Monday, September 29, 2008

Feast of the Archangels

Today is the Feast of the Archangels, which reminds me of a story about John-Paul and an angel.

When John-Paul was 2, we were sitting having lunch, and he looks up to the corner of the kitchen, and says, "Mama, there's an angel". He said it so nonchalantly that I thought I didn't hear him correctly. He pointed up to the corner again and said, "There's an angel over there" (by the way, there was nothing where he was pointing).

I got chills right away because we had never really talked to him about angels. Sure, we said the Guardian Angel Prayer at night, but he was too little to ask any questions about God, Heaven, Angels, etc. at that point. I kept feeding him his lunch, and casually asked him what the angel looked like. He said "He's wearing a white dress, and he's singing". Okay, how would he even know what angels are typically depicted as wearing?

This actually scared me at the time, and I didn't want to talk to him about it anymore, because I didn't want to make it seem like it was unusual. But a few weeks later, I asked him what the about it, and he told me the same story. Pretty cool, huh?

This past weekend, we went to Mass with my parents, and John-Paul was sitting on Gammy's lap during the last song. Gammy said something about the beautiful angels (statues) in the Church, and how it felt like they were singing, and John-Paul (now 5) said "Gammy, the angels are ALWAYS singing." Duh, sorry us lay folk don't always catch the same Heavenly glimpses as you, John-Paul ;-)

Things that make you go...


Is it strange that this morning, I put size 18 month pants on Eamon (age 2) AND on Maggie (age 10 months)? Just a thought.

Here's the past 2 daily devotionals and today's:

September 27th, September 28th, and today

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to Eamon!

Eamon turns TWO today!!

It's funny that he seems older and younger than that all at the same time.

Because Maggie arrived so soon after Eamon's first birthday, I have always felt guilty that he missed out on being the baby.

But he seems to enjoy being one of the big boys now, and is a wonderful big brother to Maggie.

He is at an incredibly fun/exciting/sweet stage right now.
(Notice how he stacked his Big Bird chair on top of the other chair, climbed on top, and proudly sat way up high.)

I spend my days kissing him non-stop, which, at the moment he doesn't seem to mind too much. If only it would be that way forever!

Happy Birthday my sweet and funny Eamon Philip, we love you!

P.S. I am not making a birthday cake for Eamon. We have 3 birthdays in this house in the next 2 weeks, so tonight we are making ice cream sundaes instead. I'll put a candle in Eamon's sundae so that I don't feel like a totally horrible mother.
P.P.S. The daily devotional is here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A day in the life of a 9 month old named Maggie:

Mommy gave me my first doll...and I love it! She even has a twin brother.

Oh, we have to feed it? Thanks for showing me, Eamon.

Look at me, I threw all of my baby toys on the floor, turned over the box, and stood up all by myself!

Why is this boy always kissing me??? I guess he's not that bad...

Here's your daily devotional for today, 9/25/08.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Something to Ponder

John-Paul (as he's sitting on the toilet): Mom, do you know how we smell things?

Me: With our noses.

John-Paul: Well I learned that there are particles that we can't see floating in the air and they get in our nose and mouth and then we taste them and smell them.

Me: Wow, I think you're right.

John-Paul: So do you smell my poop?

Me: Yes

John-Paul: That means my poop "practicals" are going in your mouth and nose and you're eating my poop!

Eeeewwww, I hope he's wrong about this, but I have a feeling he's right.

On a less stinky note, here's your daily reflection for the 40 Days for Life for 9/24/08.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

40 Days for Life

Tomorrow starts the 40 Days for Life. This is a 40 day time period focused on bringing awareness to the pro-life movement. Specifically, the goal is to end abortion through prayer, fasting, and educating people on being pro-life. Even Norma McCorvey, the "Roe" of Roe v. Wade is on board with trying to end abortions.

As for Phil and I, we will be fasting from sweets and junk food during the week, and will pray daily for an end to abortion. I will try to post a daily devotional on my blog if you would like to participate. We all need to do something to stop the killing of innocent babies, so join us!

Here's the first devotional:
Prepare: September 23

Monday, September 22, 2008

What a way to start the day

This morning, after Phil had left to take John-Paul and Andrew to school on his way to work, I did my usual Monday morning routine. I cleaned up the kitchen, got Maggie and Eamon changed and dressed, fed Maggie, got myself dressed for work, ate breakfast, packed the diaper bag for the day, packed lunch for Eamon and Maggie, packed lunch for myself, got everyone and everything down into the car.

And then, the unthinkable happened...the car wouldn't start. I soon realized that the headlights had been left on, and not to point any fingers here, but it was Phil's car, and Phil had been the last one driving it ;)

I quickly walked over to my neighbor's house who happens to be a cop, and he very graciously came over and jumped the car.

All in all it could've been much worse of a situation (the kids were good, the neighbor was home, I wasn't super late) but still not the ideal way to start my Monday.

Which reminds me...Happy First day of Fall!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Edaville Railroad

Recently, we took the kids to Edaville Railroad. It's a small amusement park with a real train ride that's nice, and has a few carnival-style rides, games and food. The kids LOVED it! We went with my sister "M" and her daughter and stayed for the afternoon.

I took some pictures of rides we went on at the beginning of the day, and then my camera batteries died and I couldn't take any more pictures. We did manage to try to take a Christmas card picture of the whole family, but it was too hard getting everybody to look and smile at the same time.

The last 45 minutes or so, the kids just played on all the swings, slides, see-saws, sandbox, and ran around until they were exhausted.

When we left, it was dinner time and so we stopped at Longhorn's and got our favorite chicken fingers. But it was a busy Saturday night, and we had to wait awhile, so the kids eventually started losing it. We managed to make it out of the restaurant with only 2 of the kids crying and making a scene. Not too bad ;-)

All in all it was a great family day, and one the kids are sure to remember for a long time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guardian Angels

I just adore my Guardian Angel, don't you?

I've been really lucky to have grown up realizing that I have my own special angel watching over me. My mom taught me all about it when I was just a tiny tot, and now I teach my kids all about their angels.

We say our Guardian Angel Prayer daily in this house, which is as follows:

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide. AMEN.

Whenever I am feeling lonely or scared, I always remember that I have my angel with me and I'm not alone. It's a very comforting feeling, and one I urge my boys to think about often. Also, if I pass a car accident or hear about a tragedy that could have easily been me, I thank my G.A. for protecting me.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about our guardian angels:
"From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God."

Amazing when you really think about it, isn't it? God gave us each an individual protector who's on duty 24-7, and most likeley gets ignored by most people. So don't ignore your G.A. any longer...pray to him, thank him, and tell others about him so they can experience God's love as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who reads this blog, anyway?

Please do me a favor and leave me a comment if you read my blog. Some days I blog and feel as though nobody even reads it, so what's the point (hence why I removed comments for a while)? Other days I don't really care if anyone reads it, it's just a place for me to record memories of our family. But today is one of those days where I wish I knew who read it and what you would like me to write please leave a comment, even make up a fake name, I don't care :-) Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What does love mean to YOU?

Read the answers given to this question asked to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does 'love' mean?'

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.

So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
Rebecca- age 8
'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
Billy - age 4
'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
Karl - age 5
'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
Chrissy - age 6
'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'
Terri - age 4
'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.'
Danny - age 7
'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss'
Emily - age 8
'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.'
Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,'
Nikka - age 6
'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.'
Noelle - age 7
'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
Tommy - age 6
'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
Cindy - age 8
'My mommy loves me more than anybody.
You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
Clare - age 6
'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
Elaine-age 5
'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.'
Chris - age 7
'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day'
Mary Ann - age 4
'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'
Lauren - age 4
'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)
Karen - age 7
'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.'
Jessica - age 8

Monday, September 15, 2008

One of my FAVORITE recipes

I made this for the second time this weekend, and it was just as delicious as I remembered. This takes some effort in the morning to get everything ready to go into the crockpot...but then at dinnertime you just have to serve it up! We used the wheat egg noodles to feel a bit healthier, and it was delicious. I also didn't make the "garnish" for this's up to you. Please try it, and save me a bite!

Beef Burgundy
from: America's Test Kitchen

Make sure to use the low setting on your slow cooker; the stew will burn on the high setting. Serve with boiled potatoes (the traditional accompaniment), mashed potatoes, or buttered egg noodles.

Serves 6 to 8
8 ounces bacon , chopped
4 pounds beef stew meat (preferably chuck)
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 large onion , chopped fine
2 carrots , peeled and chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 cups Pinot Noir
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate. Pour half of bacon fat into small bowl; set skillet with remaining bacon fat aside.

2. Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels. Season beef with salt and pepper; place half of beef in slow cooker insert. Heat skillet containing remaining bacon fat over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook remaining beef in single layer until deep brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer browned beef to slow cooker insert.

3. Add reserved bacon fat to now-empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir until beginning to brown, about 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to slow cooker insert.

4. Return now-empty skillet to high heat and add 1 1/2 cups wine, chicken broth, and soy sauce. Simmer, scraping up brown bits, until pan bottom is clean, about 1 minute. Transfer wine mixture to slow cooker insert.

5. Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow cooker insert. Set slow cooker on low, cover, and cook until meat is fork-tender, about 9 hours.

6. When ready to serve, discard bay leaves and stir in reserved bacon. Bring remaining 1 cup wine to boil in large skillet over high heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir reduced wine and parsley into stew and adjust seasonings. Serve.

Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through step 4 up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the bacon, browned beef, raw beef, vegetable mixture, and wine mixture separately. When ready to cook the stew, transfer these ingredients (except bacon) to the slow cooker and proceed with step 5.

The Final Touch In addition to the rich flavor of the wine, many people consider a garnish of sautéed onions and mushrooms one of the hallmarks of a great beef Burgundy. We think this little bit of last-minute kitchen work is worth the effort.

Instructions for the Garnish: Before reducing wine in step 6, bring 2 cups frozen pearl onions, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 cup water to boil in large skillet over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add 10 ounces white mushrooms, quartered, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are browned and glazed, about 5 minutes. Stir onions and mushrooms into stew and proceed to reduce wine in now-empty skillet as directed in step 6.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I love traditions...

...and taking a yearly portrait of my kiddos is one of my favorites. I thought I'd share the past 3 years of portraits with you all.

Here's John-Paul, Andrew and Eamon in December 2006:

And here are the boys again in September 2007 (Maggie was still in my belly!):

And here's the most recent one, taken September 2008, which includes Maggie:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Grassroots Films

So I am in love with any Grassroots Film I have ever seen...and now they have an awesome 3 minute film reminding us how important this election is to our country and our faith. Please watch it, it's powerful and chilling. Click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Amazing Story

If you don't cry when you read this, then your name must be Phil (but I still love you, honey!)

My deep dark secret

Where I live, there is a law that requires I get a vehicle inspection every year. Then I get this little sticker on my car that expires in 12 months, and we have to go through the process again.

My secret is that the sticker on my car has expired...a while back in April.

The reason I haven't gotten a new inspection sticker is three-fold. Wanna know why I am breaking the law? Here goes:

1) I can't find the time. Honestly, my car is the family van, and it's very hard to coordinate a time I can go get the inspection sticker done without having to bring the kids.

2) I think it's a stupid law. It's really just a way for the state and auto mechanics to make money. Because, you see, most times when you bring your car in for an inspection, the auto mechanic finds something that needs to be fixed before you can pay to get the new sticker. What a rip-off! Since I don't think it's a just law, I don't feel morally compelled to follow it. Is that a sin?...hmmm, I'll let Fr. Dave answer that one.

3) It gives me a thrill. Every time I get into the car and see the sticker, I want to see just how long I can hold out before I get the new one. It saves me money to wait (because now the sticker has been used for 17 months instead of only 12), and although I keep telling myself that I will get it done next month, when the next month comes I feel like I can get away with it for 30 more days.

But, I know I will eventually break down and get the inspection sticker soon because although I have valid reasons, I don't want to get pulled over and fined. That would be giving this state more money, which is exactly what I don't want to do.

But maybe I'll just wait one more month...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Life Without Tom

I can't believe it...a Patriots season without my Tom Brady. I mean, it's not like I love the guy on a personal level (he's got some moral issues), but as far as quaterbacks go, I'm smitten. If you don't follow the Patriots (oh, the shame) then read this to get the 411.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome Baby!

My sister "S" just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl today, on the Virgin Mary's birthday! How exciting! Grace Elizabeth joins big sister Katie (3 1/2), and big brother Ryan (almost 2). Welcome to this crazy family little are now my parent's 16th grandchild. We love you already!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Summer Reflections: Maggie Rose

It's now time for the fourth and final installment of this mini series, and the star of the show is...(drum roll please)...Maggie!

As I am typing this, Maggie is sitting on the floor beside me taking all the papers out of my desk shelves, and trying to eat them. She eats anything she can get her hands on, more so than our other kids did, so I am constantly vacuuming the floor. Which is one of my favorite chores since I have this guy and this gal to help me.

But I digress...this is about Maggie. Our sweet little 9 month old who leaves a path of destruction everywhere she crawls. She's still not "normal" crawling, she's commando-crawling, and I don't think she's gonna change her ways because she's super fast, and she can easily go from that position to sitting upright in a heartbeat.

Maggie has had a difficult summer because she's been teething the whole time. And the fruits of her labor are showing; two top teeth and two bottom teeth. She's also had a couple colds which make for sleepless nights around these here parts.

But other than that, she has been a real joy and a wonderful addition to our family. God is good! Maggie was our biggest surprise baby, and also our easiest baby. She loves watching her big brothers run around, and has an unusual attraction to watching them play Wii.

Magsie, you're our beautiful surprise and we couldn't imagine life without you. We love you!

Friday, September 5, 2008


I just posted a new little ditty about Eamon, but it ended up coming after the "First Day of School" post. So just scroll down a bit to read it. Wow, how I wish I was more computer saavy :-)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of School 2008

So cute and grown up!

John-Paul starts Kindergarten.

Andrew's in P-3 (Preschool for 3 year olds) for another year.

Summer Reflections: Eamon

Well, this little man is still trouble, but at least now it's the fun kind of trouble, and not nearly as much of the tantrum kind of trouble. He is just about to turn two, and we're hopeful that it will not be too awful.

Eamon has matured in his speech dramatically over these past few months. Where he used to only say one or two words at a time, he now rambles on and on. He does still have the slight problem of dropping the first sounds of a word, and also mixing up the beginning sounds of two words that go together. Needless to say, it makes for an interesting interpretation of "fire truck" (I'll leave you to your own conclusions on that one).

This boy has no fear, and really enjoyed the trips to the beach and playground we have taken, though I was fearful with every dive underwater. He loves being one of the boys with John-Paul and Andrew, and tells me constantly that Baby Maggie "Daggie" is cute!

Now that school has started, he asks me at least ten times a day where John-Paul and Andrew are. It's sad for him, but it also means he gets to be the big guy in charge, and we can do all the activities he finds fun (like his favorite past-time, dancing to the Wiggles songs).

Eamon, you're still my little devil, but you make me laugh every day, and I love you!