Home Sweet Home

Checking in quickly on this Thursday night for a brief post that will be published tomorrow.  I had intended on writing a nice, not-so-brief Quick Takes while the babies were napping,  but plans have changed.  Instead the babies and I will be helping out a friend, and a shorter post will have to do!

So about helping out my friend — without going in to a lot of detail, she needs to go to the doctor, her husband is out of town, so I’m stepping in…after my other friend “St. Louis Jen”  stepped in today by picking her kids up from school and staying with her for a few hours to help.  Jen called me to tell me our friend wasn’t well, and she herself has to take care of a sick family member, so I volunteered to take our friend to the doctor’s tomorrow.  Since I’m babysitting, I’m taking a homeschooling friend’s older daughter with me to help me with the babies (a two-year old, a one-year old, and an infant).  Lucy is staying at someone else’s house.  And thus the title of my post — Home Sweet Home.  I am so grateful for my community.  I don’t live across the street from Mom; Margot, Lucy, and Jackie aren’t in the same class at preschool and I’m not able to make trips to New England in the fall to visit Ellen, but I have been given a true blessing in my community out here.  My girlfriends would do anything for me, and me for them.  We support one another in our vocations, and I can even borrow a friend’s pre-teen daughter as my Joanie stand-in when needed.  Cost:  A McDonald’s milkshake on the way home.   What a gift these friendships are, and what a comfort these women are to me in so many ways.

Now to close with your gratuitous Lucy photo for the week.  She dressed herself this Monday…and yes, I took her out in public like this!  The girl is a major trip.




Checking in for the first time in months (sorry Ellen!) with nothing new to report, really.  Life is very busy here between school and basketball and indoor soccer and baseball and all those things that come with having four older kids.  Then, while those children are in school I’ve been babysitting four days a week for several different families, for children ranging in age from 3 months to not quite 2 years.  See?  No time to blog.

I don’t mind being busy, but it is hard at times to find joy amid multiple diaper changes, dishes, and carpooling.  Enter Lucy, whose personality and sense of humor makes me laugh every day.  She’s the first child to wake up in the morning and, if it’s before 6:15, I’m also woken up by her stage whisper of, “I’m all done!” coming from the bathroom.  Translation:  “Good morning, Mom.  Rise and give God glory for the new day!  Oh, and wipe my bottom while you’re at it.”  Then I have to get her her bowl of cereal and juice box and deny her first request for candy that day.   As soon as she wakes up, she is “on” and likes to talk with me about all her favorite movies, books, songs, etc.  The other day she asked me, “Mom?  Are you single?”  I had no idea where that came from until Jack told me it was from “Despicable Me 2.”  That movie and its prequel is FULL of inappropriate jokes, mainly of the bathroom humor variety, which is Lucy and every 4 year-olds favorite genre.  (So I shouldn’t let her watch them — but once was enough for her to memorize every bad joke!)  Her favorite scene that she quotes to everyone who listens is when Gru meets Mr. Ramsbottom, whom he calls “Mr. Sheepsbutt.”  Then there’s the Minions response:


Last night at dinner, she sang “Little Bunny Foo Foo” to us while we ate.  The song and accompanying hand gestures were so cute that I started laughing, so she stopped mid-verse, glared at me, and said, “Mama, do not laugh at Little Bunny Foo Foo.  He is ruuuuuuddddddeeeee.”  So sorry.

Lucy’s favorite person on earth is Brandon, and every morning she has to give him multiple “huggies and kissies” before he leaves.  This morning he left with Theresa to take her to school, which we usually do.  When she realized that she missed her chance to give Theresa her own share of “huggies and kissies,” she turned to me with her huge bottom lip sticking out and said, “Oh, poop nuts.”  That’s my new favorite curse.

"No more juice boxes?  Oh, poop nuts."

“No more juice boxes? Oh, poop nuts.”

On a completely different note, Jack’s current obsession is horses.  I don’t know why.  The other day we were talking about where they would like to live one day, and three out of the four of them said New York.  Jack wants to live on a horse farm in NY.  He’ll have two horses, one for him to ride and one for me to ride when I come visit.  Theresa was the only one who decided to stay with me.  She’s going to live in the house across the street from us “just like Aunt Claire”  because, she reluctantly stated, our 92 year-old neighbor will likely have died by then.  Anyway, back to Jack — as part of his new fascination, he’s been sketching horses on every available sheet of paper.  His latest picture is copied from an illustration in “The Magician’s Nephew.”  I thought it was really good!




What’s in a name?

Just a quick share for today about something that struck me as funny/ironic:  So I spend WAY too much time wishing my home were larger/nicer/prettier/etc. like the ones that are featured in magazines, on Pinterest or on any number of my favorite blogs.   Way, way too much time.  Every so often (like everyday) I need a jolt back to reality.  Today’s came from this month’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  The first home it featured was owned by a woman by “Way Way,” her husband Robertson, and their young sons, Robertson and Gibbes.  Everything was white — white walls, white couches, white kitchen — which, of course, was the perfect backdrop to her minimalist handcrafted burlap Christmas decorations.  It reminded me of the “Warped Childhood, Restoration Hardware” posts that have been making the rounds on the internet.


The Cavenbottoms proudly informed friends that the playroom’s wigwam was purchased after Eugenia Cavenbottom discovered her 7th great aunt was half-Cherokee. “Once we got over the shock,” she confided, “we decided it was of utmost importance that Cameron and Callista remain in touch with their roots.” - See more at: http://suburbanturmoil.com/warped-childhood-restoration-hardware-style-volume-ii/2013/11/11/#prettyphoto[13404]/1/

The Cavenbottoms proudly informed friends that the playroom’s wigwam was purchased after Eugenia Cavenbottom discovered her 7th great aunt was half-Cherokee. “Once we got over the shock,” she confided, “we decided it was of utmost importance that Cameron and Callista remain in touch with their roots.” – See more at: http://suburbanturmoil.com/warped-childhood-restoration-hardware-style-volume-ii/2013/11/11/#prettyphoto[13404]/1/

Now if you’ll please excuse me, I need to go wipe up bacon grease from my formica countertops.

Quick Takes from the Lou

Lots going on around here, as usual.  The kids have a day off today because of Parent Teacher Conferences, so it may take me all day to finish this post!  In no particular order, here’s what we’re up to these … Continue reading 

Ramona Quimby, Age 4

I know it’s not a Mouthy Monday, but our little Lucy, whom more than one person has compared to Ramona Quimby, has been a font of mis-information lately, and I feel as though I have to share now, before  I forget!

The other day, after rejecting her dinner:

Me:  “What’s the matter, Lucy, are you sick?”

Lucy:  “No (cough, cough) I  fink I’ve been poisoned.”

After complaining about not being able to watch her umpteenth episode of “Wild Kratts” that day:

Me:  “Lucy, stop whining or I’m going to give you some chores to do around the house.”

Lucy:  “Like what?  Clean the toilets, I guess?”

Getting ready to make chocolate chip cookies:

Lucy:  “I’m going to help with licking the beaters!”

Perhaps even funnier than what comes out of her mouth is her daily presentation:  Her hair is cut in a pageboy, but because she keeps sneaking my manicure scissors in the bathroom, at least 5 long-ish chunks are perpetually hanging in her eyes; she always has food on her face — always; she frequently gives herself “tattoos” with markers up and down her arm;  and, either because of her build or because little girl’s pants are cut as low as their adult equivalents, she always has at least 2 inches of the back of her behind showing.  She’s definitely in the running for “most entertaining” in this family that isn’t hurting for candidates!



Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today is our parent’s 36th wedding anniversary.  Without getting too gushy on the interwebs, I’d like to wish the very happiest of days to our parents, whose gift of love to one another has been the greatest gift of all to their children.  Thank you so much for your many sacrifices for us over the years,  and for the tremendous example of a loving marriage which has given all of us such a great start in life.  What a blessing!

36 Years, 7 Children, and 11 Grandchildren.  Not too shabby!!

36 Years, 7 Children, and 11 Grandchildren. Not too shabby!!

Re: Where I’ve been…

Sorry for the lack of posting recently.  There’s always a heck of a lot of things to do around here, but taking precedence this last week has been…The {Dreaded} 4th Grade Bird Project.   A little background:  When Jack had his appendix out this summer, one of the nurses asked him what grade he was entering.  When he replied 4th, she said, “Ugh.  I hated 4th grade as a parent.  There were so many projects and reports we had to help with!”  I was warned!  So, during the first week of school, Jack and his classmates were given the first of this year’s projects.  He chose a bird and wrote a report on it, and accompanying the report, he had to make a model of the bird, displayed “in its habitat,” out of “any material you want.”  The class was given three weeks to complete the project.  Jack chose the Peregrine Falcon.

Week One, we went to the library and took out 5 or so books about the bird, then came up with a preliminary outline for his paper.  We also purchased the materials to make the falcon at Michael’s so that we could take advantage of the Labor Day sales.  Week Two, Jack wrote his paper and typed it on the computer, which he found to be sheer torture, as did I, because typing took a loooonnnngggg time.  Then, last weekend, he created his bird.  He painted a shoebox, created a nest out of rocks and twigs, and hot glued it to the base of the shoebox.  He then molded his bird out of clay.  He wanted to make it in a dive position, suspended from the air, with prey in its black-tipped talons to feed its young.  Well.   The bird turned out nicely, although he had to take it apart five or six times, because at first he made it twice the size of the shoebox.   Then he finally got it the right size, the right shape, etc., but we couldn’t figure out how to make talons out of clay or how to make its prey (Jack had tried to make a pigeon out of clay initially).  Back to Michael’s we went, to purchase wire and a fake plastic animal.  This trip was more expensive than the first, as I had lost my 40% off coupon.  Fail.  So then he makes little talons out of wire and wraps them in clay, suspends the fake plastic rabbit in the talons, and…done.  With one whole week to spare.  Win.

Except…the bird was not flying yet!  We had imbedded an unwound paperclip in the falcon when he made it and had the idea of suspending it from the top of the box with fishing wire.  The project is due tomorrow, so on Thursday morning, after having given the bird 5 whole days to dry, I screwed an eyehook to the top of the shoebox (little flakes of blue sky fell off in the process, but since it was at the top of the box, I figured no one would notice), threaded the fishing line through the paperclip, and then connected the fishing line with the bird attached through the eyehook.  And then, the whole darn paperclip was pulled out of the bird.  I called my friend and we tossed around a few ideas on how to make the falcon look as though it was flying (please keep in mind that this was KEY to Jack’s whole presentation!).  Luckily, right after the frustration with the fishing line, a friend posted her son’s finished bird project with this status:  “O sweet mother, the 4th grade bird project is done.”  Her son had made a hummingbird which was flying by the aid of a hard plastic drinking straw.

I swiped a straw from an old sippy cup, borrowed my friend for a minute to hold the bird while I burned myself with hot glue, attached the bird and wa-lah:  “Jack’s” Peregrine Falcon is finally done.


Prayer for Mothers

Today I thought I’d share a beautiful prayer I received in the mail.  It’s actually a Novena for Mother’s Day, but I’ve been praying it daily for our Rose and other friends who are expecting.  I’ve prayed it with one specific friend in mind, a friend from college whose first baby, born almost a year ago, was stillborn.  Today, in His goodness, God gave her and her husband another little boy.  He’s healthy and she’s doing well and everyone who knows and loves them are rejoicing with them.

Another friend of mine just had her third, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth.  She is healthy and beautiful, with an amazing head of red hair and r-e-a-l-l-y  l-o-n-g eyelashes.  She also sleeps 8 hours at a time — as a newborn!  I was on the phone with my friend today and heard her little girl cry for the first time — because she was pulling on her own hair and did NOT like the way it felt!  My friend and her family are taking such joy in their little gift.

A third friend just found out that her unborn baby boy has some birth defects that can, fortunately, be corrected after he’s born, but the waiting to meet her child and imagining what he’ll suffer in his first few months of life is weighing her down.

I’m sharing these stories to first, ask for prayers for these friends of mine, but also to ask for prayers for all mothers.  Life is a gift, and even under normal circumstances, I’m inclined to think often of something St. Gianna Molla wrote to her husband:  “Dear Pietro, I never could have imagined how much one suffers as a mother!”  I believe she wrote this after their little son was up frequently one night with a bellyache.  I was just there myself last night with our Lucky Duck.   Maybe one of you needs it today,  maybe you know of someone who needs it, but know that I remember all of you McSisters, and of course our dear Mimi, as I say this prayer:

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,  We thank you for our mothers to whom you have entrusted the care of every precious human life.  Grant that every woman my come to understand the full meaning of that blessing.  Watch over every mother who is with child.  Grant her love for her unborn baby.  Give her courage in times of fear, understanding in times of doubt, and hope in times of trouble.  Grant her joy in the birth of her child.  We beseech you to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died.  Help grieving mothers to rely on your tender mercy and fatherly love for all your children.  We ask your blessing on all those to whom you have entrusted motherhood.  May they ever follow the example of Mary, mother of Our Lord Jesus, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love.  We ask this through your beloved son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen



Quick Takes — Summer fun…ish

Quick Takes — Summer fun…ish

1.    Early in the summer, my children decided to dig a hole under our swing set.  It is about 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep.  I don’t know why they decided to do it, but because I am crazy, … Continue reading 

Mouthy Mondays — My Turn Again??

My apologies, most importantly to Ellen (our editor-in-chief), for the late post this mid-August Monday.  School starts next week, and I’m going out of town this weekend for a retreat with Fr. Robert Barron (!!!!), so I’ve been busy organizing school supplies, grilling Jack on his multiplication facts, and, OK, having long talks with Mom on the phone. 🙂  Speaking of back-to-school, I spend 45 minutes last week writing a long, witty piece on shopping for school supplies, only to hit some magic key on our stupid computer and erase the whole thing.  So now no one gets to hear about my Purgatory in Target last week.  You’re welcome.  Anyway, a few recent tidbits from the mouthiest of my munchkins for your entertainment today:

Joey, exhausted after practicing baseball:  “The Joe machine is out of order, please put in another quarter.”

Lucy, eating corn-on-the-cob for dinner and looking for the cornholders:  “Hey, I need some fingertips!”