Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time Well Spent

Clad in pajamas and sandals, Caitlyn came to me bright eyed and eager this morning and asked, "Mommy, can we go play outside?" A litany of excuses sprang to mind: it rained all night and everything's still wet. There's too much mud. The mosquitoes will eat us alive. I've got lessons planned for this morning. The laundry won't wash itself. Meghan needs a nap.

I put her off for a while, but with dogged determination, she came to me time and again with sandals in hand and an expectant smile, asking, "Now may we please go play outside Mommy?"

I finally relented after lunch. With Meghan down for a nap, I headed outside with Dylan and Caitlyn and spent a wonderful afternoon in the mud. They splashed in puddles, played with tractors, dug trenches, and crafted kingdoms. The sand castles we built today will crumble, but the memories we created will last a least for this mom who almost didn't make time to play.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Giddy Up!

Did He Really Just Say That?!

I was sweeping the dining room floor after lunch and Meghan was persistently under foot. Exasperated, I said to Dylan, "Honey, will you please take your baby sister into the living room so I can finish sweeping this floor?"

He picked her up, she protested loudly, and as he set her down on the carpet I heard him say to her "Chill, baby! Chill, baby!"

I feel perfectly confident in saying that those words have never been spoken in this house, so it really makes me wonder: where does he come up with this stuff?!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Amazing Artwork

"Jesus on the Cross", by Dylan

Sunday, August 27, 2006

God Is So Good

This morning we celebrated the baptism of our sweet Meghan Elizabeth!

She has never looked as beautiful as she did this morning, her hair wet with water and oil and radiant by the light of her baptismal candle.

I am filled with awe and wonder at this precious little girl, this angel of ours who joins us now in our rich Catholic faith...and I pray that she will always know the peace and love she has been blessed with today.

A Late Night Incident

The strangest thing happened last night.

Darren and I were up late preparing for this morning's brunch, and the alarm was set for 5:00a.m. So I was a little dismayed to hear the beginning of a whimpering cry coming through the baby monitor on my nightstand not long after we finally got to bed.

"Give her just a second", I said to Darren. "Maybe she'll go back to sleep."

A few seconds passed, during which time the whimper progressed to a full blown wail. "Strange", I thought to myself. "That doesn't really sound like Meghan...or Caitlyn, either, for that matter". But I smiled at Darren as he said "Don't worry, honey, I'll go get her."

Now here's the creepy part:

Darren went down the hall, and looked in on both of our peacefully sleeping girls. He said he got chills as he stood in their doorway, watching them sleep, while hearing the crying still coming from the monitor in our bedroom.

I quickly silenced the monitor as he came back in to our bedroom, but needless to say, I didn't get much sleep for the rest of the night.

I hope that baby monitor will enjoy its new our local Salvation Army, where Darren will be depositing it on his way to work in the morning.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cash or Charge?

I heard Dylan and Caitlyn bickering in the kitchen this morning and a few seconds later, Caitlyn came storming into my bedroom. With a dramatic sigh, she flung herself onto my sofa and said, "Mommy, Dylan's a meanie! I think we should take him and buy a brand new Dylan!"

"Oh, no, honey, we would miss Dylan. You don't really want to do that."

"But Mommy", she patiently explained, "we wouldn't miss him, because we would still have the nice Dylan here with us!"

Oh, the wisdom of a two year old.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lazy Day

Here is just a small sample of some of what we've been up to today:

Borrowing this clever idea from the Balducci boys, the kids and I spent the better part of this morning on the floor with a giant roll of paper, crayons, and scissors. My kids now share their rooms with one Dylan sized Superman and a Caitlyn sized Cinderella. They are AWESOME!

After lunch, I let Dylan and Caitlyn select some temporary tattoos to adorn their faces. Dylan had a hard time deciding on just one.

Meghan has been an absolute angel today. She can pull herself up now, and loves standing and watching what's going on...especially when it involves her big brother or sister! She's such a happy baby!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Welcome To The Heart Of My Home

My friend over at The Great Adventure recently posted a lovely piece about her kitchen, and, inspired by the wonderful things she had to say, I've been thinking a little bit lately about my own kitchen. It's not fancy, but what it lacks in class it more than makes up for in comfort and charm.

I think my favorite thing about my kitchen is the nostalgic mix of old and new. The table we eat at every day is one my grandparents bought from their landlord in Chicago during their early years of marriage in the early 1950's. He didn't know exactly how old it was at that time, but knew that it had been around for a good while. The cabinet that sits beside it is one that my late uncle crafted with his own hands, and holds my best serving dishes, my favorite framed picture of The Last Supper, and, in the bottom drawers and cabinets, assorted coloring books, puzzles, crayons, and other craft supplies for the kids. It is a vital piece of our home, one with which I feel honored to have been blessed.

Another thing I love about my kitchen is its ample counter space, perfect for crafts, cooking, serving, and baking. I have fond memories of spending the early part of labor with each of my girls in the kitchen...baking cookies with Dylan while waiting for Caitlyn, and preparing for a holiday dinner party when I started preterm labor with Meghan. (She arrived exactly one month before her due date, surprising all of us just in time for Christmas!) The bar stools are a particularly nice feature when the kids are wanting to help, or for while I'm watching Darren perform his culinary magic in the kitchen! The lamp at the end of the counter is a relatively new acquisition, given to us by Darren's mom and step-dad during our recent trip to Amarillo. It was fashioned years ago by Darren's grandpa, and now, although our kids will never know their great-grandfather, his light will live on in our home.

The window above my sink just makes me smile. The stained glass rooster is one that Darren surprised me with a couple years ago because he saw it and just couldn't wait for an appropriate gift giving holiday (I love that about my husband...his spontaneous gift giving, for no other reason than that he loves me!).

The roosters who rule my kitchen came about in a sweet way four years ago, when I decided to host a 25th birthday party for myself not long after we had moved into our home. My best friend presented me with this whimsical fellow, and it was love at first sight! My collection has expanded considerably since then, but I'll always love him best.

My kitchen really is the heart of our home. Its bay window floods us with warm sunlight, and provides us with views of our backyard and mountains and trees and the rest of our growing community. We've considered relocating to a bigger house, one with more bedrooms to accommodate our family size, but so far, none of the other kitchens we've seen could ever rival the simple one we have right now, where we're nurturing happy memories and making new ones every day.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


In my continuing quest for kid friendly experiments, I came across a guaranteed recipe for fun: mix together 3 parts cornstarch and 1 part water for some for some wonderful "goop". The kids had so much fun playing with this, and even I enjoyed it! (Nothing like indulging your inner child!) I have to admit, the mess was initially worrisome to this neat-freak mom, but cleanup was really a breeze; it wiped right up with a wet washcloth! I think this one's a keeper.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Meme

I've been tagged by Michelle; after working on this in bits and pieces throughout the day, here's my finished product:

3 Things That Scare Me

The thought of losing my husband or kids

Current world events

The dark (yes, I realize that makes me sound like a complete wimp, but I am not ashamed to admit it...well, maybe just a little, but there you have it, just the same. No wisecracks, please.)

3 People That Make Me Laugh

My husband

My kids (all three of them, but can they count as one?)

The Blue Collar Comedy Guys (there again, three, but I'm counting them as a that cheating?)

3 Things I Love

Backyard "camping", complete with fire pit and s'mores

Summer storms

The first hint of autumn

Snuggling with my husband and kids on a big pile of blankets in front of a fire, preferrably while drinking hot cocoa and reading aloud from a really good book.

The scent of my babies

3 Things I Hate



My bathroom scale

3 Things I Don’t Understand


National Organization for Women

Narrow mindedness

3 Things On My Floor

Mega Blocks


An assortment of stuffed animals

3 Things I’m Doing Right Now

Resisting the urge to take a nap with my blissfully sleeping kids

Basking in the glow of a beautiful e-mail I just received from a very dear friend

Wondering how to limit "Things I Love" to just 3

3 Things I Want to Do Someday

Learn to play piano

Visit the Vatican

Spoil an abundance of grandchildren

3 Things I Can Do

Sing (at least according to my husband)

Tap dance in the bathroom

Make some killer enchiladas

3 Ways to Describe My Personality




3 Things I Cannot Do

Ride a horse

Program my cell phone

Keep my kids out of my bed

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To

Your heart

Your spouse

Your mom

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To



Katie Couric

3 Absolute Favorite Foods


Ice cream

Anything Mexican

3 Things I’d Like to Learn More About



Publishing a book

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly


Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper


3 Shows I Watch

House Hunters

Designed to Sell

Buy Me

3 Bloggers I Tag

Just one, actually, over at The Great Adventure; everyone else has already been tagged!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just One More Reason To Love Him

It is entirely possible that I have been blessed with the best husband in the world.

This morning, without previously discussing his plans with me, Darren got up an entire hour earlier than usual, got ready for work, then went grocery shopping! And I'm not just talking about bread and milk here...I mean bread, milk, plus meals for the week, snacks for the kids, basic household necessities, and he even remembered Red Vines and Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper! (My cure-all for just about any calamity, particularly on nights I have to work, which just happen to include tonight).

All of this before I even got out of bed!

All of this before heading in to work for another long day at his office, all of this because he knew we were out of everything and I had no idea when I'd get the shopping done....

....all of this for a wife who would be completely lost without him.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How Does He Learn This?!

I was sitting at the dining room table helping Caitlyn finish her lunch. Dylan had just put his plate in the sink and I asked him to go lay down on the living room sofa to look at a book, because we were going to have some quiet time just as soon as Caitlyn finished eating.

Well, he did go into the living room....directly to the T.V.

With my back turned to him, I said, "Dylan, I asked you to read a book quietly, not watch T.V."

"But mom", he insisted, "I want to watch Clifford!"

"No T.V. right now! I said we're going to have quiet time! I might let you watch some T.V. later this afternoon."

It took great restraint on my part to keep from laughing out loud at what he said next:

"Okay, but mom, just keep on arguing with me and you won't even notice that the T.V. is still on!"

Oh, he's a sneaky one, that boy!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Watch Out...

I've got a new secret weapon.

Well, I say "new", but it's actually something that's been tucked carefully into my hall closet for a number of years now.

It's my vacuum cleaner.

This wonderful discovery was made quite by chance a few days ago. Usually, house cleaning around here is carried out in an orderly, practical manner, typically on a Saturday morning when Darren's around to help watch the kids.

But on that fateful day, things around here were not orderly or practical. They were in such a state, in fact, that I had reached a near boiling point. I walked into the living room carrying Meghan, who was grumpy and overtired, and found a disaster. I think my crazy rant went something like, "Who made this huge mess in here and where did all these feathers come from and SO HELP ME IF I FIND ONE MORE GOLDFISH CRACKER ON THIS FLOOR!"

Things were not good.

So, I wearily reached for the vacuum, slipped Meghan into her sling, and banished Dylan and Caitlyn to their bedrooms.

What happened next was so amazing. In the first few minutes of cleaning, the repetitive motion of vacuuming served to relax me. The sound of the motor drowned out the yelling coming from the kids rooms. Meghan was lulled by the rhythmic movement and hum of the machine. By the time I had finished, we had all calmed down and my floor was clean!

Now what, I ask, could be better than that?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cool Science

I'm always looking for fun, simple experiments to try with the kids, so I was excited to find this one over at Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks. It was an instant hit with all three of my little ones!

To begin, simply pour some whole milk into a plate or shallow dish.

Add a few drops of food coloring,

then drip some liquid dishwashing soap into the milk.

Now watch the magic begin!

We tried this several times earlier today with varying combinations of food coloring and different amounts of soap. The results were brilliant each time!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Just Like Jesus

Becoming a parent for the first time seemed to invite much unsolicited advice on just about every topic of child rearing, from feeding and sleeping to, of course, discipline...and having heard so much in particular about those dreaded "Terrible Two's", I remember feeling mildly apprehensive as Dylan's second birthday approached. My precocious little boy was certainly a handful at that time, but nothing near the terror I had feared. Truth be told, I recall thinking (rather smugly, it must be said), "Is that all there is to those Terrible Two's?!" He was hyper, sure, and certainly inquisitive (and so remains to this day), but a sweet, snuggly little angel just the same.

I should have known my luck wouldn't last. My very strong willed daughter challenges and defies me on a daily basis. She's an instigator and champion tantrum thrower. And she is stubborn! So stubborn, in fact, that she will actually choose to stay in her room, screaming and crying, rather than come out and apologize for any wrongdoing. A few days ago, in an effort to cheer her up after scolding her for misbehaving, I said "Look, Caitlyn, we're watching Clifford! Come apologize and you can watch it with us!". Unrelenting were her tears, though, and in her room she stayed. Long after her favorite show had ended, she emerged and began wailing anew: "But I wanted to watch Clifford!!!"

"Sweetie", I told her, "we asked you to come watch it with us. All you had to do was apologize. But now Clifford's over. You missed it because you weren't being nice." She stayed in her room for a good long while after that, mad at me for making her miss Clifford. And honestly, I was beginning to feel like quite the mean Mommy. I took a long hard look that day at how she's been behaving lately (or rather, misbehaving).

"Why won't she listen?!" I lamented yet again to Darren that night. "Am I asking too much? Are my expectations that unreasonable?"

Today (while she was sleeping, and I could actually peacefully, prayerfully reflect on the matter some more) I was thinking about how difficult she can be, how she sometimes tries my patience to its very limits. I was thinking of how hurt I often feel, and how I fear I'm failing as her mother because there are some days I just can't seem to get through to matter what I try. And then it occurred to me: might this be exactly how Jesus feels about us? Must it not just break His heart to see how we, in our stubborn, childish ways, so often turn from Him, locking ourselves away from His love? And it was in this line of thinking that I had an epiphany of sorts: my Caitlyn Grace may also very well by my saving grace.

Because, you see, it's easy for me to love Caitlyn when she's being sweet and obedient. It is sometimes very difficult, however, to feel very loving when she has been at her absolute worst all day long.

Yet it is not so for us.

Jesus loves us so much, all the time, and desires for us to be happy and pleasing to Him. He loves us perfectly, unconditionally, and without exception. So, too, must I love and cherish my temperamental little girl, even when it's hard, even when my first inclination might be anger at her disobedience. In all my frustrations, in all my despair, I will bring my troubles to Jesus, and trust that He will teach me how to love with His perfect love. Through all my trials with Caitlyn, I just may find the way.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Better Than Christmas


My order from Catholic Heritage Curricula has arrived! Ahhh, how I love the smell of new books...and there are some real beauties here!

So now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some reading to do...

Couple of Things

I'd like to know: just what is it about ordinary kitchen utensils that makes them so irresistible for digging, despite the assorted shovels, rakes, and various other toys sitting in plain view right on top of the sand pile?

And also: exactly which part of "Please don't play with the water right now, especially this yucky water in the fountain because it can make you very sick" sounds like "Please take large buckets of this terribly ugly fountain water and dump them all over your sister's head"?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rise and Shine

A quiet joy fills me this morning as I stand at the kitchen counter filling cereal bowls and sippy cups. There is perfect contentment as Meghan grins at me from her high chair and Dylan and Caitlyn chatter happily from their seats at the table. The mundane becomes sacred and I feel how blessed I truly am. I offer a silent prayer of thanks giving for these three beautiful souls who have been entrusted to my care, these three precious angels who, for the past ten minutes, have been snuggling me and each other and saying sweet things like "Mommy, I love my little Miss Meggie", as they stroke and pat her cheeks.

This morning, I have all I've ever wanted in the world. Who could ask for anything more?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

On My Mind

As I began reading "Losing bin Laden" by Richard Miniter last night, I was immediately struck by a single sentence on the first page of the introduction: "Seven Americans were killed (counting the unborn child of one of the victims) and more than one thousand were injured in the first-ever foreign terrorist attack on U.S. soil."

This simple line resonates deeply within me because it echos a significant sentiment often seen elsewhere in the news: an unborn baby killed by a random act of violence is quantified as a unique individual separate from its mother. Another highly sensationalized example of this can be found in the case of Scott Peterson, who in 2004 was convicted of two separate charges in the murders of his wife, Laci, and Conner, their unborn son.

Justice may have been served for the loss of that one precious life, but what about the thousands of unborn babies slaughtered each year at the hands of abortionists? How can it be possible that an unborn baby, murdered by its father (or anyone else), is legally considered a distinct person, while those murdered every day at the request of their mothers are considered simply "tissue"?

How do they draw that line? And why?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Startling Admission

This morning, as I do every morning, I blearily reached into the dishwasher for two sippy cups and proceeded to fill them with chocolate milk, which the kids drank happily as I went about my morning routine. Nothing unusual about that.

However, as I began unloading the dishwasher later on as the kids were eating their lunch, I realized that the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. Somehow, I forgot to run the dishwasher yesterday and only then, at that very terrible moment, remembered that I meant to start it before we left for Chuck E. Cheese's last night. Which means, to my utter horror, that the sippy cups I gave the kids this morning had been sitting there, with only a cursory rinse of their previous contents, for most of yesterday and all of last night!

Oh, no.

I quickly snatched them out of the fridge before the kids could use them again and loaded them back into the dishwasher, which I promptly started. Hopefully, I'll be just a little more observant next time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Book Meme

Thanks, Michelle, for inspiring this post!

1. One book that changed your life:

The Art of Natural Family Planning, by John and Sheila Kippley

2. One book that you've read more than once:

The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

The Bible

4. One book that made you laugh:

Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham

5. One book that made you cry:

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson

6. One book that you wish had been written:

A Survival Guide for Mothers of Incessantly Whiney Toddlers

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

Our Bodies, Ourselves, published by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective

8. One book you're currently reading:

Life-Giving Love, by Kimberly Hahn

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

A Mother's Rule of Life, by Holly Pierlot

Why Didn't I See This Coming?

Dylan and Caitlyn were lying in bed this morning, surrounded by stuffed animals. Clutching a stuffed Pooh Bear in one hand, Dylan asked me, "Mommy, do we spell 'pooh' P-O-O-P?"

"P-O-O-H", I corrected him, suppressing a smile.

"Oh", he said, pausing to think. "Well, what would happen if it was

I couldn't lie. "Poop", I answered with a grin.

"Ewwww", they chorused, erupting in fits of giggles.

I chuckled to myself as I walked away, went to check on a blissfully sleeping Meghan, and had just gotten comfortable with one of the many books I'm currently reading when I heard the sound of splashing...rarely a good thing, especially when it's accompanied by laughter and hushed voices.

I got up to investigate and discovered Caitlyn, soaking wet, happily dunking Pooh Bear up and down in... you guessed it! ...the toilet.

I should never have said poop.