Thursday, January 31, 2013

Last Day of January!

Ok, so it's the last day of the first month of my New Year, New Me...New You? resolutions.

My challenge for January was to floss every day.

And I was terrible.

I think I flossed 4 times in the whole month.

I know, I know.  
But I really like my dentist's office and want to keep her in business ;)

On to the next month....

February - Spiritual Sacrifices

Ah February, the month of love.  This would be a good month to show Christ that He's my first true love.  And to do that I want to commit to Mass three times each week and go to Confession more regularly, but definitely as soon as Lent starts.

February is a short month, and after my poor performance in January, I can only go up from here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Bit Belated

Monday was my 5th Blogaversary!  
Between Catholic Schools Week and the Sheenazing Awards, I completely forgot!  

On my Blogaversary in: 

(Wow, those really aren't worth clicking through)

How about instead, you read this post that I can't stop thinking about. 

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bits of Tid Tuesday

You guys, it's time for the Sheenazing Blogger Awards voting to begin over at Bonnie's!  
Thank you to my husband readers who nominated me, I love you!  
Please go vote here.


A picture from the March for Life:

Oh yeah, now I see that there were not enough people there to make a news story.  


Downton Abbey.  
I'm assuming I can write about it now because everybody and their mother watches it on the night it airs.  Except moi since I can't keep my eyes propped open after 8:30 and so by the time I watched it (the next night) I had successfully sidestepped multiple blog posts and told everyone at work to Fermez les Bouches so that I could be surprised.

  Of course, since there was so much hullabaloo about this episode  I knew something bad had to happen, and Phil and I watched it guessing who would die.  For the record, he was right and I was wrong, which is a rare occurrence ;)  

Why get rid of this sweetness? 

Why didn't the Dowager Countess stop it?  
I guess she doesn't have as much say as I thought.

I'm thinking that Branson will go back to Ireland and get put in jail and Mary and Matthew will raise the baby, whom they will name Sybil, because they are unable to have children of their own.  That's sounds about right, right?  

Actually don't answer that.  I don't like spoilers.

Hope your Tuesday is less bits and more tid!

Monday, January 28, 2013

An Inside Peek at Catholic Schools

Two years ago, Phil gave a talk at a church about the importance of Catholic school education.  Last year, I wrote about the Seven Reasons we Choose Catholic Schools.  Once again Catholic Schools Week is upon us, and I would like to offer an insider's perspective to any of you who are considering your child's future education.

I was lucky enough to have attended Catholic school from 7-12 grade, and then go to a Catholic college for my undergraduate and graduate degree.  Phil's first job out of graduate school was working at our local Catholic high school (where we both now work) and we are able to send our kids to Catholic elementary school.  Their school is from preschool through 8th grade, and after they graduate, they will come to our high school and complete their entire school education in a Catholic school.  Can I possibly type Catholic school any more? ;)

So I feel *qualified* to proclaim the awesomeness of Catholic schools from my unique perspectives.
Maggie's 1st backpack

1) As a student:
After having attended public school on Cape Cod from 1st through 6th grade, I was begging my parents to let me switch schools.  I was being pulled from my science class to tutor a classmate in math, and not challenged in any of my classes because I would finish my work and have to wait for everyone else to catch up.  Their were fights in the cafeteria, girls wearing scandalous outfits to catch the boys eyes, and kids talking about things I knew I shouldn't be hearing.  My mom could see how unhappy I was, and let me tour the Catholic middle school that was an hour away from our house, and I fell in love.  The students were respectful and disciplined, everyone was wearing modest uniforms, and what I remember most were the "knicknacks in the hall" that I couldn't get over because they would have been broken in a second back in the public school hallways.  Remember, this was a public school on idyllic Cape Cod, not some inner city hoodlum, and still the difference was ginormous.
Mother's Day Tea with my Andrew

Somehow my parents scraped up the money for me to attend, and I just thrived. The classes were so academically challenging that when I got to college, I remember thinking high school was much harder!  The smaller class size meant the teachers knew us individually and our classmates were all friends.  There were plenty of social opportunities (like sports teams and clubs) that I never felt deprived in any way.  After getting through most of high school in a nice Christian environment, I knew a Catholic college was what my heart desired.  
John-Paul as St. Michael for All Saints Day

The five years I spent at Steubenville were so important as I matured into adulthood.  To be surrounded by other young adults who took their faith seriously only called me on, and I watched in pain as my friends from home went to secular colleges and lost their faith.  Learning in a faith-filled, disciplined, respectful environment is a priceless gift.  
Eamon's Preschool Graduation

2) As an employee:
I just love working at a Catholic school.  We have Mass or morning prayer offered every day, Confession is once a week, and Adoration occurs on the First Friday of every month.  Where else can you work with those type of perks?  The teachers in Catholic schools really do it for the love of educating these kids, and I think the kids can feel it.  We all have to sign a contract agreeing that we are practicing our faith, and live our lives accordingly.  
MS Walk with our high school

When their overqualified math teacher chooses to work here for less pay as opposed to a public school for more money, the kids understand the teacher's priorities.  Every class begins with prayer, and morning announcements start with a prayer and a list of intentions.  In the art/music/theater department, songs and plays are chosen while being mindful of the type of values and morals we want to share.  Sports teams meet in the chapel for prayer before a game.  We just sent 100 students to the March for Life in DC last week.  There are constantly donations being collected for charities in the area.  Doing good deeds for others is expected and encouraged and made to seem normal.
Coworkers giving their time and talents to charity

3) As a parent:
Before John-Paul was old enough to go to school, I worried about his education.  I wanted the best for him and for me the best meant Catholic school.  I thought about homeschooling as a distant second but honestly did not want to do it.  I think being a mom that homeschools out of necessity but hating it probably wouldn't have made the best homeschooler, you know?  
Eamon on Career Day (We can only hope!)

I prayed a lot about how we could afford Catholic elementary school, went to visit one of many in our area (we are so lucky) and fell in love with the school.    The 4 year old class was in the middle of end-of-the-day-prayer when I was taking a tour, the 8th graders were busy cleaning the classrooms (service is expected), and the best preschool teacher ever was gently waking up the 3 year olds from their nap.  One little cutie woke up and looked at me with marshmallow fluff smeared on his cheek, and gave me a big smile and I was sold.  
John-Paul and a classmate performing at the Ed Fair

After leaving the tour that day and feeling such conviction that John-Paul was meant to attend (but how?), I got a phone call from the Business Manager saying that they actually needed a bookkeeper and if I wanted the job, I could work from home.  Say what?  God answered my prayers!  Now we could afford to send him.  And that cute little fluff-faced boy? He is now a classmate and friend of John-Paul's!  
My oldest boys heading back to school

This leads me to a very important note - if you want your child to go to Catholic Schools but think that you can't afford it, please do the following:

1) Pray
God has no limits to His generosity, and if it's His will, then He will find a way.

2) Apply for financial aid and scholarships
Back when I wanted to send John-Paul to school, we were a family of (almost) 5 living on a teacher's income.  We definitely would have qualified for help, but I didn't even think to do it.  

3) Think outside the box
Now that I am the Business Manager at a Catholic school, I see all sorts of opportunities for people to afford Catholic schools.  Some people (like us) work for the school in order to get their kid's education.  Some parents volunteer their time at Bingo, or other fundraisers in exchange for tuition assistance.  Some parents go in at night or on the weekends and clean the school, or offer whatever talents they have - tech assistance, legal help, tutoring, or coaching a sport in order to afford tuition.  Most parishes will offer a subsidy to help offset the costs, all you need to do is talk to your pastor for help.  Sometimes a relative would be more than willing to invest in your child's education.

What I'm saying is that if your child receiving a Catholic school education is that important to you, try anything to make it possible.  Don't be embarrassed to ask what you can do to help send your child there.  We are Christians and helping one another is what we are called to do!
All Saints Day 2010

I hope and pray that all you Moms and Dads out there who truly desire Catholic schools for your kids will find a way to make it happen.  It was and continues to be the best thing my parents ever did for me, and we are seeing all the benefits of giving the same gift to our children.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

WIWS and a Date

It's Fine Linen and Purple Linky Love time!

Here's what I wore Sunday with my bestie:
Cardi: Gap
Blouse: Kohls
Pants: Target
Boots: Macy's
Arm Candy: Found in Austria 13 years ago
Picture Taken by: My Awesome Little Sister/Babysitter Extraordinaire

Her kids and mine don't get along at all:
Can you guys pretend to like each other, please?

Then Phil and I headed off to The Melting Pot in Providence, RI:
Spinach and Artichoke Dip and my handy hubby :)

Main Entree.
At one point we felt duped...
You mean we pay them to come here and cook our own food?

And then there were none, except the mushrooms.

Oh, don't mind me, I'm just taking a stroll in front of the Capitol building...what did you do today?

Friday, January 25, 2013

7 Quick Takes


Please pray for all those marching for life in DC today.  Our high school sent about 100 students, and I've been lucky to have marched twice before.  It's deeply moving experience and I am thankful for all the people who take time out of their busy lives to help save babies and women.

On Monday we had a day off work.  With no morning sports practices or games, we found ourselves looking for something fun to do.  And then I remembered that Ikea had a child's play area and Mary Kate recommended buying throw pillows from there.  Fun for all.  Except that after the looong drive there, the Smileland was at top capacity and we weren't waiting in line longer than it would have taken us to shop.
 So all seven of us went off through the crazy maze of Ikea looking for throw pillows, and I found some for the butterscotch couch!

 The kids were satisfied by the purchase of frozen yogurt at the end of the checkout line.

The other night at dinner, I looked over and saw this:
 She's either conspiring with the kids who want another sibling yesterday, or she just knows who drops the most crumbs in the house.


Tonight we have Parent Teacher Conferences for Maggie and Eamon.  I send Phil to these things because he's a teacher and can stay non-emotional about the whole thing.  I always want to cry no matter if  they are excelling, or could use some improvement.  Either way, my Mama Bear is a hot mess.

You know what the problem is with girls?  Hormones Feelings.
Last week I was feeling so overwhelmed at the thought of another addition to our family, and this week, I started getting baby fever.  Actually it's more like toddler fever since I'm not truly a baby person.  After a great talk with a great friend, I reevaluated what's important in this life and where my priorities lay, and then I read this post from Leila where she said "You know what the Bible calls riches?  Children."  and it really struck my heart.


Looking forward to a date at The Melting Pot this weekend.  I got a groupon for half off the normally ridiculous price.

And since those dern Patriots lost, I am glad there's no football to watch this weekend.


Happy Weekend Everyone!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

To Do List and a Deep Thought


Please go visit Bonnie and nominate your favorite blogger in the first annual Sheenazing Blogger Awards for awesome Catholic blogs.  There are plenty of categories to nominate someone for: funniest blog, inspiring blog, coolest blog, best male blogger, etc.  This is so much fun, and I can't wait to see all the nominations!


Inside me lives a thin woman, but Phil keeps her sedated with chocolate chip cookies

Untouched picture of the actual cookies he bakes for me.
I am so loved.

Ciao Bellas!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Burpee - Excusemee

You all know I love to exercise and what I love the most are the workout classes at my gym.  I've been a member for over 6 years and manage to go about 5 times a week, so I definitely get my money's worth (it's only $19.99 a month and my health insurance reimburses $150 per year).  

Over the years, there have been trends in the classes.  When I first started, kickboxing ruled the class schedule, then yoga became the cool workout, spinning was the fad for a while, kettlebell classes were short-lived, and now a lot of the workouts are full body toning and cardio style classes.  I love them.  You basically get a weight workout with little sprints of cardio mixed in so your heart rate stays up the whole time.  

Even in these classes I've noticed that the trend went from using handweights to using mostly your own body weight.  We do tons of pushups, situps, squats, lunges, jumps, planks and burpees.  I never even knew what a burpee was until two years ago, but it is such a good workout that I thought I'd share:

There are variations to the burpee, you can do a pushup in the middle, jump at the end, whatever you want.  Burpees definitely work out your whole body and they're pretty fun to say.  Start by doing as many as you can, and then add one more each day - no gym membership or weights needed!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Morning After

It's "you're" but super models aren't exactly known for their brains.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

WIWS: Playoff Edition

I feel like I might be making a mockery of What I Wore Sunday, and I don't want to do that.  I love what Fine Linen and Purple has done for ladies trying to look their best for Jesus.  

But it's the Play Offs and I'm a Patriots fan, and we're getting ready to have some friends over and eat tons of naughty foods watch the game.  So here's what I'm wearing:

See that "W", yeah that's for winner, and if these Pats don't deliver, I'm going to feel like a big fat "L".
Picture courtesy of Mack my iMac.  
Clothes courtesy of my dresser, but originally from Old Navy.
Messy house courtesy of my 5 kids who won't stop til they drop.  Is it bedtime yet?

Next week there's no football, so a classier outfit will be in order.  Until then go see what the other beauties are wearing!

Quizzing Alexander