Friday, December 29, 2006

Break's over

Did I mention that I was bad at this? It's been a busy couple of months. Quite a bit has been accomplished. Philip is out of diapers, and our stockpile has been washed, boxed, and put away. Not thrown away, but I have my doubts. Eric is on the road to reading. The only thing he gets more excited about is weaponry. That is not a typo. Katie is loving school and learning and gave her very first poetry recitation yesterday. She is also knitting her first project, a scarf for Philip. It's an Epiphany gift. Clint and I are muddling along. Okay, I'm muddling, he's knocking my socks off with his supportiveness of my half-baked endeavors. I'm getting by on a little prayer, a little sleep, and too much caffeine and sugar. If I can increase the first item and decrease the last, I'll have a great 2007.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What's in a name?

I love names, I really love thinking up baby names, baby or no. Sometimes I think it's easier to choose a name if you've narrowed the field. This is a bad idea for me, as the last time I compiled a list like this(my list of states I won't live in) I really had to eat my words. I'm living in one of those states right now.
Be that as it may, I still have a list of names I won't call my child. Let's start with the bad Biblical names. Cain, Delilah, Jezebel, Goliath, Zerubabbel, Judas, and Dorcas. I really think I don't have to explain any of those. I don't have anything against Dorcas, personally, but I'd prefer the other version of her name, Tabitha. Then there are the bad literary names. This list would be REALLY long, as there are many, many bad literary characters that one could name their children after. Let's just choose one that someone I knew used. Guinevere. It's a beautiful name, but the character was positively faithless.
And I won't be inventing any names of my own, nor using strange spellings of names already in use. And, for some reason, I just can't name any of my kids after cities in Texas(that knocks out Lubbock, Marshall, and Paris) or American mountain ranges(sorry little Pocono and Rocky). I'll try to avoid last names as first names, but since we have a last name that's almost a first name, I make no promises.
I won't do virtues as first names, too much pressure. Besides, if you're an impatient Patience, how can you feel like the name is really yours? My name wasn't so bad until I found out it means "graceful lily." Stop laughing, it's not THAT funny. Virtues and positive attributes make nice middle names, something to which one can aspire.
Oh, I forgot the most important rule of all: absolutely no names that were used for family pets going back a minimum of three generations. Otherwise, arguments between your kids will sound like this: "Yeah? Well YOU were named after Grandma's DOG!" Nice picture. Don't think it can't happen to you, even good kids come up with stuff like this when they get too old for babysitters and they're caught up with their homework. We had a field day with the copy of my sister's birth certificate that had the Male box checked accidentally. I think we had her believing she really might be a boy until Mom & Dad got home.
And while it may simplify things, I don't think naming your child with your last name as their first name is very nice, either. My uncle, Emery Emery(I am NOT making this up) would attest to that.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Looking for grace

I will think before I volunteer. I will think before I volunteer. I will.....
I am in the throes of volunteer's remorse, kind of like buyer's remorse, except I don't have a new car (or house, or anything) to show for it. If there is Vacation Bible School at my parish and if it is even a little bit organized, fun, or educational, it will be by the grace of the Almighty because I am WAAAAAAYYYYYYY over my head.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
I'm taking Him at His word.


Friday, April 28, 2006

The Blessed Event

On Sunday, April 23, Divine Mercy Sunday, Katie received the Eucharist for the very first time. It was a wonderful day. Back in the pew, after receiving our Blessed Lord, she turned to me, eyes shining, and said, "Now I can receive Jesus every time!" Yes, you can. That look on her face is enough to inspire me to pray for more vocations--everyone should be able to receive Jesus every week, if not every day. And it is my prayer that the joy of receiving Christ never leaves her. God is forever teaching me through the blessings of my children. I can never thank him enough.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Reality Check

It's Friday, and we didn't make it to Stations. So after the kids went to bed, I watched The Passion of the Christ.
My attitude has been properly adjusted.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Library

I was at a meeting in a Catholic school library the other evening. We finished pretty early, so when the room cleared out I walked around and perused the titles on the shelves. It was pretty shocking. It's not that I expected all the books to be holy books about lives of saints, or even to teach virtue. There is merit in reading and studying things that are simply and beautifully written because beauty and creativity themselves can give us glimpses into the mind of God. However, I did not expect to see what I did, books that clutter the mind with drivel and openly promote vice. Granted, some of these books have won awards, but I don't believe that every book that wins a secular award should automatically be included in a Catholic library, just as I don't think every academy-award winning movie belongs in every home library(think Million Dollar Baby). I truly believe that it's just another example of lowered expectations in the form of "well, at least they're reading." I've just never been a fan of that viewpoint because if you follow that line to its logical conclusion then you can excuse your children for reading pornographic literature. Vigilance is the domain of all parents, not just those of us crazy enough to homeschool. We should know our children and monitor their interests that we may better "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Sunday, March 26, 2006


A friend from Pennsylvania called me on Friday. We call each other when we can to catch up and encourage each other. I was still feeling a little sorry for myself as Clint had just returned from a business trip the night before and would be leaving again on Monday. So, when she asked me what was new I told her Clint had just gotten home for the weekend. She said, "Suzanne, you are so BLESSED to have such a faithful, loving husband who travels. You never have to worry when he's gone."
I think someone's getting an afternoon out for golf tomorrow, and a big hug right now.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

That's where she gets it!

I have this funny story about Katie when from when she was four, I think. Anyway, we were at a friend's house for this little co-op preschool. It was Lent and my friend, Cathy, was telling the kids about the Crucifixion. When she got to the part about the two thieves crucified with Jesus and how "the good thief" believed in Jesus, Katie (who was full of questions) interrupted and asked, "What did the good thief steal?" I've always scratched my head and wondered, who asks that? Now, I know. I was just telling my mother-in-law(Barbara) that Katie is reading about Betsy Ross. Barbara told me that when Clint was about three, his grandfather asked him if he knew what Betsy Ross did. Clint didn't, so his grandfather said, "Well, she made the first American flag." Clint looked at him and asked, "But who made the last one?"
Mystery solved.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Family Un-planning and Naptime

Our children are 7, 4, and almost 2. We didn't space them that way, God did. It took me awhile to figure out why. I nursed each of my children to sleep at naptime and bedtime from birth. Most of the magazines told me that was a bad idea. I tried their way once when Katie was a baby. She cried for 45 minutes, even with the checking and comforting--which wasn't comforting to her, apparently. And it felt so WRONG. After she weaned, I sang her to sleep until she was ready to go to sleep on her own. Eric went from nursing to reading. Philip is now weaned and prefers just being held until he's asleep. I thought everyone did these things. But, I have friends and family members who just lay their kids down when they're tired and they just quietly fall asleep. That's it. No tears, no yelling "MOMMY!" at the top of their lungs, nothing. Some of these friends have their kids spaced quite close together. So I thought, maybe our kids are so 2+ years apart so I don't have to help two of them to sleep at the same time. God truly knows my abilities, and gave me my gifts accordingly. It's comforting to know that Someone knows what He's doing. I, on the other hand, still have plenty to learn. For instance, I tried putting Philip down in the play yard with a blanket and a bottle of water half an hour ago. He's been alternating calling my name(not crying, just with an air of, yoo-hoo, I'm still here) with singing and jabbering. That's why we don't have a crib. I'd better take him down to our napping place.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The title of my book

I think I'll name my book, The Healing Power of Candy. Now, I know that candy has never really healed anyone, but think about all the kids who've gotten well because they've taken their medicine because it was flavored like candy. Then, look at Philip. He has an ear infection, again. The P.A. at the doctor's office said he doesn't need antibiotics unless he gets worse, just treat the pain. So, we did, for over a week. He's not worse, but he's not much better, either. I'm still reluctant to give antibiotics to my sweetie since he has a sensitive stomach. Time for a natural remedy--olive oil with garlic.

Have you ever tried to put anything in a toddler's ear when he's awake? Not pleasant. Here's where the candy comes in. For a gumdrop, he let me put drops in both ears AND he hasn't pulled the cotton out. THAT's the healing power of candy.
"Then I ate it; and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey." Ezekiel 3:3

Monday, March 06, 2006


I've heard from my fellow homeschoolers that February is the hardest month. There are lots of reasons, here in the midwest the weather is one of them. The mildness of this winter has almost made it worse. Whether or not the kids can play outside has varied not just week to week, but often day to day. It's really broken the routine of our days. I guess what I mean is that I've let it disrupt our days. I really like to use recess to get things done, and when we don't have it, I feel frustrated, worn down, and harrassed by my precious children. Sometimes I need to be reminded that they aren't my obstacles to holiness, they are my path. I received just such a reminder at a recent women's conference where we focused on the "delicate balance" that our vocation requires. The balance is easier when our priorities are properly ordered. Sometimes, reading stories needs to come before loading the dishwasher. And the best quote of the conference, "Multitasking is not a virtue." Amen.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Every Day's a Party

Just a day

Some days are just days. We get up, we do our thing, we go to bed. I don't think any day is really supposed to be like this. I think we have many things to be thankful for whether something exciting happens that day or not. Did God give me just as much time and opportunity today as he did yesterday? What did I do with it? I think when I'm having just a day, it's not the day that's lacking. Are there opportunities that I missed because I didn't expend a little effort to find them? What will I do differently tomorrow? Our pastor is fond of telling us that the difference between the sinners in Heaven and those in hell is that the ones in hell just quit trying.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Trip is more sweet than bitter

I didn't mention the defining event of my Florida trip because I was still thinking about it. First, the reason Clint was going to Florida was for his company's national sales meeting. This was the first year in several that spouses were "encouraged to attend." So, he went on Sunday, and I joined him Tuesday evening.
Tuesday night we had a delicious and delightful dinner with fellow employees and spouses, and Wednesday dawned with free time for spouses and meetings for employees until 12:30. Then, there was a break until 3:00, the starting time for a fun and entertaining team-building exercise on the beach, to be followed by a celebratory cookout.
The exer-tainment started, accompanied by Jimmy Buffett music(of course) and an open bar. This was not a serious event. We spouses congregated in little groups near our husbands/wives teams. After the beach portion was finished(each team had to build a boat with a stack of provided materials) the contest moved to the pool for a race. The race entailed one person sitting in the boat while four others propelled it across the pool and back twice. There were eight teams, with enough room in the pool for four, so there were two heats of four teams, then the winners of each heat faced off in the final. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
Clint's team was in the second heat, and since he's 5'8" and 150, he manned the boat. Four of his teammates pushed it, and they wound up disqualified, as they went to the side on the first lap and not all the way to the end. Anyway, one of the gentlemen who pushed exited the water gasping for breath. He was helped to a chair and attempts were made to get him relaxed and comfortable. At some point, a hotel staff person with some first aid knowledge joined the concerned group. After what seemed like an eternity, paramedics arrived and began chest compressions and use of the AED machine. It was too late, as we learned later. He didn't even make it to the hospital. He was only 58.
We were all stunned. The company handled the situation beautifully, with an impromptu prayer service that evening, and a more formal memorial the next. I was torn between the loss I felt for the man's wife (who couldn't attend due to health problems) and my own disappointment. It had been since the before the birth of our first child more than seven years ago that Clint and I had been away together, and this happens. So, for the next 24 hours I vacillated between praying for the new widow and feeling sorry for myself.
I said some brief prayers Thursday night just before I went to sleep. Friday dawned differently. I just felt more peaceful. Even though we were leaving in a matter of hours, I just felt glad to be there in a place that God had made so beautiful. I also felt a great thankfullness for the fact that I still had Clint, and would be going home with him to our precious children. Yes, something tragic happened on my trip. But, I was there, someplace lush and beautiful in January--what a blessing! And Clint and I still have today together, a gift I will work harder to treasure every day that I have it.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We made it!

Florida is beautiful! The first night, I saw the loveliest sunset over the Gulf. I understand why God gave us our five senses, so we can truly appreciate all the beauty He created.
The kids and the grandparents survived our absence. Everyone was as happy and healthy when we returned as they were when we left. Tomorrow I'll write more about the events of the trip, but the place was beautiful and the weather was very un-January.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Am I going?

Let's try this blog thing.

I'm less than 48 hours from departure time for a much-anticipated trip with my husband to Florida. He's there--the kids & I dropped him at the airport at 8:15 this morning. My in-laws arrived this afternoon. Childcare, check. Frozen dinners, check. Warm weather wardrobe, check. The suitcase has been retrieved and is partially packed. But, there was a little hitch, last night Katie was up sick most of the night, my poor girl. She has kept food down all day and was feeling MUCH better, so I'm sure she'll be fine. But, I'm watching the boys, because I'll stay for them, but I won't be stopped if I'm the one filling every airsick bag on the plane.

Oh, and a little testament to the power of the grandparents--this morning, when I put Philip's sneakers on so he could play outside, he fought me kicking and screaming, "boots! boots! boots!" The boots, of course, were temporarily inaccessible. But, when beloved Paw-paw
told my little darling he needed shoes to go outside, he found the hated sneakers and ran to Paw-paw with them yelling "shoes!" Then proceeded to chatter happy gibberish while Paw-paw put them on and tied them. I don't think they'll miss me for a few days, do you?