Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Cleaning

I guess Big Brother has resolved to take to heart the Boy Scout virtue: "A Scout is clean" because I just discovered that he cleaned out "his" car. I know this because when I walked into the kitchen, I found not one but TWO lunchboxes that had been hiding out in his car for the past few weeks.

But the icy packs inside were still cold.


I wish!

Sometimes I think it would be really great if I could just crawl into a cave and hide and sleep until spring. I wouldn't miss the cold of winter, that's for sure.

I know that all the "holiday socializing" is getting to me, and there will be 4 days of that starting today. I'm just hanging on until Monday! I am not one of those people who gets all energized from being around others. Instead, I like to hibernate. Being around others can really drain my battery. Even if they're people I love!

I wish I didn't feel like socializing is such a chore--but I do, and I fear that it's just in my nature to think that way.

Tomorrow's agenda will also include attending the wake of my second cousin, who passed away Tuesday. The wake is being held on his birthday, of all things. The kindness of your prayers is appreciated for a big man who died too young. He would have turned 49 tomorrow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

We had a lovely day. A little sleep-deprived, but lovely. Little Brother woke up at 2 and saw that Santa had been here. It took some doing to talk him out of opening his gifts right then.

We attended early Mass because it was for my father-in-law. But the later Mass was the one that the folk group was going to play. Big Brother offered to attend two Masses if I would, so we both went back for "round two." The doubleheader was definitely worth it. It was wonderful to sing all the Christmas carols with the other musicians in the folk group, and a couple of other friends who joined us for the day. Afterwards, Father H. (the parochial vicar) told us that the music was wonderful and that it had filled the church. So we did what we were there to do. I love Christmas carols!

Tomorrow I will drink my coffee in the "My mom is great" coffee mug that Little Brother got me at Santa's Secret Shop. Then we'll head up to my parents' house for "Christmas: The Day After." But now, I'm off to sleep. Hopefully it'll be a calmer night tonight!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Elf on Christmas Eve

Little Brother was up early this morning, of course. Now he's sitting at the computer in his warm fleece pajamas and too-big slippers, wearing the computer headphones and Big Brother's Santa hat on top of them.

He looks like a little elf. He's happy because his two front teeth haven't grown in yet, and he intends to make the most of that this evening when he gets his chance to sit on Santa's lap. "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" is his theme song, and he knows how to work it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Day

It's a snow day today--and that's a big understatement.

It's been snowing for more than 12 hours now and we have several inches of snow. No signs of it stopping anytime soon. In fact, a storm that was supposed to give us 6 inches as of yesterday and 12 inches as of this morning is now up to 14 inches PLUS, up to TWO FEET in areas. It's hard to tell with all the blowing and drifting--my husband's car is nearly clean because of the way the wind is blowing. But everything blowing off his car is piling up on (and in front of) MY van. Huh.

It's so snowy that Father cancelled all Masses this weekend. Therefore, the Secular Franciscans will not be hosting our "Living Nativity at Greccio" this year.

TheDad thought that this would be a perfect day for me to bake cookies, but I'm parked on the couch with cramps, Advil and a heating pad. No cookies today--I'm not up for standing in the kitchen for several hours rolling out dough. Not gonna happen. Sorry, cookie eaters. Maybe later in the week.

I should be working out the rest of my pre-surgery meal plans, etc. But I'm not getting much done. That's OK, I guess. I'll need to learn to accept that kind of reality 3 weeks from now, so I'll just consider this practice.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I like driving around town looking at people's displays of outdoor Christmas decorations. There are lots of pretty lights, fresh green wreaths with red bows, vintage sleds, stars and more. There are reindeer on the lawn, or the occasional wooden cutout Nativity scene.

Of course, some houses have all of the above.

And then there are the inflatable decorations. There's a house that I pass on the way to Big Brother's school that has no fewer than eight inflatables: Frosty, Santa, a huge snow globe, and others that I can't remember just now. Problem is, most people don't inflate their decorations until it gets dark, so all day long people drive by and see Frosty doing a face-plant on someone's lawn.

That's not a pretty sight.

The only inflatable I was ever tempted to consider displaying was a Snoopy-as-World-War-I-Flying-Ace, complete with doghouse. Now that was cool.

The saddest thing, though, was what I saw today. The house had an inflatable Nativity scene--but it wasn't turned on. So the Holy Family lay flat and crumpled on the dead winter grass.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Allrighty Then

Haloscan has decided that if I want to keep comments I'll need to pay for them. I'm not THAT pleased with their product, so I'm switching back to Blogger comments. But it looks like that means that all my Haloscan comments are gone. Poof!

Such is life, I guess.

Please know that I didn't delete the comments for any other reason.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gloria FTW!

I defy anyone to listen to Michael W. Smith's "Angels We Have Heard on High" and not have their spirits lifted.


So far, it's been a disappointing day. The high point was singing at Mass with the folk group; my schedule hasn't permitted that during the first 2 weeks of Advent and won't next weekend either. I'd much rather play than sit in a pew. (So would Big Brother, who is volunteering to attend Mass twice on Christmas Day--once because the 9 AM Mass is for his grandfather, so we're all going to that one, and then back for the 11 to play with the folk group.)

Otherwise, my mood is matching the rainy, cold, crummy weather.

I'd rather be watching Middle Sister's basketball game. But I am supposed to be stringing lights on the Christmas tree so that later we can decorate.

I'm not in a stringing-lights kind of mood. Not even with the Michael W. Smith "Christmas" album to motivate me.

I need to find a way to rejoice today, despite a rather difficult houseguest situation that is going to resolve itself in a "not a happy ending" kind of way very soon; despite the weather; despite all of it.

I can't let the Devil get the better of my Gaudete Sunday.

Friday, December 11, 2009


...from the laundry room:

"Little Brother, were you chewing on your sweater?"


"Don't do that?"


"If you want to chew something, get food!"

"Sorry. It was almost dinnertime..."


Today I chaperoned an eighth-grade trip.

My daughter's class went on a pre-Confirmation retreat. We drove 1 1/2 hours to the retreat house (at the beach), where the students listened to a short talk by the priest who was coordinating the day. After that, they saw a prolife video that showed how babies develop in the womb--and just how soon after conception the heartbeat, brain waves and other functions have already gotten started. Mass was next, followed by lunch, a short activity on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and then cleanup for departure.

The students were lucky to have as their retreat director Monsignor Michael Mannion, who has not only worked with Mother Theresa and been a campus minister at several universities but also has worked with Project Rachel, a group that ministers to post-abortive mothers and fathers. Msgr. Mannion and my daughter's teacher strongly believe that it is never too early to teach children about the sanctity of life and the value of each person.

In his opening remarks to the students and later during his homily, Msgr. Mannion explained the difference between "idols" and "heroes." Idols, he said, are people who may work very hard at what they do--but it is for their own gain. Heroes, on the other hand, work very hard so that others, rather than themselves, will benefit. He challenged this group of 30+ teenagers to strive to be heroes, rather than idols; to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in ways that will help other people. The day closed with the famous reading about love from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians.

The day was definitely worth the long ride on an unheated school bus. I hope that the eighth-graders were inspired by Msgr. Mannion's presentation and Mass today.


That Notre Dame's reputation as a "sports school" reaches even to second-graders.

Little Brother was showing off how he can do the math skill of "regrouping" (when you have more than 10 ones, so you add 1 to the tens and subtract 10 from the ones.) I asked him if he knew what to do when you had more than 20 ones.

"You can't do that, Mom. You can only have 10 extra ones when you're regrouping."

Clearly, I am ignorant in the ways of second-grade math. "I guess I'm not smarter than a second-grader," I joked.

"Go back to college, Mom," he shot back.

Those are fighting words.

Putting on my best Dick Vitale imitation, I reminded him, "I finished college, pal, and I also have an Advanced Degree. I went to Notre Dame on a full scholarship, babyyyy."

"What did you play?"

Notre Dame, you've got some work to do. It's time to reclaim your reputation as more than a football factory.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Different Kind of Advent

I'm preparing. But I'm not using this Advent as well as I should. I'm doing what's got to be done to make Christmas as it should be for my family. But I'm more focused on what's coming after Christmas.

Two weeks after Christmas, I will be having a hysterectomy. I'm looking forward to this--more so than I am to Christmas this year. I am looking forward to relief of symptoms that have been worsening for several years.

So I'm shopping, and wrapping, and ignoring the fact that we haven't even thought about Christmas cards yet, and making a list and checking it twice. But the list that I'm really dealing with is the one that includes the meals I can get prepared ahead of time, and the commitments I'll need to bail on for a while, and the household chores that someone else will have to do.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It's Snowing!

...and raining. And it's just warm enough that all the snow melts as soon as it hits anything. But it's pretty outside. Pretty wet, too.

Once Little Brother and Adventure Boy discovered it was snowing, they had to go right out. They're trying to play basketball out there in the snow and rain.

Of course, if it weren't snowing, they wouldn't be outside. You couldn't pay them to be outside.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


in my driveway:

"Last one in the house is a rotten egg!"

(I'm really amazed that it has taken 3 children--almost 8 years in for that third child--for someone to hook onto that whole "last one ____ is a rotten egg" thing. My other two kids were never into it at all. I think this is the first I've heard the phrase as a parent!)

Cue the disinterested teenager:

"I don't care."

And that was answered with:

"Last one in the house is a rotten egg!" (Clearly, there's an echo in here here here...)

And followed up with:

"I'm first in the house! I'm a regular egg!"