7QT: Bloggy Friends, Magical Childhood and Spring!

1. Suddenly, after that looooong, slooooow, awful winter that corresponded with with a loooong, slooow (not awful) first and second trimester for me, spring finally is here and time is flying!  I can’t believe next week is Holy Week already!  For the most part, I’m excited about time going a little faster, but it is a little overwhelming when I think about what I still need want to get accomplished before the baby comes at the end of June.  Whatever, I really don’t care.  I’m just excited the weather is nice.  Our poor little guy is going to be lucky if I remember to get him some diapers before he comes!

2. With Easter suddenly on the horizon, I tried on and discovered that I do still fit into that floral Gap maternity dress (whew!) but that means my legs will be visible.  Praise God, I am not swollen yet so I’m not opposed to short skirts because of that, but the spider veins and varicose veins in my right leg (only my right!) are currently highly visible against the backdrop of my shockingly white legs.  So! I picked up Jergens Natural Glow Lotion to see if it will camouflage any of that fun stuff.  Has anyone used this?  Will I regret this purchase? Nevermind, don’t answer that, I’ll find out for myself.

3. So, I found out something super exciting earlier this week.  Kate (of Be Merry Kate) and I were practically separated at birth!  Ok, not quite, but the true story is we grew up in neighboring (really tiny!) towns and my family knew her grandparents.  Isn’t that wild?? I just knew we were kindred spirits. Schoharie County 4evah!

4. It seems like a lot of the world has read that Huffpo article “I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical” and has very strong opinions about it all.  I read it last week and at first I very much agreed with the sentiment in the article that childhood is already magical and we don’t need to bend over backwards and spend all the money to make it more so.  But then I smacked my self and remembered the over-the-top DIY’d play kitchen hiding in our basement waiting for our 2 year old’s birthday.  Clearly, I have no problem bending over backwards for my kid.  But, is that really a bad thing?  Sure, kids don’t need fancy vacations to Disney or elaborate Elf on the Shelf traditions at Christmas time.  Personally, I am not a fan of Elf on the Shelf and I’ve never been to Disney World (or Land) and I don’t feel the need to go now or to bring my kids.  But that doesn’t mean that those experiences are negative influences on a childhood NOR does it mean that parents who go that extra mile are automatically better than those who don’t.  Gosh folks, just take it easy on each other and parent the way that you think is best for your family!

5. There’s so much of this “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” rhetoric in viral internet articles.  I mean, of course there is, that’s what makes them viral.  They’re meant to elicit strong positive and negative reactions from readers, much like my old favorite literary style, the open letter. I get it, this is what gets hits and makes money, but we need to be adults when we read these pieces and realize that life is not black and white, despite what our radically politicized news outlets want us to believe.  They’re out to get your strong reactions! Just don’t forget to question your own strong reaction before you triumphantly repost that viral article and say “Yes!!! This!!!”

6. Woops, there I go giving unsolicited advice!  Sorry, Laura. ;)

7. Aaaand, I forget what else I was going to say.  Here’s a springy-cute picture instead!

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Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sara Kate’s Birthday Kitchen

This past Sunday was SK’s 2nd birthday! I can’t believe it’s only been two years… or is it only two weeks?  As Christy put it recently, “the time bending paradox of parenthood” is a beautiful thing.  It seems like SK has been around forever, and I can’t imagine life without her, but at the same time it’s gone so fast.  Every day she wakes up she’s less of a baby, and I’m more of a baby over the whole thing!  Gah! But I promise this isn’t a weepy, sentimental steaming heap of a post. No, this is a much more obnoxious braggy post about my husband’s amazing skills.

This post is about THE KITCHEN.

Ta-da! Oh wait, turn those knobs...

Ta-da! Oh wait, turn those knobs…

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Shazam!

[Before I forget to give credit where credit is due, I was aesthetically inspired by these two DIY play kitchens I found through pinterest.  The rest of the construction, though, was all Dave.  He came up with and executed the plans all by himself.]

Sorry about the picture quality.  That’s from Saturday night when we set it up in the living room; don’t worry, there’s more pictures!  On Sunday morning, we went into SK’s room with a special #2 balloon.  Really, we didn’t have to make her a kitchen, the balloon was enough!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then we brought her downstairs for the big reveal…

I think she likes it!

I think she likes it!

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Thank you Mimi and Nana for providing all the accessories for the kitchen!

Later we had a little party with friends.  I didn’t get any party detail pictures, because I’m lame, but I did get a picture of the cake because I’m an Instagram addict in the worst way. photo (21)

The party’s loose theme was strawberries because SK loves her some strawberries and because the little curtain on the kitchen (my one and only proud contribution) is covered in strawberries.  So we had strawberry cake (the yummy pink from-the-box kind), strawberry and blueberry salad, spinach strawberry salad, and strawberry lemonade.  And hamburgers and hot dogs!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

It looks like it was a miserable day weather-wise in these pictures, but it was actually a really beautiful day and just got a little chilly there at the end.

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Our big birthday girl.

Dave will be penning a massive (maybe more than one part) how-to post about how he made the kitchen in case anyone else is crazy enough to attempt this!  But really, it was such a labor of love for us (most him) and it was so fun to give it to her and see her excitement and joy.  Plus, this makes me very excited about my own future kitchen reno projects; if this is what we can do for a play kitchen, imagine the potential for our actual kitchen! [And by we, I mean Dave.]OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Liebster Love

Sweet Kate tagged me for a Liebster Award (which apparently isn’t an award, but a chain letter of sorts?) and I’m all kinds of flattered and excited to play along.  So! I will answer Kate’s questions for me and then I’ll tag a few of my blogging friends to answer questions of my own making for them, and the fun continues!

1.  Where are you from, where did you go to college and where are you now?

I was born in Albany NY and grew up in Schoharie NY, which is a really pretty, really cuuuuntry little corner of the world.  The majority of my childhood was spent on top of Terrace Mountain in Schoharie, picking crabapples and chasing our dog Abby when someone accidentally left the door ajar and she would bolt out into the wilderness.  We also had a garden for a bit and chickens for a long time, so while I wouldn’t say we had a completely country-hick upbringing, I was definitely no city kid.

This is my oldest nephew Jack chasing our chickens right before my parents moved off the mountains and to the suburbs in 2007.  Not to get all hipster on you, but the McFamily did the whole free range chicken thing before it was cool.

This is my oldest nephew Jack chasing our chickens right before my parents moved off the mountain and to the suburbs in 2007. Not to get all hipster on you, but the McFamily did the whole free range chicken thing before it was cool.

I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville from ’03-’07.  Holy good times!  Haha, really, it was a great college experience.  It was so nice to go to college where the majority of the student body was on the same page morally speaking.  It was so easy to make friends and find your niche.  And it was refreshing to meet so many other homeschoolers and realize that a. “Homeschooler” was not, in fact, tattooed prominently on my forehead and b. it was a totally normal and acceptable background to come from.  I was an early childhood education major and I loved moving through the levels of that program, completing all of the tutoring, early experience and eventually student teaching in the local schools.  The best thing to come out of that experience, though, was meeting my good friend Therese, whose cousin would be the future source of so much joy in my life.  Even though we were both at Franciscan at the same time (he was a year ahead of me) and we had many of the same friends, Dave and I didn’t meet and start dating until right after I graduated.  God’s plans are so much better than ours!

Whew, that leads us to now!  Dave and I spent our first two years of married life in Albany where he finished up his PhD at the State University.  Then he got a job out here in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts and we live just outside the city limits of Boston.  We’ve lived in the same 3 bedroom duplex for the past three years and we were extremely lucky to be able to buy the house this past fall, so we’re happy homeowners and landlords!

2.  What song has been getting stuck in your head lately or have you been listening to on repeat?

Gosh, I don’t get to listen to “me” music much anymore.  I guess the only thing I listen to frequently is Laurie Berkner music in the car for SK.  She loves Laurie!  When we first started listening to music in the car, SK couldn’t say the word “music” to save herself.  For a while it was “fickis” and then something finally clicked and it morphed into “newsic” which is what it is today.  Every time when get in the car she swings her legs and says “Neeeeewsic Mommy!!!!” and I remind her to be polite and she says “Newsic, Mommy, Peese.”

3.  If you could live anywhere and do anything, what would it be?

Honestly, I love where we are now.  I would love if our families lived closer (like in our town) but other than that, I’m completely happy where we live.  We have a really solid Catholic community here and a plethora of parishes within a 5 mile radius, so it’s really easy to get to daily mass, confession and adoration.  Boston is also really stable economically speaking, so we felt very comfortable buying a home here, especially a multi-family home.  I’m always very impressed with how well maintained everything is in this area.  Upstate New York where I grew up (and where I’ll always feel at home) has been kind of depressed for a while, and everyone knows Steubenville is in bad shape (although, I love that dingy little town so much). But Boston, while a very confusing place to navigate, is a really clean, pretty city and there’s lots to do and see.  Not to mention all the fun Boston quirks!  The locals here are nuts and I love it!

The Boston Public Garden in the fall.  And baby Sara - sob!

The Boston Public Garden in the fall. And baby Sara – sob!

I guess if I could change one thing about this area, I wish it was more affordable for a one income family to buy a decent family house!  A 4 bedroom single family house in a decent neighborhood in our town is VERY expensive.  Hopefully we can afford one of those one day, God willing.

And as for do? Well, I already was a teacher for 4 years and I loved it.  I would love to get back into teaching one day, maybe Pre-K again, maybe Kindergarten, but for now I love being at home.  I know I’m really lucky to be able to stay home and I don’t take it for granted.  I’ve also taught CCD for 5 years now, and I love doing that as well.  I’ve thought it might be fun to be a DRE one day (or that might be a really crazy idea!) but we’ll see.  Right now my husband, babies and house are my priority.

4.  What are you Easter plans?

We’re going to visit my family in New York!  I’m super excited, as we haven’t been able to visit since January and this will be the last trip I take before our little guy arrives in June.

Ok, my turn to ask zee questions and tag zee friends!  I tag:

Annemarie 

Francine

Christy

Maia 

And I want to know…

Where is the farthest you have ever traveled?

Have you ever won anything? If so, what did you win?

Who is your favorite saint and why?

What is the most dominant color in your wardrobe?

What has made you crack a smile today?

An Open Letter to Open Letters

I’ve had the idea for this post percolating for a while, but I haven’t pulled the trigger because a. I’m not good at this and b. some open letters are really great, like my bro-in-law’s Open Letter on the Vocation of Marriage. [Seriously, read it.  And then sign the petition!] Luckily for me, the New York Times kinda hashed it out for me.

In The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter, Maria Konnikova writes about how famous leaders and intellects of the past would write angry, cathartic letters to the people who irritated them, and then they would never send the letters.  Of course venting our frustrations through writing is still done today but with the advent of social media it’s gotten out of control.  Konnikova writes:

“Now we need only click a reply button to rattle off our displeasures. And in the heat of the moment, we find the line between an appropriate response and one that needs a cooling-off period blurring. We toss our reflexive anger out there, but we do it publicly, without the private buffer that once would have let us separate what needed to be said from what needed only to be felt. It’s especially true when we see similarly angry commentary coming from others. Our own fury begins to feel more socially appropriate.”

Appropriate.  Isn’t it interesting that what we consider appropriate has changed so drastically because of the internet?  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, etc., they make narcissistic monsters of us all.  Suddenly we’re sharing information, photos and opinions that in the past we would not have deemed appropriate to share with casual and/or distant acquaintances, much less with the whole world.  I know, I know, times are a-changing and I can’t bury my head in the sand, but I believe some things (like being polite and common courtesy) never change.

It’s also always struck me that the most hotheaded and confrontational open letters often tend to be poorly researched and written. And about 10 paragraphs too long.  In a word, they’re lazy. Conversely, actually penning an angry letter requires much more physical and editorial effort; you can’t just delete or copy and paste (as I’m about to do):

“When Lincoln wanted to voice his displeasure, he had to find a secretary or, at the very least, a pen. That process alone was a way of exercising self-control — twice over. It allowed him not only to express his thoughts in private (so as not to express them by mistake in public), but also to determine which was which: the anger that should be voiced versus the anger that should be kept quiet.”

Anyway, now I’ve implicated myself in my own pet-peeve of open letter writing. ;)

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your opinions.  

7QT: Love, Marriage, Babies & Kids

1.  Before you do anything, click here to read my brother-in-law’s  beautiful open letter to our bishops about living the Church’s teaching about marriage and family, and don’t forget to sign the petition attached to show the bishops we support the upholding of Church teaching! And if you do all that and still would like to do more, please share it with your family and friends!  Thank you!!

2.  Woah, there’s been a lot of talk about marriage on Catholic blogs in the past week.  And then, horror of unexpected horrors, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced that they were “consciously uncoupling”! Anyway, all that to say I was happy to see that Betty Duffy shared her take on the goopy celebrity breakup and tied it in to the recent Catholic marriage discussions.  She’s awesome.

3. And speaking of ridiculous celebrities who degrade the sanctity of marriage, all the hubub around the Kimye Vogue cover has been giving me so many chuckles this week.  I loved Suri Cruise’s thoughts on the matter.

This picture alone is just so comical! Via Suri’s Burn Book

4.Ok, I do read serious things too. Did anyone else read that big Atlantic article, The Overprotected Kid? I liked it, and it reminded me of the great things about my childhood on the mountain.  I had my shabby little “tree house” under the crabapple trees in the way-back yard and I would spend hours down there making “soup” with the wild flowers and weeds.  We’d go exploring all over the hill, in the woods and down to that big pond in the middle of the field.  So many adventures!  It makes me wonder how I can give some of that to my own children.  The thing is, I’m not worried about my kids and safety in their physical environments as much as I’m worried about peer influence.  I can’t let my kids just play for hours unsupervised with the neighborhood kids.  I’m not saying they’re bad kids, it’s just that they’re raised so differently than how I’m raising my own kids.  They say “crap” and “suck” all the time because those are normal kid words in their world.  Worse than that, though, they’re so disrespectful to their parents all the time.

Did anyone else read the article?  What are your thoughts?

5. My baby girl is going to be 2 in a week.  I am very emotional about this!  Frankly, so is she but not so much because of her birthday; she has those pesky 2 year-old molars poking up.  She’s always been one to handle teething pretty well, but occasionally she’ll just break down and become inexplicably volatile and then I remember “Oh yeah, molars!”

6. I also gave her her first little haircut yesterday.  She had several big chunks of hair that were way longer than the rest so I finally plucked up enough courage to snip it all even.  Now I’m the emotionally volatile one!

Sob!

Sob!

Not such a bad job though, eh?

Not such a bad job though, eh?

7. And now, for the quick take everyone’s been waiting for.  How’s your pregnancy going, Ellen?  Well.  I had one of those weeks.  You know, the week when you go for your monthly check-up and you gained 6 POUNDS?!?! The pathetic thing was that I was feeling so good.  I’ve been working out and eating mostly well.  You know, feeling like this chick:

And now I feel like this:

Watch out, SK.

Check out Jen and all the other Quick Takers at Conversion Diary.  Happy weekend, everyone!  It’s the last weekend of March, woohoo!

Are you the 2 Percent?

You’ve probably heard the statistic: 98% of Catholic women do not follow the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control. It’s a number that’s been thrown around a lot lately, between the controversy about the HHS mandate’s birth control coverage and the upcoming synod on the family and the issue of bishops allegedly “polling” Catholics about their practice of the Faith. As usual, we’re feeling pretty misrepresented around here. Really, only 2% of us practice NFP? In the various circles of my little Catholic bubble it sure feels more like that statistic should be the other way around sometimes!
So, are you the 2 percent, too? If you are part of that supposed minority who embraces the Church’s teachings with joy, albeit sometimes with difficulty, would you consider signing and passing on this open letter to the bishops that my husband wrote? There’s a link at the bottom to the petition form, although it’s really not a petition — it’s a show of support, and a way to make sure that our bishops know that some of us are grateful for what the Church has given us, and would love to see her message taught more effectively to more people. Spread the word!

St Paddy’s Day/Weekend recap

topothemorning

Top o’ the morning and all the cheesy Irish sayings to you! I know, I know, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t even that big a deal in Ireland, but I enjoy my true heritage and a little bright green shmaltz this time of year. March is so loooooong otherwise!

bunting

We did a little leprechaun mischief — they dyed the milk green and put all the cereals in the wrong boxes, and tossed up a few decorations while they were at it. Usually Daddy gets balloons to tie to the girls’ chairs, but unfortunately he was smacked down by another stomach bug on Sunday. So far the rest of us are ok (please please please!) and most importantly, I made it through both of my dancers’ performances this weekend without getting sick.

margotandpete

Here is a link to a little video from my Irish dancers’ performance on Saturday, at a local nursing home (you can see Joanie, our youngest McSister, who is the tallest and most graceful dancer of the bunch!). They also performed yesterday at our local library. I’m supposed to go to Margot’s preschool on Thursday and teach them some dancing as well. That should give me a taste of what it’s like to teach that age — I constantly have requests to open up the class to younger kids, and I feel myself caving as Jackie and Margot are both really ready to start dancing. Plus Claire said she’d do it :-)

stew

Paul must have had a little premonition of his impending illness, because he decided to make his St. Paddy’s meal on Saturday instead of Monday, which meant we got to enjoy a savory lamb stew (and Guinness, for him). Yum!

 

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Hope you all enjoyed your green weekend! I’m looking forward to seeing some real green outside soon. Enough of this winter and all its germs!

7QT: Whole Lotta Randoms

Linking up for 7 Quick Takes Friday with Jen & the gang.

1. A song for your weekend (and childhood nostalgia trip for me :))

2. Now that we’re a few hours away from his ETA, I guess it’s ok to share that Dave’s been out of town this week.  It’s not a big deal and travel (specifically British travel lucky duck!) is a common thing for Dave with his job and current project.  The hard thing about this trip was it was very last minute so I didn’t have time to get used to the idea and make plans (ideally to visit my mom) to distract us.  It’s actually been a good week, though, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to face my discomfort with being at home alone with the kiddo and I survived!  It helped to have playdates and friends visit, and of course, the farm trip really boosted our moods too!  It really makes me feel for you ladies out there who are single moms, or who deal with deployment or demanding work hours in your husband’s jobs.  We were not meant to do this alone!  And if you have a minute, can you please say a quick prayer for Dave’s flight back today?  The whole Malaysian flight disappearance last week has made me a Nervous Nelly about this trip.

3. When Dave gets home he’s going to need to sleep but I’m afraid he’s going fight it because he’s got some projects he’s feverishly working on here.  One of them is his seedlings and garden prep.  Check out this set-up he’s made for the seedlings in the basement!

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Yes that’s a heat lamp AND a heating pad.  I’m surprised the neighbors haven’t called the cops on us yet as it clearly looks like we’re trying to grow a special type of garden if you know what I mean.

4. He’s also working on making a play kitchen for SK for her birthday at the beginning of April. In typical Dave fashion, he’s taking this project to the next level of nerdiness, but consequently the end result is going to be amazing.  Here’s some sneak peek pictures.

Yup, those are some light up burners!

Yup, those are some light up burners!

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Oven door

5. I’m so excited for SK’s birthday because I think she’s really going to like her kitchen.  She loves helping in the kitchen and her growing vocabulary reflects that.

Deeyishious! – Just yesterday she started saying that about her play cookies.

Mixin-mixin – That’s what we do with everything we cook.

Other cute words and phrases:

Cuse me, toots – her very polite, but hysterical phrase for when she’s suffering some flatulence.  This phrase was basically the theme of daily Mass yesterday… it’s a good thing it’s mostly elderly folks at daily Mass!

Naaaamie, e aaaaaaaaa yoooouu? – SK has to search for her favorite buddy every day before nap and bedtime.

Oh, and remember how waffels used to have a mysterious h in front of it in SK’s pronunciation?  Well, she recently changed the h to a y so it was “yaffels” but this morning it changed again to just “affels” which doesn’t at all reflect SK’s opinion of that particular breakfast bread product.

Wearing her "sun gasses"

Wearing her “sun gasses”

6. I had a First Communion meeting this week and there I found out for the first time how the First Communion day is going to go.  Well, it was a bit of a rude awakening to discover that because it’s split into two Masses, I’m going to be there and working from about 9am till 3pm.  Of course, this wouldn’t be a big deal except that I’m going to be 32 weeks at that point and probably looking a feeling a little worse for the wear.  It’s a good thing I ordered this leg-hiding dress (taking advantage of Old Navy’s 40% off dresses this week):

7. Obviously, the dress will be paired with my most comfortable arch-supporting shoes, which might end up being my sneakers… You know you’ve really hit adulthood (especially in my family!) when you’re seriously considering taking the plunge and investing in a trusty pair of Birkenstocks to wear with EVERYTHING.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Despite our crazy wintery day yesterday, we’re supposed to get temps into the 50′s tomorrow!  I can’t wait!  I hope your weekend weather is shaping up nicely too.

{phfr} Spring on the Farm

On Tuesday morning, I woke up from a deep sleep in which I dreamt vividly about giving birth.  Thank the good Lord, it wasn’t a bad dream.  Basically, I sneezed and the kid popped out!  It was such a vivid dream, I was kind of excited when I woke up thinking “maybe it’s a sign!”  Believe it or not, it was a slightly prophetic dream!

{pretty & happy}

I decided since it was a beautiful early spring-ish day, that SK and I would take a trip to Drumlin Farm. Many of my friends have Mass Audubon memberships and they take their littles to Drumlin Farm frequently but we still had not checked it out. At mothers group last week, my friends were saying there were new lambs at the farm and soon there would be baby pigs! So that decided it; over the river and through the woods we went!

We saw some chickens…

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And we went into the big hen house where I was reminded that chickens produce a lot of creepy, gross dust! It brought back memories of our chickens on the mountain.  Remember, McFamily?

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And we found a pig, but no baby piggies yet.  I don’t know if this is Mama or Papa, but it was a big pig!  It made a lot of satisfying pig snorts for SK.

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Galoshes were very necessary!  There were epic Diana Barry and Anne Shirley faceplant puddles to navigate, as well as slush and snow. Ugh, I hate my galoshes.  Vain Ellen really wants a pair of fashionable and classic Hunter boots, but practical Ellen (yes, she DOES exist) thinks they’re $120 too much for a pair of rubber boots.  Vanity of vanities…

Enough of this vapid talk about boots, we found the lambies!
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And this little lambie was inside with his mommy because he was pretty new.  He would go from peacefully suckling one minute to jumping around his pen like a crazy lamb the next minute.  I was lucky to get this picture!

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{real}

But the coolest thing we saw was a mama sheep give birth to her little black lamb.  It was incredible!  When we got there, her water had just broken.  The vet (or farmer? helper? sheep midwife? I really wish I had her appropriate job title because she was good at it.) said it could take a few minutes to a half hour, and sometimes it takes a couple of hours tops.  “Wow! Lucky sheep!” I thought.  Well, this mama got the job done in 10 minutes!

[Good thing sheep don't read blogs, because mama sheep might not like these pictures on the internet.]

Ina May Sheep Lady helping Mama.

Ina May Sheep Lady helping Mama.

Look! It's little feets are sticking out!

Look! Her little feets are sticking out!

Eventually, Mama Sheet followed her instincts and decided sitting was just not doing it for her.  So she walked towards the door and then out came lambie! Then Mama lambie nonchalantly walked away from her newborn.  Eh, she needed some space.

Eventually, Mama Sheep followed her instincts and decided sitting was just not doing it for her. So she walked towards the door and then out came lambie! Then Mama Sheep nonchalantly walked away from her newborn. Eh, she needed some space.

Ina May brought the gooey little lambie back to Mama so she could clean her off.

Ina May brought the gooey little lambie back to Mama so she could clean her off.

{funny}

Ina May Sheep Midwife told us that this was a big lamb and that’s why Mama Sheep was having problems.

Problems?  She grunted maybe 2 times! The whole thing took 10 minutes!

Mama Sheep, lemme tell you about problems with birthing big babies!

 

For more pretty, happy, funny, real posts, head on back to Like Mother Like Daughter. :)

WIWS & Some Catechetical Thoughts

It’s the first Sunday of Lent, and I just realized I appropriately wore purple (albeit, very pale purple).  Dumb luck for the win!

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Gap maternity tee & maternity tights (recommended by Dwija), old Loft cardi and old H&M skirt (worn here – yay for elastic waists!) and trusty Corso Como boots.  SK (23 months) is sporting a Gap Outlet dress in 3T.

Speaking of dumb luck, it came to our rescue during Mass today.  We’ve been using the diaper bag as a Mass books/activities bag for a while now and we just keep it in the car in the meantime.  It also has diapers and things in it as well, but we never ever have to use it as a diaper bag because this kid never goes when we’re out of the house.  I’m telling you, it never happens.  But it happened today!  I was so shocked when that tell-tale look came over SK’s face during the prayer of the faithful!  And then I remembered: time change.  Her little body thought it was an hour earlier, and we’re always at home at 8 am, so according to her internal clock it was go time.  Yuck!  But like I said, dumb luck came to our rescue and we were prepared like good  normal parents.

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Yesterday I headed over to church in the afternoon because my second grade CCD students were going to have a tour. My DRE was the one giving the tour so I was just there for crowd control, but I was more than happy to tag along.  In fact, the whole time I was thinking “Why don’t they do tours for the adults as well?”  Now, St. Theresa of Avila in West Roxbury MA is an especially gorgeous church.  And I’m not saying that in a haughty “my church is more gorgeous than your church” way.  Having grown up in an area where many of the traditional older churches were leveled or abandoned for more modern (ok, ugly) barn-like structures, I know it’s the exception and not the rule to have beautiful parish churches. Unfortunately.  But, every Catholic church has certain features that must be there (like the tabernacle and the altar) so there’s always material for instruction.

It struck me when my DRE was teaching the kids how to genuflect and why we genuflect, that this would be a good refresher for all the parishoners!

Image from Cardinal Sean’s blog. The tabernacle at St. Theresa’s pretty much demands that you stop and genuflect!

I assume most parishoners, like myself, don’t have time on Sunday to wander around and actually look at each stained glass window.  Not all stained glass windows are as intricate as the ones in St. Theresa’s maybe, but they are all meant to be catechetical.

It was really neat for the kids to get to go into the sacristy to see all the vestments and candles and the crucifix for the procession.  One of the things that they found really interesting (and I thought adults should know about as well) was how there was a special place for the chalice and ciboria to be cleaned that was separate from the sink where everything else was cleaned.

They had the cutest questions about it all. One little girl asked “where are the angel’s robes?”.  That stumped my DRE but then I asked, “Do you mean the kids who are altar servers who help Monsignor during Mass?” and she shook her head yes.  My DRE explained that when they’re in fourth grade, they could be altar servers if they wanted and they could help at Mass.  One of my students, a really smart little red headed boy, looked very serious and asked “If I want to be an altar server when I’m in fourth grade, does that mean I can’t get married?” Ah, I had to try really hard not to laugh; it was a valid concern in his little head!

Anyway, I share all this to just raise the question of whether church tours should be something that happens at every parish and not just for kids.  I don’t know if it’s practical or if I’m being naive, it just struck me as such a teaching opportunity in this day and age when most church going Catholic adults don’t know some of the most basic and profound truths of our faith.  A lot of it can simply be found within the building and in the artwork and function of the church itself!  What do you think?

Thank you to the lovely ladies at FL&P for hosting! :)