Friday, August 30, 2013

{Leo says...}

“be happy” {when asked what he was going to do w/ the pine cone (“corn”) he was putting in his pocket for later}

“is he getting drinks in there?”  {when observing Daniel nursing}

“...but MO-OHM!!” [WAY too soon, buddy...]

“she said, “I love you” me, but I didn’t say, “I love you” her!” {upon ‘hanging up’ on FaceTime with Aunt Margaret too quickly}

“did’din’t” {how he says didn’t}

“I don’t want to hear that noise anymore!” {upon Daniel shriek/crying}
{Daniel keeps crying}
“Stop that noise, Daniel!!”

“I wanna push these letters” {typing on the iPad}

“let’s change it to the gas station” {adjusting the radio while playing in the van}

“when is my  birthday” 
Mom counts out, says, “in *10* days”
15 seconds later...”It’s my birthday now!”

“look, my fingers are saying no” when Mom asked him to pick something up, holding his fingers as though they are cramped

“well, at least you don’t have to do that anymore” after Mom cleaned cat puke off the driveway...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm no St. Monica...

There are those days. Those blah-awful days. The days when there isn't enough chocolate to bring it back around. Sometimes they are the actual awful days: days of tragedy and evil, or hurt and anguish. I am just talking about the days when you'd rather whine than do anything, and chocolate and 10 silent minutes to eat it is all you want.

Because, for seriously, chocolate would make everything better:

Grandpa Joe has it right.
We woke up this morning with a nasty-sore throat-sneezy-itchy nose-thing that just stuck around and got worse through the day. This, combined with not enough sleep (which I'm going to blame on Leo's new parlor trick of climbing into bed with us at o'dawn-thirty instead of late-night marathons of Fringe episodes...!) made me in ya know...a really great mood.

And so I consoled myself with reading endless blog posts whilst the boys confetti-ed the floor with their cereals. *yay*

And then a big rain storm came...and my fancy satellite internets stopped. We're talking #firstworldproblems like no other.

So then Leo came up and asked me to turn on the radio (Pandora) so that they could dance. Bless you child. Pandora was broken (dumb internets!), but we *actually* have a regular radio. With a dial. So I turned it on, and scrolled around the FM world until Leo said, "That one!", to Katie Perry. Wonderful. Go for it. 

I don't have pictures of the dancing for you, b/c if I had tried to take pictures, they would have stopped dancing. But Leo's dancing is a melange of jumping side-to-side mixed with spinning in circles with an added somersault thrown in for good measure here and there. Daniel just copies Leo, except that his spins are done on tip-toe (HIL-arious) and his somersaults are just him bending down to put his head on the floor and then popping back up to grin and take the applause. Also, his dancing was interspersed with shoving rice cake and leftover cereal into his mouth, making the floor look *even better* than before. (WHY?! WHY would someone pick SOLID DARK GREEN carpeting?!)

The next song was Pink's new one, 'True Love', wherein she uses the *bad* word "stupid". Leo pointed it out (thanks, Pink), but at least he said "we don't say that word". Win for Mom, I guess.  Pink was followed my LMFAO (obvisouly Mix 94.1 knew it was pre-schooler's hour), and then they'd had enough dancing and wanted to "draw" on paper.

Naptime was a complete joke wherein I dozed for 15 minutes while Leo fidgeted with pillows, animals and books until Daniel squawked enough to rouse me from my stupor to get him. Le sigh.

I had to laugh at myself at this point (which is always a good thing),when I remembered that today is the feast day of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. St. Monica prayed and prayed for her profligate son to turn from the errors of his ways (heresy, wine, women and get the picture) and he did. Hence...Saint Augustine. I'm no St. Monica, ladies and gents...but I would like to become more like her someday...

So, I guess the moral of the story is:


The day finished off with Leo watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Daniel clinging to my leg as I vacuumed up the rice cakes and cereals (party hard, boyos...). 

St. Monica, patron saint of married women and mothers, pray for us!

...and all you lovelies out there...send me your chocolate! ;)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

{Favorite Quick Takes}

Joining Hallie for Favorites and Jen for Quick Takes
(because that's how we roll in the world of slacker-bloggers!)
Basically just what's on my mind and what I like this week. With pictures.;)

1. The Radical Life
I keep on talking about this Radical Life guy:
Matthew Warner
I like his stuff. This week's post is more good stuff: 12 Most Important Metrics for Your Child's (and Your) Education.

2. Freeset Fundraiser
You probably heard about the UPS plane crash last week. We should definitely pray for the families of the two pilots who lost their lives in the crash. There is another way to help the victims of the event. Freeset is a fair-trade company that employs women who were trapped in the human trafficking industry in Calcutta. They pay their employees about 3x what they would otherwise make. They make organic cotton T-shirts and jute bags.
They make some pretty bags, y'all.
The UPS plane was carrying about $150,000 of their merchandise, representing 3 months of work by their employees. You can go here to donate to Freeset to help them cover their losses. In a truly lovely exchange of events, Freeset is also making a memorial T-shirt, the profits of which go 100% to the UPS pilot's families. (Thanks to Melanie @ the BigMama blog for sending me towards all of this).

3. Mom-couragement
I am always finding some good encouragements for moms. Here's a thought from a new source, Incourage. In a post entitled "10 Ways to be a Happier Mom" (who wouldn't click that?) by Ann Voskamp, I find:
 Love always begins with patience, and patience is a willingness to suffer.
How is that encouraging, you ask? --how could it be encouraging to suffer? Suffering isn't exactly what you think it is, then. Did you know that the root of our word, passion, is the Latin verb patior which means to suffer?! Think about it...what greater act of love is it than to give up your own selfishness (time, talent, wealth, wants etc.) for another?  Indeed..."Greater love has no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). When we sacrifice in the small things, when we make the extra efforts for our loved ones (and our un-loved ones!), we are growing in love. --and what could be better, or more important than that?


4. Home Pre-schooling
SO, I'm not sending Leo off to a pre-school this fall.  I never really thought that I would be...he's only *almost* 3 after all...and I kind of like having him around...BUT I am going to be doing some more planned efforts at education (other than the constant stream of wisdom in didactic moments that comes out of my mouth ;) ).

This will perfectly describe me in the not-too-distant future...
What have I done to prepare so far? I made a Pinterest board (...but you should basically just look at Sarah's if you're in my boat...she rocks.) SO, I'm obviously Super Mom, and ready for anything. 

5. Veiled Truths...This week I read another post about veiling during Mass, this time from Jenna @ Call Her Happy. Basically, she's considering veiling during Mass, which was something women did *way back when* as a way to be respectful, and humble (and less distracting to themselves and others!). I was first intrigued by the idea by Jennifer @ Conversion Diary, a while ago. Kelly @ This A'int the Lyceum also wrote a good post about veiling, with some pictures of different non-veil veil options.  I think that where I stand on the idea is that I think it's kind of neat.  BUT I think this in a "I would wear a tasteful non-doily-on-my-head veil and everyone would love it" kind of way. 
Like this. Which you can find here. "Eternity scarf"
SO...pretty much defeats the purpose, which would be one of making my time at church more prayerful (HA! with two boyos...! yea...) etc. So, for now, I think I will remain unveiled...but there are these scarves...$5 only...BUT...then there's St. Paul, reminding us women to be adorned with "good deeds" and not with pearls and braids...SO, yes, for now...just me and my unruly (read: boyo-pulled) locks. 

6. Tie a Yellow Ribbon
You may have thought that all this was over, but we still have A LOT of soldiers out there in harm's way on our behalf. It may not seem to little old you and me like they are out there for us, when they go to places like Afghanistan to help those folks, but then I hear news from Egypt, and I compare it to news from here (which is horrible enough), and I know that our soldiers are out there for us. Case in point, my wonderful brother-in-law. Lt. JDB has just been deployed with his unit of the Army National Guard to Afghanistan, and he'll be gone for almost a year (with a stint in Mississippi first which sounds just as bad). So, as you go to sleep tonight in your safe and A/C'd home, remember all of our loved ones out there, and please pray for their safety. 

Two J's on Mag's #1 list today: and neither one missing her b-day for anything.
Which brings me to...

Younger siblings aren't allowed to get older (take note, Jono!!), but older ones DO...mwahahhaha. Anyways. Today is Mags bday. Or it was when I started finishing this post...anyways...AUGUST 24th is the best and so is she. You may remember her from her famous stints as guest-blogger here and here and here. Basically click the *snark* tag on the posts, and you'll get them all. Best older sister ever. Most of the time. Prettiest and smartest and most fun. Always.
Always got my back :)
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY lovey. xoxoxo

Friday, August 9, 2013

{7QT} Wait...these are always Random Edition

Joining Jen as always...head back there for the real stuff ;)

1. I mentioned before that Marie was coming.
Well, she did, and it was lovely!  We had great times catching up on our reflective converstations and corralling the boyos into some semblance of normal (ha!). Daniel chose this week to be his game. Teething? Growth spurt? Both? Yes. All that aside, we'll be missing "fwiend Mawie" now...and our applications to the Royal Geographic Society for the Switching of the States Placement in the Continent has grown again ( over here!). 

2. One of the fun things we did was to go see "Star Trek: Into Darkness" with Steven.
Steve's parents watched the boyos (I *actually* got Daniel to take a third nap to prep for a late night! Wow! I get a prize for that, right?) It was so much fun! Plus there is a dollar theater we all got to go for $3. Yup. True dat. (Any takers on visiting Ohio now?!). Also there was this guy:

A'int nobody hating on a movie with Sherlock. Nope.

3. After sitting on this post for a while, I finally published it today. Reflections started from hearing Mackelmore's 'Same Love'. I hope it's received well; I AM talking about getting along! : )

4. Did you see this?!
Our dear Sr. Agnes Therese Davis (the artist formerly known as Emily), made her First Profession of Vows on Tuesday with the Franciscan Sisters TOR. She's been a novice and postulant there for...three (?) years now, and this is a pretty big deal. 

Also, she is just emits joy, doesn't she? And if you didn't see this from me earlier, check it out as well. This is a song that Sr. Agnes Therese composed. Simply lovely.

5. #35K4SMA
So, I've been trying to get back into running regularly. It is HARD to be disciplined! I went for a week...and then petered out. BUT, I saw this post today from Kelly over @ This A'int the Lyceum. She is a funny and cheery mom of five kids, TWO of whom have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is basically NOT a walk in the park. Anyhow, she's committing to 7 5K runs to add up to 35K For SMA. It's a fund-raiser-awareness campaign...should I hop on the wagon? :D

6. We went to visit some dear friends last night, and had a blast. We got to see the lambikins that our ram (Mean Black Sheep himself) fathered earlier this year. SO CUTE! Daniel called them "baby". And Leo played outside w/ the boys. In the rain. Basically little guy heaven.

two little ramikins
don't let the face fool you. he had a blast.
7. For those of you who know Davy Crockett personally, and remember (how could we forget?!) that Leo wore this hat constantly (to church. to bed. all. the time.) for about 3 months this past winter/spring, will be happy to know that there is a new sheriff in town. 

Introducing...Daniel Boone!

Common Ground: Mackelmore's 'Same Love'

I don't have cable or satellite TV, and the radio time I do manage to get, I'm mostly listening to NPR or the local Catholic station. I could write posts on those radio stations alone. I could write posts on all the posts I haven't written...I have done that

But what I'm getting at is this, perhaps I have been living under a rock, and all y'all have heard this song on the radio/iTunes 5 million times already, and it's just me standing out here outside the bubble...humming...

It's called 'Same Love' by Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, but I like this cover/version by Paradise Fears:

It's catchy. It's memorable. It's even poetic. And also wildly inflammatory.

Let me be straight with you (ha.ha.), I don't support gay marriage. But this song has made me think a lot, which is probably one of its aims.  All too often in these heated, no-holds-barred debates on the BIG issues, we forget with whom we're fighting. We focus so much on the lines we have to hold and forget that the people on the other side are people too. 

This holds true for both sides (I'm an equal-opportunity chide-er!). I mean, even the song couldn't refrain (ha.ha.) from painting the opposite view as:

The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God...

Excuse me, but that's actually *not* what I think. (But that is probably a whole 'nother can of worms.)

I don't agree with the lifestyle this song promotes.  I don't think there should be homosexual marriage. I don't like the picture the song paints of those who feel the way I do. BUT, it does teach me something. We could all get a little further in life, in loving our neighbors, in getting our points across, when we take the time to put faces on the so-called other side. 

My weekly Radical Life email today emphasized this exactly.  Everyone we hate, each person who views the world differently than us, has his/her own inner battle:
It's probably a quiet, hidden battle that you'll never fully understand or perhaps ever know about. Their cry for help manifests itself as selfishness or closed-mindedness. As anger, defensiveness, ignorance, pride, aloofness, insecurity, rudeness, disinterest or malice.
Let all of that remind you that they are fighting a great battle. Be kind. 
"Be kind to everyone you meet, for every person is fighting a great battle." --St. Ephraim 
  --Matthew Warner, The Radical Life
The right-winged-closed-minded-bigot you hate for hating you...doesn't.  The screaming-feminist-child-murderer...isn't. There is history and hurt behind the eyes of the one whom you think you know so well. That guy with same-sex attraction was bullied for years. That woman with the "my body my choice" sign had an abortion that broke her heart. There are stories behind the slogans.

There is more to this than the cliched, "Can't we all just get along?".  We aren't ever all going to get along if we keep fighting in the same old ways. We have chasms between our worldviews at times, but it's time to recognize the face on the other side.  

He is our brother.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

{FF} Toddler Tips Edition

Linking it up with Hallie again!
Make sure to head back over there for the better bloggers ;)
and now...
{Five Favorite Tips for Dealing with Toddlers}

1. Use a Timer. 
No joke, this trick is miraculous. Brothers are fighting over a toy? No problem:
Mom: "It's Daniel's turn, Leo, I'll set the timer, and then it will be your turn!"
Leo: "Awright!"
I credit my friend Kaylinne for this one. She works at a daycare, and uses her watch all day long to give kids turns. The day she came over and showed me this one, Leo and Gabriella kept taking turns holding a toy. Long after they weren't even playing with it, they kept passing it back and forth when the time was up! This works for everything. Nap-time, bath-time, time to go inside, taking turns etc. I don't even have to have a timer, Leo buys it when I tell him I have a timer in my head and then say "beep-beep! Timer's up!".

2. Bedtime Picture Book.

Leo was being, shall we say, difficult for bedtimes. My awesome Mom-Mentor friend Ellie gave me this great trick. I made a little picture book from photos I took and a cheap plastic soft photo album. The pictures are of Leo going through the steps of getting ready for bed and being asleep in bed. At the end of the book, it describes how Leo gets stickers for a good bedtime. It took a few days of no stickers, then Leo had the hang of it, and behaved beautifully at bedtime. He's not always peachy, but usually he is brought around by "...oh, I guess you aren't getting a sticker in the morning for a good bedtime...". I don't even have to read the book with him before bedtime anymore...but I have it in case!

3. "When" consequences.

This is another tip that I learned from Ellie way early on, and I love using it. Instead of saying "IF YOU HIT YOUR BROTHER ONE MORE TIME YOU ARE GOING TO TIME OUT!!!", you say "WHEN you hit your brother, you sit on the stairs." It sounds the same at first, but it's ever so subtly different. In fact, instead of threatening your children, you are teaching them that there are consequences to their actions. The results of their behavior are up to them, then, not you. They choose to behave poorly, they get to sit on the stairs, and so on. Also, you aren't threatening them all the time. That is nice too. 

4. Say what you mean.

This one can be summed up b-e-a-utifully by Kendra over @ Catholic All Year in this post. Basically, parenting with authority so that your kids listen and do what you say can be summed up by that one phrase: say what you mean. Always. When kids grow up understanding that you always say what you mean, they understand that you aren't budging, there will be, they stop pushing against you (in a perfect world, of course, but hey--this works pretty well;))

5. You don't always have to say no.

Sometimes we get caught up in saying no. We have to say it A LOT throughout the day, mostly so that our children don't involve themselves in life-threatening experiments with the world around them (no, you may not use that knife; no, you may not run into traffic; no, you may not eat all of the cookie dough...). But I think that we get caught up in saying no so often that we forget it's not going to kill us to say yes sometimes...when he asks you to build him a train track, or to play outside, or to read one more story at bedtime. Don't cave into being the yes-man-mom, but know that you can say yes in a lot of situations, and it just might be easier to play outside for 15 minutes, and have a happier kiddo, than to say no and have to deal with the fuss-fest.

There you have it! Now, head back on over to Hallie's to join in the favorites fun! :0)