The first day of school.

The morning began at 3am with the angels playing the game better than the cast of the Big Lebowski, or more appropriately, the tweens of the Disney Chanel original Ally Cats Strike. No sound makes his tiny feet shuffle down a dark hallway faster than rumbling thunder, and sideways, diagonal, legs sprawled, feet kicking adult heads, are the positions he finds most comfortable in the bed belonging to his parents. I’ve been meaning to turn myself into one of the productive mothers who wakes up before her kids, so after kick #5 billion, I arose 4 hours earlier than an hour suitable for awakeness and did the only suitable thing to do as a mother about to take my kid to his first day of real preschool: I stared at his baby pictures while holding his blanket.

After preparing a breakfast suitable for Pinterest, if  of course, bacon and eggs is suitable for Pinterest, I began dragging the sleepers from their beds, since, for the first day since summer began, James decided he would like to sleep in and so did the rest of the house.

With “15 minutes until school starts!!!!” I finally got my husband out of bed as the final kick to the head was given to him by a still slumbering James.

Within 26 seconds of Josie waking, the first fight erupted over her wanting to wear his school uniform and something about milk. Someone had it, someone else wanted it, why anyone thinks milk is good will always puzzle me.

With a backpack here, a lunch box there, and a frazzled mother everywhere we drove him to his first day as a family, as I shoved scrambled eggs in his mouth on the way, which I’m guessing no one has ever pinned? I forced the taking of mostly blurry photos and upon moment one of entering his super awesome classroom, he gave me a “bye mom,” and a real preschooler he became.

“Do you want a hug?” I said, and by ‘do you’ I meant ‘give me pretty please’

“No, thank you, I want this truck,” he misunderstood his emotionally needy mother.  I forced one more photo with him, my sister, and “his friend and cousin Bailey.”

James then went to each child and said, “Hi, my name is James, this is my friend and cousin Bailey.” Josie did her best to blend in hoping I would fail to notice her left behind, as Rita went a tap, tap, tapping on my chest as a not so gentle reminder of, “you forgot to nurse me.”

The sweet, adorable, pleasantly fashionable teachers assured me of his comfort and their ability and out the door we went.

I cleaned and scrubbed and made a quick trip to Marshalls (obvi!) because I could fit the two remaining kids in one cart, as I nervously twiddled and picked my cuticles waiting for the time it wouldn’t be super crazy lady early to pick him up. When the time arrived, I darted to the check out, and Big Sister still told me I was crazy lady early and continued her Marshall’s furniture shopping.

I imagined him nervous and anxiously waiting for my arrival. I called Jim on the way and said, “do you think he missed me too much?” to which he responded, “no” and Josie responded “no way, Mama, no way.”

With their answers not comforting me, I arrived as not the earliest one!, to him smiling and waving goodbye to the pick kids in the line.

“Hey mom, Bailey is my school friend now,” he explained with poise and confidence foreign to my experience of mothering thus far. “Before he was my cousin and now he is my school friend. And sometimes he is my neighbor, too. And I asked the class if they would be my friends and they said yes, except for a kid that stole my truck. And I drew this picture. It’s you. It’s on black paper. And I didn’t pee in the grass.”


I thought we should celebrate by going out to lunch. I’ve never taken all three out to lunch alone. And it wasn’t all that bad actually, until Josie came face to face with the moment in which she thought it would be funny to throw the smoothie on me and Rita and went for it with a flying strawberry sticky success. And then she did her classic “holding hands is for losers and I’m cool,” act in the parking lot. But, again, there were no run- ins with cars, so…


Just in case you were wondering.


Also, happy feast of St. Augustine! May he guide the minds of all those studying, or playing with trucks in pre-school.

back to school :/

Moments earlier I stared in amazement at their nearly silent playing while the parents learned the ins and outs of preschool. “I guess these are the types of children that can attend a parent meeting,” I thought.

But as the parents played the “pass the ball” introductory game, just like in real preschool, I began to worry in a way that produces underarm sweat.

 “As you can see, my child is very active!” the silently playing boy’s mother sweetly explained.

I caught hold of my sister’s widening eyes, “this is what my children look like when they are asleep,” I’m confident she was thinking. Imaginary visions of what our 9 kids were doing together with my babysitting mom gave my thoughts good reason to echo hers. Then, I described him as having a “fullback” personality. “We going to get kicked out,” was my next thought.

As a child, I loved the day leading up to the first day of school. Every year it was the same. My mom gave me an at home, sometime crooked, haircut before I slept in curlers for approximately as many hours as possible to somehow capture the beauty of my sister’s bouncing spirals. I had picked out my outfit for every day of the first two weeks two months prior at Gap Kids summer sale, so wardrobe planning had already been completed. My efforts to convince my sister that wearing matching outfits was a good idea were ignored. I organized my backpack and my pencils, the ones with the feathers, packed extra carefully. We had a turkey dinner, with biscuits that she pretended were homemade. In the morning we took a picture under the clock, and my smile and I hammed it up, feeling pure excitement until I found my seat on the bus and could no longer see my mom, but never once did I cry.

As a parent, I am terrified. I can’t decide what traditions to begin. Do we hold a sign that says the grade? Do we wake up early and somehow avoid the 57 fights that break out each morning at breakfast? Should I attempt at home haircuts or save him the embarrassment and possible head bleeding?

I’ve planned two family meals and washed his clothes twice. I’ve reviewed the names of the kids in his class 5 billion times. I have yet to pick out my own outfit, but, his is already laid out.

What if he pees on the playground? I’m sure he’s going to steal the other kids’ snacks. Will he and cousin Bailey break all the rules on purpose? Will the teacher’s quit because of us? Probably.

Will he cry and miss me all day? Will he not care and make me cry and miss him all day? Will the other moms like me?!

Wishing you all a happy first day of school. May you be a bit less crazy than me. 

Momily Monday

Momily Monday!

Gospel found here

Or should we call it Miley Monday?

We stood in a crowd of thousands, sweaty and smelly from sleeping outside; our toes still slightly frozen from the German countryside’s cold evening, waiting to load one of the too few trains scheduled to transport the World Youth Day crowds. With my future husband beside me, I didn’t quite mind the wait, so long as he didn’t accidentally smell my armpits. Those behind us, however, weren’t quite as patient. A train came, and though the impossibility of it fitting the thousands of international Pope fans standing in the way back of the crowd was clear, they stampeded anyway. Medics rescued several people my size or smaller as they were being trampled, put into anxiety attacks, or unfortunately not being protected in the strong arms of my boyfriend, like me.

The narrow gate: not everyone fits; especially when irrational choices to shortcut the path create disarrayed chaos.

Miley and her gross suggestions, exposed bum, and worst hairstyle of all hairstyles is, to me, simply one example of the first being last and the last being first (see most VMA performances, I believe Nicki Minaj dressed up as the pope last year while dancers dressed as altar boys danced their way to explicit sexual suggestion? Or maybe that was another cultural value revealing performance?). Last night, as Matt Walsh explained quite well here, she revealed the true nature of her lyrics, and we are shocked as we should be, maybe because she used to be Hannah Montana? Or the naked visual finally creeped us out as the lyrics also should? Yet, her song is making millions, and so too, is the dismal Blurred Lines naked song (fine it has a good beat, but I prefer the Marvin Gaye version.) Sure, they are first on the charts and center stage, but it is doubtful the lock on the gate referred to in the Gospel will be figured out with the same ease, especially if Growing Pains boy continues to wear such dizzying outfits (not a knock on his moral character, but an observation of it being difficult to open things when dizzy, and his suit was the dizziest thing other than actually spinning.)

I have absolutely no idea what these people do in their private lives in relation to God, but I do know that actions have consequences, and celebrities are often a depiction of what the buyers find to be cool, or they wouldn’t be famous. And all of those middle school children who watched last night might not be able to decipher what or why any of those gyrations were offensive at all; their ability to develop a normal sense of sexuality or moral compass further trampled by those unwilling to take the right path.

And as a side note, I watched my son wait in line to get his face painted at the park. Lines are tough, especially when waiting for eternity. 

A bride, a bus, and a bar

A Mom Walked into a Bar…

Does She?

A: hop on it

B: encourage the waitresses to wear more clothing

C: Break ID laws with confidence and even more honesty

D: Dance like (and hoping, too) no one is watching


I put on all the sequins I own and showered the bride to be with appropriate honeymoon attire as the sister hostess’s recommended drinking wine from a straw and the eggplant. Taking both pieces of advice straight to my belly, I hopped on a party bus with a stomach too full for my outfit and the perfect mix of single ladies and moms of several children. The mom who earlier described herself as an introvert shook what her momma gave her straight up the aisle, and accidentally in my face, allowing the bus to live up to its party descriptor, and making the blaring Blurred Lines song finally a little bit bearable. If Alan thicke jr could have seen the non- offensive fun in her dance he would have ditched his horrible naked lady idea, for sure.

With one piece of bubble gum for every wrong answer, the evening’s bachelorette nearly broke her jaw chewing. In her defense and can someone get her fiancé some comic books, Tarzan is most definitely not a superhero, but, I am quite thankful that “(her) hair?!” is not, in fact, his favorite quality of hers, and for that, she earned her Bubblicious.

Approximately 3 million skinny arm pictures later, the bus arrived at the sports bar full of jerseys and football; its spectators unaware of the phenomenal party, and party attire about to enter.

“I forgot money!” my sister called out.

“It’s ok, I have money, just take out your ID,” I coached my elder.

“ID? I didn’t bring my ID, is that bad?” She moronically replied.

Her defense for the forgotten ID?
“I remembered to bring chocolate.”

So, maybe I sat there calling her an idiot as the bus’ youthful experience taught the 32 year old, mother of six what “pass back” means.

Since blurting out honesty louder and more animated than anyone else is more her thing, she simply approached the 4 bouncers and explained that she would be entering the bar without an ID because she is in fact of age and before they said a word her high heel zebra print shoes walked right on by as she remembered to keep herself hydrated, just like a real zebra, with a, definitely not supposed to enter a bar, water bottle in hand.

I enjoyed my Guinness and the dance floor, rhythm of any sort eluding me. Between our circle of 4 moms, we counted 17 children, confident of no strange men approaching due to high fertility rates and probably also my dancing.

The Bride to be fulfilled her (morally appropriate) bachelorette checklist and with the aid of sisters and my sister, avoided the weirdest and most gag inducing almost dancing of the might as well be called chipmunk dancers for the level of nasty rat involved in the business.

It was a night full of so much fun and getting married is so awesome. And, who needs drama when the bride’s smile and fun can inspire the sweetest season of the bachelorette, ever?

Cheers to weddings!


I like to call my pose the “fat arm.” Still working on perfecting its counterpart.



A trip to the pool with 9 children under 8 years of age, 7 of whom are boys

Today’s story, like so many of mine, begins with a trip to Target, with three kids and a cart bigger and heavier than most European vehicles. My list was long and Big Sister made it even longer. The thing about living close to an older sister and a mom is a trip to the store should probably be kept on the DL or else requests for both heavy whipping cream and skim milk are made before the “but that doesn’t make any sense!!!” is received on the other end of the cell phone mostly used to communicate with these two women who live within walking distance.

There we chugga chuggad through the store as Rita reveled in the freedom of the broken buckle by standing and bouncing her cute, sort of little, but definitely inherited from her mother, bum in the air in the most dangerous way a shopping cart allows earning me parenting advice from strangers such as “your baby!!!!” and “she should be sitting down.” I opened a bag of Cheetos like my maiden name taught me, and she sat so long as she had one in each hand.

Before I even made it past the shoes, I received the “come to the pool within 10 minutes if you want to…” text from the sister whose milk and eggs remained in the grocery aisle as I caught a glimpse of my still sweating from the 35 seconds we were in the sweltering parking lot Italian made son, and made the fastest book-it to the check out line a small woman pushing three humans could. So maybe I was leaving my shopping ambition prematurely with only raisins and pull-ups to show for a venture for which it took 45 minutes to prepare. But, the sun was shining and school begins next week for so many children older than mine! To the pool! To the pool!

Six boys dressed in matching bathing suits, one of every size that Old Navy sells, jumped from her vehicle as if it were a clown car.

The lifeguards spotted the 6 of hers and 3 of mine from a distance of an otherwise childless pool. I’d like to ask them what they do to mentally prepare for our arrival. I imagine it’s a mix of prayer and “want to rock paper scissors to switch me?”

She placed an order for lunch: 6 grilled cheeses, 6 cheese sticks, 9 orders of French fries, 6 grilled chickens. She began the lunch with the sign of the cross and grace further proving the already obvious Catholic family identity as several bathing readers peace and quiet was ruined by the general behavior of so many eating boys and a Josie and a Rita.

The children inhaled and dispersed into the baby pool because life is much more fun spent with all brothers together even if the baby pool was outgrown years ago, and with so much man- power it can easily be turned into a wave pool without the hassle of a machine, and to the shock and horror of life guards of the age of 16. 

One sweet little boy brought two awesome dinosaur rafts, a kick board, a pair of flippers, and two noodles, and he enjoyed playing with none of them.

Our kids, however, took these toys not belonging to them to their optimal playing power teetering on destruction making me wonder if the violence demonstrated was even more vivid in their imaginations. Styrofoam noodles slapped the water with force as if swords defending the motherland. The plastic green dinosaur made for floating charged the sea toward its yellow dragon nemesis not allowing its popped plastic deflating with every forceful tackle to distract from its mission of whatever boys imagine dinosaur rafts do. The owner of these toys watched in a terrified awe from the edge of the water hoping his turn, if he could ever regain ownership, would be as spectacular. I scrambled to his mother who sipped wine and ate a salad, wondering if I should stop them, but the view of such youthful masculine enthusiasm, and so much of it in one small area, mesmerized her as well. Josie joined in swimming by swiftly with flippers and her brother’s goggles as she giggled and endured their splashing, spitting water on whomever got her in the eyes. Rita looked over once in a while with a clap and a slobber smile, but the chance to eat their chips in peace suited her much more than the war of inflatable water monsters. My sister, un-phased and unimpressed for it’s a scene like so many others chatted with other moms about wishing summer could last a while longer and how she would miss the days with everyone home hunting stuffed animals or battling light sabers against Kings and power rangers vs. beasts of the Sahara. The faces of the other moms were a mix of confusion, wonder, and amazement at how anyone could want more moments like the one in which they witnessed.

The questions continued, as they always do from, “you surely must be done now at 6 and with all these boys!” to “what about your body? Hasn’t it taken such a toll?” To which she replied as she always does, “God’s done such a great job planning this already, I think I’ll let him keep on going so long as He promises to send an army of guardian angels, too.”

And hopefully their next door neighbors get a few extra angels, too, for life with them is extra crazy, but if I’m sure of anything at all today, its that those dinosaur rafts will never again be filled with so much purpose.  Or anything, actually. They are filled with holes.   

Fire and In laws, it’s Momily Monday.

It’s round two of Momily Monday! Find this week’s Gospel here.


This weekend was spent with my in laws, and on Saturday night we built a bonfire in a Sunday Gospel coincidence, except for the whole daughter in law being against her mother in law part. There is something both beautiful and terrifying about a fire, especially when children out number adults 57/2 (somewhere around 4 million marshmallows were consumed, mostly by Josie.)

The enthusiasm of its fevering flames mesmerize and captivate while its fervor and power repel the gazers from recklessness or out of order behavior, reminding us that if there are any two things that ought to be respected it’s a burning fire and probably also the woman who raised your spouse.

The thought of Jesus using such a powerful force to fulfill his mission is thought provoking. On Valentine’s Day three years ago, my parents house caught on fire with all of us home, and if there is anything that I learned that day its that a route towards safety is something for which to be thankful and to cling. Additionally, Valentine’s Day is the worst.

Fire gets us moving in the right direction, quickly, and with intention. Or else, it absorbs and mercilessly destroys leaving little evidence of what originally existed. To me, this imagery is how I understand the tension between the Peace vs. Division to which Jesus refers in this week’s Gospel. Peace implies a sort of motionlessness, and maybe even complacency. Fire, however, gets the behind bouncing, causing division by necessity, for the reality is sort of simple: run towards safety of the truth, or get burned.

As a mother of three, with a household of five, division is something to which I relate. The transition from man to man defense (parenting two kids) to zone defense (three children), is one in which my husband and I sometimes end up punting, often with zero points on the board, and if there is anything that leaves my love for God and family sizzled and burnt out, its that. Yet it’s the struggles and division that often show us where our weaknesses are, and how much we need God to be #1 MVP, or else, we too will be left consumed by something other than the fiery love of our creator.

It’s also in the dividing times that we yearn for a clearer direction, which hopefully draws us closer to the Big Man. So this week, may the love of God fuel our family life and mesmerize our hearts, scorching out the bad, and igniting the ambivalence. And, when I burn dinner, I’ll consider it living the Gospel.

(and as far as Mass grades go, James and I braved the big church together while Josie and Rita took advantage of the cry room with their father due to poor attitudes and uncontrollable 10 month old yells. He gets an A for participation and thoughtful questions even if he was unaware of the high volume of his voice when asking, “But mom, why do you eat Jesus!? That is NOT nice.”)

May your hearts be full and your laundry piles low. And I’d love to hear your take on the Gospel in the comments! I find it difficult to make a real bible study…

Hump Day Confessions with a side of blood soaked soapy zucchini bread

One Morning, 5 confessions, Happy Hump

Confessions of a Teenage Looking Drama Mom through which you can forget about that homemade cork board on Pinterest and feel better about yourself at my expense.

Pardon the typos as my fingers are bloody and dawning band aids with teddy bear and hearts, which are quite literally my two least favorite objects on the face of the planet but picking out band aids is a childhood privilege.

1. The morning began with aspirations higher than the laundry pile so I began there. As I folded tiny shirts and tinier dresses, the oldest requested my assistance with toilet paper and his derriere. The girls playing wildly with items too clean for their hands seemed occupied well enough to walk 5 steps for approximately 30-35 seconds to help their big brother with his toddler problem. James explained that he “pooped a lot, just like a big horse,” an image that aided my coffee and cereal to digest with ease and comfort. As the toilet flushed the baby’s left foot disappeared into the dryer as Josie attempted to shut the door with a giggle and a wave. We practiced saying “no put Rita in the dryer,” approximately 5 billion times after that.

2. Step two of attempted productivity: clean the master bath. Events included Rita biting off the head of the duck soap, Josie dipping her head into the toilet, the entire contents of every single feminine product being dumped and thrown and stacked and as they asked, “but what are these for and why cant we eat them?” The good news is I salvaged most of the soap from the baby’s mouth.

3. As we continued to de-clutter in the family room, James confidently studded in my general direction holding a chewed up tomato found in between the couch cushions. “Do you think we should throw this away, Mom?” he asked. How long had it been there? Years for all I know.

4. After discarding of what I’m guessing Josie thought was a ball of red candy, I began to grate zucchini to make bread. While cooking with toddlers is usually full of organization and cleanliness, it becomes much worse when the mother begins to bleed a generous amount from two fingers on her right hand. The grater and me = a bad mix of clumsiness and blades.

It was there in the baking process that I should have seen green zucchini turned red and stopped. Alas, I taped up my fingers with bad images of fake romance (explained above) and braved the teaspoon holding toddlers hands on baking lesson. Moments later, tired of a dash of cinnamon here and a help mommy pour the flour there, a few too many ounces of dish soap was happily poured into the wet ingredients as she exclaimed, “blue!!!!” At least I didn’t accidentally burn it?

5. I believe I’ve already confessed about the language issues in this household, namely the phrase “damn it,” being used by James at appropriate times and with emphatic intonation. I have, in all sincerity, attempted to remediate my bad habit, but sometimes, swearing happens just like something else also best described with use of a bad word. Well, the bad habit has been successfully passed on to the younger one, who happened to exclaim not only “damn it!” but also attached “Josie!” to the phrase on three separate occasions this morning, which had to with the bloody fingers, the tomato, and the soap, revealing the most frequent use and word grouping used by those that love her most.


Happy Mothering!

Sedation: Sometimes Mothering and Dental exams should have the same Solution

Sedation: Sometimes Mothering and Dental exams have the same Solution.

Linking up with Honest Mom!

The decision began somewhere in between generous sips of a summer Indian pale ale and my sixth or seventh plate of eggplant parmesan. “I made an appointment with your dad to get my teeth cleaned,” he said. The statement translates into my Italian cultural heritage used conveniently at my disposal more accurately as, “why don’t we go to the dentist as a family tomorrow to ease the stress of potential cavities and drown out the sound of the drill as a group.”

As we traveled across the bridge cries and tired eyes ineffectively distracted me from my armpits made sweaty and my cuticles made bloody from nervously picking and pealing at the thought of the mouth doctor formally known as my father.  Jim looked at me shaking his smarter brain and said, “you realize this is the worst idea you’ve ever had?” as thoughts of flying dental tools and spraying water and maybe even blood flooded his imagination as a likely probability given the three individuals screaming in the backseat wishing they were in their beds for their naps rather than being used as a way to comfort their mother’s fear of their grandfather’s profession and all of its tools.

I find the dental chair about as inviting as the stirrups at the lady doctor or the ring of fire at centimeter 10.

“It’s just that I thought I was going alone and now it’s a circus and it’s a doctor’s office with tools and other people and this is going to drive your Dad crazy…”

As I thought of a response to calm my husband, thoughts of their Pappy teaching each of them to throw food and spit water at me coupled with memories of innapropriate jokes and embarrassing remarks during teenage years, I was provided with enough visual and memory data to utter, “he deserves it” with confidence.

We arrived to his office mostly clothed and with only one person missing shoes. The oldest knocked off approximately 6-10 framed pictures off the wall and said, “I’m not in these.”

Middle child sensed correctly and stood in the corner with fear until she found something to squirt and something else to break.

Baby girl played with a toothbrush in her car seat, unknowing of the gifts of only having 4 teeth.

I only hit the doctor 5 times and batted his hand away another 9-57 times. No cavities, 3 pounds of sweat lost, 4,876 toys handed out by dental assistants to occupy my children and possibly my husband during my extended dental exam due to poor patient behavior and attitude, Josie’s inheritance of my fear depicted. I would take full responsibility if I didn’t view it as completely rational.




Momily Monday

During our engagement Jim had the opportunity to take a class with one of those famous theologians that sells a lot of books. The only catch being it was a seminarian only class on how to write a good homily, a skill I was positive my fiancé did not need. Would they try to once again claim my bethrothed to join the ranks of the collared and celibate?! Would he start parting his non-partable hair and wearing white tennis shoes and pleated khakis for sports like the days of novitiate past?! No. He would marry me, have a baby a year, and I would start writing Momily Mondays: reflections for moms on the internet using a favorite literary device to help prompt a Good Godly discussion about how the Gospel applies to a life with car seats, cut up food, and a shower every third day. While they may be led by a mom who offers little to no canonical insight about the spiritual life, she does have a good understanding as to why the terms “teething child,” “swollen feet,” “soccer practice,” and “NFP” are actually spiritual battles of sainthood occupying most of our households.

This week’s Gospel Lk 32-48 (a long one):

The richness of the readings and Gospel this week are most certainly beyond the reflecting abilities my diaper changing mind, so the following are a few points inspired by the mom-praying minutes spent after receiving Communion during which my children straddled the kneeler while having a (relatively) quiet, yet definitely innappropriate battle between a saber tooth tiger and Darth Vador figurine as the baby gnawed on the car keys.

There is no one more deserving of a “you have your hands full,” than the Big Man, yet He has the patience and tenderness to refer to us a “little flock” and begin a story hour far beyond the deep intellectual richness of his mind full of tales to earn eternal life. There were most likely many other tasks to which the Son of Man needed to attend, yet, he understood the will of his father in this exact moment, offering patient instructions detailing how much good stuff there is in store, and how much he wants to give it to us, rather than doing what I do and saying “go ask daddy.”

And as my priest reminded, each of us has been given “much,” and has much more waiting at the finish.

I couldn’t help but think of the moments I get caught up on laundry when it might be better to read my people a story or play, or simply be. Or, when I’m frustrated by the amount of (swear word) I have to clean up everyday, how much more effective my parenting would be if I tackled the task with more patience instead of angry brooming, feeling the more gratitude for the baby wipe than I do most other things. Or when I have no energy at the end of a day and I’m short tempered with my husband for no good reason at all, other than I’m being a brat too proud to say “would you mind spending some QT rather than reading that weird book about mold? (true story)”

This week, for me, is a call to attend to my conscience, so as to know the will of the moment with clarity, and without guilt or anxiety, or at least, less of it, because sometimes everybody poops at the same time, and if things are going to be messy, at least I can be calm. And while I treasure my husband, and children, how often do I rush or forget prayers, depleting myself of the true source of strength, and, therefore, grow frustrated when all I have to offer for dinner is fruit snacks and cheese, creating feelings of guilt and other crappy things for I am clearly not the “faithful servant…distributing the food at the proper time” or even of the right substance. At first read and listen, this Gospel sounds a little scary, especially all those parts about the beatings and the end times, but the instruction is really quite simple: Follow the conscience, the greatest gift we have and the source of human individuality and freedom, so as to do the will of God. Each of our hearts, at a different place, with a different number of children, financial level, intelligence etc…is only expected to follow their conscience. As we grow closer to God, the conscience becomes clearer and demands upon itself the choices that are best and most fulfilling. So today, my conscience said “take the kids to the grocery store and try not to have a terrible time.” Maybe in a few weeks I will be a little holier and dish out fewer candy bribes for not throwing avocados and basil.


And for the record, the picture indicates a terrible time, so maybe I’ll do better tomorrow.

For me, this week, the story of the young woman trapped in the car who asked for a prayer partner, a request that has sparked the reporting of what seems to be and most certainly feels like a supernatural miracle, is truly the most convincing, and in a powerful way refocused my mind and heart. At the hour of what seemed to be her death, she continued to follow her conscience that felt the need to pray, so much so, that she called out to a group of strangers, and her life was saved in a moment of mystery and miracle. Her treasure, in the last moments, was to be with God in a moment of prayer. At first hear of this amazing story, I focused solely on the priest, but then, I began to wonder if I would have the courage to ask a stranger to pray with me in a moment of such intense scariness, like her, and my prayer this week is that I can be that humble.

HAPPY MOMILY MONDAY! If even one of you comments and shares a little love for God and the Gospel I will consider this a success, and if none of you do, I’ll probably do it again next week anyway.

Finding it increasingly difficult to find time to pray, join a discussion group with women who still have most of their original hair color or understand what its like to bring kids to Mass and listen at the same time, or that a trip to the grocery store with all of your kin is actually grounds for canonization? JOIN ME FOR MOMILY MONDAY! Share your thoughts in the comments below and enjoy a Gospel reflection discussion in the comforts of a messy house at an unscheduled hour of your choosing.

7 quick takes: What my kids think, and other silly things with which to flood the internet.

Linking to this super big internet party

1. Mom’s makeup looks way better on the walls

It’s not that she doesn’t notice that I put it on my face. Usually, the red lipstick is met with “ooooooo pitttty!!” from her, and a “you got the paint stuff on, mom?” from him. Maybe it’s that the walls near the vanity are so freshly painted, or cream, or clean. Or maybe it’s that mascara is black with a wand inspiring dreams of dark princesses. Or that I’ve recently invested a bit more nickels into makeup that isn’t sold at a drugstore or made of mostly water soluble ingredients. Whatever her motivation, its clear, actually, its stained, that she believes makeup looks much better on the walls than my face.

2. A tale of two pennies: how he made bank

First he offered to buy lunch and take me to the car wash. Then, upon attempting to make a quick exit he insisted he retrieve his “big money” before we went anywhere so that he could “buy stuff.” He describes the work for his earnings as “hurting his arms to move all those tree trunks” which in adult speak are actually known as wood chips. Two singular pennies often referred to as “nickies” or “dowas” by his younger sister have inspired limitless spending imagination, including diamonds, race cars, and French fries at the drive thru. When asked if he would like to earn dollar bills, he replies “no, that’s just paper, I like real money.”

3. Weaning is cool during the day, but nursing like a newborn at night is more preferred

Any tips on this one are welcomed. Also, biting. What to do?

4. First Words

Its been weeks of effort to turn Rita’s velociraptor demand scream into any sound 2-3 octives of lower pitch. High chair time is full of spoon feeding while saying “ppppllleeeeeeeesssssseeeeee” in a soft soothing register so as to inspire imitation as the sincerest form of drop the scream to keep your parents sane. She has yet to offer any of the sounds when food is involved and insists that screaming is most certainly the best way to be fed. If, however, either adult unit is to hold a camera, “cheessssse” most certainly is spoken. The toothy smile, slobber, and shoulder scrunching only aids to the cuteness. Selective listening? Unaware of rhyming sounds? Enjoys power? Not sure.

5. The easiest way to get daddy out of bed is to drink lemon water super fast and throw up on accident

Its one of Jim’s post hockey work out rituals. He leaves a bottle of lemon water by the bed. This morning, Josephine found it, and proceeded to chug it. Maybe it was the acid not sitting well, or a creative way of getting what she wanted, but, I have literally never in all of my married years, ever seen him jump out of bed so fast or at such a high pitch. For .2 seconds I feared flu, but my fears quickly dissipated as hysterical laughter erupted faster than the vomit. And if Josie has taught me anything, it’s giddy up in the morning.

6. Need a snack? Head to the garbage

It’s a baby right of passage, I think.


7. Scissors, no matter how high they are placed can always be found and used.

And if the toddler is particularly creative, they are used to cut her brother’s bed sheets.