Friday, March 29, 2013

Resurrection Eggs

Benjamin came home with The Resurrection Story tucked into his backpack.

A carton of plastic eggs, each holding a symbol of the Passion of Christ.

Although today is so beautiful and spring-like (finally!) outside, I can't help but feel a bit of sadness on Good Friday.

Fortunately, we know...

...Sunday is coming!

Wishing you a blessed Good Friday.  We observe quiet prayer time in our home from noon until 3:00 PM.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Living Stations of the Cross

I've been having camera issues...thus the lack of posting and photos.  Actually, it's been a blessing this Holy Week.

I was able to snap a couple of pictures this morning of a Living Stations of the Cross service at Mary and Benjamin's school.

Sorry that the pictures are a bit blurry.  I didn't want to enter into the church with my phone on, so I snapped a couple of pics from the narthex.  I did snap one photo inside the back of the church where this sweet young man was holding Jesus' cross.

As I have never experienced a "Living Stations of the Cross" service before I wasn't sure what to expect.  Luke was exceptionally well-behaved...he was intrigued by the costumed actors.

I was overwhelmed and could not stop the tears at the beginning of the service.  Eventually I managed to pull myself together.  Eighth graders performed the different roles for each Station as well as serving as narrators.  The service started with Pontius Pilate condemning Jesus to death from the choir loft.  As those of us in the nave looked up, I was overcome with emotion watching these 13 and 14-year old children play their parts so seriously...leather whips...a crown of thorns...and don't even get me started on Veronica wiping the face of Christ!

Looking forward to Holy Thursday service tonight with my sweet girl.  Daddy will stay home with the boys as Ben came down with a cough and fever this morning.  (I sent him to school with 100.5...I know, I know, but it was only a half-day and I didn't want him to miss out on the Stations!)  He's sleeping now.  Hoping the rest of us don't come down with what he know we will!  ;)

The washing of the feet and the sacrament of the Eucharist: two expressions of one and the same mystery of love entrusted to the disciples, so that, Jesus says, “as I have done… so also must you do” (Jn 13: 15).  – Blessed John Paul II


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spam...So Off Base...Especially During Holy Week

Had a comment waiting for moderation... was for the post I did on First Holy Communion dress shopping with Mary Catherine.

 This is what it said,

 "Flower girl dresses defiantly help your daughter stand out from the crown." 

 Ummmm...she's making her First Holy Communion. I hope to God she's NOT behaving "defiantly" and I don't want her stand out from the "crown"...she's accepting the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ who accepted His Crown of Thorns for her...

 Spam. Don't like the taste...or the comments...LOL!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Slow Week: Palm Sunday

A forced "slow day" by Mother Nature...

...the perfect start to this Holy Week.

"Quiet" posts all this week.

(Photo: Palm Sunday Snowstorm)

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Created A New "About" Page

I always love to click on the "About" pages on new blogs I discover.

What about you? Do you stop to take the time to read the "About" page on blogs?

I had an "About" page which was "bleh" so I took it down.

This evening I reworked it...

...adding a bit more personal and some photographs...

What do you think?  Do you feel like you "know me" better?  Too wordy...still "bleh"???!!!  Be honest...I can handle it!   :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'm Back!!! New Serger

Hi lovelies! I'm back from St. Louis.

Lots of thoughts to share, and I'll write more soon.  

In the meantime, we are gearing up for a huge SNOWSTORM (yes, you read that correctly!) here in Kansas City.  Storm is set to arrive Saturday night into Sunday.  (It also snowed today...minor dusting, but with temps in the 20s it made for slick roads and lots of accidents.)

I got to experience the roads firsthand, because I was out on them picking up/purchasing this... new-to-me serger!

Good thing I will be snowed in over the weekend, as I will have lots of time on my hands to learn how to thread this thing!

Anyone else into sewing/serging???

Will be back soon! I'm off to make some delicious comfort food for dinner tonight...roasted chicken with broccoli/cheddar casserole, mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans. Perfect on a snowy night!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Past

Where did the time go...

Where are my sweet little baby-faced kiddos...

Mary Catherine (age 4)
Benjamin Paul (age 2)

I spy...with my little eye...a BINKY in Ben's mouth.
Oh, how he loved his binkies (pacifier)!

Wishing you a light-hearted St. Patrick's Day.

Our hearts are a bit heavy this day as my uncle passed away (cancer) around 3 AM this morning.

So grateful that my parents were able to  make the trip to Phoenix to say their goodbyes.

Prayers for the repose of the soul of Richard Ross would be appreciated.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Growin' Up Like That...Take 2

This morning, the kids and I got up at o'dark thirty to head to Lawrence, KS for Mary Catherine's 4-H Regional Dance Competition.

And as we've been partying into the wee hours (read...watching a Redbox Rental and staying up until 9 PM because the kiddos are on Spring Break), the littlest and the biggest (Luke and me!) struggled to get up in the dark of morning.

We did it though.  I mean, who can sleep with girlfriend making so much noise from the mere excitement of it all?!!!

Her Country Line Dancing competition team did great...better than at County Club Days, I I'm hoping that they placed. There were so many more dance teams this go around, so who knows for sure until the scores come out.

Anyway, as I did my best to get us all in the car and at the high school on time, I managed to forget any type of digital recording device, including my phone.  (How in the world did we manage to drive for years without those things???!!!)

I did snap a couple of pictures after we got, buckle, and side ponytail!

Wishing you all a Happy Saturday. The weather here is yucky...and only going to get worse!  Yesterday, we had a record-setting high of 83 degrees and today we're hoping to hit 40. And tomorrow...highs in the mid-30s...windchill in the 20s...and rain/snow mix all day.  Lucky me...I get to drive across the state of Missouri in this weather.  bleh

So, I will be away from my computer for the next several days enjoying winter Spring Break in St. Louis.  Looking forward to hugging on family and lunching/breakfasting with several girlfriends!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day...early!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Little Papal Humor...

This made me giggle...

Happy Weekend!!!

Red, White and Blue Program

These past several days have been incredibly busy ones for our family. So many little blessings...and big ones.

Yesterday was no exception.

In addition to a big blessing...the election of our newly beloved Pope Francis I, husband and I had an invitation to attend a  very special kindergarten program.  "Let's Hear it for the Red, White, and Blue!"

It was adorable.  As only nine little of which are boys!...can be. A "little blessing" by being able to attend and not "schedule off" from work.

As it was the day before Spring Break, the Kindergarten Class got a special "out of uniform" pass to wear patriotic clothing.

Ben was especially excited to see his Daddy show up.  Having a dad for a fireman is awesome...but does lead to some disappointments from time to time.  (I just explain it this way..."we are each called to serve others in different capacities...your father is called to serve others during times of's an honorable and noble profession to have!" They get it...they do...but they're kids, too!)

As we wrapped up the program, excitement was still evident, as our new Pope's name had only been announced 30 minutes before hand.  The kindergartners were so excited to share the name with us parents. And as our school has very little in the way of technology, I was pleased to learn that Mrs. H, their kindergarten teacher, allowed the kiddos to watch EWTN from her iPad and iPhone.  I guess one student was assigned "smoke watch"!!!  That's what I love about Catholic school!  :)

Just a few sights from around Ben's classroom...

I'll leave you with a funny...

Last night at bedtime, Benjamin legitimately wanted to know...

"how did those bells ring to welcome Pope Francis I, when it has a giant crack in it?"

Love that kid!  Me thinks he's confusing his social studies lessons with religion class!!!!  Glad he's paying attention!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Do You Do All Day???

Do you ever get that question?

I hate it.

I feel like I get it from both ends.

On the one hand, my working-mom friends legitimately want to know...

...what do you do all day?  After all, they're getting up at 6 AM (or earlier) to get themselves and kiddos ready...for school, daycare, before-school-care, etc....then on to put in an eight to ten hour day for an employer.  Only to come home to cook, clean, bathe kids, snuggle, put to bed.  Rinse.  Repeat.

I know.  I used to do it.  I was exhausted all the time.

In fact, a woman I hadn't seen in several years was shocked to learn that I had quit my job to stay at home and legitimately wanted to know what I did to pass the time.  I started to share with her and as her eyes glazed over, I decided to instead ask her how she managed to do it all.  Immediately, she sprung to life sharing how frazzled and exhausted she was and how her 30s are pretty much of a blur.  She took 6-weeks off with each baby.

And then she said something interesting.

She said, "and after those 6-weeks I was totally ready to go back to work.  I was going stir-crazy."

What is it about our American identity that makes us feel the need to constantly be doing???

Then there's my home school  friends (both in real life and through blogging).  They're doing the same things as, cleaning, rearing children, and home educating.  Home with kiddos all day...not getting a break.  And while they love what they do...knowing it's the best choice for their family...they too have their Calgon moments!

So,  I know they, too, wonder...

...what does she do all day?

She doesn't work outside of the home...

...she doesn't home school...

...what could possibly fill her time???!!!

Things like this fill my days...

creating AWESOME bulletin boards with my girlfriend, Kathy, for my kiddos school!!!
Did we rock this or what???

It is a bulletin board in the lobby of the Catholic School which connects to the Parish church.
It is a marketing/PR board for our 2nd Annual Chef's Classic school/parish fundraiser.

As PTO, (oh, ya, I'm Vice-President on PTO!) we are charged with the responsibility of raising $20,000.00 every year to make up the deficit of low-enrollment.  Yes, a tiny school has its benefits...but financial struggles is not one of them!  
(More about our becoming-famous "Chef's Classic Knockout Bout" later!)

I volunteer in my kiddos classrooms...helping out with struggling readers or eager mathematicians that need more challenge.  I take down/put up artwork, run photocopies, stuff mailers in the office.  Mundane work that somebody needs to do!

I host our bi-weekly Catholic Women's Group, opening my home to eight of the kindest women I know every other week.  I love to bake, make coffee, and set a pretty table welcoming and encouraging these fellow sisters in Christ!  I just need to make sure I remember to be Mary with my sometimes-Martha heart!

Love the footnotes from the USCCB regarding Jesus' characteristic attitude towards women 
on Luke 10:  8-42

Most recently, I volunteered to become the Point of Contact for new families in our Parish, Holy Family.

My girlfriends from Catholic Women's Group agreed that we needed to take on a more visible role in our Parish...there's always something that needs to be done...and forming a "Welcome Wagon" committee was a role we all agreed upon.  And the best part of this doesn't take up much time!!!  Initially, we will all have several families to hand-deliver a welcome gift to, but after that, we will have more sporadic delivery dates (with such a tiny parish).  Items will be gathered and stored in my home and the woman that lives closest to the new parishioner will deliver.

We have come up with a really beautiful "Welcome Basket" that is going to include some sweet and meaningful gifts that represent Holy Family parish.  I plan to share more when we begin delivery (after Easter). We are going to start with any new parishioners that have joined our Parish in the past six months.

(I would have loved to received such a welcoming gift from a Parish!  My husband and I have belonged to several with each local move and I can't remember a single time, being greeted with anything besides tithing envelopes!  LOL)

Again, hospitality is just something that has been on my heart of late...

And finally, this little blog of mine!

It doesn't have hundreds and  hundreds of readers, but those that do drop by regularly and comment, and those that do drop by (even if they don't comment!) make my heart happy.  I have been trying to be better about responding to comments via email, or at least a visit back, but I sometimes get behind on my emails!!!

As my infertility posts have struck a chord, evidenced by both the number of new followers and page hits, I plan to continue to write from my heart.  And I certainly hope that each visit is welcoming and showing my deep desire to be hospitable regardless of the topic.  Kindness.  Always.

“A word or a smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul.” 
~St. Therese of Lisieux~

So there you have it.  Not every day is putting up bulletin boards, or reading to kindergartners.  Not every day is delivering a Welcome Basket or hosting Women's Group.  But by remaining at home while my children are at school (and one is still a toddler) I am striving to be the hands and feet of Jesus in my own personal way, both through St. Therese's philosophy of the Little Way (my daily household chores) and volunteering in my own communities.

We are all striving towards reaching Heaven...the working mom...the home schooling mom...the stay-at-home with school-bound kiddos...let us lift each other up in prayer!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We Have a Pope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have a new Pope!!!!!!!

Bells are ringing at St. Peter's Basilica!!!!!!!!!!

White smoke is showing!!!!!!!!

My hands are shaking and I can hardly type.

Eagerly awaiting his name...and so moved by the young people waving flags and gathering in Rome.

Let us begin praying for our newest Shepherd of the Church!!!!!

This has been an incredible week full of beautiful celebrations.  I will be back later to share a very special anniversary celebration I attended last night.  But for now, I'm off to see one very precious Kindergartner perform in a Red, White, and Blue program. He's been practicing his (ONE) line for days!  ;)



P.S.  And you can believe I've got the DVR recording ETWN's live coverage!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five Things About Myself

The always funny, but seriously faithful Catholic mom blogger, Colleen,  from Martin Family Moments tagged me in a post to share 5 things that most (blogging) folks probably don't know about me.

Thanks, Colleen, for tagging me and allowing for a super-easy Monday post after a Daylight Saving weekend!!!  Anyone else still missing that lost hour of sleep?!!!

Here we go...

1.)  I am 100% Polish-American! My parents were born in Polish-ethnic neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan.  I grew up hearing my grandparents speak Polish when they wanted to talk about things that little ears should not hear!!!  Needless to say, my cultural connection to Catholicism runs deep.  Often, the strong fragrance of incense can carry me back to my childhood when I would attend Mass (said in Polish) with my grandmothers.

To this day, I remember the strong sense of pride that my grandparents felt when Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope in 1978.  He was the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years!  I don't think I nearly appreciated his contributions to the Faith as I do now.  (Have any of you read, Blessed Pope John Paul II's "Letter to Women"?  AMAZING!!!)  And although I endured a lot of teasing at the hands of my German-Catholic and Irish-Catholic classmates, I was secretly proud, too, that the "new" Pope was Polish!

2.)  Piggy-backing on the whole Polish-American thing... best friend (since 3rd grade) fell in love and married a man with my MAIDEN name. My POLISH maiden name.  (For decades, we were the only family in St. Louis with that last name!)

And yes, her husband also has the same FIRST name as my father and brother.  Makes for confusing times among our Catholic grade school friends who think she married my brother...or father...or...

yikes, like I said, confusing!!!

Me...40lbs heavier...with O'Dowds Irish Pub in Kansas City, MO

3.)  Okay, one last thing about Catholic school....I promise...

My best friend...who now has my maiden last name...and I attended an Irish-Catholic grade school.  (She's Irish by the way...are you now thoroughly confused?!!!)  We were taught by nuns.  From Ireland.  Who had the heaviest Irish brogues.

Anyway, the nuns, in full habit, taught us girls how to Irish dance!!!

To this day, my Irish Catholic grade school continues to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a full festival including corned beef and cabbage dinner complete with Catholic school boys serenading with "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" and girls in costume on stage dancing.  See picture here! They are the EXACT same costumes!!!  Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" we might not be, but everyone who attends knows we put on an awesome show!!!

Oh, and the senior citizens on the Nursing Home circuit LOVED us!!!

4.)  I attended and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, affectionately known as MIZZOU. with a degree in Political Science.

We are now officially part of the SEC.  This gives me great satisfaction as I secretly wish I was part of  GRITS (girls raised in the South).  (I couldn't be more Midwestern!)

Unfortunately, the sensible Heartland-er in me cannot put giant hair bows in my darling daughter's fairy-floss fine hair or dress her in smocking from head to toe!  ;)  (I don't know who this child is, but I'm certain she's adorable...if only the giant hair bow didn't overshadow her face...good lawd!)

5.)  I actually used that degree in Political Science.  My senior year of college, I interned with the Missouri Attorney General's office.  I graduated and moved to Kansas City after accepting a job working for United States Senator (retired) Christopher S. (Kit) Bond (R) and then for the youngest-elected Missouri county prosecutor (at that time).

I left the world of public administration/governmental affairs, for an incredibly fulfilling job working in Fundraising for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.  It was during those 18-months with Catholic Charities that I truly witnessed the Church's mission in being the hands and feet of Christ.  I loved visiting with the directors of the different programs (St. Benedict's Special Education program...Migrant Worker Services...Project Rachael...Food Pantries...Emergency Services (gas/electric/utility help)) to better understand their needs and then write letters of support for grant applications.  I *heart* the non-profit sector!!!

So, there you have it....little Polish girl, who can Irish dance, with a best friend who now has her maiden last name, who graduated from Mizzou and actually used that Political Science degree!

And now you know!

As I am slowly getting to know all these great Catholic bloggers...I tag the following people:

Noreen from Rosary Mom
Blue Mockingbird
Neen from All This and Heaven
Sue Elvis Writes
Kari from Overflow

As I know that many women have taken a break from blogging for Lent and time constraints vary among working and stay-at-home moms, I'm not quite sure how many of these women will actually be able to participate, but I highly encourage you to take a moment and stop by each of their blogs. They truly write from their souls!