Monday, June 29, 2009


I just overheard Little Brother telling Cutie Pie a few things about Bible history.

"You know when Moses had to get all the Jews out of Egypt and they couldn't take their bread? That's when they had matzoh. And then Jesus did another miracle. He put the water there so they could walk on it, like he did, and then put it back so the Egyptians can't walk on it."

I hope Cutie Pie doesn't take Little Brother's word as Gospel.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Things Parents Say

"You may not throw Play-Doh at the ceiling fan!"

Guitar Hero

Big Brother had a few friends here last night for an all-night game marathon. They're still sleeping, conked out all over the family room floor and couch. Middle Sister hasn't left her room this morning either. But Little Brother's been up for a while already.

Growing tired of his Nintendo game, he didn't think to ask me if he could turn on the TV in my room, and he can't get to his library book bag without stepping on Big Brother's friend. So he tiptoed up to his room with his toy guitar (minus one string and very out of tune) and his sister's old iPod that Big Brother set up with some classic rock tunes.

He's upstairs now, sitting on his bed with headphones and an iPod, strumming his guitar to a song only he can hear.

Taste and See

As we do most Wednesdays, a few of us from the guitar choir got together last night at my house to practice Sunday's music.

We've had to learn a lot of new music in a short time. In the past year we have mastered three new Mass settings and at least 25 new hymns. And while I think it would have been nice if we could have eased into things a little more (like during Advent, when nearly every single piece we did was new to us), I will not argue that this hasn't been good for us.

It's gotten us together as a group, outside of Mass. Not everyone can make the practices, but there are always at least three of us here--and sometimes as many as eight. We have time to practice, time to chat, time to complain, time to reminisce, and time to laugh.

Never underestimate the benefits of taking time to laugh together.

Last night we learned a new song for this weekend: Tom Kendzia's "Lamb of God/Taste and See." It's got a beautiful and delicate melody and it works well on guitars (and, I imagine, on organ or keyboard). Big Brother was amazed at how many settings of "Taste and See" there are--this is the third one he has learned since he began playing with our group at Easter. But the words to that psalm are wonderful--and we should sing them often.

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord; O taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord.

Let the lowly hear and be glad,
Let us glorify his name.
Together let us praise God's name.

Glorify the Lord with me,
together let us praise his name.
From my fears God set me free.

Look to the Lord and shine in the light,
Let your faces not be ashamed.
The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Blessed be the Lord.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Easily Pleased

Little Brother just finished his breakfast (maple-and-brown-sugar oatmeal). He came over and gave me a big hug, because I am the best oatmeal maker.

It's nice to know that all I need to do to make this little guy happy is boil water and shake a few sprinkles across the top of the oatmeal bowl.

I don't feel like I did all that much, but he's happy and his hug showed me that he's grateful. And it made me think that I could do more to show my gratitude when someone does something for me--not something extra, not even something extra nice, but just when something is done. When my husband comes home from a long day at work and then heads to the basement to work some more. When my kids get their chores done on time and without argument.

Just because it's routine or expected doesn't mean it doesn't deserve gratitude.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Summer brings out the evil genius creativity in my kids.

Last week Big Brother cleaned out his closet. I use the term "cleaned out" loosely because I think it could use another 3 hours of attention. My idea of "cleaning out a closet" is taking everything out and only putting back what belongs. His idea is more like rummaging around in there and maybe finding something that doesn't belong, and then leaving it on the floor until he's tired of tripping over it and moves it back to the closet.

I digress.

He found the "fake fur" that he'd unbuttoned from his winter parka. It comes off so you can wash the jacket, but he's no fan of the "fake fur" so he just took it off right away.

He and Middle Sister decided that this long strip of "fake fur" looks like a weasel. She offered to hot-glue some googly eyes onto one end, and now Big Brother is the proud owner of The Most Awesome Weasel Ever. How many other kids have a stuffed weasel in their room?

I have the feeling that this thing is going to make its way into a lot of lockers at his school this fall...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Just taking a moment to wish all the dads out there a happy Father's Day!

I'm blessed that TheDad is such a great husband to me and dad to our kids. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

You can talk, you can talk, you can bicker, you can talk... can talk, talk, talk, talk, bicker, bicker, BICKER!

I'm channeling my inner Music Man as I try to ignore "the Bickersons" (Little Brother and Adventure Boy) as they play just outside the (open) front window.

Little Brother's tired from an afternoon spent at the parish carnival, and Adventure Boy got here with a chip on his shoulder and is ready to argue about anything. It's not a good combination.

Time to break out the referee's whistle, I think. Or I could close all the windows, turn on the air conditioning, and ignore the whole deal. That is SO tempting.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dewey Decimal

Little Brother visited the library with our neighbors today.

He came home with three books about fish (always a favorite subject for him.) Then he bragged, "I got these books in the non-fraction section!"

What to Wear

..on the first day of summer vacation, if you're Little Brother:

your old gym uniform.

(The school is introducing new gym uniforms next year, and since he's almost outgrown this uniform anyway, the shorts and T-shirt were put in the playclothes drawer. And that's what Little Brother chose to wear today.)


"God has mercy on rebellious pinecones."

Thomas will get the pinecone part!

Big Brother and Middle Sister are discussing the meaning of their names. Middle Sister is looking for a Confirmation name. Instead of checking out saints and finding one that inspires her, she's working backwards and finding names she thinks work well with the name she's already got, and what it means.

Maybe I should have looked a little further into the meaning of her name when I was choosing it in the first place.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweet (?) Sounds of Summer

Only one more (half) day of school for all my kids. And I can tell it's already summer when I hear them say things like:

"I've got a loogie and it's ready to launch!"

School starts September 8.

What a waste

...of my time, energy and $25 co-pay. Nothing is going to get resolved with this doctor because he is convinced that his way is the only way.

I can go to the health-food store and ask for their help, but I should tell him what I'm taking. (What's the point of that, after he admitted that he knows of one supplement that "might" help me, but doesn't know the dosage?)

Other than that, my problem is within the realm of normal, so I should consider myself lucky that this is so. He grants that it is the "sucky" (his word!) end of normal, but still normal.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I want to be strong

I'm working on distracting myself from thinking about a medical appointment I have tomorrow. It was working for a while, until I finished the novel I was reading. So I may as well just give in to it.

This is not a critical medical issue but it is one that I want to resolve, and the sooner the better. I'm not pleased with my doctor, though; he is very good at explaining things in layman's terms, but he is not at all receptive to a patient who questions (and refuses) certain courses of treatment. My guess is that he's not used to being challenged, and it clearly bugs him.

If I start over with a new doctor, I'll have to start over. I don't want to wait for the time it will take to find a new doctor and be re-evaluated. At this point I'd rather just stick with the doctor I have and just get things resolved.

Tomorrow morning I will be nervous, but before my appointment I'll have the chance to attend Mass and the St. Anthony novena. Meanwhile, I have this old camp song running through my head. I'll need it, because I'm sure there is going to be some disagreement tomorrow, and I don't do well with conflict. Thus far, though, I have made it clear to the doctor just what treatments I am not willing to accept. And I'm not changing my mind.

I don't know all the words to the song but here's what I can remember, from my days of working at camp 20 years ago this summer:

"Oh, I want to be strong,
To be strong as the land around me
I want a heart that's as wide as the sky
I want a spirit like a moving mountain stream
I want to look people straight in the eye.

Walking along beneath a canopy of cloud
Feeling like a stranger in the midst of a crowd
I know that something great is calling me out loud.
I know that I must choose."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's Starting Already

Adventure Boy has two more full weeks of school, but that's not stopping him.

Tonight he rang the doorbell here at 8 PM, looking to play with Little Brother. His older sister was with him.

First-graders should not be looking for playmates at 8 PM! They should be at home, getting their showers and putting on pajamas and brushing teeth and reading a little before bed.

And I suspect that the adults in charge of Adventure Boy are well aware of this, but it's easier for them to let him come up here and have me tell him that it's time for him to be heading home, rather than have to fight that battle themselves. (They've admitted as much to me in the past, on numerous occasions.) I'm tired of having to be the grownup for this little boy.

He needs prayers, and so do his grownups. I guess I'm one of his grownups, so I'd appreciate some too.


Today is supposed to be Field Day at Middle Sister and Little Brother's school. The weather is not looking too promising.

We just heard a loud rumble of thunder. That got everyone out of their usual "morning zombie" state.

Middle Sister: "Maybe the power will go out! That'll be fun!"

Big Brother: "Awww, we have a fire drill today--first period. At 8:20."

I was amazed that they tell everyone exactly what time they'll have a fire drill. "Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of a fire drill?"

"Yeah," he agreed.

And Little Brother wondered if there would be a tornado today (I doubt it.)

Monday, June 08, 2009


That's what I'm feeling right now--for my mp3 player.

Little Brother and Adventure Boy are here, with their toy guitars, practicing for their "band." Adventure Boy just offered to teach Little Brother a song from "Nacho Libre."

Thank God for noise-reducing earbuds.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Just So You Know

It's not a good idea, when playing Battleship, to "clobber" all your ships together in one big block.

Either your opponent will not find you until it's too late, or he'll get to you right in the beginning of the game and take out all five ships in quick succession, and then tell you, as only a seven-year-old can, that your "strajitty" was bad. And then he'll go around the house bragging about how he beat you and your bad "strajitty."

Little Brother really enjoys gloating.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I had forgotten...

what it's like when a first-grader masters the fine (?) art of the Armpit Fart. It's been ten years, after all, since the last time I had a first-grade boy.

It seems like every time I look at him, Little Brother has his shirt hiked up and is busily flapping away. It's really annoying, rather disgusting, and extremely funny all at the same time.

I just hope he doesn't do this in school. Bet he does it on the bus, though!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I Think I Need to Give This Cookbook Away

Father Leo Patalinghug's book Grace Before Meals is much more than a cookbook. Yes, there are recipes--interesting ones! But more important than that, there is encouragement. And that's why I'll probably be giving away my copy.

Last night we had dinner guests: a mom and her little boy. Her husband works second shift, and I lost count of how many times she told me how nice it was to enjoy a family dinner. We had spaghetti, nothing fancy, but she said that she doesn't do a whole lot of cooking when it's just her and her son.

I want to find a way to tell her that she needs to make a point of having a family mealtime even if the whole family can't be there. No matter how simple the meal--whether it's a bowl of Cheerios or (shudder) Spaghetti-Os or a gourmet treat, where two or more are gathered for a meal, it's a family meal. You're all together at the table. Ideally, the TV is off. You give thanks for the food and the time to be together, and you enjoy your food.

I will say that everyone behaved themselves for company. Middle Sister refrained from regaling us with some disgusting tale in the middle of the meal. (She has a knack for making everyone else lose their appetites.) Little Brother showed our guest how to use the rotary cheese grater. That was fun for the boys, who delighted in making mountains of Romano.

But I want to encourage our dinner guest to have family mealtime. Her son is little now, and she's with him a lot, so it might not seem so important to her. But she does notice something missing--for her. And as her little boy grows up, she will want him to know what family dinnertime is all about. She will want him to be nourished, not just by the food, but by the shared prayer, conversation, and love at the table. She will want him to have what she is missing now.

I hope Father Leo's cookbook will help her get there, and that it's not rude of me to offer it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Things We Do For Our Kids

Parents make sacrifices, big and small, for the sake of our children.

Like today: I drove out of town to get the best (yet inexpensive, if I go to this particular store) cold cuts for Big Brother's lunch. He's not a fan of the lunch meat at the local supermarket, and my other two sources have gone out of business.

It's not a long trip (less than 15 minutes) but it is a venture into a neighborhood where fashion sensibilities are quite different. I stood in line to pay for the food, behind a young man whose belt fell far below the place where belts are supposed to go. And unlike many other young men who wear their pants this way, he wasn't wearing a knee-length t-shirt. It wasn't a pretty sight.

I hope Big Brother appreciates this.