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!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Stations as a mother, and other Lenten thoughts...

Over at Creative Minority Report is this great post from a guest poster... and what a wonderful post it is. Her words are my thoughts, and my agony as a mother. I can remember the first time I heard a priest talk about Mary's heart pleading and the Heavenly Father answering her prayers.  Christ didn't NEED Simon, Christ didn't NEED Veronica... Mary did, we DO.

I needed to read this post this morning.  Life is tough.  Families are made up of people... sinners, some trying and some not.  Suffering is just part of it.  Are you choosing to sin?  Are the sins of others causing your suffering.  What are you doing with it?  Are you offering it up?  Are you holding on to it to let it fester and work against you?  Have you chosen to repent, or live in denial?

The truth is, you know the answer within you.  Walk the Stations if you have the least bit of doubt.

It's hard to walk the Stations, it's supposed to be hard.  It is supposed to be reflective... it's supposed to be a visual reminder of what we are uniting our sufferings too.  It's what HE came for, and we are who HE came for, and that is what HE had to do for us!  It's the heart of our faith.  He SUFFERED and DIED for us... so that we might LIVE!

That last part, might live... I didn't really get that until I was a grown up and really came to grips with the reality of sin... every sin is DEATH, a little bit of death to your soul... yes He died for us, but are we really choosing LIFE, the life He died to give us?  Or are we a slave to sin, hoping that He will look the other way at the end of days...

Being a grown up is tough, sometimes it really isn't a whole heap of FUN, and easy is rarely part of the package.  It's about the choices we make.  It can feel simple to make the immediate gratification choice, but in the long run is that really the decision that will allow your soul to be free and alive in Christ?

As people of God, we must take the long view... the big picture if you will!  Our reward is not here, and it's not now... for our treasure awaits us in heaven, and our happiness is in Christ!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I know you know the phrase, no good deed goes unpunished... boy has today felt like that. While trying to make a cheesecake, I had pressed in my graham cracker crust and was going to pick it up (the spring form pan) and move it over by the stove, when I picked it up the bottom of the pan fell out and out went the crust all over the floor... that's the kind of day it has been!

Thankfully I had enough ingredients to redo the entire crust, but by the time I cleaned it all up and set to making a new one... well tic toc goes the clock! And to show you just how befuddled I was... usually when I cook, I'm a clean as you go kind of gal, because I rather dislike all the clean up at the end...

Oh well, dinner won't have a lot of clean up so I suppose I will survive :-)...

Okay on to better things, our lovely beds are a bloomin!  Even the camillia which usually is all done by the start of March has to decided to continue blooming!  She's a beaut!

 Next up are the long beds (I only got one good shot of the very front one, maybe later I will try to grab a better one of the one closest to the house) with irises, tulips and daffodils.  The daffodils are on their way out, while the tulips and irises are just making their appearances!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not dead, yet!

I'm alive... we're all alive... but we've all been busy in one way or another! For me, I've been trying to get as much rest as possible to get over this nose pain. The boys are headlong into the final stretch of the school year (and we are all ready for the BEACH!!!). And Daddio, well, he has been busy running. Two weeks ago he competed and completed his first half-marathon! Wow, I can't say enough how totally impressed I am with his accomplishment! Not only did he complete it, he ran it really WELL (keeping a 10 min pace, he's awesome)!

In the coming weeks I hope to have some time to type out my thoughts and progress of planning Bobcat's upcoming 7th grade year.  I know, I'm fairly shocked as well.  Actually, I really try not to think about it because I just don't feel prepared and like any homeschooling parent I wonder how ready he is!


Friday, February 17, 2012

The worst is over and I'm headlong into recovery. At least that is what the doctor told me yesterday as he clipped the stitched and pulled out the splints!

Okay, going into this surgery everyone told me it was no big deal... I would be up and about in no time, feelin fine.  I really thought this because typically I bounce back pretty quick, I rarely let anything slow me down!  This surgery has been different.

To give you a brief run down on the gist of it... here goes:

I went to the hospital on the 6th.  Naturally my blood pressure was a little high, I get a little edgy!  The intake nurse was kind enough to blow out two veins on my left arm and not able to start an IV (nearly two weeks later that arm is still black and blue... nice).  Then she proceeded to tell me that "this is day surgery so YOU need to wake up, don't curl up in a ball and pretend you are still asleep, WAKE UP and LEAVE!"  Nice bedside manner, right?!  Some waiting, then say adios to Daddio and taken to the holding pen.  This is where the anesthesia team gets ya goin!  Thankfully the nurses here where able to get the IV in on the first go!  Oh and they put this sweet patch behind my ear and for the first time in 32 years I did not immediately get sick upon waking up! YEAH!!

Enter drugs... sleepy... don't even remember them rolling the bed beyond the doors!

I remember waking up post-op, and looking toward the end of the bed to a nurse standing there doing paperwork.  In a very nice voice she tells to me to close my eyes and rest, that I was going to be in that spot for another 45-60 minutes and there was no need to wake up.  WHAT?  What a relief!  So I closed me eyes... from time to time they would flutter open, and I could make out the same nurse standing there... but I would close them again... who knows how long (well, Daddio does I guess), I was in a private room.  The oxygen mask had been taken off, but the blow up leg thingy-ies were still inflating and deflating (those were kind of weird but kind of massagy too).  I had a new nurse at this point and she brought me water and crackers... and Daddio!  Boy was I glad to see him...

Surprising, all of the nurses that I came in contact with post-op were not trying to shuffle me out of the door as I thought would happen based on the foreboding comments of the intake nurse.  Praise GOD!  They were kind, and gentle... and one in particular was so caring during that quite humbling experience of redressing before you leave!

The car ride home was pretty painful, we were in Daddio's little Mazda... I could feel every crack in the pavement as we drove home... thankfully I was still really sleepy and just closed me eyes and tried to sleep.

What does it feel like... like you've been punched in the face.  Since that day all the way to this day... that's what it feels like.  Pain meds help, but I could still feel it.  My eyes even hurt... it was just weird.  Unfortunately on top of all of it, I was having a reaction to the pain meds and the anti-biotic and had to take loads of benadryl  to keep the reactions manageable.  I slept a lot, which was nice.

Fast forward a week and half or so...

Yesterday I went in and had the splints removed... wow (not a real pleasant experience but no one cried or puked so I would say it was successful)... air going into both sides of my nose, strange!  I can't really smell yet.  Every now and again I pick up a little bit of a scent... but not everything is back up and functioning yet.  I'm not allowed to blow my nose for 6 weeks (but I can sniff, which is annoying)... there are still a bunch of dissolving stitches in there they don't want messed up.  I can't take a bath for another 3 weeks (showers only for some reason).  No lifting for 4 weeks, no stooping for another 2 weeks...  weird stuff like that.  I can finally get my contacts in without my eyes feeling weird, but my nose hurts too much to wear glasses yet.  Everything is itchy in there... my cheeks (well the sinus cavities) are still sort of numbish, as well as the roof of my mouth feeling a little strange and sore.  My front lip doesn't work very well, so straws are still my best friend for drinking... and yawning... oh good heavens, not a great idea!  So it would seem that I have another 4 weeks at least of things not feeling or working quite right, and I guess that is what has thrown me.  I really didn't expect more than a few days of not feeling great, and then being the healthy person I was before the last sinus infection started.

End rambling now :-)

Well, I've been sitting up for a while now, and am starting to feel a lot of unwanted throbbing... so back to recline I go!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cheesey Souffle

My first souffle!  Of course, I was make a large batch and really didn't know how full to fill the little ramekins (she uses larger ones on her recipe, which I didn't notice until after I began mixing everything)... they did rise to the top, but soon after settled in!  They were so cute... so puffy... so TASTY!  I highly recommend this recipe for Parmesan Cheese Souffle!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The nose knows

Well, the nose is supposed to know... unfortunately mine never got the memo. What memo?  You know, the memo about being normal and not always having a sinus infection and all that jazz... yeah we missed that one!  I've been fighting a nasty and frustrating sinus infection since September, which brought on bronchitis at times and fluid in the ears.  I've had a handful of okay days in there, but mostly really crappy days.  I've been to several appointments, tried several meds... one gave a little relief, while two caused me to have unpleasant reactions to say the least, oh then there was the shot with two steroids (not pleasant), a handful of nose sprays, the netti pot (sometimes 4-5 times a day, even with the threat of the dreaded brain bugs), tons of over the counter meds, allergy testing, CT scan, and finally a consult with an ENT (who stuck a camera down my nose, not one of my funnest moments).

The one phrase the allergist used to sum it up: "You have anatomical abnormalities that cause you to have recurrent and long term sinus infections!"  Yeah, I didn't need a medical degree to figure that one out either!  So off to the ENT we went because that was really the only other person that could do anything about my situation.  As it turns out surgery is the way to fix my anatomical abnormalities... oh JOY!

In a few weeks I will go under the knife and wake up to a straightened septum and smaller something or others that need to be smaller (thanks to a laser), and 10 days after that I will be breathing a lot better! Yeah!

Thangs and Stuff

Thangs and stuff, that is how Snooker will answer the question, "What have you been up to, today?"... and that, my friends, is what I've been up to all these weeks of not posting.  Life has been busy this school year.  Starting in September I began teaching twice a month at our homeschool co-op.  I enjoy it for the most part, but it is somewhat time consuming on my brain.  I'm working with 12 students (including Snooker and Bubba)... 6 boys and 6 girls, who for the most part have never picked up a needle.  So coming up with the projects, and working out the directions, at times has been a real brain puzzler.

Our own school year has been a little rocky.  In some ways I wish I could say the problems are all new, but in all honesty, it's the same old problems just at a slightly higher level.  I'm sure the even more seasoned homeschoolers out there will chuckle at that statement.  I mean, for real, what was I expecting... that somehow their personalities would change and suddenly what they hated before they would love and that they would find new things to complain about... ha ha ha... not a chance.  Same old, same old!  Thankfully Daddio has once again stepped in and taken over the forever old reluctance in the math department!  I can't even begin to imagine our homeschool running without his help and support... I would be in the loony bin FOR SURE without him (or in a quiet house all day because they are away at school, hmmmm don't tempt me :-)!

So schooling has been stressful... what could be the only other thang that could be more stressful that that?  Obedience of course!  The last few months have been fraught with bizarre and frustrating behavior.  In all honesty, I have no idea where most of it has come from.  Although, Daddio reminds me regularly not to ask WHY, because there is no good answer... they are boys and that's what they do... we must just try to find ways to persuade them not to do really stupid things.  Yeah, that's work, NOT!  How bizarre you might ask?!  Well, 3am pantry raids, picking up pre-chewed gum off the street and putting in their own mouth, getting into his allergy pills and taking far too many, deciding not to get up to use the restroom (not a fun one to find out about), eating Nutella with their hands hidden in the corner of their room, stashing large sums of half eaten granola bars in their book case and then the pillow case (Daisy the dog found those for me, some need bomb smelling dogs... we have a food stash finding dog!)... the list goes on and on really!

Let's see what else has been keeping me busy... oh yeah, the holidays and my business.  Turns out if you have a shop on Etsy and products people want to give as gifts you will do quite nicely for yourself!  It is a lot of fun having a shop and creating products, but it has also been very time consuming.  Along with the sewing for my shop, we decided that all of the extended family gifts would be hand made (my hands would be doing all the making).  So between all the custom orders for the shop, and tons of gifts for the family, I WAS BUSY!  I can honestly say that I'm glad that is done!  Now that I know how it works, I will be far better prepared for it!  On a side note, while it is so exciting to see my goods here in the continental US, I've also had sales in London and Australia!  Boy, I was super pumped going to PO to ship those!

So that's it in a nut shell.