Monday, June 30, 2008

Birthday Blast

On Sunday I turned 33. Big D and the kids made me my favorite breakfast, French toast and sausage. Usually when I make French toast I use my one and only non-stick pan. It is not very big so I have to cook two pieces of French toast at a time for a family of six. My Mother-in-law bought me an electric grill and Big D was able to make ten pieces of French toast at a time. You know what that means? I was actually able to eat a warm piece of French toast because they were all done at the same time! I am easy to please. A warm breakfast and I consider my birthday to be a success.

Bid D and the kids took me to the store to upgrade my MP3 player to an iPod. Big D bought me the iPod nano and I love it. I spent all Sunday night downloading songs.

The kids and Big D also took me out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. I had an awesome birthday. Big D and the kids always make it very special for me.

Saturday we went out to Big D’s Aunt and Uncle’s house. They have a lot of property and every year they have a 4th of July party. There is always a lot of food, fireworks, and family.

Big D’s family is huge. There are many, many kids running around. Having so many cousins is something special, I'm happy that my children are able to experience family in that way.

My birthday weekend was a blast. Being with family and given a special day by my Hubby and kids, you can’t get much better than that.

Oney having fun.

Bug observing the plant life.

Bug and Oney

The big kids having fun.

The newest and tiniest member of the family.

Friday, June 27, 2008

6 Word Meme

I was tagged by ginny over at Small Things With Great Love
Here is the info from their blogs about the "rules" of what you are to do...
This meme originated over an idea that was prompted by the book written by Larry Smith & Rachel Fershleiser, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure. It’s a compilation based on the story that Hemingway once bet ten dollars that he could sum up his life in six words. His words were, “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”

1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blog sphere.
4. Tag 5 more blogs with links.
5. Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

Every day,I trust in you

I tag...

Sissy (What's in Sissy's Head)

Cathy (From the Field of Blue Children)

Mama Says

Angie (Many Little Blessings)

Motherhood for Dummies

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thrusday Thirteen

“It has been often said, very truly, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary."
- Charles Dickens

“The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”
-G.K. Chesterton

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way."
-C.S. Lewis

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
-C.S. Lewis

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.
-Mother Theresa

It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.
-Mother Theresa

I believe in the sun even if it isn't shining. I believe in love even when I am alone. I believe in God even when He is silent.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac

“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow
So quiet down, cobwebs
Dust, go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing.
~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.
-Denis Waitley

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
-Albert Einstein

It is not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game ever starts.
–Addison Walker

Thursday Thirteen

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Marriage, Now That's a Laugh!

Big D sent me an article on the importance of laughter in a marriage. The article is titled Find Something That Makes You Both Laugh. I believe that laughter and humor are essential to any good marriage.

My marriage runs smoothly a majority of the time. Then there are times where it starts to turn into a business like relationship. We are both under stress. We both have many tasks on our plate, and all we can think about is getting them done. Whether it be something happening in the kids life, money issues, work, or school it can sometimes feel like we are serious business partners rather than husband and wife.

When this type of thing happens, it is not so bad if it lasts for a day or two, but there have been times when it has dragged on for a good part of a week. At these times is when humor makes a huge difference. When Big D and I are going though the “business partner “ phase it is so relieving when he comes home from work with a funny story, or when he e-mails me something from work that he knows will make me laugh. It breaks the tension and snaps me out of my serious trance.

It is a good thing that Big D and I have somewhat of a similar sense of humor. If we didn’t I think like the article states, you should find out what your spouse considers funny and use that as a way to bring laughter into your marriage.

What feels better than having an inside joke between two people? Something that makes the two of you crack up every time you say it, but no one else knows what you’re talking about. Big D and I have these kind of inside jokes. We can be in an argument, or a stress full situation and if either of us mentions one of our inside jokes, the tension will disappear and we can’t help but smile or laugh.

Having kids can be an easy source of humor. Wherever Big D and I are, if the kids are around they are bound to do or say something that gets Big D and I to look at each other and start laughing.

Having a sense of humor while having an argument can be beneficial. If you do it at the right time and not make it seem you are making light of your spouses feelings. If Big D and I are having an argument and we have both finished stating our sides, there is a lingering tension. This is usually a good time for one of us to slip in a little joke. It's hard to stay mad when you are laughing.

This life is full of serious issues, marriage is no exception. Laughter is a way to bond with your spouse, to feel light hearted and relives some of the stress. Tell your spouse some jokes, send them a funny message, joke around, and if these things don’t work you can always resort to tickling.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Home School Conference

Big D and I went to the Michigan Catholic Home School conference this weekend. This was my first conference; I was really excited about going. I was also excited about having a night and a whole day just hanging out with Big D.

The conference was great. I already had a list of the curriculum I wanted, so I was not overwhelmed with the choices at the conference. As soon as we got there we purchased what we needed and the rest of the time we looked around and went to some of the talks.

The speakers were great. Marcus Grodi gave one of the talks we went to. He hosts The Journey Home on EWTN. His talk was about the early Church fathers. I encourage every Catholic and Non Catholic to read about the early Church Fathers. In the short time Marcus was speaking, he gave us a little insight on some of the Church Father’s letters, what they were trying to tell people, and how they instructed everyone to follow the Church Christ established. As I sat there I was thinking, “This is so clear, everyone needs to read about the early Church Fathers.”

Marcus recommended a book, Four Witnesses. Big D and I read this book when we were coming back into the Catholic faith. I remember having the same thoughts as I read this book as I did at Marcus Grodi’s talk, “This is so clear!”

We were also fortunate enough to hear Laura Berquist who wrote Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, she gave a talk on home schooling children from toddler to teen. Laura gave great advice for parents who are teaching children in different grade levels. Laura’s tips and experience gave me a sense of reassurance and peace. All the people we met and talked with were so kind, I felt right at home.

We went to this conference to hear the talks and to buy our curriculum, but Big D spotted some very cool Catholic T-shirts. We found out that a 16-year-old girl who was disappointed in the fashions for her age group decided to make these shirts in her home. They are her designs and I think she did a fabulous job. We had to buy one for all the kids and of course Big D. Here is her website

This conference was a nice little get away for Big D and I. It also brought us in closer to the world of home schooling. It reaffirmed for us that we are doing the right thing for our family. This weekend was a wonderful experience for the both of us.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"The Baby Borrowers" A Good Lesson?

Big D and I saw the preview of the new show airing on NBC called The Baby Borrowers. Basically a group of teenage couples are given adult responsibilities, a house, child, and an elderly person. They are then on their own to see how caring for a family and adult responsibilities can affect their life.

The first thing Big D said when he saw the preview was, “Who would let their child be borrowed?” I on the other hand thought this might be a good idea until I thought about it further.

I am all for teaching teens about responsibility and consequences to their actions. What this show looks like to me is just another way of saying children are a burden, hard work, and can royally screw up your life. Having a child is work, but that is not all it is. When you have a child inside a loving marriage all the hard work is worth it. I am wondering if they are going to stress marriage to these kids on the show. Somehow I doubt it.

After they show the teens how horrible it is trying to raise a family, will they then in turn tell them how rewarding and a blessing it can be to raise a family once your married and committed. I really hope this will be apart of the lesson.

It is hard to get the point of not having premarital sex to a teen when our society holds sex and marriage in such low regard. When we take the spiritual connection out of sex between married couples, then what is it? Something used to reproduce and for pleasure.

Is this show teaching these kids that sex used for reproduction is wrong, children are a burden and your life will be miserable with them in it? If so what is left, sex for pleasure?
How do we get them to see this part is not a good idea until they are married, or “older?”

How can we teach teens to wait to have sex when it is plastered all over our world? They see sex before marriage as ok. They see that sex used for their pleasure without commitment, or love is ok. Are tennagers even scared of sexually transmitted diseases when the television shows commercials of people happy and content with the disease they are dealing with?

They are letting these kids learn a lesson by taking care of an elderly person. What does this have to do with anything? I wonder if NBC has some ties with nursing homes. Lets teach our young people what a burden an elderly person is. That way when the time comes to take care of Grandparents, Mom or Dad, they can quickly ship them off to Shady Pines and never look back.

Is giving a child or an elderly person to a teenager to care for without any emotional attachment reality? What lessons will they learn exactly with this method besides taking care of a child or elderly person sucks?

I am wondering if families in our society were open to the possibility of having more children, if this would be a better lesson to teenagers? They would see and experience all the hard work it takes to raise and care for the children in their family. They would also see and experience the joy children can bring to a committed loving relationship.

How about we tell these teens that it is a burden on the CHILD to not be born within a committed and loving relationship.

I am interested to see how this will all play out.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

13 Things Parents Say To Their Children

1.Because I said so.

This is something I swore I would never say; I always thought it was better to explain why rules are set and what they are for. After hearing "why?” for the 900Th time after I said no you can not have a third cupcake, I will admit I have used this phrase.

2.When I was your age…

As soon as I heard any type of conversation as a child that started with this, my eyes would glass over and I would drift off to la la land. Again I have used this on seldom occasions, for some reason when you become a parent you think your child cares that you did not have a computer, video games, or that you had to walk 5 miles to school.

3.How many times have I told you…

Do kids really know how many times we have told them not to do or to do something? I use this and it gets me nowhere. Miss will just say, “I don’t know.” But Lil D will actually hold up the amount of fingers that he thinks equals to the amount of times I told him something. Either way I am left staring at them with a blank face.

4. Wait until your father gets home!

OK, I know this one is supposedly not good. But when you have been playing the bad guy all day, sometimes it is relieving to give the job over to Dad. Even though he is innocently at work and has no idea the job that is in store for him when he gets home.

5. Were you born in a barn?

My parents said this to me when I would leave the front door to the house open. I never knew the exact meaning to this question. Is it because barn doors are frequently left open? Maybe someone can help me with this one.

6. Skin a Cat

This is a weird and twisted one. Maybe my family is the only people who use this. Whenever my Grandmother was undressing me, she would pull my shirt over my head and in a sweet voice say, “Skin a cat.” I thought it was funny as a little kid. It was not until I was older that I realized she was comparing undressing me to pulling the skin off a cat. I leave this phrase with Grandma.

7.You look like a dying duck in a mud hole.

This is another one of Grandma’s favorites. She would say this to us when we were sick. I might have said this once or twice. Sorry kids.

8.We are not heating/cooling the neighborhood

This was another thing that was said if you left the door open. “Where you born in a barn?” Usually came before or after this particular phrase. I have said this to my kids, and I am not really sure if the get what I mean.

9.Look what you did!

I am guilty of saying this to my children. If my son for instance writes on the wall, was he not just looking at it? Does making him look at it again make it any more definite that he has written on the wall?
In my mind it does, so I say it.

10. I am going to throw you in the garbage.

This is another weird one. This particular saying is used on toddlers in my family. Wait, before anyone makes a call, let me explain. When you play the, I am going to get you game with a toddler and you catch them you say in a sweet toddler talk voice, “I am going to throw you in the garbage." For some reason they think this is funny and get a good laugh out of it. I have used this in front of my mother-in-law. From the look on her face I don’t think she thought this was the greatest saying in the world. Maybe you have to be from a crazy family that talks about skinning cats to fully appreciate this one.

11. If you eat too much sugar you will get diabetes

This one belongs to my Husband. He used this in effort to keep our kids from eating too many sweets. I have to say I do not know if eating a vast amount of sweets will make you a diabetic, but I don’t think having one or two Little Debbie’s will be the deciding factor if you are going to get the disease. Lil D would ask me about it every time I gave him a treat. I had to put an end to this one. It made the boy a little too paranoid. Now we just use the saying, “No more treats.”

12. There are starving children in Africa…

As I child I would have this said to me if I did not eat all my dinner. I do think it is very important to teach your children not to waste food and that they are fortunate enough to even have it. But this saying only works well on certain kids. Miss would feel horrible about the African children and eat every bite. Lil D on the other hand would probably tell me, “Put mine in a box and send it to them.”

13. Don’t talk back to me. (Plus I added others for your enjoyment)

This is how a saying like this would play out.
The child has left the door to the house open while the heat/air conditioning is on.

Mother~”Close the door, were you born in a barn?” “We are not heating/cooling the neighborhood.”

Child~”Mom, you know I was not born in a barn, you were there.” “Leaving the door open for a second will not cool/heat the neighborhood, it will take a lot more than our heater/air conditioner to do that.”

Mom~”Don’t talk back to me.” ‘How many times have I told you to shut the door?”

Child~ Staring at Mom.

Mom~”Well, how many times.”

Child~”You said not to talk back to you.”

Mom~”You just wait until your Father gets home!”

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here.

Wordless Wednesday

Miss's First Communion

Check out more Wordless Wednesday participants here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

God Bless These Chicken Nuggets

My kids teach me a lot of things. They teach me patience, I seem to be a slow learner at this, I keep tying. They teach me about love, kindness and they teach me how to have faith like a child.

Big D and I want to teach our children that you don’t have to hide your faith, we are open and talk about God with them everyday. These little folks are not reserved when it comes to talking about their faith or prayers around anyone, for this I am grateful.

The lesson they taught me happened one day at McDonald's I took them there for lunch and to run around in the play area. We got our nutritious meal of cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets and sat down in the crowded play area to eat. My kids know they have to eat all their food before they can play. I guess that gives me a point for being a good mom, even though I feed them fast food sometimes for lunch.

The place was packed. Moms, Dads, and kids filled the tables. There were also kids running around playing. We were about to start eating when Miss said, “Wait we have to say grace.” This was at a time when we had just begun making prayer apart of our daily lives. Being reserved in my faith, I felt uncomfortable. I did not want my kids to see I felt this way, I put my burger down and said, “Go ahead."

The kids quietly folded their hands and made the sign of the cross. In a normal voice they said Grace. I followed their lead. I had my head down so I don’t know if people were looking at us or not. I didn’t care; after we said Grace I could not have been more proud. I thanked God to myself. I thanked him for these children, and I asked him to help me to be like them.

That day as my children and I said Grace over our chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers I felt God was truly giving me a lesson through these little children. Have faith like a child, God is everywhere, (even McDonald's) and never be afraid to be who you are. Now our family always says Grace before we eat no matter where we are. I don’t feel uncomfortable about it at all.

My children taught me that.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Viewing Life Through Orange Colored Goggles

Is it possible to view the world through rose-colored glasses, or orange colored goggles as this post depicts? How can I live in the world today and not be jaded by the tragedies that happen. How can I overcome the tragedies that befall me?

When these things come to mind I think of how children get along in the world and the experiences they deal with. It seems from the very start of life children are born with an embedded trust in their parents. As children get older they seem to believe that their parents control the universe. When a child has parents who love and care for them the trust is sometimes overwhelming. If a tragedy or a bad thing happens to a child, they look to their parents to make it all better, or at least explain it in a way that the child can overcome the experience.

With this kind of parent child relationship, I can see how it is easy for a child to view the world in a positive way. What about us as adults and parents, this is something we cannot teach our children unless we know how to do it ourselves. I believe this is where God and faith come in.

As infants we have parents who cater to our every need, as children our parents shield us from the dangerous ways of the world. We form a tremendous trust. And learn that yes, the world can sometimes be a dangerous and hurtful place, but there is always a safe spot for us. A place we can go to come back to good thoughts and actions.

Does this all end as we leave our parents and venture out in to the world as adults? I believe that the bigger picture is God. He is our safe spot. When I let go and understand that He controls my universe, I can feel at rest with the experiences that happen around me.

I would like to believe that my trust in God could never be broken, even when my loved ones or I are in the midst of tragedy. When hope seems so far away, would my trust be as strong as I would like it to be? I believe this is where examples of people who do have that trust come in.

When I was pregnant with Oney a couple from our parish was also pregnant. The Adamkiewiczs. Catherine was due around the same time as I was.When we saw each other we would talk about our pregnancies and all things baby.Time went on and I had Oney,a healthy baby boy. Catherine had Celeste, but she was not healthy. She was kept at the hospital due to her illness. When we would see the Adamkiewicz family they would give us updates, and sometimes their eyes were filled with hope that little Celeste would b coming home soon.

Celeste never came home. It was an awful tragedy that fell on this family. How could this happen to such a wonderful family? A family who tries their very best to live the way God wants them to? After Celeste died we would see Catherine and her family at Church, their trust in God was strong. It was an example to all of us.

They decided that God controlled their universe and like any good parent He would take care of them.Catherine and her family decided to put on their rose colored glasses and let God take care of them and their broken hearts.

This family went further, they knew Celeste was here for a reason, Catherine wrote a book about their tragedy and their faith that held them together. The book is called Broken and Blessed. It is a story of a family who had to use all their strength to trust that God would see them through their daughter’s death.

The Adamkiewicz family used their tragedy to show us that God will provide. He is the perfect parent. We can trust Him to guide us and help us to see a positive out of the tragedies that befall our world and our lives, we only need to trust that this will happen, like a child would trust their Mother and Father.

Their example is a powerful one that has reached many people. Celeste did a lot for us in her short time, thanks to God and the family who trusted.

In the midst of tragedy, suffering, and pain I will look to God and trust that He will be the parent He promised to be. I will carry His love with me, and a really nice pair of orange colored goggles.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Super Hero

The most important thing a Father can do for his children is love their Mother. ~Unknown

This quote holds so much truth. I think the reverse is true as well. What is more precious to a mother than her children? And what warms a mother’s heart more than a man who loves and cherishes those children.

A man who would sacrifice his own life to make sure those children were safe and sound.A husband can be such a wonderful title. Becoming a husband can bring out a man’s potential that he never knew he had. But becoming a father and giving his children all of himself makes that man different. It makes his soul shine, and his agendas worthwhile. It also brings out a love from his wife that she may not have known she possessed.

When I think of Big D as my husband and as my children’s Father, this is what comes to mind. A man that has been transformed into something he may have never thought he could be, a Provider, a protector, a teacher, a super hero, and a friend.

I loved my husband more than life itself the day I married him. When I saw the transformation from husband into father I did not know there could be such an intense love. Being the Father that he is to the most precious people in my life is something I will forever be grateful for.

He is our provider, our protector, our teacher, and most definitely our super hero.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tangled Up Puppet

Today we celebrated Father’s Day with my Dad. What is not to love about my Dad or Papa as the little folks call him. I am blessed to have such a great man as an influence in my life. My children are blessed to have such a wonderful Papa. He is the one who never tires of pushing the kids on the swing. The kids know that Papa almost never says no when it comes to playing or joking around. He teaches them to paint, plant gardens, do science experiments, the list goes on.

For this day the kids made Papa a stepping-stone. We also gave him a picture of Bug, Oney, and him on the beach. I know I posted this picture before, but I absolutely love it.

My Dad is a very creative man. He is an artist and quite crafty. We call him Martha Stewart at times. He paints scenic art, influenced by Bob Ross the artist who is on or was on TV. My Dad also makes wooden toys and games. He plays the guitar, a lot of my memories as a child are being around a camp fire while my dad picked away at his guitar while we all sang songs. I love his creativity and his love for it.

Two of my Dad's paintings

My Dad loves imagination. He was always telling me stories and fairy tales as a child. Playing make-believe was always fun with my Dad. He has built a fairy garden in his back yard for the kids. It is a little place where the kids can walk through and try to find all the little fairy statues that are hidden there. Papa only requires that you make a fairy wish before entering. My children have great imaginations. They eat this stuff up.

The fairy garden

One of the fairies that live there.

He is someone you can turn to. He loves nothing more than to help people. Anyone who may have a problem or needs a person to listen can always come to my Dad. Weather it is a quick question or you need a couple of hours. My Dad will listen and try to help any way he can.

I have many fond memories with my Dad. One of my favorite memories is my wedding. My Dad was about to give away his only little girl. I know it was hard for him. He left all the planning to my Mom and me. But he picked out the perfect Daddy- Daughter dance. This song is special to my Dad and me because it represents us so perfectly.

Tangled Up Puppet by Harry Chapin

I'm a tangled up puppet,

Spinning round in knots,
And the more I see what I used to be,
The less of you I've got.

There was a time that you curled up in my lap; like a child
You'd cling to me smiling, yours eyes wide and wild
Now you slip through my arms, wave a passing hello
Twist away and toss a kiss, laughing as you go

You used to say "Read me a story and sing me songs of love"
For you were Princess Paradise like your wings of a dove
Now I chase you and tease you trying to remake you my own
But you just turn away and say "please leave me alone."

And I'm a tangled up puppet
All hanging in your strings
I'm a butterfly in a spider's web
Fluttering my wings

And the more that I keep dancing
And spinning round in knots
The more I see what I used to be
And the less of you I've got

You are a drawer full of makeup and rinses and things
You keep changing your moods like your earrings and rings
But tonight while we played tag for five minutes in the yard
Just for a moment I caught you off guard

But now you write your secret poems
In a room just for your dreams
You don't find time to talk to me
About the things you mean

And what I mean is--
I have watched you take shape from a jumble of parts
And find the grace and form of a fine work of art
Hey, you, my brand new woman, newly come into your own

Don't you know that you don't need to grow up all-alone

We practiced our dance to this song and we became pretty good if I do say so myself.

At the time I was so caught up in the whirl wind of getting married and the love for my husband, I did not really grasp what my Dad was going through and how special he was trying to make this moment for me.

Now I have my own family with my own children. I can now fully appreciate the love my Dad had for me that day. It was only a few months ago that I called him up to tell him how much that song and our dance meant to me. How the memory is irreplaceable. And how I truly felt his unconditional love.

To my tangled up puppet, Happy Fathers Day, thank you for being you. I could not ask for anything more.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Embrace of The Catholic Faith (Part Four)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

My family and I started going to Church every Sunday. Big D and I decided that if we were going to be Catholic and live a Catholic life we better start learning about it. Big D started buying books, lots and lots of books on the Catholic faith.

One book that I really liked was Catholicism for Dummies. This book has straightforward explanations with a little humor thrown in. We also referred to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The more I read the more fascinated I became with the Catholic faith.

A friend and Co-worker of Big D invited us to go see and hear Fr Corapi at his local parish. We all went to the Church and it was beautiful. Fr, Corapi was sitting down and seemed to be very humble and quiet. When it was time for him to speak he was nowhere near quiet. He mesmerized me. His fire for the Catholic faith was something that reached my heart and soul. This is exactly what I needed, someone to speak to me about the Catholic faith and not water anything down.

When we left, my soul was on fire, I wanted to tell everyone I knew how wonderful the Catholic faith was, and that everyone should embrace it. I soon found out that many people did not want to hear that. Even people I know who are Catholic did not want to hear that. I was not trying to tell them that they were wrong or not with God. I felt as though I had the answer to life and I had to let people know what that was.

It soon seemed to feel that my family and I were looked at as a little too Catholic, a little too religious. It was discouraging at first. It seemed as though some of our family and friends wanted to distance themselves, and if they didn't they only wanted to debate religion with us. This was the time that I realized we would have some crosses to bear as we made our way closer to God. I became aware that I was not going to show people God through my words, it would have to be my actions and example, which is a lot harder. It is one thing to quote the Bible and the Catechism, it is quite another to live it out. I felt I would do best with the latter.

We did not let other people and their opinions stop us. As big D and I were studying the Catholic faith it became clear that The Church does not accept contraceptives. We felt we needed to find another alternative. We found an Natural Family Planning class at our parish and we went. This is where we met our very good friends B&D. They had been teaching the class for over twenty years. We learned how to do the Billings Method, and it just seemed so easy. Could this work? We started using the method, and yes it does work.

NFP is a natural way for a woman to know her body. I felt liberated with the feeling of control over the cycles of my body. It also gave Big D and I closeness in our relationship. Every month we had to decide if we would be open to life. We were giving of each other with nothing held back. It brought us so much closer on a spiritual and physical level.

Learning about and using NFP also gave me a very different outlook on children. Some people see a mom with eight kids and who uses NFP, what is there first thought? NFP does not work. That is so far from the truth. When you are using NFP you lose the notion that children are a burden. You see them for what they are, natural, loving gifts that come straight from God. So believe me that women with eight children who uses NFP knows exactly what she is doing.

NFP was completely new to me. I had never heard of it before, so I was sure the women I knew had never heard of it. As I used the method and found it to work very well I began telling my women friends and family about it. Some listened, some said it does not work, even though they never tried it. I think this was just one more thing that made me the kooky Catholic. I didn’t care I could see the transformation in my marriage and in myself.

Before I was happy with having my children, a boy and a girl. That was the perfect family. Everyone thought so. Any more children and you are reaching the point of being “different.” Like I said before, learning about the Catholic faith and using NFP gave me such a different insight on children. The reason that I feel Catholic woman who use NFP have many children is because the Lord opens your eyes and your hearts when you embrace what he is asking you to do. We can see God though these little people, how could you not want more! I was no different. My heart was tugging and I prayed on what we should do. Needless to say we ended up having two more children, another girl and another boy. Now I was the kooky Catholic with a lot of kids, and I loved it.

We received a call from our priest asking if we would be interested in facilitating the marriage classes at our parish. Our friends B&D ran the conference. Basically what happens is engaged couples come for the weekend, we talk about all things marriage, money, intimacy, in-laws, and other topics that need addressing.. We also let them know what the Catholic Church expects of them. How the Church views marriage. Obviously we said yes and have been doing this for about five years. Thank you B&D

I had been praying for some time for God to help my marriage. For Big D and I to become closer and be spiritually connected. Boy did he deliver. Going to Church, receiving the Sacraments, using NFP, becoming Marriage facilitators. We invited him into our marriage and he did not hesitate to fix it. Big D and I look at each other and life in a whole new way. We see our marriage as a blessed sacrament, our children as the fruits of that sacrament. Big D became a new man. I look up to him. He joined the Knights, became a Eucharistic Minister, and a lector. He became a man who stands up for what is right no matter the opposition. This is something I struggle with, so to have his example is very valuable to me. Thank you Big D for coming on this journey with me. Together we will hold each other up.

Sometimes people ask me what our secret is. There is no secret. God does not want us going through this life confused and constantly pondering life. Life is about loving one another and loving God. Seek the truth, it is not hard to find. Care for your family and neighbors. No secret, invite God into your lives.

I have thanked a few people throughout this writing; I am sure there are many more who God has put in my path. I can only hope that in some small way I have given back to these people, and to everyone I have come in contact with. You don’t have to do great things to be recognized by God. Your example, and the little things you do can set that person on the path to God. My journey is by no means over. I have just started. I am always learning something new. As of now I have no idea in what direction God is leading me. What I do know is if I put my trust in him he will never lead me astray. I thank everyone again, and I thank all of you who took the time to read my story.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thirteen Thursday

Thirteen Clues Summer Has Started

1. The kids can play outside. Yay!

2. I don't have to worry about socks, coats, hats or gloves.

3.When I walk into the living room, I find three extra kids all in wet bathing suits sitting on my floor taking a "break".

4. The famous words at bedtime, "But it is still light out!"

5. Popsicle faces and dirty little feet.

6. Hearing children's voices outside all day and night

7. Every weekend is booked now until August with barbeques, graduations, and parties.

8. Flip flops

9. Having my yard just as messy as my house.

10. Relaxed children, living it up.

11. Sweating in the hot sun, cheering on a T-ball game.

12. Babies that were tucked away all winter are now toddlers outside playing in the sun.

13. Being the bad guy when I have to tell the kids we can't buy ice cream from EVERY ice cream truck that rolls by.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Embrace of The Catholic Faith (Part Three)

Part One
Part Two

As I drew closer to embracing my faith, I felt as if I had hit a spiritual rock bottom. Big D and I were having troubles in our marriage. We were still in love, we argued a lot about money, we were extremely lacking in the communication department, and we seemed to be living as roommates rather than husband and wife.

At the same time my Grandfather was dying of Cancer. He was like a father to me. I spent most of my childhood with him because my parents both worked. He was strong, loving, and very smart. Now I was watching this disease rob him from his freedom, it was making the man who I thought could do anything turn into a feeble, weak old man. At times it was unbearable to go and visit him. In the past I would walk into his house and he would be making something for us to eat, we would sit at the kitchen table and shoot the breeze so to speak. Now when I went to visit, I would find a pale old man lying in the back bedroom going in and out of sleep. Every move would bring on the pain, it was heart wrenching.

The day came when my Grandpa fell into a coma. The whole family was at his house. Hospice came and very lightly gave us the hint that we did not have much time. The Hospice worker told us he could hear and that if there was anything we had to say we should go say it. I went into the room, as my Grandpa lay motionless on the bed. I remember he told me before the coma that he could feel someone grabbing his hands, we did notice when he was asleep he would hold both of his arms straight out like he was trying to grasp something. I told him it was his guardian angel. I don’t know if that eased his mind, but I hope it did.

I walked up to my Grandpa and whispered a few things to him. I said I love you, thank you, and it is ok to let go, we will all be ok. About a half an hour latter he passed away. I had the honor to be in the room with him. I say I had the honor because the feeling I had at that moment was extreme loss, but also I had the feeling you would get being present at a birth of a new baby. The honor of it, the miracle you have witnessed. It is hard for me to explain, but I was extremely honored to be present as my Grandfather’s soul began its journey home.

It was time to deal with the funeral. I was in a bit of denial over the whole death. There were brief times were I did not believe he actually died. I even thought I saw him driving down my street. That was a weird experience. The funeral was held at our Catholic Church. We had the full mass. Although it was sad, I had an overwhelming feeling of being home. When I discussed this with Big D, to my surprise he was feeling that same way.

After the funeral, I thought about the meaning of my Grandfathers life and soul. He did not go to church, or talk about God much. I knew he believed in God, he was never open about it. A Priest came to visit before my Grandpa went into a coma. I don’t know what went on, I could only hope this Priest guided my Grandpa in the right direction.

I was pondering all the things my Grandpa did for me in this life. Now that he has gone does that mean it is over? Someone I loved so much could just “poof” be gone and there is nothing more? I could not accept this. I believed my Grandpa should be at peace with God and if that meant I had to go to Church every Sunday and pray everyday for his soul that is what I was going to do. I was not going to do it for me, or because it is the truth, and I surely did not expect it to help my life in anyway. It would all be for him, to get his stubborn butt into Heaven. Thank you Grandpa

Big D and I made the decision soon after the funeral that we would commit to going to Mass every Sunday. It was mostly for Miss and Lil D. Big D was not aware that I had a mission to get my Grandpa into Heaven. (If he was not there already) We were ready to take the responsibility of having children a step further. Not only seeing that their worldly needs were met, but also their spiritual needs. I had always known my children were gifts from God; I did not realize the magnitude of these gifts. How through these helpless little beings you can most definitely see Gods light shining through. I knew I had to get them on a path to God, I did not know they would play such a pivotal role in helping me along mine. My heart pours out much thanks to my sweet babies.

To be continued…

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Embrace of the Catholic Faith (Part Two)

Part one

I started to get that nagging feeling in my heart. It was time to have another baby. Miss was 2 ½ and we felt she was ready to become a big sister.

Lil D was born at the end of winter. We had are girl and our boy, perfect. At this time we had not been to church since Miss was baptized. I knew I had to call Sister B again and tell her we still have not gone to church or made any changes for that matter.

I called Sister B and told her we would like to get Lil D Baptized. She asked again about attending Church, I said no. She asked if we would need to take the classes, I told her we took them when we had our first child baptized. Sister B told me that with every child, you as a parent become closer to God, and she again had faith that we would raise these two gifts in the Catholic Faith. Thanks again Sister B.

Lil D was baptized and time went on. It was easy not to go to church, no one we knew did. It was easy not to talk about God and all that he does for our lives, because no one we knew did. It was very easy to make up our own rules about religion and faith because I tend to be defensive if I feel someone is trying to control my thoughts or actions. Having this emotional deficiency makes it hard to decide if someone is controlling you, or giving you good advice to further your life on the right path. I was very comfortable making up my own rules about my relationship with God.

I talk about having people around us who did not go to church and did not talk about God, but that is not entirely true. Big D has an Aunt and Uncle; I will call them M&M. They were the only people at the time who were living their faith. They are Protestant, and never seemed to be embarrassed about how they worshiped, raised their children or had any apologies for the way they lived.

They invited us over to their house for dinner a few times. We talked about God, Scripture, faith, and our lack there of. They never made me feel like they were trying to persuade us to be Protestant. They never bashed the Catholic Church. I believe they were put in our path to be role models. To show us you can live a life with God as it’s center and still be “normal” people.

They showed me that if you were going to have faith in God, you have to live that faith, thank you M&M. We could also see some of the crosses they had and still have to bear for choosing to live their life the way they feel God wants them to. I did not think Big D and I would have to bear those crosses, heck our whole family was Catholic, we were Catholic. Just because we decide to go to church on Sundays, what could change? Everything would remain the same right? Yeah right.

To be continued...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Camping We Will Go

This weekend my family along with my Mom and Dad went on a weekend camping trip. A local camping area hosts a children’s fishing derby. It is free and the kids win prizes for most fish caught, biggest fish, or for just signing up.

Our friends have a trailer at this campground and they were nice enough to let us all stay in it. It was big and very cozy.

We went to the beach. It was Oney’s first time camping and the first time on the beach. He loved it! Oney also has a thing for rocks. Camping was a great place for him to find rocks to play with.. When I say he has a thing for rocks, what I mean is he will find one and keep it. Never giving it up. He would sleep with it if I let him. Forget spending money on toys, just get this kid a bucket of rocks and he will be good to go.

Grandpa and Big D took the kids fishing. Lil D caught a 24-inch Carp. I think Carp is a disgusting fish, but they caught it and it was huge. In the fishing world I guess that is all that matters.While the kids and the men were fishing, Grandma and I set up our chairs at camp and we relaxed! Yes you heard me right, we relaxed for a good hour, and it was wonderful.

The Camping trip was a lot of fun. I can't wait to plan the next one.

Grandma and Oney

All a camper needs is a Dora chair, cheese puffs, and Sunny D

Oney and his new friend, the rock. (he was sleeping in this picture)

Papa, Oney and Bug testing the water.

At the end of the trip Big D had Lil D swimming without his float and going underwater. I love Dads.

Building sand castles

Oney having fun.

This is my attempt at a sand castle.

Here is my clan. One day I will get a picture of everyone smiling and all eyes are open.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Embrace of The Catholic Faith (Part One)

I grew up in a family who had faith in God. My family considers themselves Catholic. We rarely ever went to church, but my parents did allow me to receive my first sacraments, Baptism, Reconciliation, and First Holy Communion. I was read Bible stories and was told that God loved me. My parents sent me to a Catholic school until the 5th grade, which is pretty much where living and learning about Catholicism stopped. Not that my parents did not like Catholicism, it was just not part of their lifestyle.

During Jr. High and High School, I strayed far away from any type of religion. I felt very lonely and depressed at that time of my life. I always felt as if something was missing. I can remember a friend giving me a huge framed poster of Christ on the Crucifix. I hung it over my bed. Every night while I was crying or feeling sorry for myself, I would pray and ask Gods forgiveness. Promising not to do the wrong I had done again. This was a nightly ritual so obviously I did not keep my promise to God.

A few years after high school, I met my husband. Something about him made it very clear to me that this was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. At the time I would call it fate, or my brain being high on the chemicals related to the feelings of love. I know now that I was being called to my vocation, and like it or not my husband was being called to his.

My husband grew up the same way I did concerning faith. His grandmother is a devout Catholic, and he spent a lot of time with her, so his Catholic faith was a little more fine

We dated for four months until he proposed. Some people thought it was quick, but when God is pulling you in a direction there really is no time limit. We stayed engaged for a year and a half. This was my mother’s request. She wanted time to plan her only daughters wedding. Got to love Mom’s too.

Our wedding day approached, and we were deciding on what sort of mass we were going to have. Should we have the full-blown Catholic Mass, or the short version minus Communion? I wanted the short version, not because I did not care, but because I felt I was not worthy to have Jesus present at the wedding. It sounds crazy when I think back on it, but that is how I felt.

Lets bring Nani back in on this. (Nani being my husbands devout Catholic Grandma) My husband told me his Nani would be devastated if we did not celebrate Communion at our wedding. I agreed (thank goodness)

And we had the full-blown Catholic ceremony. Now that I think about it, it is funny how a little Nani can bring such a powerful message of God. If it was not for her and her devastation, I might look back on my wedding with regret that I did not have Jesus there in the Eucharist. Thank you Nani.

Now I believe when God is calling you to do something, it can be very clear sometimes. I knew that I wanted to be a mother more than anything. My husband felt the same way about being a father. We had no reasons why we should not get to the baby making right away. After 7 months of being married we conceived Miss.

We were about to have a baby and move into our new house. It was an exciting and stressful time. I was a bit depressed and still had the old feeling of something is missing. Big D and I were extremely in love and happy, but it was as if we could not communicate it properly. We did not know the deeper meaning of marriage.

We struggled with this for some time. We were also very young. This was my first time living on my own, and I would soon have another life to be responsible for. This new child of ours would be the first baby I would have close contact with. I was a whirlwind of emotion. I had no idea how to be a wife or mother. I wondered if this was the right path for me. I felt I had no one to turn to with these emotions and thoughts, not even Big D.

I was the first one of my friends to get married; I believe they felt I was too young. I was 22 by the way. So I felt I could not talk to them about my problems. I could talk to my parents some of the time, but their advice was, “You’re a team, work it out.” I understood that, I don’t think they understood that there was something missing in my marriage and life and how bad I was longing for it. I didn’t even understand.

I had a few pity parties, and kept up the search for the “thing” I felt was missing in my life. By this time we wanted to have Miss Baptized in the Catholic Church. Big D and I knew how important this was, as did our families. Even though we had the mindset that going to church wasn’t all that important. Go figure.

I called some local Churches and told them I was interested in having my infant Baptized. The question that was asked was, “Do you go to church?” My answer was no. A few of these churches denied us a Baptism. I will admit I was angry. How could they deny my child a Baptism? We were good people. Just because we were sinners did not mean I wanted my child to be one. What I did not think about was the promise of Baptism, to raise this child in the Catholic Faith. Were we really prepared to do this? At the time I don’t think so.

The last Church I called, I spoke to Sister B. I told her we do not go to church but it was extremely important that our child receive the sacrament of Baptism. This wonderful woman had faith in us. She told us they would do the sacrament and she would hope and pray that this would bring us back into our Catholic faith. Thank you Sister B.

The Baptism took place and it was beautiful. After all was said and done, Big D and I occasionally said we needed to go to church, but for some reason it did not fit into our life.

We spent the next 3 years living our lives. Big D worked a tremendous amount. He was never home. I was becoming bitter and disrespectful towards Big D. We were floating through life. Nothing was getting better. Everything just seemed to stay the same.

To be continued…

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thrusday Thirteen

13 things I must do to get four kids and two adults ready for a three-day camping trip.

1. Wash clothes

2. Wash sleeping bags that have been crumpled up down stairs.

3. Buy new air mattresses, both of our old ones have been permanently deflated.

4. Answer at least 10 times a day for the past week the question, "When are we going camping?"

5. Pack my children's whole wardrobe; because where we live it could be 90 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next.

6. Buy new sunscreen. I was just told that sunscreen has an expiration date. I am a little slow. Also update my first aid bag. Medicine has an expiration date as well. I knew that one.

7. Buy new chairs. I left one at the park and I think Miss and Lil D have out grown the baby chairs and need adult chairs now.

8. Charge the inflation device for the air mattresses. I like camping, but I am a little old to be sleeping on the floor.

9. Answer the question, "When are we going camping?" 15 times a day now that it is getting closer to the day we are leaving.

10.Buy food, snacks, juice, pop, marshmallows...

11. Get my wonderful sister-in-law to come buy and make sure our pets are still alive.

12. Somehow pack the kids, clothes, bedding, mattresses, husband, toys, food, chairs, and myself into a mini van.

13. After the stress is over, relax and have fun spending time with my family.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer Fashions Not Found in the Junior Department

I am going to be turning 33 this month. I have decided to take a vow and not shop in the junior department for clothes anymore.

This may seem shocking for some. I am sure a lot of women have been out of the junior department well, since they were juniors. I on the other hand have a hard time letting go. If you have ever seen the show What Not to Wear, I am like the poor women who need to be told, you are not a teen or twenty something anymore!

I will be staying away from any type of jean that is not meant to be worn by anyone with hips.

I love fashion; I am just not good at it. I like trends, but I need to know when to pass one up when it is not suited for my body type or age.

This is why I am so happy about the fashions for this spring and summer. Lets take the walking short for instance. I love these. They come to just above the knee, and if you buy the right cut they look modest but in a cute and stylish way.

Another thing I also love is the longer more feminine tops and tees. They are a little bit baggier, a blessing to a mom of four. They are still very flattering. I just need to be careful on how billowy the shirt is. I want to portray stylish mom, not soon to be mom of five.

I am also fond of the dresses this summer. They have a more classic and retro look.

It seems the fashion industry has been thinking of the normal women out here in the real world. I want to look my age, be modest, and be stylish as well. I think these fashions do just that.

I still have not worked up the courage to get rid of my beloved zip up hoodies or flip-flops. I don’t think that will ever happen.

Here are some of the fashions that I like for this season.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Funny Things Kids Say

Today I was the lunch mom for Miss’s class. On the way back from recess I had the class walking behind me, Bug holding my hand while I pushed Oney in his stroller.

As we were walking back into the school, the kids started saying, “Step on a crack break your mothers back.” They were shouting at the kids who had just broken their mother's back because they were not paying attention and stepping on all the sidewalk cracks.

I was one of the people who was not paying attention, because all of a sudden I hear Bug scream, “Momma you stepped on Crap!”
Although it sounded more like, “Momma you stepped on Cwap!” Her speech has an uncanny resemblance to Elmer Fudd.

The kids started laughing. Bug had no idea what was so funny, but she was pretty proud that she made all the big kids laugh.

Funny stuff

Monday, June 2, 2008

Now That's Talent

Friday we spent the evening at Miss and Little D’s school. It was the night of their talent show. Last year Miss sang You Can’t Get to Heaven on Roller Skates. This year she sang Work it Out from High School Musical 2. It was a bit of a difference from last year, but she did very well. It made me realize she is growing up, still my sweet innocent baby girl, but still growing up.

Lil D did something a little different. Before I tell about it I need to go back a couple of weeks to give the whole story.

This was Lil D ‘s first year in the talent show. I was curious as to what he was planning to do. The conversation went something like this…

Me~”What do you plan on doing for the talent show?”

Lil D~ “I am going to do my Irish dance.”

Me~ (puzzled, because he has no dance training and I had no idea he knew what an Irish dance was) “What Irish dance?”

Lil D~ “This one.”

Then Lil D proceeds to do a 7-year-old rendition of River Dance. He folds his hands across his chest and starts kicking his legs. It was like River Dance meets Russian Dance.

Me~ “Oh.”

Here was my dilemma, I felt like one of the parents or friends of a contestant on American Idol. Do I say the dance is not that great and crush his dreams, or do I let him do what he wants and stop being so dramatic over a child’s talent show? I chose to stop being dramatic.

Among the other things I keep in my minds inventory, I pondered on how I was going to help Lil D’s performance. Do I dress him as a leprechaun? Do I get him a tall furry Russian hat, should he wear tights? After a couple of days with these oh so important thoughts going on in my mind, Lil D comes up to me as I was doing the dishes.

Lil D~ “Hey mom, want to hear me say the ABC’s backwards?

I say sure, expecting this to be a little joke and he is going to say CBA. But no, he rattles off the whole Alphabet backwards. I asked him to say it again but slower this time. He does and sure enough he knows the whole Alphabet backwards. I asked him how he learned that and he said he just knows how. My first thought was, he’s gifted!

Like any proud parents Big D and I asked him to do this for every family member and friend that we came across.

I could not have been happier when Lil D announced he would be saying the ABC’s backwards for the talent show. That meant no Irish/Russian dance while wearing tights.

Friday night Miss did her song looking cute as ever, doing a little dance as she sang. After a few dancers, piano recitals, and singers, my Lil D came out. He announced what he was going to do and then he did his ABC’s. I could not help but notice the people in front of us look at each other with wide eyes. When Lil D had finished he came to sit down by us. The lady next to him was telling him what a great talent he had. Lil D then told the lady that he could also spell his name backwards, and he did.

Maybe I went a little far telling myself that Lil D is gifted. I am genuinely impressed by his ability to say his ABC’s backwards. My children make me proud everyday, weather they can sing, dance or do any other talent kids may have.

Lil D is a gift to me and I think I will still say he is gifted, even if it’s a thought I keep to myself.