Friday, May 14, 2010

A Slow Progression

I am going to slowly move this blog over to wordpress. I really love blogger, but I kind of love wordpress more....

St Monica's Bridge here

I will for the time being, post both places and am working to export this blog there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Small, but Mighty!


1) I managed not to be the one who melted down on the baby's birthday. I left that to our two-year-old.

2) I haven't had to ask God once for strength in cheering my husband on as he continues on the job search. I know not every week will be like this one, but I want to celebrate that I have been able to joyfully do this!

3) I got all the Mother's Day cards out on time! This includes the one that someone else insisted he would sign and send out before the actual day.

"Playing" Mommy

Remember when this used to mean you and siblings or other kids were playing "house" and someone was designated as "the mommy." Well, now that we're big girls and the house is a real structure and the title mommy we earned however we did, this can take on a whole new meaning. Sometimes, not entirely nice.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I was talking to a friend. She was describing a friend of hers who I never met and told me that she "plays mommy." I asked her for some clarification on that. She told me, "well, you know, she doesn't work, she has a housekeeper, her kids are in school all day, she doesn't cook, all they ever eat is take-out..." you get the idea.

I know many people like her friend. I have one in my, ahem, extended family. I never would use the term "playing mommy" though because I think these people love their children, it's not a game to them. They are doing the best they can in most cases or the best they were taught. I may not think I could live like them, but I'm not going to hold it against them.

That being said, I can certainly imagine that there are some people out there did not become parents because of a "calling" or vocation to do so and do feel they have a part to act out and maybe it is something of a game to them. For some people, parental love is not an innate thing but a learned behavior, and some people may not be "good learners." I don't know the person my friend was talking about, so I don't know if she is the former or the latter.

With the high rate of divorce and parents choosing not to marry, is it any wonder this trickles down to parenting. I mean, really, let's think about this. I know many, many people who married to fulfill their parents expectations of them. A few of them multiple times. First of all, marriage is a vocation, one that should never, ever be entered into lightly. And one of the principle reasons for a marriage is to create a family. Now, when I use the term "family" that does not imply children. While I know the church teaches that children should be a natural blessing of marriage, there are people who have very serious and significant reasons why children are not part of their marriage. I will not be one to judge that. A family can be just a husband and wife. Marriage is not something to put on one's bucket-list or something we should be entering into lightly. There is a good reason for marriage preparation classes in all churches. In fact, if you are not Catholic and your minister doesn't require them, find a new minister. Seriously. I was married in a Methodist church where the minister complained that one thing he could say for certain that Catholics did right and Protestants screwed up was making marriage a sacrament. He felt at the very least it needed to be treated sacramentally. So, if we are "playing" husband and wife, isn't the next logical step to "play mommy and daddy?"

Bad idea. If you are already not entirely in this for the right reasons (each other) then, introducing new humans who are not used to chaotic upheaval (ie--divorce, separation, etc) might not sit well. But we've been doing it for a generation now, so it's become a learned behavior and accepted as one.

I am not going to say that my marriage or parenting is perfect. Both could use work. But that's what marriage and parenting are. They aren't your birthright. If it's so easy, it's not the real thing. Yes, there are tremendous rewards inherent in both marriage and parenthood, but let's not confuse those things with ease.

I Link Because I Can

Have you ever noticed links on blogs? Did you ever wonder how someone was added to a list of links?

Well, I can't answer for everyone, but for me, the links I have are carefully chosen blogs that I read, that I like and that I feel are relevant to what I have posted here. Only one is not by a mother, not because I don't read blogs by men or women who don't have children, but because I do not find most of them to be relevant to this blog. The one I do link to here, I will do because it is written by one of my most favorite people that I haven't gotten to meet in person (yet!) and because I think that whether you agree with the opinions or not, they are well thought out and well written.

I was once the subject of a link war. Another woman put a link up to my blog and several of her friends decried it because, alas, I don't homeschool. (Although we do now for Joey's preschool needs. ) I'll admit, I took it kind of personally. At the time, blogging was new to me and she had a very large readership. However, I got over it, because eventually, I realized that I didn't want those women necessarily reading my blog anyway! Not that I turn down readership, but I kind of have this "thing" against unnecessary judgment.

I have a friend who links to everysingle person who asks her. That's her prerogative, but if someone whose content was offensive to me asked, not gonna happen. It's a free web, say what you want, but I don't have to acknowledge your existence.

So, I hope you enjoy the links I provide here, but please do not come to me to complain because you "don't like what so-and-so had to say about such-and-such." If you are really upset, let that person know.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tiny Treasures

William-- Mr Will is one-year-old now. Today is his 12-month check-up and Daddy is with him at the doctor's office right now. He took five full steps today independently with no prompting. Much earlier than his brother and sister! He is still teething and it is about to be the death of Mommy too!

Joseph-- Joey is working on manners a lot these days. Mostly please, thank you and your welcome. And sharing of course. There is some progress, but as all toddlers, he is a work in progress. He also is now telling us when he has gone potty. Immediately after pretty much, and sitting on the potty with less resistance. But no repeat success yet!

Shelby-- Shelby said two words within the last week! At school a therapist heard her say "pig" when going for a pig toy she liked. And Sunday, when someone had an accident all over her room (she and Joey were in there together and both had their diapers off when discovered), I asked her who made poopy all over her room and she said to me, "stinky." Because she is not saying them consistently yet, we don't count them as "words" but with the progress she has made with signing (up to 3 words) now, we are hopeful that the persistence of her speech therapists is paying off!

UPDATE: while it might not be true, we are taking Shelby's use of "stinky" to indicate that she was not the one who decided her room was a toilet. In her defense, she typically only removes diapers that are either clean or just wet. Yes, she went through an unfortunate smearing phase which was, thankfully, short lived. Another, unnamed child, however, has trouble remembering that poop goes in the potty (and the diaper as it may be) and will remove his diaper regardless.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Andrew James Kosmala
We remember our mothers and in our family we also remember him...Forever Andy.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quick Takes

1) In our house, we are lucky when it comes to stomach viruses (odd statment I know). We rarely get them, and when we do we are good at not sharing them. Jeff and I both were infected this week. And, mercifully, God spared the kids!

2) Skin-So-Soft. I love this stuff. Avon is so worth it for this alone. Our poor Shelby, in addition to everything else, is a mosquito magnet (she got it from me). Since her skin already has issues, this is the perfect solution as it helps her skin and protects from insects.

3) Speaking of skeeters....summer is here! And I mean here. The 90 degree temp lows, the thunderstorms, the sunburn, the...well you get the idea. Unfortunately the ocean hasn't warmed up enough to swim yet. So we are waiting it out.

4) And our first crop is coming in now. Peas. The squash are starting to flower and produce fruit but it'll be a few more weeks. And the wait for the tomatoes continues.

5) Since summer is here, hurricane season is not far behind. We live in Hurricane Alley. If it's coming up the East Coast, we'll get hit in some fashion. It makes these months interesting that's for sure. We've been spared the last couple of years, we're praying God's mercy holds out.

6) I was off last night so I get to take Shelby to school for the first time in forever this morning. She and Daddy have a pretty solid routine, so I can't wait to see what I do wrong. (I mean this in a comical way. It's a steep learning curve.)

7) Lastly, here I was one year ago today:

Happy First Birthday Sweet William!

Get more Quick Takes here

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So, do you "look the part?"

Okay, because I lumber around with 3 kids in tow, in the south, people assume I am Catholic. It hardly matters what I am wearing. I have more than one, so I must be one of "them." Fair enough.

One of my favorite Catholic bloggers is Simcha Fisher. Her old blog I Need to Sit Down was something I looked forward too. Now Simcha blogs for Inside and a while back shared this gem. (BTW IC blogger Margaret Cabaniss and I made our First Communion together, were confirmed together and graduated high school together.)

I laughed. I really did, until I realized: that might be what people think of me! I still think her exaggeration is funny, but it's always impressive to me to see a woman at mass with more than 2 children who is well put-together and looks as though she just got back from the spa. Not that I look slovenly, but next to her, I could use a lot of work!

Call me silly, but I'd rather people figure out I'm a Catholic by witnessing my faith in action. My corporal works of mercy, my minstering to those around me, rather than how I look. Yes, my children are an example of my faith in action, but I'll admit, when I have all 3 with me, I'm most likely with no makeup my beat-up glasses and clothes that could have been worn yesterday too. I resemble Our Lady of "who needs charity and patience" rather than Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Is that why I go out of my way to be nice to people that I maybe shouldn't bother with? So that everyone can say, "look at how nice she is?" and forget about my appearance? I'm not vain enough. Truly I'm not.

The point I'm trying to get at hear is that even though, appearance-wise, I am low-maintenance, I need to dress it up a little and put a little thought into it not just to defy a sterotype, but also to show God that I appreciate what He has given me.

It's like my Dad always says: The abilities you have are your gift from God. What you do with them is your gift to Him.

So, I'd like to give our Lord a little bit of gratitude. Starting today. When I get home and venture out for groceries with my little guys.

Thankful Thursday

1) That one year later, Will is still with us despite a huge scare when he was seven months old.

2) That small blessings are coming more and more these days with kind words and prayers said.

3) That when I ask on facebook for good news, I have plenty of friends that are willing to oblige.

4) For old friends I have reconnected with recently.

5) Rain
6) That Sherri was okay after this:

happened last Friday.
7) That St Joseph's intercession can help produce miracles
8) That Jeff and I are recovering from a stomach virus and thus far God has spared our children
9) That our good friend's son (who is also autistic) is finally starting to potty-train! Yeah!!!!
10) That even though we were both too sick to participate in Cinco de Mayo, there will be a party at our house tonight for the 6th of May!

Small Successes


1) I have managed to faithfully keep to my 3 am (while I am at work) saying of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and my life seems ever better since!

2) I haven't cried once about the baby's first birthday (this Friday). I hope I can keep it up!

3) I made new friends, yes, anti-social, shy me made friends after mass this past Sunday. I guess I'm not to wierd after all!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tiny Treasures Tuesday

1) William-- Will is going to year old....on Friday. I can hardly believe this year is up. Looking back at how different our lives were one year ago when we welcomed our tiny miracle boy...I can't imagine he wasn't already with us! Will is desparately trying to walk and stands unassisted for several minutes at a time now. He is "daddy's boy" clinging to his father. He is also teething. Again. He is our only thumb-sucker. Last week he was peering at his Daddy out Shelby's bedroom window crying for him and holding his blue blanket and sucking his thumb. He had on a red shirt. Why all the detail? If it were animated, we would have been watching Linus Van Pelt from the Peanuts. Will still heavily resembles Shelby but looks more like himself now. He is still resistant to a sippy cup...we're working on it!

2) Joseph-- Yesterday my 2 1/2 year old asked me to hush when I was singing. He also corrected me and told me I wasn't "Mommy" I was "Mama." Okay, that works too.

3) Shelby-- Shelby loves that summer is here. She loves the sprinkler on in the back-yard (mostly to water the plants, garden and grass, but for kids to run through too). She loves evening thunderstorms. And she loves walking barefoot outside!

But What Happens when it's not cool ENOUGH?

Again, looking to Faith and Family Live for inspiration and it comes from Rebecca Teti's piece Big Love vs EWTN. Which dissects Barbara Nicolosi's interview about Christianity and the arts, particularly EWTN.

Here is what EWTN does well:

1) It focuses on prayer.
2) It introduces people to foregone Catholic figures such as Mother Angelica and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
3) There is excellent live coverage and some of the documentary style pieces are great as well

Here is where EWTN could use some work:
1) Very low production value on children's programming and dramatic interpretations
2) Lackluster interview style shows.
3) Outdated programming

What is funny is that sometimes these good and bad points are both/and. Take for example the International Rosary that airs at 3:3o pm EST on weekdays is exceptionally beautiful. I can actually hear different prayers of the Rosary in languages from Greek to Japanese. However, it is incredibly outdated (it looks to have been filmed sometime around the early 1980s) and the production value is poor.

The children's programming is cringe-worthy. I find more quality programming from PBS and Nick Jr.

And while I don't expect Oprah style interview shows from EWTN, I am often disappointed by the interviews that are either so far over ones head or dumbed down as if to make one feel stupid. I many times wonder if the person being interviewed went through any type of "vetting" process. Many appear sick to their stomach about being on camera. Some ignore the camera altogether and give you the feeling you're intruding on a private conversation. Some PR skills are definitely needed.

But if you've ever watched a Papal audience or an event like the introduction to the year of Paul, you are seeing what EWTN could be. I am never let down in this area.

The point I am getting at here is that to be religious in media is not to be anti-secular, but to apply what is aesthetically pleasing in the secular media to the religious media to make something that is both interesting and spiritual at the same time.

While I agree with Hank Hill that ,"Our Lord and Savior doesn't need your help keeping people's interests," I also believe that if we are going out of our way to help educate both strangers to our faith and the faithful, we do have an obligation to grab their attention away from dangerous programming or too much secularity.

So, here's an idea to help. Donate to EWTN. They are on a shoestring budget, donations will help them to improve what needs improvement and keep going strong in area that are already healthy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

When is Christ "too cool"

Back in Lent, Arwen Mosher over at Faith and Family Live asked this question: The Passion on Good Friday: Would You Watch? In which she described how her father watches the movie The Passion of the Christ each Good Friday but she cannot bring herself to do the same.

I read the comments with some interest because I never have, nor do I plan to, see the movie. I know, I'm waiting to burst into flames any minute, but seriously, I experienced the intensity when I read the accounts in the Bible of the Passion and I have spent much time in front of the Blessed Sacrament contemplating and re-reading. It is real to me. I cry about it. Often.

One commenter mentioned how she resisted the movie because it became a test of how good a Christian you were. Amen sister, no one knows this but yourself and God and if seeing a movie wins you a seat in heaven, why didn't everyone see it?

However, I do not think people were wrong to see the movie or if they watch it each and every Good Friday. What I do think is wrong is the commodification of the Passion of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

I was in shock at the number of my Protestant friends who spend Easter Sunday watching the movie (which is about the Passion, it occurred on Good Friday) but I was more undone by the number of people I knew who were creating "movie night" with this film. Popcorn, pizza, jammies, the works. This is the story of redemption of evil over sin, this is not a chick flick or action-adventure complete with car chase and explosions. So why are we treating it this way?

I found an answer at this post on Faith and Family Live about what is good about Protestantism.

The first commenter Inge, describes it this way:

Protestants love Jesus as the Victorious Savior.
When talking about Christ, a lot of Protestants stress only one side of Jesus: He is the one who was victorious over death and we share in this victory. The other side is hardly talked about: Christ as the suffering servant. Christ suffered a lot during his life on earth, his Passion was the crown on his work her (sic) on earth. There's hardly an interest in Protestant theology for this side. The fact that they only show a cross without corpus is very telling in this respect. The focus on the suffering Saviour is very Catholic.

Inge introduces this idea by mentioning she spent years as a Protestant before converting. However, even the cradle Catholic in me still sees this is true. What many forget is that Jesus had a ministry before his Passion, death and resurrection.

He had followers before this time (including Mary, his mother, another sore spot for Protestants). He had 12 special followers called apostles. One of them, Simon Peter, didn't just play a pivotal role at the Passion when he denied Christ 3 times, he also tested Jesus' strength when he was allowed to walk on water. He became the first Pope.

He preached sermons. He drove money-changers out of the temple. He performed miracles. He cast out demons.

Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was buried. On the 3rd day He rose again. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. But before all of that, He impressed the teachers in the temple with his knowledge and understanding and He converted thousands.

When we neglect this part of Christ's life, we neglect Christ's truth. When we ignore what Christ did on earth before he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while people waved palm branches and sing "Hosanna in the highest" we are ignoring teachings at the core of our faith.

What Mel Gibson did when he brought the Passion of Jesus Christ to the big screen was too fold: he exposed millions to our Lord and God, but he also commodified it and glorified just one portion of his life. So, like everything else "cool" it can be put in a case and put away for a time. And it can color someone's entire view with one slim glance. It shows people that to be good Christians you only have to believe part of the story.

I applaud Gibson's intentions, but I abhor the results I see when people are making snacks to enjoy during the movie. People are watching it for a reaction they feel when they see it. A reaction that we should be having more than just once a year.

Our local paper invited clergy of multiple faiths to a screening and asked them questions afterward, you can read the entire article here. What was most interesting to me, was the reaction of my priest at the time Father John Gillespie. He did not believe this movie deserved the extra attention it got. (And let's face it, that's the most attention Jesus has gotten in a while, why? Not because of what He preached, but because a Hollywood actor recreated his final moments.) Two statements of Father John's stood out to me in particular:

When asked: Do you think the Gospel message of love and forgiveness was part of the film?

Father Gillespie responded: "It got sort of drowned out through a lot of the violence. If I had to compare this to a symphony, there was a lot of drums and cymbals, and I couldn't hear the violins."

When asked: Overall did you enjoy this movie?

Father Gillespie responded: "Joy's not the right word."

In response to the same question Reverend Mark Opgrand the associate pastor at a local Lutheran church responded this way: "There was a huge wince factor in this movie that was so manipulative. But the divinity of Jesus did not come across."

I think these responses are incredibly telling about why I continue not to want to see this film. I do not want Jesus to be "too cool" for me to approach as my savior. I do not want Christ to be something that gets put into a box and forgotten. I need to hear the violins in the symphony of Christ's life and ministry. As Hank Hill tells his son Bobby on King of the Hill when he pulls Bobby out of a Christian rock group, "You're not making Christianity better, you're making rock and roll worse." And when we put a price tag, when we make Christ a movie star, we're not doing much better.

So, please continue watching the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday if you choose. I see nothing wrong with that. However, make sure you are giving yourself over completely to that experience. And make sure you are remembering daily not just that Christ triumphed over life, but that He taught us lessons while He was here on earth that may not always be cool, but never go out of style.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fellowship....make it a Catholic Thing!

This Sunday I was able to attend the early mass because I worked Saturday night. It was a First Communion mass and good friends of ours were in attendance not only because it was their normal mass time, but because the husband is a photographer and offers his services to photograph the children receiving. His wife sat with me and another good family friend and her son sat right in front of me.

After mass, both women encouraged me to come over to the school cafeteria for coffee. Our church has a small ministry that offers coffee and doughnuts/muffins during the school year after the early mass. I had never attended and today was the last Sunday for the school year till fall.

I am not sorry I went. I consumed only one cup of coffee but consumed much good conversation. I met new friends, I made some connections for Shelby. And I got to have some "adult time." Jeff was at home with the kids. It was a good social outing for me, one I don't get often. There were mothers there at all stages of their lives and motherhood. We shared stories, frustrations and FELLOWSHIP!

One thing I think Protestants do WAY better than Catholics, is fellowship. It is hard to join a church you are unsure about if you don't feel welcome. I know, I know, it should be about more than feeling like you "fit in." However, today's Gospel said it best, "Love one another, as I have loved you." This wonderful love, known as agape, is easily shown in fellowship such as our parish's "coffee klatsch" ministry. It is more than coffee and doughnuts, it is a time we share ourselves with one another. We open up like a family and get along better than most families.

It is a time we remember that although "we are many parts, we are all one body." The body of Christ!

Peace of Christ be with you!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

1) I got all my kids to eat spaghetti last night. Well, the baby's noodles had no sauce, but I'm still counting it!
2) I get a 3 day weekend next weekend...but I have to work this Saturday night. I am praying it goes quickly and painlessly!
3) I am at a loss how in one week I will have a one-year-old. Completely at a loss
4) Overheard this week:
Me: Joey did you poop?
Joey: No poop mama
Me: Joey did you pee?
Joey (getting slightly exasperated): No pee-pee Mama!
Me: Are you sure?
Joey (smiling): not sure!
5) I have found I like sleeping in a really cold bedroom....really cold. With lots of blankets on me. I don't know why, I just DO!
6) I fully blame my best friend Paula (and Joey's Godmother) but baby fever is sweeping our house. As evidence this exchange:
Joey: Mama, want baby brother AND baby sister THIS YEAR!
Me: Joey, you might get a baby brother OR a baby sister MAYBE NEXT YEAR....
7) Speaking of babies: congratulations to Allon and Jess on Baby Laya born this week!
Wow, those were quick!