Thursday, February 14, 2013

Life is weird...

If you've known me in real life, you would more than likely have heard me use the phrase (more than once).  It's sort of my go to phrase when I really don't know how to respond, or the response in my head wouldn't be suitable for the audience outside of my head.  Well, that's sort of where I've been... in the weird part of life.

I stepped away from my blog back in August to get the school year underway.  It was a big school year start, Bobcat was starting the 7th grade and lots of things in our daily life were being switched around to change up our school year.

It was a great start.  The subjects were working, co-op was going well... I felt really good about how things were unrolling. But I still wasn't making time to blog... there was still just too much on my plate to spend time here... to collect my thoughts in sentence format.  So where's the weird part???  This will take a few turns, but it will all get out on this page with time.

For the first time since October I redid the calendar in our school room... you know the kind with the changeable months and dry erase markers.  October was shaping up to be a fun month... we were about to leave for a camping trip after co-op on the 18th.  Nearly every day since I've come into this room, our office, and seen that calendar and couldn't bring myself to change it.  It contained all the dates for what was supposed to happen, but it lacked the ONE thing that did happen.

Two weeks ago, for the first time since October 18th, I listened to a voice mail that I hadn't deleted.  I just bought a new phone, and was selling that one.  I knew that was the last time I would hear that message.  I had never deleted it before because it was like a little snap shot of what my life was like at 11:01, and how everything changed at 11:02.

It's weird, when we are faced with a tragedy, what we choose to do... or not do.

At 11:02, October 18, 2012, my phone was on silent and I was about to head into my classroom to teach co-op.  I didn't feel it buzz in my pocket.  At 11:05, I decided to see if Daddio had responded to a picture of Bubba I sent him, after his first Mass he got to serve at.  That's when I saw that I had a voicemail from my mother's home.  At first glance I decided not to even check it.  I would just check it in an hour after my class... but the class before wasn't quite done, so I stepped around the corner so I could quickly listen to it.  The voice in the message identified himself as a police officer and that it was an emergency.  He wanted me to call the home number immediately... and in the background I could hear my mother screaming.

My father had been killed in a car accident that morning on his way to work.  The call came right after the officers arrived at my mother's home.

Life has been weird since then.  I've had to do things, that at 33 I really hadn't planned on.  I've had to say things to loved ones, that at 33 I never thought I would be saying.  Today, as I erased the calendar, I cried, because I was replacing it with February.  As I filled in all the birthdays I chose to put my father's birthday on there... next week my dad would have be 58.  Life is weird.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Yooo Hooo, Communion rail, where are you?

First let me say, before I even begin my little tirade, that I recognize that my protestant brothers and sisters do not worship or believe the same things as Catholics... I'm writing this as a CATHOLIC to those who choose to also call themselves Catholics!  Okay, PSA out of the way!

Appropriate attire: Mass is not poker night with your guy pals, it's also not Ladies Night at the local pub... it is Holy Mass... you are attending the wedding feast of Our Lord.  Tank tops, sleeveless, strapless, one shoulder ensembles, cargo shorts (shorts on anyone who receives communion is really not appropriate), flip flops, hooker boots, track suit, yoga pants... the list goes on, are NOT appropriate for Mass.  Do you remember the phrases Sunday Best, or Church Clothes???  Here's another question for you... would you wear the previously list to WORK?  Most likely not, it would be unprofessional, and most companies have a very specific dress code... so if it isn't okay at work, why would a person think it is perfectly suitable to wear during Mass... during the reception of Our Lord, BODY, SOUL, AND DIVINITY!?!  It is truly beyond me.

Reception of the Holy Eucharist:  Here's what I see in Mas... what I try to block out, why I attempt to cover my eyes with my scarf... people snatching the host out of the EM's hand, sticking one hand out all willy nilly, dropping the host (or causing the EM to drop the host because of no where to place Our Lord), not even paying attention, or acknowledging (proper response... AMEN) the EM/priest/deacon, people walking away with it in their hand and actually consuming it (had a friend next to chase down someone this week, and Daddio has gone after one at another Mass)... YOU CONSUME immediately! 

So that is why I think a communion rail would help elevate so many abuses by the laity!

First (and maybe my favorite) it would eliminate EM's! (yay!!!)  Next up, proper poster for reception are achieved (on the knees... also exceptionable but frowned upon in the US is to genuflect prior to reception)... hey do you even remember what you are doing up there?  RECEIVING OUR LORD!  It's not snack time, or intermission!  Plus with the acolyte putting the patent under your chin it reinforces the proper etiquette to receive on the tongue!

I'm sure to some Catholics I sound harsh... but I challenge you to really think about what is happening in Mass.  Do you really believe that the Eucharist (the Source and Summit of our faith) is truly Jesus Christ, Body - Blood - Soul - Divinity?  Do you realize that if you do not believe this, and still take the Eucharist you are committing sacrilege?  If you are not participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and receive with serious sin, you are committing an even bigger sin?  I'm not condemning you, you are doing it to yourself.

Maybe you lack the knowledge of these things, you aren't well versed in the faith.  There's an easy (several actually) remedy for this!  Read (the Catechism of the Catholic Church has all the info right there), go meet with your pastor, go through RCIA (you might not need any of the sacraments, but you do need to be taught the faith)... but YOU have to do it.  Just because you went through CCD as a kid, doesn't mean you have an adult understanding... you need to learn and understand your faith.

For those who don't believe in the Real Presence (and they've bothered to read up on what the Church teaches and think that 2000 years of wisdom and the Holy Spirit got it wrong)... why are you there?  You SHOULD NOT RECEIVE is first on the list... and maybe one of the other 35,000+ Protestant denominations is right for you.  No, I don't want to see Catholics abandon their faith, but non-believers shouldn't create more sin for themselves or others...

Are you all in, or not!?!  The Catholic Faith isn't a list of choices, you can't pick and choose which parts of the faith are going to make up your profile.

Okay... I think I'm done (maybe)...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vacation Destination

Okaloosa Island, Florida! I don't remember my exact words when I opened the door to the condo and saw all the way through to the outside, but I'm pretty sure it was something that was not quite as lady like as I would normally have it!  The kids were out of earshot... so Parent of the Year award is not in jeopardy!

One of the really great features of where we stayed was the chair and umbrella service.  Every morning these men would come by and set it all up... we didn't have to haul, or set up anything.  We would just walk down, set out our towels, and all day we were in the shade!

Then there is the sand.  It's WHITE!  Seriously!!!  We had to keep sunglasses on at all times, otherwise it was WAY TOO BRIGHT!  Daddio is convinced that the slight sunburn he had on his legs was from the reflection from the sand, not from being out!  It was intense, and nothing like anything we've ever seen before!

Well this is what you came for, right?  A picture tour of the beach!
The view from our balcony!

Also a view from our balcony looking straight down into the pool!
Our condo building.  We were in the unit in the bottom right hand corner.
The water was so amazing!
Now, the important aspect of this picture is SNOOKER!  This is the first year he was totally a daredevil in the water!
Surfing is in our near future!
Bubba practicing his Dead Man float...
It was so fun watching the boys actually SWIMMING in the water.  It was so clear, and pretty deep where we were that they really enjoyed exploring the area!
Bubba and Daddio.  Those two spent a great deal of time snorkeling!
The really cool part of this shot is not only Bubba and Daddio... but the dolphin in the background.  We had a pod that would swim by several times a day!  In this one, they are just on the other side of the sandbar... that's were Bubba and Daddio are headed!
A boy and his net!  He tried like the dickens to catch a fish... sadly crabs were all he managed!
Most mornings started out as green flag days.  The water was as calm as a swimming pool!
This is exactly how it looked... none of these shots have been adjusted one bit!
Well, I figured if I put in a few shots of Daddio, I better add one of me... otherwise he might choose one!

Vacation, leg three

Next up is Alabama. Now I felt sort of bad for Mississippi... we drove right though, not stopping even once. It was lovely from the car window!

Saturday morning we woke up, hit Cafe Du Monde, then headed out. We would be reaching our final destination today, but saw online about the USS Alabama and the SR-71 they had on static display. Naturally we had to stop!

Wow!  That thing is HUGE!  We were able to tour both the battleship, the submarine, and the static display before we were all pooped out and needed to eat lunch!  If you are driving through this area, and your kids can manage stairs (lots and lots of them), it's worth the stop!


Vacation, leg two

Friday morning we set out for NOLA! It was an easy drive, and we arrived just a lunch time (score!). We found a great parking spot down south of the French Quarter, on the river... and went to Landry's for lunch... Heaven, I'm in Heaven... oh how I love good seafood!  The city beckoned, and we obliged!

After a little discussion we decided that the best way to see the most we could would be to take a carriage ride!  It really was a lot of fun.  Belle, and noble... ahh, mule was a doll, and the carriage driver was funny!  We were taken through each block, with all sorts of things being pointed out to us... even Brad and Angelina's home, the home that the IRS took back from Nick Cage, and the bar that stayed open through Hurricane Katrina.

Oh, and I had no idea that there was an Ursuline Convent and school down there, but boy was that a pretty sight in the city!

After the carriage ride, we did a little more exploring on foot.  We really wanted to take a peak inside St. Louis Cathedral.  It's the oldest cathedral, and second oldest church... anyone know the oldest church????  It's in St. Augustine (we saw it on a travels to Florida a few years ago).  I'm thinking I should make us a passport of all the Catholic hotspots we've hit over the years!

Anyhooooooo, it is so beautiful on the inside, and out!  We were able to go in, spend some quiet time in prayer, and have a look around.  WOW!  Just outside of the cathedral (not shown in the picture) is a section of street that is closed off.  Now, if you've never been it is little shocking and annoying (in my opinion)... but there are fortune tellers and crap all set up right there... just outside of the doors!  YUCK!

Well, that pretty much rounded out our NOLA time... oh wait, there's one more thing you must have when you are in the French Quarter... beignets.  Now, growing up (in Louisiana), my mom would make them... but I never had the originals from Cafe Du Monde... Heaven, I'm in Heaven... Powdery Sugar Wonderfulness!

Vacation, leg one

Every January we start planning our summer vacation. It is always a bittersweet event... I mean, it is super exciting to starting making plans, but it is oh so painful to wait until May before we can get on the open road. This year we decided it was time to venture beyond our comfort zone, we saw a great deal in Florida on a condo on the beach and BAM booked it! I'll admit I was slightly skeptical on just how beautiful the beach and ocean looked. Trust me, we've seen pictures and then arrived to something lovely but not really what the pictures would lead you to believe. Well, I'll stop there because I'm not sharing that part just yet, and start the journey with you. Oh yes, it was a journey!

We decided to break up the trip a little since we would be crossing 5 states. I'm originally from Louisiana, with family still there. So on Thursday we headed out and spent the evening with my cousins.

Thanks to our giddiness to get on the road, we were making good time. When we saw the sign for The Big Thicket National Park, it was a no brainer, we need to pull over and check it out. They have a lovely main office, gift shop, and movie about the park and it's origins. Naturally we wanted to see more. We spoke with a park ranger about all the different hiking trails, and found one that we thought would be a nice 2 mile hike! Wow! I highly recommend this park. Honestly I can't wait until we can get back down there again and hit other trails they have. To be able to traverse all of the different ecosystems that are found in one place is really something special. The trees were so cool, and we even found wild black berries. YES, we picked a few and the boys tried them. SO AWESOME!!!!  Then it was back in the car for the last few miles to get to our evening stop.

My cousin's place is just perfect for boys!  They have a large property with cows, chickens, a horse, and a pond... and all of our kids play so well together! The boys had a blast! I had a lot of fun too, catching up... and once again found out just how tasty I am to local mosquitoes!  In just a few minutes outside I wound up with about 30 bites on my legs (a week and a half later I still have about half of them that I'm trying NOT to scratch).  Oh well, it was worth it :-).


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The wheels of the bus

Homeschooling has been a bit of a challenge this year.  It just seems that we've had to deal with one storm after another... be it in our household or in our extended family... nothing has gone all that smoothly.  Looking back on all the years we've been doing this, 7 if you count Bobcat's kindergarten, this has been maybe the most tumultuous.  We've probably considered and reconsidered the direction for next year more than a dozen times, and not in a playful way... in a serious "I think we've done all that we can do from here, it's time that they learn from someone else" way!

I have my list of Why We Homeschool hanging in my computer desk, and I look at it frequently.  Sometimes I see different objectives on there and think that homeschooling at the moment is actually working against those, or that my own reaction is nothing like the Holy Family (so a massive fail on that agenda).  They fact is, we've been going through growing pains I think.  As a parent trying to navigate the road of "is he ready to do this on his own," and the child so much desiring more freedom whether he is mature enough to handle it or not.  Then you add in the additional extended family drama adding stress to Daddio and me... Yep, the perfect storm.

Who knows, maybe it is summer vacation (Praise God for our beach getaways) that seems to bring everything back into perspective.  We're on the homeschooling train, and we will have ups and downs... we knew that going in, and we've relearned that every year.  The reasons we wanted to homeschool still apply, and overall are being accomplished.  The boys have made great progress this year in areas that seemed to fall behind last year.  We're all maturing in this process, just at different rates... the long view is what is needed in times of struggle!

In just a few weeks we are headed back to the beach... 8 days of sand and surf (and beer for the grown-ups).  All will be right with the world again, and we will all be ready to face the challenges of next year!