Category Archives: Catholicism

Dinner Conversations:

Dadoo and I went to a talk last night, given by an amazing woman who has raised 13 children. The talk was entitled, “Raising Catholic Children with Humor and Prayer.” I’m already enjoying her book with a similar title: “Outnumbered!: Raising 13 Kids with Humor and Prayer.”

One of the items she emphasized in her presentation was the importance of eating together. She cited many statistics showing better outcomes in academics and social stability for children whose families regularly share meals together. And she spoke from experience, assuring us that something sacred happens when you faithfully sit down together as a family for meals.

This evening during dinner, we had our own unique dynamics going on.

Since I worked this afternoon, Dadoo and the children were telling me about their outing at a local arboretum. It was somewhat barren compared to how it will be when spring arrives, and Dadoo was reminding the children of a grapevine maze that they saw, which was really only a frame of wires, without leaves.

Dadoo: “Remember? Where you bumped your head? That will be like a tunnel when the grapes grow in this summer.”

Grape-maze

Photo: Tiern moments prior to bumping his head.

Tiern: “Oh! Yes, I me-member.”

Little Miss: “Well, I didn’t bonk my head.”

Dadoo: “No, Miss, I don’t think you’re big enough to bonk your head on that. You’ll be able to run full bore through that tunnel when it’s ready.”

Tiern: “Why Miss doesn’t bonk her head on it?”

Dadoo: “Because she’s probably only about 3 feet tall. You’re about 4 feet tall, and so your head can get bonked.”

Tiern: “Oh. What if you’re 5 feet?”

Dadoo: “Then you’ll definitely bonk your head.”

Tiern: “What if you’re 6 feet?”

Dadoo: “You would bonk into everything if you were that tall.”

Tiern: “What if you’re 10 feet??!!”

Dadoo: “Well, if you’re 10 feet, you’d have a really heard time getting into the tunnel.”

Mama: “Did you know that Grandpa is 6 feet?”

Little Miss: “Grandpa has 6 feet, but I only have 2 feet. Yes. And Dadoo has 2 feet, and Tiern has 2 feet.”

Tiern: “No, Miss. I have 4 feet.”

At this point, Little Miss bends over to look under the table, trying to verify Tiern’s claim of 4 feet.

Tiern: “See–one, two, …”

Dadoo: “Where are your other feet?”

Tiern: “Um, I think they’re in my bum.”

Dadoo: “No, we don’t say potty language at the table. We all have one bum, and two feet.”

Little Miss, nodding: “Yes.”

Thus concluded our evening of sacred dinner conversation. Tune in next time…

Rosemary:

Last weekend, while preparing for Farmington…

Dadoo: “Is everyone ready?”

Everyone unanimously: “No!”

Dadoo: “Why not?”

Everyone: “We are not ready yet!”

Dadoo: “Well, let’s get ready.”

As always, IT is a huge undertaking to leave the house.

Farmington is the easy part. The main difficulty is moving through the front door in one piece. We encounter a million hang-ups before we even step out the front door.

Then little Miss asks: “May I please bring the rosemary?” Fluttering her eyelashes and a matching big beautiful smile.

Dadoo: “Rosemary?”

Little Miss: “Yes, rosemary please.”

Dodoo perplexed as to why she would need a cooking herb on our birding walk: “Why do we need rosemary Miss?”

Little Miss: “Cuz I like it.”

I was imagining her munching on a twig of rosemary as a snack.

Then she raises her so-called rosemary over her head… “Please Dadoo.”

Dadoo: “A-ha, the rosary.”

Rose-Mary

Little Miss might be onto something here. Reciting the rosary while birding. Spiritual fusion at its best.

I was pleased to finally make it out the door to do some exploring at Farmington with the kids. I’m so glad we did because the kids saw their first wild Great horned owl.

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Carrigaline:

My sister, Miss Brigh, has been on a trip to Ireland this past week. During  her adventure, she passed through our old stomping grounds and sent me a few photos.

Our Lady of St. John's2

Photo: Our Lady of St. John’s in Carrigaline, Ireland. I celebrated my first communion in this church. I remember this church well.

Our Lady of St. John's

Photo: The sacristy and alter look exactly as I remember it when last saw it as a seven year-old. Whoa…Déjà vu is in over-drive right now. We’re talkin’ 33 years or so.

Brigh

Photo: Miss Brigh posing outside with Our Lady of St. John’s bell. In the background, is the school I attended through second grade.

Mass by Tiern:

This afternoon, Tiern made a Magnificat:
TL's_Magnificat#2
It was complete inside too:
TL's_Magnificat#1

Then, he held Mass:

TL's_Mass2

Usually Tiern catches an extreme case of jimmies, wiggling his way through Mass.

Tiern asks me constantly: “How much longer until Mass is over?”

Dadoo: “15 minutes, we’re almost there…” (Trying to be encouraging)

Tiern: “Aach, it’s too LONG!”

Today the tables were turned.

After an extraordinarily long Homily (muffled by the microphone), I started to get a little fidgety, and Little Miss was moved to sing hallelujah and dance on the bed.

Dadoo: “How much longer is this Mass anyway?”

Tiern: “We’ve got plenty more to do Dadoo.” (Completely cheerful and busy doing all sorts of tasks). I was seated in the front row, so sneaking out without the priest noticing wasn’t possible. And besides, Little Miss and I were the only congregants.

Dadoo: “This is the longest Mass EVER!”

Tiern: “Pay attention, DADOO! You’re really going to like this next part.”

Later at 7:30pm…

There was even an evening Mass.

Dadoo: “Let’s go Tiern, we need to go pick-up Mama from work. Please put on your shoes.”

Tiern: “I’m having Mass right now.”

Dadoo: “Let’s wrap things up quickly.”

Tiern: “I can’t, it’s a long Mass (long form?).”

Epiphany Gifts

Our Epiphany celebration this year was somewhat muted, when contrasted with my ambitions. I pictured a ceremonious procession of the three wise men figurines over to the Nativity scene on the fireplace mantel, followed by three small gifts for each child, wrapped in gold and silver paper.
The afternoon would be spent creating King Cake, inside of which would be hidden a special prize. We would make this part of our leisurely evening meal, and talk about the story of the first Epiphany.

The day did not turn out as I anticipated, but it was a great day, nonetheless.

We attended morning Mass as a family, and the Mass intention was for my uncle, who is still in the hospital recovering from a stroke that occurred the week prior to Christmas. After Mass, we went to a small Vietnamese restaurant for a Pho brunch. This was at about 10:30am, and we were the only people in the building, aside from the woman who served us, who I believe was also the owner.

Dadoo finally went to work around midday, and the children played while I caught up on laundry and post-weekend house cleaning.

Around mid-afternoon, some gorgeous knit gifts arrived for the children, homemade by my mother. Everything fits perfectly, and the kids were so excited.

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Little Miss has barely taken off her watermelon hat and mittens–the hat is only removed to change clothing or take a bath, and the mittens are on her hands as long as she’s not eating.
Tiern has pronounced that his sweater is his super-suit for the persona, Superman-Phobia.
“It’s red, so it matches my cape.”
Dood-Locka is trying to lose his duck feet, but Little Miss has been determined to find them and replace them on his feet as many times as necessary.

No other gifts were given, and none were necessary.

Although Dadoo did not arrive at work until 1pm, he still put in a full eight hours. So we ate a very late, very brief dinner (without king cake). We made our steak-fried-rice taste celebratory with some champagne over pomegranate seeds, and then leftover New Year’s Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake for dessert.

At some point during the meal, I looked up and noticed that the three kings and their dromedary (as Tiern correctly calls the camel) had made it to the stable.
“When did you guys move the three kings?” I asked.
“Oh, a few days ago,” Dadoo answered. “Tiern was getting a little impatient.”
And that was the extent of our Epiphany discussion.

So there it was.

An early arrival. A holy prayer. Three surprise gifts. A quiet, but memorable, celebration.

Perhaps more in keeping with the day than I could have planned.

Happy New Year

“What a year!”

I can honestly say that, every single December 31st that rolls around.

Yes, of course–some years are better than others. Objectively speaking, I had more reason to celebrate 2008 (the year Dadoo and I were married) than 1998 (the year where I was both a late freshman and an early sophomore in college. Ooof: that was a rough year).
But honestly, I would have never arrived at my wedding in 2008 had I not gone through the trials and lessons of 1998. And there are major and minor events from 1998 that outweigh the struggles; late night, heartfelt conversations with my college roommate in March will always overshadow the nerve-wracking final exams in June.

2013 was the year that we got a ticket for parking in our own parking strip out in front of our house, some wonderful new friends moved away, the swamp cooler stopped working in the last weeks of my pregnancy and during the hottest weeks of the summer, the furnace motor went out during a cold week in December just before Christmas, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with MS, my Nana-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer, my best friend has had so many crosses that I can’t help her carry while we live so far apart, and my young godfather inexplicably suffered a stroke.
I’m still working outside the home on both weekend days, so Dadoo and I still struggle in our constant efforts to find quality time alone together. Our three children are all under the age of 5, and I am an imperfect mother. There are 3 major prayer intentions this year that have gone unanswered. Many times this year, I have been overwhelmed with the feeling that I cannot do it all, or at least I cannot do it all well.

But also, this year, Tiern turned 4 and played t-ball for the first time. He continued to impress us with his athletic abilities, and we marveled at his creativity in play, his attention to detail, and his quick, eager mind.
Little Miss turned 2 in January, and potty-trained in the fall. She brought us such joy, with dancing smiles and fluttering lashes, rising confidently and affectionately to her new role of Big Sister.
And this year, our third child was born. A joy of a boy-child, happy just to see his Mama’s face, full of snuggles and hugs, and easily content.
At the end of the year 2013, all three of my children are alive and healthy. They tell me they love me and give me kisses every night.

This year, I’ve learned to cherish the people that God sends into our lives, when and for how long they are there.

I’ve learned that there are advantages to renting instead of owning the home we live in.

I’ve learned–and I’m still learning–how to make the best of any time we have together as a couple, and to appreciate the seasons of life as I go through them, instead of waiting to look backward with nostalgia in years to come.

I’ve learned that God has a plan for this year. With all of the bad news, the struggles, the sufferings, He sends His help.

With all of my failings, with every month of 2013 that passed with shadows of my shortcomings and imperfections overtaking me, He was there to light my path. And “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Rom 5:20

Every year, I can choose to appreciate the lessons, to say Thank You for the blessings, and to reach out for His grace.

This year is no different.

Happy 2014!
May the Lord bless us with joy, and send grace to accompany the sufferings.

Family

A heavenly match:

I just can’t get over this duo: an oddest of odd coupling. It’s like two titan crooners going head-to-head.

Please skip to minute 14:30. This segment is from two years ago, but EWTN replayed it last Thursday as part of a Christmas special. Yes Raymond, you are an interloper of the highest power. And, that’s precisely why I’m a huge Raymond fan.

The little Lord Jesus, asleep in a bacon roll:

meat-nativity

50 inspirational Nativity scenes?

I’m partial to the meat Nativity. Bacon, thy divine meat, proving again it knows no bounds and breaks all barriers.

King of Glory:

This video was uploaded onto Youtube four years ago, but recently it became virally active again, passing around Mama’s internet circle of friends. Usually, Stephen Colbert’s shtick doesn’t float my boat. Here, he performs an interpretive dance of the well-known Christmas song: “King of Glory.”

Chance has it last weekend, our recessional song for the first Sunday in advent was “King of Glory.” A lethargic, abbreviated version that barely reaches the second verse before our choir calls quits.

As the first few lines were sung, Mama loses it completely, and starts giggling. I look over at her confused (because it’s a serious song).

Dadoo: “Huh?”

Mama: “I’m never going to see this song in the same light again!”

Dadoo: “Huh?”

Mama: “Remember the Colbert skit. It’s the same song.”

Dadoo: “Oh yeah. Our’s much more subdued.”

I guess we could use a little more energy during the Church’s New Evangelization Era.

Happy St. Nicholas’ Day!

The children awoke to some treats this morning:

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~Chocolate St. Nicholas with candy cane crozier
~A bag of chocolate gold coins
~A note of encouragement and some suggestions for preparing their hearts for Christmas
~2 new Christmas books: Mortimer’s Christmas Manger and Room for a Little One

Last night we read some wonderful selections from the library:
The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale
The Miracle of St. Nicholas

We started reading The Legend of Saint Nicholas this morning, also a library book, but I don’t think the children are old enough to appreciate it yet.

Today we’re all excited to bake St. Nicholas Purse Cookies for tea-time.

I love this time of year!