Friday, January 29, 2010

A Birthday Letter

Dear Peyton, You are a joy.
Your smile lights up the room. And warms my heart.
Your silliness is contagious.
Thank you for being a goofball.
Thank you for making us laugh.
Thank you for being you.

God bless you.
On your 6th birthday, and always.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You might be the mom of many small children if... find yourself being excited that you get to go to the grocery store by yourself.

That was me today. I told Mr. Smith last night that I absolutely had to go today, and he said, "Don't take all the kids, just wait for me to get home and you can go by yourself." Isn't he dreamy?
So when he got home I put on my best pair of maternity jeans, pulled my hair back extra special-like and walked out the door with my list.
When I turned the key in my van...
it made a really yucky noise.
I called Mr. Smith from the driveway. He barely glanced at the van and said, "Your battery's dead." He was a mechanic for about 3 days a lifetime ago, you know. So just like that he diagnosed the problem. Again, dreamy. I know.
He's out there right now replacing it for me.

Did I mention I was counting on bringing dinner home from the store? We have nothing in the house. The kids are passing the time with graham crackers at this very moment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where do they learn these things?

With the anniversary of Roe v. Wade last Friday, I was talking to the older boys about the evils of abortion, and why we needed to say extra prayers that day. I reminded them that as horrible as it is, it is still legal in this country.
Blake asked if it is legal in other countries as well.
Before I could answer, Owen chimed in with,
"I'm sure in China, they get everything wrong."

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Wake-up Call

Owen will be making his First Communion this April. As part of the preparation, there was a meeting for parents at the church last night. We had a speaker, a woman I've known and respected for quite some time. I've heard from others over the years that not everyone shares my opinion of her. She's very well-educated, both at a secular level and in the faith, and she speaks the truth. I think she makes people uncomfortable (sometimes the truth is hard to swallow). She talked to us about the importance of bringing our children to Jesus. Taking them to Mass, receiving the Eucharist often and with reverence. I was soaking it up. Sometimes I need the obvious re-stated for me to keep me on track and aware of the big picture, and this was one of those times.
They had given us a half sheet of paper with a few questions on it, things like "what does your faith mean to you?" and "how can you help your children develop a strong relationship with Jesus?". At one point she asked us to discuss one of the questions within the groups at our tables.
I turned to the four other parents at my table, expecting to discuss the generic answers that are typical of this sort of situation. Instead, the woman across from me said, "This is so unwelcoming, this whole atmosphere. It just seems so heavy-handed and unwelcoming. I would not feel comfortable bringing someone who isn't Catholic to this." She proceeded to say that she doesn't need to be lectured about coming to Mass, and that she doesn't "buy" that Jesus would have a problem with us missing Mass because we're busy.
You could have scraped me off the floor with a spatula.
Over the next several minutes the others at the table chimed in with thoughts on how the Church in general has always had a problem with making people feel welcome, how the non-denominational churches do a much better job of that, how the readings at Mass are "fine, but they're old", and how they have a hard time relating to the priests' homilies and often "check out" during Mass.
I made a few all-too-feeble attempts to refute what they were saying. I could kick myself now for not saying more, but I was just so shocked. It was one of those moments when I can feel my face getting hot and my mind racing, but it doesn't result in immediate, coherent action from my mouth.
One of the things I did manage to get out was that these ladies who coordinate the religious education of our children and plan group sacraments have their work cut out for them. They have to figure out how best to communicate with and relate to a huge group of parents who are at all different levels of practicing their faith. They are keenly aware of the fact that every year there are children who make their First Communion, and then don't see the inside of the church again until Christmas, if even then. They have to cater to the lowest common denominator, they have to try to get through to these people who are clearly missing the point, missing the boat, and taking their children with them.
I don't think they heard me.
Aside from the pettiness of hijacking what should have been a positive moment for the sake of airing their own issues of disgruntlement, the bitterness of the message just resonates with me, even this morning.
If we are causing battles and waging war within our own community, how can we come together, or even survive, in this world that is already against us? How can we be sure our children will "get it" when they're surrounded by families who make up their own rules and practice a faith of convenience rather than doctrine? And these are people who are paying to send their children to a Catholic school, I would have expected more from them.
I left there feeling disappointed and dejected. It was a real eye-opening experience for me though, and certainly reinforces that we are making the right decision by homeschooling our children in the Faith. We have to, we must give them the best possible start at a life of faithfulness. Their eternal lives depend on it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I've caught a theme lately, within the blogs that I read regularly, of these good women choosing a word for 2010. A single word, a theme for the year, or motto, if you will. It didn't occur to me to choose my own, until today.
This is the scene in my living room right now: The boys asked if they could have some ice cream while they watch a cartoon. They scooped their own ice cream, and set up their "theater". They didn't ask if a friend could come over and join them. They didn't complain about store brand ice cream. They couldn't be happier, and they haven't even left our little home.
When I went to upload that photo, I found this one on the camera:
I have no idea who took it and when. Clearly, they are watching tv again. (What can I say? We have a tv and we use it. It's winter.) What caught my attention is Isaac, the baby. He doesn't sit still for more than 30 seconds at any given time in the day. Yet in these two pictures, he's lounging comfortably and contentedly. Notice that I'm nowhere in sight? It's his brothers that he chooses to chill out with. And it doesn't look to me like Peyton minds.

Then there's this one:
This is a daily occurrence. Isaac thinks that Blake is the third parent in this house. If he gets hurt, and Blake is closer than I am, he doesn't hesitate to run to him instead of me. He also firmly believes that Blake's lap belongs to him and him alone, and is available whenever he needs it. Does it look like his big brother is just itching to get rid of him? Nope. He eats it up.
These boys are happy. They don't need STUFF. I don't need STUFF. We have eachother, a roof over our heads, food to eat, and our faith to turn to.
What more could I possibly ask for?
I don't need to be over-scheduled 7 days a week to make sure we're all enjoying life.
My kids might think they want a Nintendo DS, but they don't need one. They'll survive without it. They're going to receive the most precious, and yet most simple gift of all this summer. Another brother.
So that's what I'm going to concentrate on in 2010.
Weed out the STUFF.
Simple pleasures.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Well, what do you expect? 24 was on!! It's hard to remember to post when you're engaged in the best network television show ever created
Do you watch this show? You should.
It is intense though. In fact, I stopped watching for a few seasons when Mr. Smith was in school at night. I couldn't do it on my own.
But now he's home, and he just reminds me to look away when it appears they're about to cut someone's fingers off. Or something like that.
C'mon, these are bad people, they don't deserve fingers! And they really don't need them once Jack is done with them.
Monday is moving higher (from dead last) on my list of favorite days of the week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Growing Up

Peyton finished his first chapter book today, two weeks before his 6th birthday. He was so excited and proud! We are now the proud parents of three voracious readers.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Post A Day

I need to decide if I'm keeping this blog, or abandoning it altogether. I don't like blogs that aren't posted at, often. If I click on a new blog and see that the writer only posts a couple of times a month, I'm not interested. I don't want to keep a blog that falls under that category.
So, I'm going to try something. For the next month, I will post EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do you think I can do it? Might there be a post or two that consist of one sentence at bedtime, just to get a post in? Sure. I'm still going to do it. And if I don't...well I just may give up.
My ultrasound is today! If this little peanut cooperates, we'll know by dinner if the blues are coming out of storage or if the pinks are going to try to find a place in our world of boy.
Two funny things:
1. After months of saying that we have enough boys and he wants a girl, Owen said last night that he hopes it's a boy. I asked why he changed his mind, and he whispered to me, "I didn't, but usually things happen the opposite for me, so I'm going to say it this way."
2. I heard Peyton say to his friend a couple of days ago, "We already know it's a girl, cause we got enough boys already", in the most matter-of-fact way. When I questioned him on it, he just shrugged his shoulders. I think when you're 5, and you work something out in your head that makes sense, it just becomes reality.
Either way, we'll all be thrilled. You can't go wrong with a new baby.