Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 Things About Me and My Better Half

Betty Beguiles is asking us all to participate in this fun post, so here goes:

1) We met in Austria.  We went to the same college (go Franciscan!) but probably never would have met if we hadn't both gone to Austria during the same semester.    He was 19, and I was just about to turn 21.

2) We are practically opposites when it comes to our personalities.  He is relaxed, deep-thinking, and so easy to please.  I am uptight, practical-thinking, and hard to please.  We joke that I take care of us in this world (finances, schedules, household planning, exercise reminders) and he takes care of us for the next world (family prayer time, theological discussions, parish involvement, Confession reminders).  Somehow it all works out perfectly.

3) We both come from families of six kids - two boys and four girls each.

4) When we met, although it wasn't love at first sight, we became instant friends.  I was dating someone from back home, but it only took a couple of weeks for me to confide in my roommate that I wanted to marry Phil or somebody

5) He made me wait three weeks of official dating for our first kiss.  I was DYING! 

I was also his first kiss.


6) He hates seafood, and I (mostly) hate red meat.  So every once in a while I'll buy him a steak and me a piece of fish and we indulge together....seperately, but together.
7) I had a deal with God that I would know whom I was supposed to marry because he would give me one white rose. Just over a year into dating, Phil left a white rose at my house.  For no reason at all.  God had given me my sign!  A few months later, and we were engaged. 

8) Every single time I find out I'm pregnant, he always reacts with such excitement and joy that he makes everything feel just matter how shocked I am!

9) We dream of opening up an ice cream shop one day.

10) We still feel like we are in our honeymoon phase.  We truly are best friends and passionately in love.  I hope our children can always witness such a happy marriage!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maya Angelou's Words of Wisdom

Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday.. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was 'exciting...'

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words! Maya Angelou said this:

'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back...'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back...'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Ten: Things NOT to say to a Pregnant Woman

(and the snarky things I WISH I could say in reply!)

10) This is your {insert number} baby?  Are you crazy?
       Yes, crazy to be talking to someone like you.

9)  You do know how this happens, right?
      Um, yeah.  We consider ourselves experts at it, and we like it!

8) You get bigger every day!
     So do you, but what's your excuse?

7) So, when are you due?  {Tell them due date} Wow, I would have guessed sooner!
     And I would have guessed that you knew better than to say that.

6) So-and-so is pregnant, and due before you, and you're way bigger!
     Well, I just like to give my baby a lot of room in there.

5) How are you going to afford college for all these kids?
     If you're so worried about our finances, we'll gladly accept a donation.

4) What names are you thinking of?  {Insert names} Ohhhhhh, where did you come up with that?
     Well, we wanted to use your name, but then realized they might turn out as tactless as you.

3) How many more weeks/days until you're due?
     Try months!

2)  You must be having a girl because girls steal all your beauty.
      Oh, so you must have had a lot of girls yourself.

1)  You must be having twins!?!?!
      Nope just one, but thanks for that!

The ONLY thing you should ever say to a pregnant woman is "YOU LOOK GREAT!"


 Phil would like me to add that you NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant unless she is in labor!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Cross

Today, my article is being featured at Catholic Mom:

Have you ever heard the story about the man who was complaining to God that his cross (suffering) was too big for him to carry?  God told the man that he could go into a closet full of crosses and … Keep reading


Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26th

Happy Birthday Gammy! (My mom)

And Happy Half-Birthday Eamon...which was just as important ;)

Eamon has been talking (for months) about having breakfast in bed with Gammy to celebrate the momentous occasion.  So today Gammy came over and they had coffee cake in my bed together.  So cute!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Do

New Cut:

New Color:

New Attitude!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Kids are Going to be in Carseats FOREVER! or How Did We All Survive?

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on car seat safety and positioning. Mitch Lipka, an expert in child safety products, comments on the new guidelines.

Parents eager to flip their car seats from rear-facing to forward facing have some new information to consider that could change their thinking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now saying toddlers should remain rear-facing until they are 2 years old. For nearly a decade, the group has suggested following the guidance on the seats themselves and keeping them rear facing until a child is 1 year old and 20 pounds at a minimum.

Making the transition from rear-facing to front-facing car seats, from car seat to booster, and from back seat to front seat are among the most discussed topics by parents seeking advice about parenting. While this report from the nation’s most prominent pediatric group isn’t the law, it does carry a lot of clout and is a game-changer in the conversation about car seat safety.

In issuing its new recommendations, the AAP cited a 2007 study in the journal “Injury Prevention” that showed children under the age of 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer a severe injury if they are in a rear-facing seat. The main issue: Support for the neck and spine is better in that position for young children.
The organization’s new policy, published in the April edition of its journal “Pediatrics” also recommends the use of booster seats until children are at least 4 feet 9 inches and between 8 and 12 years old.

“A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body,” Dr. Dennis Durbin, the report’s author, said in a statement. “For larger children, a forward-facing seat with a harness is safer than a booster, and a belt-positioning booster seat provides better protection than a seat belt alone until the seat belt fits correctly.”

Motor vehicle accidents remain the top cause of death for children 4 and older, the Academy of Pediatrics said, although the death rate has been on a significant decline since the late 1990s. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every hour 150 children (from birth to 19) are taken to a hospital emergency room due to injuries suffered in car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says its guidelines are consistent with the academy’s recommendations. Both the academy and NHTSA say to use the age as a guideline and not push the use of the seats beyond the height and weight limits.

“The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition,” Durbin said. “Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other children may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age.”

Here are some additional guidelines from the academy: 
  • Make the move from a rear-facing seat to one that is forward facing and has a harness when they hit the weight and height limits for the seat.
  • After they hit the limits for the forward facing seat, it will be time to transition to a booster seat. (Be sure that the shoulder belt run across the child’s chest and shoulder and not his or her neck and the lap belt is across the hips rather than the belly area.)
  • The booster seat will no longer be needed once the child reaches 4 feet 9 inches and is 8 or older.
  • After a child turns 13, it is OK to ride in the front seat of the car. Prior to that, they should remain in the rear.

Wordless Wednesday: These are So Yummy, I Want Samoa!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Strange Changes

Me: With almost every pregnancy I've had, I've lost the taste for a specific food.  I don't mean I just couldn't eat something when I was nauseous, I mean that I don't ever want to eat it ever again.  With John-Paul it was ginger, with Andrew it was milk, with Eamon it was red meat, and with with this baby it's pork.  For some reason while I was pregnant with Maggie, I actually developed a taste for tomatoes, and I still like to eat them now.  If only I could lose my desire for sugar or salt, I would be all set!

Phil: As long as I have known Phil, he has worn a size 12 shoe.  When we were training for the half-marathon last year, he would complain that he was getting blisters on the tips of his toes.  He also went through socks like CRAZY, constantly getting holes in them.  At the beginning of this school year, he went to buy a new pair of dress shoes, and the lady at the store measured his foot and told him he was a size 13.  We were shocked, but suddenly the toe blisters made sense!  Then, just last week, he went to a specialty sports store to get his feet measured for a good pair of running sneakers.  The man at the store measured him and he tried on a couple pairs before the man decided that Phil should actually be wearing a size 14!!  And you know what they say about men with big feet, right? 

(That you have to special order big shoes) 


If we keep this up, I'll be a vegan and Phil will be in clown shoes in no time :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes!

March 21, 2010

March 21, 2011
Growing my Fifth Baby:
(Don't mind the face or the pose - I can not take a good picture!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Because I Could Watch Irish Step Dancing All Day Long...

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everybody!!

We're celebrating with Steak and Guinness Pie for dinner and
  I gave the kids green milk with their breakfast :)

And remember:

If you're lucky enough to be Irish...

You're lucky enough!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Breaking a Baby Bump Sweat

A great pregnancy or beginner workout:
{not me}

Get your behind on a treadmill.  Are you there?  Good.

For every run - choose 6.0 (10 min. mile) at 1.0 incline
For every walk - choose 4.0 (15 min. mile) at 5.0 incline
(You can change these to whatever levels you want, but I feel this is an easy enough pace while still giving a great workout.)

1) Run 1 mile
2) Walk .25 mile
3) Run .75 mile (now you've completed 2 miles)
4) Walk .5 mile
5) Run .5 mile (now you've completed 3 miles)
6) Walk .75 mile
7) Run .25 mile (now you've completed 4 miles)
8) Walk 1 mile (now you've completed 5 miles)

The whole thing takes me about 1 hour (maybe 63 minutes?).

{again, not me}
This workout is something I've been doing while pregnant since I can't run as long as I used to, but still want to sweat and get my heart racing.  I like it because the longest run (1 mile) is over right away, and then you are decreasing your run times while increasing your walk times.  I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to do this, but I'll keep trying for as long as I can.  I only do it about twice a week, and then do short elliptical workouts (5 to 6 miles) on other days during my lunch break.  I need to exercise like this because:
A) I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (plus a two hour commute), and
B) I eat way too much food.  I just love to eat, and I'd rather eat and exercise then have to diet - yuck!

What is your current exercise/diet plan?  I'd especially like to hear what you did while pregnant.  It's almost bikini season!  Hahahahaha, I can't even type that without laughing.  I've never worn a bikini in my whole life, and I certainly wouldn't start now!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Madness

It seems that every year around this time, I go stir crazy.  I'm not sure if it's the timing of the seasons - winter seems like it's been around too long and I just.can't.wait.any.longer for Spring to come? Or maybe it's because Phil gets his Intention Letter around this time and has to decide if he plans to continue teaching or not (they are on one year contracts).  Or it could be that I look around at how much Spring Cleaning needs to happen in and outside our home.  Or maybe I am realizing how precious few weeks are left until it's beach season, and I want my body to shed the winter insulation it likes to acquire against my will. 

Whatever it is, I always feel a little blue and tend to focus too much on all the ways I wish my life were different.  I want to chop and color my hair, paint the shutters and trim on our house, build another bedroom upstairs, buy a new house (it just seems easier), change my job, move across the country, have Phil change jobs, make a whole bunch of awesome friends, cure the health ailments that run in my extended family, end abortion, fix the economy, it goes on and on.

And it seems that everything I hear on the news lately is so tragic: the farmhouse fire where a family lost 7 of their children, the eleven year old boy who hanged himself in a nearby town, the deadly earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear devastation in Japan.  It's just too much to think about.  I don't know if it's my pregnancy hormones affecting my emotions, but whenever somebody starts to say "Did you hear about..." I just want to stick my fingers in my ears and shout LA-LA-LA-LA!!!  I can't take it.

Normally, when I feel like this, I would go for a loooong run or make plans to hang out with friends or eat chocolate.  But the baby bump makes it impossible for running long distance, the limited free time I have on the weekends after working all week is usually devoted to family things, and I gave up sweets for Lent.  Sigh.

I have learned from the Veggie Tales that to be truly happy you have to be thankful for what you have.  And I have so so so much (faith, family, health).  I just need to get over myself.  I know it's the Big D (and I don't mean Dallas) just messing with my head.  I even had a dream last night that a huge snake was chasing me all over the house, and kept biting me.  I was running around like crazy trying to get away from it, but couldn't.  I woke up completely sweating, so thankful it was just a dream.  I know exactly who that snake represents, and whose help I need to crush it's ugly head.
O Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ben Stein's Final Column

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called
''Monday Night At Morton's.''  (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.)  Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life.  Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column...

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I 'slug' it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is 'eonline FINAL,' and it gives me a shiver to write it.  I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even  recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it.  On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened..?  I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a 'star' we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model?  Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be  interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer.  A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked  his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq .  He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets.  Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad .  He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station.  He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded.  He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad ..

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines.  The  noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I  do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human.  I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin or  Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald.  Or even remotely close to any of them.

But, I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me.  This came to be my main task in life.  I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help).  I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years.  I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York ...  I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can.  It is knowing that God will.

By  Ben Stein


(Thanks Mum for sending this to me!)

Burst: A Review

I recently received the book Burst by Kevin Wells to read and review.  It was a very quick read, I think it took me two nights of laying in bed to get through before falling asleep.  The fact that I could actually stay up to read it says a lot coming from this tired mom! 

Kevin writes about many stories from his life, all of which I found very interesting: a medical emergency and miracle, infertility struggles, failed adoptions, a murder, his career and his lovely wife.  Through all of these stories, you travel with Kevin along his journey of faith.  And what comes through is his strong love for his family and devotion to the Eucharist.  After finishing this book, I wanted to drive straight out to Adoration at the chapel downtown to feel the peace he describes (and I've experienced) while sitting and praying in front of the Eucharist. 

Although the content of the book really captured my attention, the style in which he writes was a little confusing.  I couldn't quite keep up with the timeline of events as he jumped from present to past quite easily.  This could just be because of my current state of pregnancy brain, and in any case it was worth reading because the stories were great, and the messages were uplifting. 

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Burst - A Story of God's Grace When Life Falls Apart. They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hi Lo: March 11th


1) Thankful to be alive and safe and healthy.


1) Praying for everyone affected by this.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I have nothing to say today

Imagine that?  Me, with nothing to say.  Phil's probably doing a happy dance right now.  I could write about my inexplicable craving for an English muffin with lots of butter, or talk about how my little girl has strep throat, or ask remind you that Kohl's is having an awesome sale, and with the coupon codes "love2shop" and "free4mvc" you can get 30% off and free shipping and $10 back on every $50 you spend. 

But I won't ;)

Instead, I'll let you know that for those of you wanting to learn more about NFP, please go read this article.  It explains the whole process as simply and compactly as I've ever heard, and gets into the nitty gritties for those needing more detail. 

{Please excuse this brief interruption and continue on with your day!}

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Love My Kids

Gosh, I just love my kids so much!  I know I'm biased, but I just think they are the greatest little kids God has ever created.  Well, except Maggie.  Kidding!  She's just going through a phase (see header photo!)

We have talked a lot about Lent, and they wanted to give up something, so we came up with a plan after reading Therese's post.  The kids thought of ten different things to sacrifice, John-Paul wrote each one on a little piece of paper, and we put them in a hat.  Each morning, they will randomly pull one sacrifice out and follow it.  Today's was "Give up dessert". 

The rest include (I can't remember them all):

~ Eat our vegetables without complaining
~ Give up our show
~ Give up Wii and DS
~ Give up our snack money for the poor
~ Listen the first time to Mom and Dad
~ Clean our bedroom
~ Drink only water

I think this is an awesome way to get little kid's involved in Lenten sacrifices without it being too hard on them.  They came up with the ideas themself, and anyone can give up anything for one day, right?

Like I said, I love my kids!

And thanks, Therese for the great idea :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Innapropriately Funny

A male co-worker came over to my computer to look at the ultrasound picture of Baby Boo, and said:

"That's definitely a boy.  Look where his other hand is."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gearing Up for Lent 2011

I'm actually looking forward to Lent and dreading it all at the same time this year.  Dreading it because, well, it's Lent.  And looking forward to it because I NEED it.  Just like the seasons of the weather, God provides us with our own seasons of spirituality.  And though they are all necessary for our salvation, I think the times of sacrifice and repentance are the most important.  We can't truly celebrate the Easter Vigil without walking the Way of the Cross, right?

This year, I am focusing on the three goals of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.  I don't want to pile on too much, because then I know I'm doomed to fail, but I also don't want any excuses if this turns out to be my last Lent ever. 

  I need to devote a lot more time each day to prayer.  Yes, I say morning and evening prayers with the kids, and we grace before meals, but some days...that's it.  I talk to God throughout the day, and I try to remember to offer up my happiness and sorrows, but it's just not enough.  SO, this Lent, I am going to attend daily Mass at least two times during the week (it's offered during my lunch break at the Catholic college near my work), go to Stations of the Cross with the family on Friday nights, pray the Rosary on my morning commute, and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at night with the kids.  In order to fit all this in, I'm going to watch less tv and spend less time on the computer.

  It's hard being pregnant during Lent, but I will follow all the abstinence rules (no eating between meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and no meat on Fridays).  I am also giving up all sweets/desserts.  If I am hungry after my meal, I can have a piece of fruit, but nothing with added sugar.  I had to give up all sweets while pregnant with Maggie (borderline gestational diabetes) so I now I can do this for Jesus.

   First and foremost I am going to make sure I remember to give my weekly tithing.  Sometimes I forget to bring the envelope to church, and then I don't make it up the next week.  I am going to set it to come automatically out of my bank account - no more excuses!  If I am cheap, then why would I expect God to be generous?
   I also want to go through our toys and clothes and donate tons of stuff to the Salvation Army.  I need to detach myself from materialistic things (luckily that's not too hard for me) and clear out the clutter.
    Finally, I want to be generous with friends and family.  When friends come over and don't bring a dish to share, instead of fuming over it later, I want to thank God for the opportunity to share our food.  Instead of worrying about what which family member gets the newest car, or big bonus, I want to thank God for a lesson in humility and poverty.  I just want to be a better person.

   What are some things you are doing or have done in the past?  What's helped you the most?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

John-Paul's 8th Birthday Party

John-Paul and his cousin, Katie, had a joint birthday celebration.  John-Paul turned 8 and Katie turned 6.  They had a pool party at the YMCA and it was just (some of) our immediate family.  It was great, we had the whole pool to ourselves!  Everyone had tons of fun :)

 The cake was made by the baker at the boarding school I work for.  It was huge!  And it had chocolate shells all around the sides.  So yummy!