Tuesday, December 13, 2011


We’ve been seeing it coming. There is suddenly A Will in this one. An entitlement. And tomorrow her age will catch up with her ‘tude.
DSC_0860     Actually, I haven’t minded two with the other three kids. The truth is that the two-year-old’s expression of independence and frustration, while dramatic, is still funny or even evokes sympathy. Three is really where it becomes unattractive and, in my experience, intensifies. I’m pretty sure that whoever coined the term The Terrible Twos was just a fan of alliteration. These pictures are of a 45 minute fit she threw (no one knew what started it), most of which she spent with her head under my dresser. See…funny and cute.

The other great thing about two is that they become distractible. If you’re at Church or a restaurant you can give them a few crayons or a book and there’s a chance that they might not ruin your experience. And they become more reliable boob-tube watchers. Very important when you need that time alone. Distractability…it’s worth the wait.

DSC_0755 So, back to THIS nearly two-year-old. She’s a doll. This past year has been great…it has been a true joy being able to soak up her babyhood. We’ve been busy - but not busy in the sense of growing more babies. She’s been the baby longer then any of the others has been the baby and it’s been sweet.

She’s the kind of kid who flies under the radar most of the time…joining into the fray without forcing herself to the center. Though the other kids love to include her in their play – even inventing games that revolve around her. They dress her up, read her books, let her mess up their stuff. I’m definitely seeing how easy it is to spoil the youngest. And how youngests can grow up thinking that the whole world adores them. Because for most of their young years their whole world does adore them!

Over the past few months she’s been trying on her big girl persona…learning new words everyday and trying to make things happen in her tiny universe. For example, she’s always the first to ask for a vitamin, or to brush her teeth – showing her mastery over her familiar routines and surroundings. We’ve also noticed her practicing her anger. Trying out different scowls at the dinner table. She’ll wear one for a while and then a smile will creep out until she forgets that she’s supposed to stay in character.
She appears to be a forgiving little lady. She doesn’t hold grudges – although she may retaliate with decisive force. So don’t go taking candy from this baby or you’ll end up with a mini-slap.
Her very favorite thing in the world is to rub her some belly. Mine, daddy’s, Anthony’s, her own. She’s dogged. She WILL get to that belly no matter where you are or what you’re wearing, “dress or no dress – that belly is mine.” The other day in Costco she was in the cart and worked for a good 10 minutes to dig past her coat, her sweater and finally her overalls to get to her own  belly. She was successful.
March'11 (87)March'11 (89)March'11 (92)
Dogged, I tell you. She has drawn blood from my belly button from shear rubbing-friction. Aside from the blood-loss this has been a great thing because it means that she’s willing to sit still for about 1000% longer then Thomas was willing to sit still at this age. We can go to the movies as a family, we can have adult conversations, we can watch the news in the morning. As long as you have a  “pabah” (pacifier) and a belly that you are willing to offer up then there’s a whole world of things that 2 year old Thomas would never sit for.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This moment…

Thomas has toothpaste smeared all over his belly and hair mixed with snot all over his face because he screamed the whole haircut long. He peed all over the couch and Anthony because I forgot to change his nighttime diaper and he overflowed. But the coup de gras is the newly cut hair (from 6 heads) and the dumped out rice (thank you rosie) missed together and spread to all four corners of the first floor (that, of course, is the price you pay taking the time to get the haircuts done)…and the vacuum cleaner is broken.
What to do? It looks like I should sit and eat chips and Hershey kisses, watch reruns of reruns and leave the lunchmeat and mayo on the counter to grow things. Ah…the good life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Children’s Adoration–How To and Resources

Our local homeschool group decided that we wanted to offer Children’s Adoration at our home parish. We began and it has been a hit! Several friends were interested in it and in how we got started so I am going to try to put all of the information that I have in one place – this place – to make it easier to navigate.
This is basically what I wrote on Facebook previously but updated (see # 5):

So, here's some concrete steps to take.
1. Ask for a meeting with your pastor and tell him about your idea and choose a regular time. A priest will need to be around to expose and put the Blessed Sacrament back in the tabernacle but my pastor does not stay for the adoration.
2. Create a handout. Mine is linked at the bottom of the post. I wrote out literally EVERY word that I say – it may sound a little canned but it’s a stress reliever for me and also anyone can step in and lead with no notice at all. I tried to go for a combination of traditional prayers and then music and "guided silence" to give Christ and the kids a chance at having a more personal encounter. A lot of the people, kids and adults, have never been to adoration before. So guiding their mental prayer is critical for them to learn how to do it on their own. I think it was JPII who called for parishes to become "schools of prayer" and this is a great way to answer the call!
3. We do the guided prayer (following the handout) for the first 30 minutes of adoration. For the second half I bring a big pile of religious kids books and the families stay for different amounts of time. I play praise and worship music in the background to help cover up some of the kid-noise.
4. I bring my iPad (an iPod or even a boombox would work) and a small wireless speaker and play music from it.
5. We have the kids kneel/sit in a semi-circle around the Eucharist on the floor. Toddlers are usually wandering around, climbing up and down on the pews and babies are being babies. ALL families should be made to feel comfortable, especially those with so many littles that going out is a big chore most of the time. This is one of the rare experiences where the kids have the church to themselves and know that, as our pastor put it, “the House of God is their House also.” It’s beautiful – and sometimes a little chaotic. We try but our pastor says that “decorum will come with time.” So nobody needs to feel stressed or embarrassed. The more comfortable you are the more comfortable everyone will be.
6. We promoted it through the parish bulletin, the local homeschool group and the local Catholic school. We do ours at 4 pm, once a month (every week during Advent and Lent) and get a lot of school families, which is awesome! And of course the homeschoolers are out in force too.

The following are links to the materials we are using. There is also an Advent Handout that is brand-new – just finished today!
Ordinary Time Handout
I usually print the handout using the “Booklet” option in Print- Properties – Page layout.
All the music that we use during Ordinary Time is from The Praise Baby Collection’s God of Wonders - I think is "kiddy" enough to be appropriate but I really, really like it myself. In fact I listened to it for Cecilia's labor. It's the perfect blend of praise music but a little softer - which is good for adoration.
Advent Handout
Advent Music:
Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel
Mary, Did You Know?
Abide – from the album Held by Love
His Name Will Be Called – from the album Taken By Love

OK, that about wraps it up. I’ll update this post as we near to Lent and post a Lenten handout and music selections.
If you feel like you may be interested in starting this at your Church then DO prayerfully consider it. It’s such a concrete way to “bring Jesus” to people. Most of us bring Christ to the world in indirect ways through our daily life and of course, nothing can replace that- but this is directly bring Him to His children (both young and old). It’s kind of amazing, really. If you are thinking of it then I encourage you to “put out into the deep” and take that leap of faith! There’s no greater honor then bringing Christ into people’s lives and people into Christ’s life.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holidays–here we come!

We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving break and are now jumping into Advent, excited and full of energy! Well, the energy part is limited to particular members of the household but that is no big change. The weather and break conspired to make a perfect yard work weekend. And after a full year of the weather conspiring against me (wet and cold spring – hot and dry summer – Fall started out wet but is ending lovely) I feel like the seasons may actually be worth paying attention to again. DSC_0790

A surprising harvest – seeds accidentally spilled by Rosie gave us some very cool looking carrots.


Yes, this is a broccoli plant that is significantly taller then Anthony.


Babes in wheelbarrows. Too sweet.


And less cute - we have the Guillotine version.


Good night garden…see you again in March!

Today we brought up the Christmas books, advent wreathe, and cr̬che scene. We MADE our candles from a kit that a dear friend gave to us. It was really special. The kids jammed out to Jingle Bells and Joy to the World via the electric keyboard as we purpled the place up Рvery klassy.
Rosie and Thomas ended the evening up taking Christmas into their own hands since I had to break the news that Santa was not coming tonight.


Here you see Rosie dressed up as a Christmas Tree and Thomas donning a lady’s red blouse and a doll diaper-bag upside down on his head placing “gifts” under the “tree”.
But my favorite part of the night by far was when a stray Christmas stocking migrated up with the Advent things and Thomas saw it and exclaimed, “Look! It’s a Treat-Sock!”
Rosie immediately corrected him but the rest of us are doing our best to correct the correction. We need to milk these things as long as possible – Christmas always makes me realize how quickly this part of life is passing us by. So Treat-Sock it is!
Hope that you are also having a great start to the Holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bad Days, Thankful Days

This story begins with tacking on an extra 60 miles to a 30 mile trip, continues with my brakes braking (or NOT braking to be accurate) and ends with me sending a rotisserie chicken skidding across the grocery store floor.
On Saturday I started working on applesauce at 10 am and finally sat down again at 10 pm, having eaten almost nothing that day. On top of that the week had been full of anxiety due to interpersonal drama, in spite of it being No Drama November. So on Sunday I woke up in a bad place physotionally (physically+emotionally). Just sort of a mess. Desperately needing a Sabbath.
And then I found out that my perfectly planned and balanced day was going to be anything but that because we had a 45 minute misunderstanding about the start of the Mass we had to go to for John’s Carmelite thing. I did not handle the news well.
“I’m just a little black rain cloud, hovering over my family.” Except a lot less cute. After lots of mommy-bluster we drove the 30 miles down there and I realized that I had forgotten my iPad. The iPad that had my shopping list for Costco and Aldis on it. The one I had worked on for over an hour. The one that I needed to get my home back into milk and bread and Thanksgiving food – the one I could not live without.
Due to the mistaken timing I had more then enough time to drive back up to the Burg and return in time for Mass (John had to be dropped off quite a bit early). So I drove the 60 extra miles seething and furious.
I returned to the area of the church and promptly lost myself. But I didn’t realize this at first because there are a lot of churches all very close together. I got the kids out, clothed them all again (anyone else’s kids shed more clothes the farther you drive?) and plastered a fake smile on my face as we walked up to…the Wesleyan church. Oops. We were already out of the car so we kept walking and I sent Anthony up ahead as a scout. After about 10 minutes we returned to the car beaten and now 20 minutes late.
I started to turn the car around, heard a clink, pressed down on the brake and…kept rolling forward. Not that this was completely out of the blue, we KNEW that the brakes were bad but our mechanic couldn’t take us till Wednesday and we thought the van was still drivable. Well, I flipped out. Losing control of the brakes is a big fear of mine, I have regular nightmares about it. Granted, my nightmares usually involve me hurtling down the highway into oncoming traffic, but remember, I was a physotional disaster. So turning around in a side street caused me to hyperventilate similarly to the way that I would in my highway nightmares. In my defense, there was significantly less screeching from me then there is in my nightmares, usually.
The brakes stayed more broke then they had been but came back sufficiently for me to edge my way slowly and carefully towards the Catholic church- where mass was now 30 minutes in process. I roll-stopped in front of the church, got out and tried to get John to come outside while also keeping Thomas and CeCe from playing King of the Hill on the 200 year old cornerstone of the original church and getting Rosie to “JUST SHUTUP about those petals!!!” which made her cry and me feel like I wasn’t just a crazy woman – I was a crazy cad. Anthony was smart enough to not “mess with Texas (or Alexis in this case)”. Lucky him.
After John took control of the situation - much to everyone’s relief - he decided to drive (carefully) home as far as he was able because towing it would cost a small fortune. The entire way home I would start to panic and hyperventilate anytime a car came within 150 feet of us. It was not helpful. So John had to “fish slap” me a few times to bring me back to reality (he did not actually slap me, it was more like shouting at me to get a grip – but coming from him it was a fish slap).
As we got closer to home it was clear that the brakes were indeed going to get us home and so we decided to stop at a grocery store and get food since we really didn’t have any milk, eggs, bread, pasta, chocolate – no basics at all. With our one car heading into the shop I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of making several wagon trips to the local grocery store to keep us fed. So we did a big stop and loaded up with victuals. The kids were not too bad in the store and I was starting to feel a little saner and more in control again when I headed over to the deli area to grab a rotisserie chicken for dinner and grab it I did. Until the lid popped off and the chicken flew out of the container and went skidding many feet across the floor, leaving a trail of chicken-juice behind it. 
Just in case I started to get cocky, I suppose.
Our mechanic took the car the next morning, fixed it immediately and I have never been more grateful for the smell of cigarette smoke then I was when I climbed into my former death-trap of a van and smelled Keith’s residual scent lingering on my upholstery. It’s still not completely gone but I’m glad because it reminds me of how grateful I am that Sunday is over.
It was not the Sabbath that I needed but it certainly makes me grateful this Thanksgiving for all those little things like calipers, rotors, brake pads, dirty rotisserie chickens and fish-slaps.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reason, Boundaries, Truth, and Heroic Virtue

Truth and Love

So seriously: how do these four things come together into one action? I have recently wrestled with the problem and consequently found peace and freedom and deeper love. I’ll start with the fundamental problem I was running into.
I would like to be a saint, as we are all called to be. I would like to practice heroic virtue as that is the way to be transformed into a saint capable of beholding the beatific vision. This is the starting point.
The problem creeps up when I am in a situation where my reason is telling me one thing (“this person is not healthy and you should limit the role that they play in your life”) and my understanding of heroic virtue is telling me another (“this person is not healthy and you should go out of your way to reach out and be a source of healing-reach out and take them into you heart. Yes it is risky but didn’t Jesus risk it all?”).
In a nutshell: Heroic Virtue is loving past all reason.
I have always had that definition in the back of my mind for some unknown reason. But God did not design a fatal flaw into the process of becoming holier. Heroic Virtue is never unreasonable. We all know that faith never contradicts reason, as they have the same Source. “Fides et ratio!” we all chant loudly to the world. If we hold to that then we must also accept that Love never contradicts reason (nor Hope for that matter but that’s a post for a later time and probably from somebody else). Once this is an accepted point what we need to to see is what this looks like in a particular action.
Before my recent tussle with this quandary I would always land on the story of St. Therese where she was SO nice to this mean, crotchety old nun -who she did not (she herself makes clear) like at all- that the mean lady came up to her eventually and said, “My dear sister Therese, tell me what attraction you find in me? Because whenever we meet you greet me with such a sweet smile.” THIS was the example that I was haunted by…thinking that even though my reason told me to protect my dignity against the meanness and brokenness of another person Therese had given us this anecdote to turn us in the opposite direction and tell us to give until it hurts. Until we are wounded by love.
But the whole time my gut knew that something was wrong here…my reason, my common sense, was screaming out to me to not be an idiot and risk my dignity and be vulnerable again to someone who has proven their incapacity to be a true friend (there being no signs of change or interest in changing, of course. Genuine repentance is a completely different scenario). “Do not throw your pearls before swine”. Some people, through their own fault or their brokenness in response to other’s sins, are just not “safe.” It is what it is…a fallen world where some people are so messed up that a healthy relationship is impossible outside of a miracle or years of therapy. In fact that broken person can be toxic and instead of your healthiness spreading and transforming them the tentacles of their unhappiness spread into your healthy world and take over until suddenly you look around realize that you are the one transformed. You have been sucked into their own unhappy brokenness. And NOW whose going to lead you both out? The blind can’t lead the blind. You have to remain healthy for the sake of all concerned.
But then there’s that d*mn St. Therese and her annoying example of Heroic Virtue. That thing that you are shooting for. Not just “healthy” by the worlds standards but heroically good – that’s the action that you “want” to take. Maybe you are just SOOOO far from being heroically virtuous that your reason is mistaken too. So you ask your husband, a Carmelophile and a Moral Theologian, and he takes your dilemma and turns it on it’s head bringing the disparate parts together into an exciting and liberating whole!
St. Therese, he explains, did NOT befriend Mean Nun. She did not open herself up to her and lay bare her true feelings. She was not open and honest with her. There was no sit down for coffee where Therese revealed, “You know Mean Nun, lately I’ve really been struggling with your negativity. It feels like you are pulling me down.” That is something that true friends do – they are open and vulnerable and forgiving and humble. Therefore Therese was surprised that Mean Nun thought they were friends! She wasn’t out to manipulate or trick Mean Nun into thinking that they were friends, she was just being kind.
She smiled at Mean Nun. She was polite and showed concern but she drew the line at exposing her heart to this woman. She knew Mean Nun would not treat her with dignity if she opened up like that and she knew that God doesn’t want us to be treated badly. We are his creations and he doesn’t want us foolishly exposing ourselves to ridicule and scorn – nor does he want us putting other people in the position of being able to do that to us – it’s not good for the perpetrator either! This is not just about protecting our thin skins it’s also about not being a near occasion of sin for the “Mean Nun” in your life.
Being a doormat for someone will eventually trip up the person who is walking all over you – they will fall. If you weren’t lying there then that would be one less fall that they have. For the good of all we must stand up to the unhealthy relationships in our life and that may mean walking away from them to some degree.
That is where truth comes in. Truth is neither mean nor uncharitable. It is simple and accessible. Mean Nun is Mean. For x,y or z reason (though we can never really know). She treats me poorly. She tries to entangle me in her web. She jeopardizes my relationships with others. This is the truth. It may also be true that her mother criticized her. That her boyfriend beat her. That she stubbed her toe on my front step last winter. All are true. Her reasons for her present meanness/brokenness do not change the current state of things. Regardless of her past she is currently a person that I need to take precautions against. And that will mean drawing a boundary. There’s a huge spectrum of levels of boundaries. Facing the truth about the people in our life help us find the right boundary to set.
For Therese the boundary was something like, “I will show genuine kindness and concern for her.” Notice that there’s no obligation to do more then is truthful. Therese was not out to manipulate her into thinking that she was really a bosom buddy. The other side of Therese’ boundary coin is something like, “I will not seek her out to have lunch and dish with her about the new hymnal. I will not throw a party for her with a cake that says ‘BFF!’.” Therese was at the point where she could be genuinely concerned for and kind to Mean Nun. It wasn’t a farce. We should be truthful in our relationships. And sometimes that means not having the confrontation that would “air out” your grievance with someone but instead being polite and kind and recognizing that a full-blown friendship with that person is not a healthy choice. At least for now. Your boundary drawing could even be the impetus they need to get help from someone who can really do something.
Truth gets the raw deal too often when dealing with tricky relationships and conflict. But reason, boundaries, and truth are all tied up together in Heroic Virtue. The path to holiness is not full of contradictions. God is Love, He is also Truth. One without the other is smoke screen. Truth deepens Love and Love makes the Truth shine in the darkness. And being wounded by Love is quite different then being wounded by brokenness and lies.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seasonal Confusion

When it snows in Maryland in October these native Marylanders just don’t know how to handle it. 072
“Ummm…I think there’s something about hats…? Well, I’ll just rub my bellybutton and scowl at Mom until she steps in.”

Take a look at the.kids who were born in Michigan though, and we see people who know just what to do with winter weather:




There’ll be a good deal of Fall still to come down here but today got me all excited for winter! Hopefully this early snow portends lots more for this winter! We’ll have to get those Marylanders up to speed though…

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quick Takes Friday–The Money Beets

Here are five ideas, one of which I think is good enough to make me money and the other three are good enough to make someone else money. These are the “money-beets.” Bonus points for recognizing that quote.

First: Using Plexiglas as a modern day slate. This one I’m super proud of. Last year I started putting all of our worksheets (math, spelling, etc.) into plastic sleeve protectors and writing with a dry erase marker instead of using them as consumable workbooks or copying them which is likely more expensive then consuming them. This is a decent idea. But last week lighting struck and I took it to the next level! I got a piece of Plexiglas (out of an outdoor table) and laid it over the workbook and used it like a slate. I need to add a large binder clip to the top to steady it and need to cut a piece down to the right size but it’s a great idea. This saves you from having to rip out all the pages and put them in plastic sleeves (quite time consuming, especially if you reuse the plastic sleeves with new pages each term). Also, no time consuming erasing of each page at the end of the term, it has to be done right away. LOVE IT.

Photo Oct 27, 12 24 00 PM

Second: This one I shared here before but it’s worth repeating. If, and when, you get majorly backed up on laundry take yourself, a bag of quarters, load of the car and fill all the machines at the Laundromat at once. You will be done with weeks worth of laundry $20 and 2 hours later.

Third: Use diaper pins to pin three corners of the top sheet and bedspread of the kids bed to their fitted sheet. They can then make their bed no matter how little they are. AND the sheets and blankets are off limits for fort building which, I’m sure you know, is a huge mess-reducer. (I don’t want to ruin the fort-making fun though…I have a whole bin of old blankets and pieces of material for fort building. In the basement. Thanks you Ginny Seuffert (?) for the diaper pin idea.

Fourth: Bulk pregnancy tests. There’s no reason to go broke at the grocery store or pharmacy. Also, if you are in a hurry then the dollar store carries them too. Also, if you are near the time of your expected period there’s no need to wait until the “first morning pee.” Not that I have any experience with that.

Fifth: And if you get a surprise positive from that test you might in the market for a newborn size onesie that reads, “Phase One- it’s shorter then you think.” Thanks to Kristina L. for the last two brilliant ideas.

Visit Jen for other people’s Quick Takes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An undiscovered goldmine

So the first week back from vacation was a little rough. It seemed like let down after let down. And it was quite a bummer since I had been relatively satisfied with my life before going, bringing into question the wisdom of going on vacation at all. But things have settled back down and life is now enriched so far beyond what it was B.V. It was the right decision.
God love the children but man, do they suck the you out of you. I’d rather have this problem then the other. In other words, I’d rather have selfishness dragged out of me by these little people then letting it grow as my insulation from discomfort grows; the fate which might have happened to me without them. But surely there’s a way to have the selfishness dragged out without the self being dragged out with it. As parents we need to hang onto who we are outside of our office of mommy and daddy for three main reasons.
One, yourself. Waking up one day after 20-30 years of parenting to the fact that you are a person(!)just like all those other people out there is no way to spend a life. That person would be much happier having experienced life and participated in it then to to have (exclusively) facilitated it for everyone around them. Facilitate, by all means, but participate also.
Two, your spouse. They married you, not “mommy”, not “daddy”. The marriage relationship no doubt grows and deepens in the great partnership that is Parenthood. But there is something more foundational then that bond. It is the bond of matrimony. It took me a full day to disentangle myself from my role as mother (the image of all those little hands grasping and pulling at me is what comes to mind) and to disassociate John from his role as daddy in order to get down to basics again: Him and me and God. I would also be sad to wake up in twenty or thirty years and realize that either this wonderful relationship was there all along and we could have been enjoying each other this whole time, or…God forbid…that it’s been at the bottom of the pile for so long that you can no longer find it.
Third, your children. Parents so decidedly set the tone in the home but all too often we actually give up that power to the hooligans because we are reacting to their antics rather than raising ourselves and the others above them. Since vacation John and I have been so much more connected to ourselves and each other that the kids frequent unpleasantness doesn’t have nearly the same power of transformation over the home as it had before. We set the tone again. And, being reasonable adults instead of pintsized-loons, the tone is much pleasanter. Go figger. In fact, those pintsized-loons deserve to grow up in a happy, pleasant, even – dare I say it? – joyful home, even when it seems that they are dead-set on sabotaging that plan.
Will this last? For a while. Will the hooligans take over again? Almost certainly. What then? Another vacation. Regular retreats enrich the life that we’ve chosen. I initially thought of this vacation as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and came soon to realize that it can’t be, it’s simply too important to treat as a luxury. Jamaica…well, Jamaica can be a luxury. But the retreat? The connecting to yourself, your spouse and God? I have tasted and have seen…there’s no going back now. There’s only one way to really enjoy those kids – to get away from them…sometimes!
October 111

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh incongruity, thy name is vacation

What a morning in Jamaica looks like

What a morning at home looks like

The company I kept in Jamaica

The company that keeps me at home

My surroundings in Jamaica
My surroundings at home
The real me is back to my real life. Re-entry is definitely causing some whiplash but ultimately regular life will be enhanced and brought into clearer vision after such a complete and clear break from it for a few days. Incongruous though that may seem.
And in the interest of full-disclosure the pictures of vacation-Love-life are in real-time but the pictures of homebound-Love-life are figurative. The laundry was all clean and folded when I got home, thanks to the over-the-top care that my mom and sister-in-law took of the kids and house while we lived like rock-stars in Ocho Rios. Thanks and gratitude can not be overstated!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

iPad as homeschooling tool

Note: I wrote this last week and randomly scheduled it to publish today and forgot all about it...when I saw that it had posted I was struck by the serendipity of the situation. As I was doing some school prep on my iPad last night an AP news alert popped up, "Apple reports that Steve Jobs has died." I'm glad to have something with which to honor Steve Jobs this morning. I, for one, am grateful that his mom chose life and gave him up for adoption instead of the alternative, and that he then went on to persevere and share his gifts and vision with the world. Grant eternal rest unto him and may he rest in peace.

This iPad situation ought to be discussed. I realize that I railed againt technology the last time I mentioned it. But, "doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age! Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No!" The iPad must be used! I use my iPad almost exclusively as a tool. A tool for EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE. This is my homeschooling edition of "why the iPad is better the sliced bread" series. In all seriousness though, I do hope that this answers questions that people have about whether or not to get an iPad and then how to use it to it's best advantage. It may bore most of you though so here's the summary: How did my mom homeschool me without an iPad?

Specific school related uses for me are...
1. Audiobooks app. It's libravox (free audiobooks) in an app and you can download whole audio books onto your device and use it offline , i.e. anywhere.
2. Kindle/iBooks apps. Same as above. Free books...
We use the audiobook and iBook at the same time, we listen to the audio and follow along with our eyes.3. I have downloaded all textbooks and teachers guides (sotw activity guide and text, Salsa TG, homeschool in the woods timeline figures, etc.) that I can so I'm hauling less, a lot less. More school on the go and more school outside.
4. I put all of the CDs that we need for the year into my iPads iTunes account. This year we are using IEWs, poetry memorization CDs, and SOTW audio , various christian music for devotions, and all of our music for our composer study. No more misplacing CDs! [Friday Anthony and I laid out in our backyard watching the clouds go by while listening to our Mozart and to Grammarland...wouldn't have done that if I'd needed the computer and cd player.]
5. I use Evernote as a a homeschool journal, I can take pictures with the iPad of our little projects and field trips and write as much or as little as I want. It's so much easier to do it on the go then try to remember later. I can't say enough about Evernote, it's got load of uses other then this...more on that in a later post).
6. Not to mention the calendar function...lesson plans, field trips, co ops, all synced with my computer and my husbands work schedule.
7. File storage. All of my excel and word documents I store in Dropbox so I can access them from any of our computers or my iPad. So my school schedule, all my templates for planning things, resources, library book lists, etc. With Documents To Go you can also edit and create them. I'm never without my important information.
8. I actually don't use it for drills or educational games much because I use it for my home organization so much. but I do use Chore Pad HD for a chore chart with the kids and it is...wow. As Christine put it, "nobel peace prize worthy".
9. Netflix, all there educational videos anywhere, anytime.
10. Nature study resources. We have Peterson guide apps, tree identification apps and Handbook of Nature study on there. Nature hikes are much lighter now.

I would never do any of these things on a computer because it would be too clumsy. The iPad is so easily portable but not a tiny screen and weird keyboard like a phone. It is "the marriage of two minds." (Gosh, pardon the excessive use of Shakespeare here, I don't know what's come over me.)

As an FYI...you do not need to pay for a data package every month necessarily. I pay $20 for a prepaid plan that I can turn off and on at will and it is a lot more economical then the $50/mnth min. That the phone companies try to get you on.

And that is just the school stuff! Don't get me started on grocery lists and recipe storage, on packing lists and to do lists, trip planning, maps, audio libraries, garden tracking and planning, DVR management!
I'm pretty sure that there must be an app that cleans my house and changes diapers. It is unREAL how many things it does. Sometimes I think it must be magic because surely technology can't be this awesome.
And I am not a techy AT ALL. I don't even like technology most of the time. But this puppy is worth every penny. Just make sure you get the biggest size you can, you'll use all the space.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Rosieisms

On finding a toy shark in the backyard, long buried in the meadow lawn:
"I rememorize that shark!"

On watching America: The Story of Us
Shaking her head dejectedly...
Rosie: It's too bad they killed those Red Coats.
Anthony: No it's not. The Red Coats are the bad guys in this war.
Rosie: Oh. But...they're cooooool.

On watching What Not to Wear with mommy:
"That shirt is just freaking me out! It's so beautiful."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Funnel Cakes

Here are my kids at the County Fair...and here's our funnel cake. Mmmmm....fried dough and powdered suger, what's not to love? Well, my kids poked it for a while, licked it a bit and then decided to run races on the empty picnic tables around us. Rosie persisted a little bit longer then the rest but in the end, joined the others, saying to me, "Mommy...I don't like this kind of chicken anymore."
The jury is still out on whether this is a commentary on my chicken or the Fair's funnel cake...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Poop Chronicles, vol. 7

Sub-title: Things that are not funny to me yet.
*Warning: extensive use of italics in the this post*
What the heck is WRONG with my children? Where are they getting the idea that it is in any way OK to be disgusting? Who is talking to them? Who is supervising them?
Rosie...grrrr...Rosie is the one who is skating on thin ice around here these days. John put the closet- toilet out of commission because it needs a repair that he doesn't have time to do right now and it has been leaking nastiness in the meantime, so for now it is not in operation. Anyway, it is the only toilet on the main floor and since he did this a couple weeks ago Rosie has been "having accidents" (that are decidedly not accidental) several times a DAY. Sheer laziness. The child just doesn't want to walk up a flight of stairs to the toilet. She would rather reek and get rashes and be generally revolting. If you inquire about her state of mind during said "accidents" then you will hear, "Ugh. How many times do I have to tell you? I WANTED TO PLAY." Grrrrrr......deep breath, Alexis.
BUT while that may explain why you pooped on the slide today it does not explain why last week you climbed into your sisters crib and dropped a big turd in the middle and then covered it with a blanket! OK, maybe that last one is a little funny now.
But the pooping on the slide?! That one is still just burning me up. Shudder and nausea.
I think I know who to pin this on though. While we were in Michigan last week we were bemoaning our lot in life regarding these strange poop-related behaviors to my family and, well, here's the end of that conversation...

John: ...and he says, "I wanted to finish building my track." So then you went over and peed in the corner?!
Anonymous brother: Well...that's not too weird.

Ahem. And I know that this particular brother really enjoys working on projects in his basement. Mmmhmm. So, I ax ya...what can you do with uncles like that?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Even Batman can have a bad day

I've watched this a hundred times and I still love it. Life can just be so discouraging, sometimes.
Note: I couldn't watch the video on the iPad. Like I said, life can just be so discouraging.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poop Chronicles, vol 6...

You never know when its going to happen. You never suspect that your time has come. You can never be prepared enough for when The Grossest Thing Ever to Happen, happens to you. Please, please...take my advice and, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the [Poop Fates] prowl around like a roaring lion looking for someone to [disgust]". *
Sunday started out a lovely, crisp autumn morning and we all enjoyed pulling out our longed-for Fall duds. Boys in corduroy, girls in sweaters and tights. I got the kids down for a nap and watched Devil Wears Prada whilst beginning the Great Seasonal Clothing Shift. Then the babies woke up and so I went down to get them from their cribs. And there I saw...
nothing, everything was fine. I was still an unsuspecting sap. I went down and got everyone a snack, checked Facebook and then smelled a smell. John not being home, I had no recourse but to deal with the offending party myself.
As I laid Cecilia down I felt a dampness through her skirt and realized that it was really quite a bummer that John wasn't home. I then came to the gruesome realization that she had had quite a blowout of unhealthy-looking excrement all the way down her tights and even into the feet of the tights. Darn Autumn! It would have been so much easier to clean up poo-on-skin then poo-on-skin-through-tights.
I checked my watch. Darn again...John wouldn't be home for two more hours. So I took a deep breath and girded my loins, prepared for battle of the nastiest kind.
Then it happened. The Grossest Thing Ever to Happen, happened to me (memory shudder). As I pulled down her tights I realized that this situation was worse then I thought because, in addition to the runnyness of the filth, it was also rather...well, I'm sorry but it was...chunky. I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it. As I was pulling down her tights I lost my grip on that darn stretchy, slippery fabric and it snapped back and splat against her leg, spraying my face with, well...need we say anymore?
And my mouth? Oh, yes, yes...open.
Sigh. So, please, please, learn from my mistakes, from my lack of alertness, from my lukewarmness. Because if your lukewarmness doesn't cause God to "spew you out of [his] mouth" then you could be the one doing the spewing. Stay alert and sober out there tonight, America. God be with you.

*Modern translation of 1st Peter 5:8, some words paraphrased.
**"So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." Rev. 3:16

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Can you guess what this is a picture of?

Oh, of course! Beaver nuns.
By Rosie

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

On Hobbies

I was in the grocery store (Weis, for you locals) tonight and was witness to an artist at work. Deb was her name and my, can she pack a grocery bag. Like all good artists she was very deliberate and focused as she worked, getting all the details JUST SO. She had short term goals and long term goals. Looking down the conveyor belt, murmuring to herself ("apple cider, mmmm... parmesan... mmm...squash...") and only then would she take on the next item and put it in it's proper place. It's proper place would be one of several categories that spanned in a crescent around her own rotund self. Sometimes it took many seconds of hard discernment but eventually the item would find its rightful place. And then, like a true artist, she would turn from this detail back to the big picture and determine her next step ("cream, mmmm...eggs....peaches...OK, right, toothpaste"), reaching for the item that made the most sense given the overall scheme.
Had I had children with me I may have been distracted and frustrated and therefore missed this opportunity to admire her diligence in this labor of love but thankfully I was in no rush to get home to aforesaid children and so used the opportunity watch a genius at work...albeit with some amazement that Deb is able to make a living off of this particular art form.
All of this to say that Deb and her grocerybag art and me and my life are rather similar. I am in no rush with this blog...Love Life is a hobby, just one item in a much bigger picture - the actual Loves' lives. It's something that takes some creativity and energy to keep up and therefore ebbs and flows along with my life. I sincerely apologize to those waiting in my line if it moves at a slower pace then is comfortable (Deb did not apologize for her own style but I think that we must diverge paths on this point, sorry Deb - every analogy fails at some point). I would prefer to be steady and reliable (Stay Calm and Blog On) but alas, I do not think it is to be. My long term goals often push the blog to the back of the line and it just doesn't make it in the bag very quickly. But it's been 4.5 years or so of fits and spurts and we keep putt putting along so I think we're here to stay. Sometimes more and sometimes less but Deb and I aren't going anywhere. And we thank those who encourage us to keep up the project, we love to hear that people want us to speed up because that means that they appreciate the final product. Sadly, we don't often have the energy to do all that we'd like to do and that is why neither Deb or I will ever take this project to the next level. It's a hobby. Oh wait, there goes that failed analogy again. Poor Deb...are there amateur grocerybag artists? Because I don't think that deadlines are really our thing...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What is the state of your economy?

I keep hearing about the cost of food and gas going up and I have been inclined to think that rumor to be true by looking at the price of milk. Milk being your primary barometer of the state of the economy is not entirely unreasonable if you consume around twenty gallons of milk a month. Then it is the best indicator of the state of your economy.
Since the "good deal" price of milk jumped from $2.50 to $3.08 recently, with the regular price hovering just above $4.00, I began to be suspicious about the accuracy of our monthly projections for The Budget.
So we fell down The Budget rabbit hole this afternoon. I felt a little bit like Alice herself...crying one minute, rejoicing the next, seeing some things shrink and others grow very large, looking for that darn key that is going to open the door to the beautiful garden. The one that you could never afford.
As I sat there wrestling with this puzzle (that I'm pretty sure is missing some pieces) I started to feel bad for myself and my pitiful plight. Which, I assure you, is neither pitiful nor a plight. But there I was on the porch with The Impossible Budget in hand when Rosie walked up to me and handed me a plastic grocery bag and urged me to "open the present."
Great, I thought miserably, this is what my life is going to be from now on...my gifts are going to come wrapped in plastic bags. Sad but true.
But it doesn't matter what it's wrapped in...it's what's inside that counts, the hallmark card in my head responded.
I hopefully unwrapped the plastic bag to discover...another plastic bag. I unwrapped that bag to discover...that the 2nd bag was the gift.
So, the moral of the story is...if you think it's bad it could always be worse.


More about Corapi...and Kresta :)

Well, this is a little awkward and funny, no?

I will say this...in THEORY I respect a falsely accused priest who stands up for himself.
In REALITY I respect my dad and his gut, opinions, and arguments. I actually know the man and his integrity and intelligence in this case, a bonus for me.

As events continue to unfold and the nature of this very confusing situation becomes clear I contend that more waiting would have been prudent. Even if Corapi is guilty...and he very well may be...I wish that bloggers would have waited a few more days to come out with their opinion pieces. After Corapi's second announcement things are already clearer. The man is angry. If he is guilty of manipulating the system then more evidence of this will become stronger as he reveals more of his hand. If we waited just a few more days then it wouldn't look like assumptions, it would look like arguments.

That being said, I do not lump my dad in with the likes of the others...he waited longer and cited more actual arguments then the others. He exercised more prudence. And in the midst of the 24 hour news culture waiting is simply not the name of the game.

Thankfully for me, what I say and write really doesn't matter AT ALL. The only people reading this are my friends who I assume always take my opinions with a grain of salt. I do not shape the public argument or define the terms...thank goodness. It's a burdensome responsibility and I'm so glad that I can trust the goodness, thoroughness and thoughtfulness of one of the men who does shoulder part of that burden.

My idea of prudence (which I'm not giving up on, by the way) is another's idea of negligence.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On Corapi...let us be reasonable and kind

The following article is from the Bishop of Corpus Christi, the one cited in Corapi's announcement. Thanks to him for quelling the slander. Give Corapi time to show what he is actually going to do...stop preemptively accusing him of abandoning the priesthood. Silence in the face of slander and libel is not always the right approach. Christ was silent...sometimes. Other times he told everyone exactly who he was. Corapi could have discerned that the best thing for the Church
was for him to NOT take this lying down.
He knows the process is flawed. We know the process is flawed. Most clergy in this country know the process is flawed. Perhaps, hopefully, Corapi's making it more of a public issue will spur the bishops on to fixing it. There is truth to the old adage, all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to stand by and do nothing.
Silence or defense could have been the correct approach for him. But unless you were a fly on the wall of Corapi's conversation with the Lord then perhaps you should be the silent one. Furthering the slander that this woman is possibly causing is harmful at worse and at best it is presumptuous.
I am grateful to the Bishop of Corpus Christi for this article and I hope it makes some of these Catholic bloggers take a step back and publicly take responsibility for their part in sullying the name of a man who has not been, as yet, convicted of anything.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pet Peeves– “Going Digital”

Rant in progress…

1. All the binging. While you may need to know the very second that you’ve been emailed or Facebooked or tweeted I do not. One word: vibrate.
2. Here’s a sample conversation that drives me nuts. NC = Not Connected  GD = Gone Digital
NC 1: I haven’t been out with my husband in a long time.
NC 2: I hear ya, sista’! The last time we went out was when Spider Man II came out. So a few years ago.
GD: (Pulls out a small electronic device and retreats into silence for about 1.5 minutes)
NC 1: Well, it hasn’t been that long for us but it’s about time we get out. Oh! I was talking to Susann the other day and she told me about this sale -
GD:  2004.
NC 1 and 2: Huh?
GD: Spider Man II – 2004.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
3. Doing things fake that should be done real. If you have hours to play Guitar Hero just LEARN TO PLAY GUITAR!
4. Apple in general. I’m a proletariat and PC is good enough for me.

I say all this as a personal warning to myself because I am getting an Ipad2 for my 30th birthday from the Love Doctor! And therefore am in serious danger of becoming my own worst enemy. But danger is the way to live! Any iphone/ipad app suggestions? I still have 8 days to wait and I’m just dying!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Morning


This about sums it up: I’m exhausted from celebrating last night but, hey. I’ll still stuff my face with sugar.

He is RISEN!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Bird Phase

Last year sometime, I’m not entirely certain how long ago, I entered my “Bird Phase”. And while one can’t be certain I’m thinking that it’s less of a phase and more of a “situation”. Buying expensive feeders, seed, binoculars is sounding more and more reasonable to me. Getting up at crazy times of the morning and traveling crazy distances is sounding more possible – maybe more essential. I was even seduced by a week-long birding camp for educators that’s being offered this summer – but only until I pictured leaving my babies for that long to go look at birds and realized that there would be time for such an activity when I am discharged from active duty motherhood.
I am beginning to feel like either a.) an old woman or b.) a crazy person because I spend a LOT of time reading field guides and staring out my kitchen window trying to master the differences between the LBJ’s (Little Brown Jobs) or squinting to see the details of the shape of a black silhouette flying by. So I am here to sort through and share the reasons that I’m so "enthusiastic” about the bird world.
1. I’m already a naturey kind of person. I’m not a sporty person but I do love to be outside. This is not a new development.
2. Birds are all over the freaking place. In the normal run of my day and WHILE fulfilling my home-bound responsibilities I can be connected to the natural world (even in the winter!). Doing my dishes, weeding the garden, running errands. Birds are always there.
3. They are not all sparrows. Not that there’s anything wrong with a house sparrow – I find them very entertaining actually. But really, there’s a lot more variety if you start to notice what’s going on out there. Just there – right in your yard or on the telephone wires next to the highway.
4. It’s something to “do” when out in nature. I love to take walks or hikes but I find myself hesitating to go out very often because I don’t always (sometimes, but not daily) want the ‘emptiness’ of my mind when I’m just walking. Watching the birds gives my mind just enough occupation to allow me to really engage and enjoy a walk.
5. "In contact with nature, a person rediscovers his correct dimension, rediscovers himself as a creature, small but at the same time unique, with a capacity for God because interiorly he is open to the Infinite." Benedict XVI
God’s creation points us to God – it orients our compass in the correct direction. Birds are just one part of that nature but they are so ubiquitous and varied that there’s a lifetime of discovery and engagement there if you are interested in them.

OK, so that clarifies some of it for me. Now on to my very exciting week of observing the birdies.
Fri. (2 ago): Driving the kids to co-op I saw these big dark lumps in the leaf-less tree up the road. They looked like dozens of squirrels nests. As we got closer it became apparent that they were not nests at all but Black Vultures! I pulled over and right in front of us (10 ft?) I counted 34 vultures. They were not (thankfully) eating anything – just roosting – and they were not (thankfully) Turkey Vultures – the red heads give me the heebee-jeebees. 
Wed. I went out alone for the evening and spent the first part at a Nat. Park nearby. I saw some sort of Flicker flying by and then I watched what I think was a Merlin (kestral) or American Kestral eating something up in a tree. VERY cool.
Fri: Driving to co-op had a Turkey Vulture fly out of a quarry and nearly into the side of the van. A little creepy. Saw a Red-Tail Hawk. AND – watched a Cooper’s Hawk carrying something off right in front of us. I jotted down my notes about what I observed and then spent an unreasonable amount of time trying to identify it when I got home. I’m pretty confident that I got it right in the end.
Sun: Spent an hour watching the feeder after a HUGE rain storm the night before. Those birds were Cr – azy. Here’s my list of observations:
Finch Family – dozens of Gold Finches and Pine Siskins fighting it out for the thistle. House Finches dipping in occasionally too.
Sparrow Family – EEEK!!! SO exciting! I saw two new sparrows – AND identified them!!! The White-throated Sparrow and the Chipping Sparrow. The White-throated looked pretty regular (except the white on his head) until you looked through binoculars and then you saw the beauty. Also, the Juncos are still hanging out and all over (they, the Pine Siskins and the White-throated Sparrows are about the migrate to Canada to breed for the summer).
Female Downy Woodpecker is a frequent visitor these days.
Mourning Doves
Tree Swallows (or Purple Martins) flying around in the yard.
And some unidentified brown bird (my best guess is a female Eastern Tohee)
All of this excitement within an hour while I drank my coffee – poured over my bird books – fed the kids breakfast - and reoriented myself towards God. It was a very good morning.
So pardon me if I include so bird-related posts every now and then. I am finally embracing my inner-bird.

Black_Vulture_bird_picture Black Vulture (we live at the far Northern edge of their border)

american kestrelAmerican Kestral

pine siskinPine Siskin

junco Slate-colored Junco


chippingsparrow Chipping Sparrow

cooper Cooper’s Hawk

tree swallow Tree Swallow

white_throated_sparrow_2 White- Throated Sparrow

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Domestic Monastery

I came across this at another blog, which by the way – is humbling and inspiring. It was born out of a truly tragic and horrific story and shows the marks of a woman who truly know Christ through suffering. I do not know her but I wish I did. She did not write the article but shared it and maybe you have already seen it but I hadn’t so I thought I’d put it here.
This reflection is wonderful and it’s something that all mom’s – especially the variety of mom that is home all day, every day with children – should think about.

Carlo Carretto, one of the leading spiritual writers of the past half-
century, lived for more than a dozen years as a hermit in the Sahara
Desert. Alone, with only the Blessed Sacrament for company, milking
a goat for his food, and translating the Bible into the local Bedouin
language, he prayed for long hours by himself.
Returning to Italy one day to visit his mother, he came to a
startling realization. His mother, who for more than 30 years of her
life had been so busy raising a family that she scarcely ever had a
private minute for herself, was more contemplative than he was.
Carretto, though, was careful to draw the right lesson from this.
What this taught was not that there was anything wrong with what he
had been doing in living as a hermit. The lesson was rather that
there was something wonderfully right about what his mother had been
doing all these years as she lived the interrupted life amid the
noise and incessant demands of small children. He had been in a
monastery, but so had she.
What is a monastery? A monastery is not so much a place set apart
for monks and nuns as it is a place set apart (period). It is also a
place to learn the value of powerlessness and a place to learn that
time is not ours, but God's.

Our home and our duties can, just like a monastery, teach us those
things. John of the Cross once described the inner essence of
monasticism in these words: "But they, O my God and my life, will
see and experience Your mild touch, who withdraw from the world and
become mild, bringing the mild into harmony with the mild, thus
enabling themselves to experience and enjoy You." What John
suggests here is that two elements make for a monastery - withdrawal
from the world and bringing oneself into harmony with the mild.
Although he was speaking about the vocation of monastic monks and
nuns, who physically withdraw from the world, the principle is
equally valid for those of us who cannot go off to monasteries and
become monks and nuns. Certain vocations offer the same kind of
opportunity for contemplation. They, too, provide a desert for
For example, the mother who stays home with small children
experiences a very real withdrawal from the world. Her existence is
definitely monastic. Her tasks and preoccupations remove her from
the centers of power and social importance. And she feels it.
Moreover, her sustained contact with young children (the mildest of
the mild) gives her a privileged opportunity to be in harmony with
the mild that is, to attune herself to the powerless rather
than tothe powerful.
Moreover, the demands of young children also provide her with what
St. Bernard, one of the great architects of monasticism, called
the "monastic bell." All monasteries have a bell. Bernard, in
writing his rules for monasticism, told his monks that whenever the
monastic bell rang, they were to drop whatever they were doing and go
immediately to the particular activity (Prayer, meals, work, study,
sleep) to which the bell was summoning them. He was adamant that
they respond immediately, stating that if they were writing a letter
they were to stop in mid-sentence when the bell rang.
The idea in his mind was that when the bell called, it called you to
the next task and you were to respond immediately, not because you
want to, but because it's time, it's God's time. For
him, the
monastic bell was intended as a discipline to stretch the heart by
always taking you beyond your own agenda to God's agenda.
Hence, a mother rearing children, perhaps in a more privileged way
even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her
will, to constantly stretch her heart. For years, while rearing
children, her time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in
second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out
and demanding something. She hears the monastic bell many times
during the day and she has to drop things in mid-sentence and
respond, not because she wants to, but because it's time for that
activity and time isn't her time, but God's time.

The rest of us experience the monastic bell each morning when our
alarm clock rings and we get out of bed and ready ourselves for the
day, not because we want to, but because it's time.
The principles of monasticism are time-tested, saint-sanctioned, and
altogether trustworthy. But there are different kinds of
monasteries, different ways of putting ourselves into harmony with
the mild, and different kinds of monastic bells. Response to duty
can be monastic prayer, a needy hand can be a monastic bell, and
working without status and power can constitute a withdrawal into a
monastery where God can meet us. The domestic can be the monastic.

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI, in the Seattle, WA, The Catholic Northwest
Progress, Jan. 18, 2001.

My only thought to add to it is that we must not spoil our children in our own attempt at self-denial. Sometimes the best thing for them is to see that Mom/Dad/Brother/Sister is a person too and they have to wait to have their need met. Frequently though telling them to wait and then living with the fallout can be much more difficult then giving in to them. So it probably comes out in the wash. It’s a wonderful reflection to keep in mind during these difficult and demanding years.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It’s All in the Presentation…


Breakfast in the shoe was quickly followed by lunch in the shoe. Hotdogs. With ketchup. I know, I know. We just can’t help but be gourmet around here, it’s in our bones.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dear Santa...

[Yes. Anthony still writes a letter to Santa every two weeksish. Usually it's a letter for the whole family. Here's tonights example. He's recently discovered exclamation marks. Sometimes he's so sweet and funny - My favorite is the section that he wrote for John.]

Christmas List


Dear Santa I want a doll with cloths and a bed with a pillow and bat and boll and a stroller to go with it. A boock about prinsusis and a agnas sait costyom (Agnus saint costume) with a lalb (lamb - funny that he remembered the 'b' at the end but didn't get the 'm'). And a new ester bascit (Easter baskit) with prinsusis all over it. And more!


I want a ship as lon (long) as me. And I want a video game that I can be a race car driver and race other race car driver's lice (like) the one at the Fredric Chuce Cheeses except that myn will be on the TV. and I want some camaflosh aremy pants and army shirt and an army coat. And I want a boa and arose (a bow and arrows) like the one at Walmart. And I want a lot of sords and alot of guns and sheld's to go with the sords. and lots more presents!!!!!!


Thomas wants some cow some hores and some sheep and some geese and a tracter and a big barn.


CeCe wood lik some new baby toys and some new cloths and lots more.


Momy just wants us to feel happy. She just want CeCe to have new cloths..........


Dady is the same way except that he go's to worc....so he wants to have new boocs about Jesuse and other saints.....


By Anthony Love

[For the record Santa, while I do want everyone to feel happy I also wouldn't mind if you dropped an ipad and maybe a pair on binoculars under my tree. The End. By Alexis Love]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Costo vs. Aldis: In which I am nerdy and maybe tacky...

*Blogger has decided it thinks paragraphs are too fancy for it's blogs so instead of paragraphs I will put a ~ symbol. Oi ve. To some folks thinking a lot about money is tacky. They think it unseemly to always be going after a bargain. Not refined perhaps. They take pride in not shopping at the big W or not wading through "other people's junk" at garage sales or thrift stores. ~To others it is practically a religion. They spend enormous amounts of time clipping coupons and perusing the ads to find the very very cheapest place to buy their beans that week. They then diligently spend time soaking said beans so as to not have to spend the money on canned beans. They go after pennies on the dollar and it hurts them to not get a deal. ~I have absolutely no shame - no shame whatsoever - about filling my house with "other people's junk." It is frequently an upgrade from my own junk. And I have no qualms about checking out with a cart full of Cheerios because they are on a once a year sale. ~On the other hand, I do not find couponing to be worth the time investment on my part. I am interested in large savings with a minimal output of my time. For me, efficiency is the name of the game. Efficient use of my time and money. ~I recently spent some time on a food buying efficiency project which may be handy for some other families out there. If you think this sort of project is tacky then you can just stop reading now because this is not the post for you. It's seriously nitty gritty and it's boring unless you have, for some reason, been looking for this information. I know I was. :) ~On to the details: We go on a giant shopping trip once a month to both places and then a quick one half way through the month to replenish our milk. We buy ten gallons of milk twice a month (20 total) and freeze half of the them each visit. We get most of our produce on these two trips but will also supplement with fruit on sale from the grocery stores if we run out. ~Here's my Aldi's vs. Costco cost comparison. The first 4 pages are the prices that I have collected (it is by no means exhaustive) and my shopping list is the last page. Frequently I only recorded the cheaper price. If it's on the list and there's only one price listed that is the cheaper price - if there is only an asterisk that also denotes the cheaper price. There are a couple of exceptions. We buy Costco milk (which is .50/gallon more then Aldis) in spite of the possibility of saving $10/month by going with Aldis. For whatever reason the Love-gullets are not huge fans of Aldi's milk. The brown sugar price is actually the same but I can't use the brown sugar fast enough if I buy it from Costco so I go with the smaller bag at Aldis. I go with natural peanut butter so we get that at Costco because Aldi's doesn't carry it, though their peanut butter is much cheaper. We buy Huggies diapers from AmazonMom and they are .01/diaper cheaper then Costco, I didn't compare then to Aldi's diapers price-wise or otherwise. We do a lot of steam-in-bag frozen veggies. I stock up on those at 10/10 sales at the regular grocery. We get our eggs local from a farm or grocery so I didn't compare those prices. Meats I find much cheaper to stock up on when grocery stores have sales then buying them at either place. All the prices are taken from the Maryland Costco and Aldis so if you live elsewhere then things may differ. Also the shopping list is arranged according to my own local stores. ~So, while it's really just designed with our own needs in mind and is always a work in progress, I hope it helps someone else too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Absurdity of it all…

Thomas has developed this horrible habit of pushing his mini-beetle car out into the street. We live at the top of a hill and so the vehicle will roll down the hill picking up speed as it goes and then rams into someone’s nice pickup that’s parked on the street (there are mostly pickups on our street – mini-vans are definitely the odd ones out). It is horrifying. And he’s doing it on purpose. I think he likes to watch me run, swearing, down the street trying to catch up to it before it actually dents something. I realize the absurdity of this. How can this: February (750)

hurt anything? It just can, it’s the Thomas-touch. The opposite of the Midas-touch.

So today I chased his trike down and caught up to it just as it swerved, avoiding two parked cars and then crashed into someone’s fence. Fine, this is on the low-side of Thomas-inflicted damage. But 10 minutes later Anthony sounds the alarm and I go flying out the front door only to see the mini-beetle careening down the hill heading for the intersection. At this point I am not even trying to do my “dignified mini-beetle recovery run”: lightly jogging – trying to play off my embarrassment and flipping my hair in a care-free, “I’m breezy” sort of way. No this time I have just let loose.

Then I see not one, but two cars approaching the intersection. Great Scott. The last thing we need is a mini-beetle-caused collision. So I start yelling for the cars to stop – interjecting “I’m so sorry!” – periodically. As I’m running I have plenty of time for the absurdity of my situation to sink in and I’m very tempted to fling my apron over my shoulders like a cape – just to really drive the point home. And yes, I was indeed wearing an apron. Somehow this just made the whole thing worse. Maybe because wearing an apron seems sort of pretentious, in a housewifey 1950’s sort of way. And the humiliation of the pretentious is much worse then the humiliation of a normal person. In the end no one crashed and everyone was very kind, of course – people really are very forgiving and kind toward strangers. And I took off my apron – just in case I am called back into action. I must keep my secret identity under wraps – at least until pretentious stay at home mom’s are recognized for our true glory.

Saturday, March 26, 2011



If I were going to have a WTF moment…this would be it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bad Day to...

Awesome day!

Problem: 2 more streppy kids
Solution: 1 phone call to docs office and 1 trip to pharmacy. EASY.

Problem: Sump Pump broken. 1-2 inches of standing water in the basement.

Saving Grace: Water was ONLY in the play area which had recently (and uncharacteristically) been cleaned up recently. There were no stuffed animals on the floor, no dress up clothes, nothing that we couldn't wipe dry. The only wet thing to contend with is the rug which is already named, "The Sacrificial Rug" due to it's role in protecting the carpet of a dining room in a previous home. So it, as usual, has lived up to it's name. Also, the water did not touch a single book. We have hundreds of school books in the basement and the school room was untouched. I can't tell you my gratefulness.

Solution: Listen to this crazy God moment. Yesterday when I posted about our fun trip to the doctor my friend showed up at the house with chicken soup not an hour later. It was wild. I felt like I pressed "Post" and then turned around and she was there. It was such a blessing in so many ways.
So this morning Anthony send up the alarm about the flooded basement. Chills go through my spine. I will share this FB comment that I left not 2 weeks ago. "I am dreading a basement flood. All of our schoolbooks and toys are down there so if it ever happens it could be a complete disaster. Nothing like living on the edge." That was March 9th.
So we take a survey of the damage, breath a huge sigh of relief and thankfulness for The Sacrificial Rug and I say to John, "Well. Maybe we should get a dehumidifier. That's something that people do when this happens." He replies something about calling the plumber to fix the sump pump. Then I recommend that we call my chicken soup friend's husband as he is a carpenter and contractor and a generally "useful engine" as Thomas the Tank Engine would say. He's also extremely generous with his time and talents. As we are discussing this the kids have gotten their raincoats and boots on and are marching down to the giant puddle inside. "Fun times", they are thinking. (The picture is us baling the water - it was fun - for some.)

John gives chicken soup husband a ring and starts explaining the situation and Fred says, "OK, here's what you do. Walk to the front door." And suddenly I can hear both sides of the conversation and there is Fred, in my kitchen. I think to myself, "Wow. The L's response time to the Love's crises is really improving. That couldn't have been more then one minute after we called them this time."
Fred goes and hits the motor which he explains is the first line of defense when this happens (good to know) and then declares the sump pump dead. He tells John to run up to the local hardware store and when he gets back Fred installs the new pump. Problem solved in under an hour. Unreal. We didn't even have time to freak out. Much. Then he brings us his dehumidifier to borrow (I knew that had something to do with floods).
Next Fred pops on up to our bathroom and fixes the leak that's been stumping the best minds in the house (and the master plumber we called in) in our bathroom for over a month. Now we can re-drywall our foire ceiling. And although I will miss the bathroom plumbing being the first thing that people see when they walk in the door I am very happy to not have to pull out a bucket every time we bathe the children. This is apparently the reason Fred was in our driveway when John called him this morning. He had taken the morning off from working on his own project to fix that pesky leak for us. I know, I know. What makes us so lucky?

So, I think the lesson learned is that I no longer have to worry about anything anymore. The next time a pipe bursts or I have to run a kid to urgent care I'll just tell John, "Don't worry honey. I'm sure the L's are on their way. Just have a little patience."

God is good and today He was good through my friends. Thank you!