her post, "The courage to rest". Isn't that what Lent really pushes us to embody, complete rest in Christ's arms. We are called to lay down our earthly habits in order to bask in his light and then carry that light to others, so they too can rest.