Monday, February 28, 2011

Mrs. McGillicuddy

I first saw this over on Fr. Z's blog and then headed over to NCR to read the entire thing (it's written by one of my favorite NCR bloggers, Patrick Archbold). And I just had to post it hear because... well I guess lately I've been feeling a little Mrs. McGillicuddy-ish:
"..I have met a person who has had enough and can’t take it anymore, a person who has seen too much lawbreaking simply ignored by the competent authorities, a person who has finally decided to do something about it—to become a vigilante—Mrs. McGillicuddy. She sits in the third pew on the left.

As general rule, vigilantes are not born, they are made. Their steely resolve to right the wrong, forged in the fires of un-rectified lawlessness, transforms them into self appointed guardians of the good. They become—watchmen.

The Mrs. McGillicuddys of the world have had much to endure these last forty years. They sit in their pews and watch as liturgical experimentation and improvisation transform the holy mass into a vehicle of self expression for those who do not understand what it truly expresses. They sit and wonder, when will somebody do something about this? When? When they finally reach the reluctant conclusion of never, what follows results in either resignation or transformation.

Now a confession, I’m a Mrs. McGillicuddy. But I don’t want to be...

...Folks, let me be clear here. There’s your run of the mill liturgical abuse and then there is this place. At my geographical parish, I imagine they must have traveled far and wide to discover each and every variation of liturgical abuse, only to bring all them home resulting in a synthesis of all liturgical abuse, a Noah’s Ark of liturgical abuse if you will. It was that day that I first transformed from mild-mannered Patrick into Mrs. McGillicuddy—Liturgical Watchman

I resolved to call the diocese. I got the Director of Worship on the phone. I said, “I want to report some liturgical abuse.” I never knew this before, but you can actually hear eye-rolling over the phone. I am sometimes surprised that an epidemic of blindness does not plague diocesan liturgical directors, for all the eye-rolling they must do...."

Read the entire post here.
As many of you know I've been struggling with this a lot lately... It's been a mixed experience. I've given a lot more thought to the Mass and why these abuses bother me so much, which in a way has made me appreciate the beauty of the Mass even more (if that's possible!). On the other hand it being mentioned was followed by a homily on "nitpicking" and there still has been no change. I'm a little depressed about it. Two weeks ago we made the two hour round trip drive. I think we probably will this week as well...

I have an image of my head of a college with a EF Mass close by... That would actually influence my vote in the poll at the right side of the page...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

WDTPRS Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict for St. Joseph’s Day (19 March)

I just saw this great post over on Father Z's blog. The quote below explains what's going on:

Think of the great cares the Holy Father bears in his heavy mandate as Vicar of Christ. He has need of our prayers to help him be strong and to guard him from his enemies.

I propose to all readers here a Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict with a ending date of 19 March, the Feast of St. Joseph, which is the Holy Father’s baptismal “name day”. Since we are beginning on 19 February we have about a month.

Will you participate?

So click on over and read through the choices and select one (or more!). You can add to the spiritual bouquet every 24 hours. The choices include praying a decade of the rosary, five decades or an entire rosary, fasting, spiritual reading, Mass, works of mercy and visiting the Blessed Sacrament!

Friday, February 25, 2011

1000 Posts

I thought I'd share a picture of me and the girls for my 1000th post, with all of us smiling and looking at the camera. But since it's apparently impossible for all of us to look at a camera at the same time, much less look at a camera and smile at the same time, I will settle for a picture in which we're all looking at a tractor. Sadie and Maggie are both pleased by the compromise. They both love tractors...

The Mysteries of the Day

Does anyone else think of days of the week in terms of mysteries of the rosary? I just realized the other day that I do this, and have for a couple of years without ever really giving it much thought.

Tuesday and Friday stand out from all the other days because they are the days I instantly equate with the Passion.

I look forward to Thursdays all week long, because, while it was initially hard for me to picture the Luminous Mysteries, I have to admit that they are my favorite now. I think it's because when I look back over our pilgrimage to the Holy Land when I was pregnant with Sadie the sites of the Baptism, the Wedding at Cana and the Transfiguration are some of the most vivid (although Gethsemane and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre really stand out too!).

And of course Monday and Saturday are Joyful and Wednesday and Sunday are Glorious!

It's hard to describe, but somehow the feel of the mysteries permeate the rest of the day, even on days when I forget to pray or when I pray several different mysteries.

And now to think of a thousandth post. This one is 999! I can't believe I'm almost to 1000!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Well Formed Conscience or Why We Can't Just Do Whatever We Want

I’ve heard the argument so often that when I hear it now I let out a sigh. It goes something like this: “Well the Church can’t tell you to go against your conscience. Vatican II says that. In fact Saint So and So (fill in a saint of your choice) says that in (fill in a liberal priests name, preferably followed by an SJ in association with a well known University)’s book “Let’s All Hold Hands and Sing.””

This “logic” bothers me all the more when the person is encouraging another person to commit a grave sin, usually against unquestionably clear Church teachings. They often add their own story, about how they commit this act on a daily basis, and have for the past twenty years, and if God’s going to be upset about it than they’ll just have to face that because they’re doing what their “conscience” told them to do.

Sometimes, and this part makes me very sad, they’ll add something along the lines of: “and I talked to my priest and he says to do what my conscience tells me” and that I think is absolutely heartbreaking.

I mean we have stories of Saints who were, well, Saintly, and they still sought guidance from spiritual advisors, and yet we have ordinary people who struggle to understand what we’re supposed to do in a very warped world where moral relativism and subjective morality have been placed on pedestals and often times we aren’t getting the advice that we desperately need.

And we’re just supposed to go out there and figure it out for ourselves?

That was never the plan. That’s why the Church exists. And thankfully, the Catechism can give us a few clues as to what’s going on with this whole “conscience” business:
In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church. (Catechism, no. 1785)
In an age where many people can justify pretty much any perversion, and pleasure has been raised up to a “right,” having a well-formed conscience is almost seen as “unnatural.” Yet a well-formed conscience is what we are called to develop. And through prayer, studying Church teachings and frequent reception of the sacraments we have a chance at doing just that, at unburying the law which modern society would have us ignore. As Lumen Gentium says:
“Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” (Lumen Gentium, no. 16)
It is then that we can put aside our desire to do what is easy, and perhaps harder still, our desire to be right and our pride which tells us to do what we want to do, to raise ourselves, not only above the Church and the magesterium, but above God himself, making the same mistake someone else made when he said "I will scale the heavens; Above the stars of God I will set up my throne; I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly, in the recesses of the North. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!"

Okay, so we may not use those exact words, but that’s basically what we’re doing when we decide that our conscience is a better guide than the Bride of Our Savior, the Church that Christ established when he said “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

That’s why I strive to remember (and follow) the advice of the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, if I ever find a teaching that challenges what I hold in my heart to be true:
“That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity with the Church herself, if she shall have defined anything to be black which appears to our eyes to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black. For we must undoubtingly believe, that the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Orthodox Church His Spouse, by which Spirit we are governed and directed to Salvation, is the same…”
You see, I know I’m wrong, frequently. But I trust Christ’s promise to Peter: that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church.

That promise is as true today as it was two thousand years ago… even if the teachings that have been established to guide us, don’t pass the anything-goes-do-whatever-you-want-just-cause-its-fun-or-you-feel-like-it-or-you-really-think-its-for-the-best test.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Sadie Dances Again

I had fun making this last night! It's almost a year and a half of Sadie's Dance Moves!

Hope for the CCHD?

I just saw this over at A Catholic View. Hopefully this means that Bishop Soto has been able to begin to turn the CCHD around!

Bishop of Green Bay ends moratorium on CCHD collection
By Kevin J. Jones

Green Bay, Wis., Feb 22, 2011 / 05:59 am (CNA).- Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay has announced the end of a moratorium on local collections for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development because of policy changes aimed at preventing grants to groups whose actions contradict Catholic teaching.

“I am confident that we have the necessary checks in place that will help us to be better informed and assist us in discerning grant requests properly,” Bishop Ricken said in his seven-page Feb. 16 pastoral statement.

The bishop noted “significant disagreement” about some of the campaign's grants. Though the campaign has done “much good,” a few organizations that received its funds acted in conflict with Catholic teaching or had direct connections to coalitions which acted in contradiction to Catholic principles of social justice.

There was also concern about the “appearance of partisan political positions” some of these organizations had taken and whether this reflected poorly upon the adherence of a parish or diocese to the U.S. bishops’ guidelines for political involvement.

Bishop Ricken had ordered a moratorium on the collection in his diocese pending further review by the U.S. bishops’ conference. Five of the campaign’s 270 grants made in 2010 were defunded once the U.S. Bishops’ Conference became aware of the grantees’ conflicts with Catholic teaching.

Read the entire article here.

The Catholic Pick-up Line Song

Toddler Quotes: Anacondas, Spiders and Baths

A sample of today's conversations with Sadie (as well as I can remember them!):

Nani: "When Maggie's one she'll be big enough to take a bath in the big tub and you can take a bath together!"
Sadie: Turns and looks at Maggie sitting on Nani's lap and wags her finger at Maggie before saying "No!"

Later when Nani and Sadie went on a walk (I was cooped up sick inside on the couch with Mae):

Nani: "Animals make those holes." (As they walk past ground squirrel holes near the house)
Sadie: "Anaconda!"

Tonight when Sadie was playing in the sink with her two toy elephants:

Me: "Do you like elephants?"
Sadie: "Yeah!"
Me: "And anacondas?" (because she's a little obsessed with them at the moment... every snake is an "anaconda")
Sadie: "Yeah!"
Me: "And caymans?" (obsession #2... every alligator or crocodile that she sees is a "cayman!")
Sadie: "Yeah!"
Me: "And spiders?"
Sadie: "Ye... No!"
Me: "Bugs?"
Sadie: "Ick!" (a disgusted sort of raspberry sound)

She certainly has opinions... about everything these days!


After today's earlier post this caught my eye... I bet you don't think of wedding bells when you think of McDonald's... at least not yet...
McDonalds Serves Up McWeddings

HONG KONG (Reuters) – In the buzzing financial hub known for its fast living, young Hong Kong couples can now grab love on the run at the city's McDonald's outlets, which are offering a burgeoning new sideline: "McWeddings."
On Valentine's Day at a downtown McDonald's close to the financial district, the fast food joint was decked out with pink balloons, a "cake" stacked from apple pies, as well as a pair of tiny souvenir crystal M rings, for a surprise engagement bash thrown by Kelvin, a young model, for his girlfriend, Ashley.
The party is the first formal wedding event since the service was launched in January.
McDonald's says the concept isn't tacky and fills a niche in Hong Kong, where its restaurants are popular dating venues and the prices for more typical weddings run high.
"They date here, they grew their love here, so when they have this important day they want to come over here," said Shirley Chang, the managing director of Hong Kong's McDonald's outlets.
The McDonald's "Warm and sweet wedding package," at HK$9999 ($1282) a pop, includes wedding gifts, pink invitation cards emblazoned with golden arches, decor featuring the likes of Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar, and classic golden arches fare worth up to $385.
Additional items will cost extra, including a "white balloon" gown rental ($165), balloon corsage ($11), balloon wedding cake ($88), and a large pink McDonalds backdrop ($321).
"You can see the world changing, especially the young generation," Chang told Reuters.

Read the whole article here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby Joseph Saved From Life Support Removal

You may recall reading this post about the Maraachli family's fight to save their son from euthanasia earlier in the week. Today they have hope:
Baby Joseph saved from life support removal – transfer to Michigan hospital likely

LONDON, Ontario, February 17, 2011 ( - One-year-old Joseph Maraachli of Windsor, Ontario, who was to have his life support removed Monday at 10 am. against his parents’ wishes, will now not die on the day that Ontario residents celebrate as Family Day. A hustle by pro-life and anti-euthanasia groups resulted in a change in legal counsel, which has led to at least a temporary stay of removal of the child’s ventilator.

Alex Schadenberg, head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, informed LifeSiteNews Sunday evening that negotiations are underway to transfer Joseph to a hospital in Michigan.

In a statement released today, London Health Sciences Centre said it has received a request from a Michigan hospital “to review Baby Joseph Maraachli’s medical information regarding the feasibility and appropriateness of a potential patient transfer.”

Read the entire story here.

Another Dress

I hear the girls out in the other room demanding that Mommy come rescue Daddy so that he can get ready for work, but I couldn't resist joining in the fun and joining in the Wedding Dress Round-Up post at Betty Beguiles! So, I quickly dug up a few of my favorite online pictures. Here they are:

You may notice there are two dresses, which is a long story... and a story for another day! I hear baby bunnies and they will not wait!

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Two Princesses and a Tractor

Sadie can have a fairly short fuse, but with Mae she is usually tirelessly patient. This patience surprises me on a regular basis, because something that would cause Sadie to give anyone else a good hard pinch, causes her to smile sweetly at her baby sister. Lately though, Mae has been testing that patience. She's very mobile now and she follows her sister around the house for the majority of her waking hours. I put together a couple different clips below when Mae is beginning to wear the so-far-tireless patience down. Sadie's still doing pretty well for a two year old though!

On the other hand, I think Maggie thinks that her name is: "No Mae No!"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Old Apartment and The Headaches... A Mystery...

I thought about writing this blog post back in December before we moved, but after Paul and I talked about it I decided to wait. Actually he forbade me going into detail about the subject at the time, because it would scare people and there wasn’t anything that could be done to change the situation for a few weeks and so we waited and prayed and thankfully were finally able to move into our current home (which we love!).

However, the news stories about the reporter suffering from a “complex migraine” got me thinking about the past eight months and I thought I’d finally write a post about everything that happened (if you’re a regular longtime reader you may remember some of the details… now I can finally fill in the blanks).

Towards the very end of my pregnancy with Maggie I started having fairly intense migraines several times a week. At the time we thought that they were related to the pregnancy hormones and possibly my higher than normal blood pressure (which was around 130/70-something. It’s usually around 90/50-something). I figured I would live with the more frequent migraines (the only option my OB came up with was narcotics and while I took the prescription home I wasn’t really comfortable taking them while pregnant) and that they’d go away once the baby was born.

Unfortunately that didn’t happen. And then they changed. Less than a month after Maggie was born I started experiencing extreme dizziness with the migraines. Then the numbness started (and that was just frightening!). The entire right side of my face would go numb. I could tell a headache was coming on some days when I’d have a hard time pronouncing certain words (“womb” when we were praying Hail Mary’s was always a giveaway, because I’d start having a hard time with my w’s).

Other times I would suddenly realize that I felt completely and totally drunk. As in a “I can’t drive home right now because the room won’t hold still even though I am” feeling. The pain part of the headache would usually follow within an hour, although occasionally it would remain pain-free but disorienting vertigo. And Paul and I both have noticed that my personality and sense of humor would change slightly (again, not unlike being drunk. I am suddenly much more chattery before a migraine.).

Sometimes putting my feet in scalding hot water helped, but only if I caught the headache very early on. During very bad headaches I would take the painkillers that I didn’t need when I had my c-section (to put in perspective how bad these headaches are!), but even they wouldn’t always take the edge of the headaches.

I went to the local clinic, but they were limited in what they could do since I was (and am) still nursing. They tried a blood pressure lowering medication that is known to help with migraines, but that was it’s own mini-disaster and after one day I swore off that plan altogether (needless to say that if you have blood pressure that is 90/55, blood pressure lowering medication is probably not a great idea!).

This dragged on for months. I was averaging two or three migraines a week. The headaches kept getting more and more frightening as the numbness seemed to be getting worse and worse.

One morning we ran into one of our neighbors at the old place and she told us that she really wanted to move. A mutual neighbor was having horrible headaches and nausea, as was her own husband and they were worried about the root of the problem. According to the mutual neighbor, an elderly woman, her chiropractor had given her a test (a cotton ball dipped in some solution) that she put out in her apartment overnight and then returned to the chiropractor and that the test had shown asbestos in the air.

Now I have no idea if that is true, but I do know that the news that three of the five units in the building housed people who were having extreme headaches and nausea was troubling.

A month later we moved and I breathed a sigh of relief.

I’ve only had two headaches in the last month (we’ve lived here for a month and a half now). They’re still different and still include the dizziness/aura, but I can deal with them in limited quantities.

I do wonder if we should report the experience to someone… I do believe that there’s something dangerous in those apartments that’s making people sick (any time we reported anything wrong the people in charge would say they were really sorry but the owner doesn’t want to spend any money….).

And that is reasoning 574 that I am thrilled that we moved!

Daily Dose of Cuteness: A Sadie Smile

It's hard to catch a Sadie smile on camera these days. She sees the camera and ducks her head and tries to hide. So I was thrilled when I snapped this picture:

I can #1) see her eyes! and #2) a smile!

I actually got her to wear a pony tail for around five minutes this afternoon (then she discovered the pony tail elastic in her hair and acted as if it were a major act of betrayal).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Canadian Court Rules Baby's Life Support Removed Against Parents Wishes

This story is heartbreaking. When I saw the link posted on a friend's facebook page I hoped I'd somehow misunderstood the title. Unfortunately 'Death Panels:' Canadian Court Rules Baby's Life Support Removed Against Parents Wishes doesn't leave much room for doubt about the direction the story, and the Canadian government, are choosing

“...Monday at 10 am they will kill my baby,” Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, told LifeSiteNews shortly after the ruling. “There’s no more humanity. There’s no more chance. I’ve tried everything for him. No more appeals, nothing.”

“I asked them: why not send him to Windsor and let him die at home?” he continued. “They said they will give him injection, but I don’t want to...”
“...Is it that they want to simply say, we have control?” he asked. “If it’s about their control, then we’re in serious trouble. They now control when someone lives and when someone dies, and who makes those decisions, and how those decisions are made.”

Schadenberg said the court appears to be saying that hospitals and doctors can make decisions for patients whether they like it or not. “It’s worse than the death panel concept that’s being debated in the US. It really is, it’s much worse,” he said. “They’re saying ‘we will decide’, they’re not even going to converse with you. ‘We have the weight of the Court, we have the financial bearing of a massive government institution to be able to force this on you.’”

“That has serious repercussions, because you simply cannot trust the moral authority of the health care institution or the doctors,” he added...
Read the entire article here.
Paul's been planning on applying to a canon law program in Ontario in addition to the other schools he's already applied to... and this makes me not want to even consider moving there while he studies... This is such an appalling decision. And as a parent it's frightening.

Sadly, this shows the next step a government may take when it fails to see the value of human life...

Photo from

Daily Dose of Cuteness: We're Going on a Bear Hunt

It takes a few verses before Sadie joins in... Now she's doing this with most of the books we've been reading a lot! And she's finishing each line of our prayers too!

My personal favorite moments seem to come with our prayers. Sadie can say the last words of each line of the Our Father and about half of them for a Hail Mary. When we tried a Glory Be, here's what she started with:

Me: "Glory be to the..."
Sadie: "Pa!"

Sadie Frown of the Week: The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals

I know, I know... Can we really be surprised, or even disappointed by any ruling that comes out of this particular court? Sometimes, however, their rulings are so outrageous that I still find myself wondering what on earth they're thinking. Here's the latest:

“Absurd results that disfavor religion”
U.S. Supreme Court asked to review appeals court ruling on San Francisco’s anti-Catholic resolution

The Thomas More Law Center filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 15 asking that it reverse a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a resolution adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors nearly five years ago vilifying the Catholic Church.

“San Francisco’s resolution, adopted March 21, 2006, refers to the Vatican as a ‘foreign country’ meddling in the affairs of the City and proclaims the Church’s moral teaching and beliefs on homosexuality as ‘insulting to all San Franciscans,’ ‘hateful,’ ‘insulting and callous,’ ‘defamatory,’ ‘absolutely unacceptable,’ ‘insensitive and ignorant,’” the Law Center said in announcing the appeal yesterday.

The resolution went so far as to call on Catholics to disobey the Vatican. “The Board of Supervisors urges Archbishop Niederauer and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to defy all discriminatory directives of Cardinal Levada,” the resolution said in part...

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where Should We Go?

You may notice there's a poll at the side of my blog. It doesn't include all of the schools that Paul applied to, but it includes all of the Catholic schools he applied to (he says that if he could add a school it would be University of Saint Thomas in Minneapolis).

I have a personal favorite.

And we'd love to hear your opinion too if you have a favorite (or a least favorite as the case may be!).

Paul told me to note that the poll isn't binding (I'm pretty sure everyone figured that out!), but it should be fun!

And there's good news!

Paul was accepted to his first law school today! He won't let me tell you who it is yet, but hopefully I will be able to soon!

It's going to be nice to finally know where we're headed. I can hardly wait to find out. The waiting to know what's next is definitely the hard part right now! Apparently I'm being given time to work on the virtue of patience!

Dominican Nuns to Open Priory in Loomis

It's always wonderful to hear about increasing vocations! And it's especially thrilling to hear that there are so many vocations that a group has to build more priories!

You may be thinking, what could be better, so I will add the unsurprising fact that they do in fact wear habits (I think that's true of every growing group I read about!).

"...With the extraordinary rate of vocations coming to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, the building of a new priory is a timely response and a tremendous opportunity to expand the teaching apostolate of the community,” says a statement on ‘Our California Expansion’ on the order’s website..."

"...The Motherhouse of the order in Ann Arbor, Michigan, “is now filled to capacity,” says the order’s website. “In order to provide housing and adequate formation to the young women seeking to give their lives to Christ, the Sisters hope to establish priories in California and Texas, as well as a House of Studies.”

The order was established on February 9, 1997, “when John Cardinal O’Connor of New York canonically established the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist as a community of religious women,” says the order’s homepage. Since then, the order has grown from four sisters to more than 100. The average age of a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist is 28, and the average age of women entering the order is 21, according to the website.

“In a world permeated by the culture of death, the Dominican Sisters of Mary seek to restore the dignity of the human person and work to build up a culture of life through how we live, what we teach, in participating in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., the Walk for Life in San Francisco and pro-life events in other parts of the country, supporting and encouraging families and most especially through our daily fidelity to the consecrated life and our prayers,” says one entry on the order’s homepage..."

Read the entire article here.

In related vocations news while there was a decrease in the "relative superabundance" of priests in North America and Europe (the article compares the percentage of Catholics that were in these areas in the past when compared with the percentage of Catholics in the world) and in priests who are members of religious orders, there has been an overall increase of 5,600 priests between 1999 and 2009! More wonderful news!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Valentines Day

Today was the first rainy day that we've seen in a while. We've been hoping for rain though, because while our winter started out very wet, we've had beautiful clear weather lately and everyone is worried we're headed into another drought year.

Grumpa even ended up working on chain control from 7pm to 7am!

I remembered this afternoon that while it was five years ago today Paul proposed (I never forget that!), it was six years ago today I had my very first interview with the CIA (which led to many more interviews, two trips to DC, being hired, and then finally un-hired around the time I got engaged and today being grateful for the experience but glad I didn't end up in that job which would have meant spending 80% of my time overseas! I can definitely say today that I think things turned out exactly how they were supposed to.)! Here are a few of today's pictures:

A sleepy looking Maggie, who shouldn't really be sleepy since she woke up the entire house and demanded everyone get out of bed!

The princess on her magic carpet! Her current favorite song is "A Whole New World" (she walks around the house singing "Whole New World" over and over again) and then saying "magic carpet" and dragging this little carpet out into the middle of the floor and making everyone sit on it. There was almost an injury one day when Mae "fell off" the magic carpet and Sadie panicked and tried to "rescue" her.

After winning drawing #1 at our church (this gift basket and a weekend at a bed and breakfast) we went to my Republican Women's luncheon and I won drawing #2 (candles and bath stuff). I need to send Paul out to buy a lottery ticket!

Paul loves split pea soup so I surprised him with it before he went off to work his shift last night (which started at 6pm!). And I threw in another bread experiment:

I consider the experiment to be semi-successful. The breadsticks were "okay." I think they would have been good if I hadn't missed on key sentence in the instructions which said the breaksticks would still be "sticky" when I left them to rise. I thought they were still way too gooey and added and extra half coup of flour and I think that's why they tasted kind of floury. They weren't terrible, but they weren't super either!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Five Years Ago Today...

Paul proposed and I said yes! This is Paul's favorite picture of the proposal. It was very cold!

And the Winner is... ME!

Yesterday our church had a fundraising raffle. I'm on the fundraising committee and I'd been selling tickets and we bought some of the ones that I didn't sell and dropped them off on Saturday night after we went to Mass at one of the mission churches, and didn't think much more of it. Third prize in the raffle was a piece of jewelry that I am going to make the third place winner, and I kept laughingly predicting that we would win it.

When we left to go visit Nani and Grumpa yesterday while Paul was at work I glanced at the clock and saw that it was afternoon and figured that since we hadn't heard anything we hadn't won.

However when we got home there was a light flashing on the answering machine and it was one of my friends from the fundraising committee calling to let us know that we had won the grand prize, which includes a giant gift basket and a weekend away at a bed and breakfast!

So we're pretty excited! I wonder how I'll convince Paul to take a weekend off working on his thesis...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Sadie and Mrs. Bunny's Blast from the Past!

I showed this video to Sadie tonight and it got her laughing again. Which was good to see because she's sick again and had a tough day. And on top of being sick we drove by a greenhouse that was harvesting and the before the smell was strong enough to be noticeable she started wheezing and gasping... when she finally could talk she breathlessly said "tight, tight, tight." Anyways, on to a lighter subject. Sadie and her buddy Mrs. Bunny:

"Want to Say Your Prayers?"

Me: "Sadie, do you want to say your prayers?"
Sadie: "Here Church. Here steeple. Open doors. Here people. Close doors. Hear pray. Open doors.... WAY!!!!!"

It wasn't exactly what I meant... She also proclaims "Amen!" around a dozen times a day at random intervals.

(The rhyme above was the answer to this question as well!).

A Confession Quote

An Actual Quote: "Do you think I could go to confession and confess being envious that you have a sin to confess?"

Any guesses to who in this house said it?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What I Didn't Learn in RCIA...

A thought occurred to me a couple of months ago and after it popped into my head I was rather surprised that it hadn’t occurred to me sooner. Here is the thought, roughly, as it was when it first fluttered through my brain:

I made it through our “Engaged Encounter” and RCIA without hearing a single word spoken about the Church’s teachings on contraception.

That is to say, I went to confession, had first communion and was confirmed without anyone ever telling me that contraception is forbidden by the Catholic Church.

Does anyone else find this deeply disturbing?

I stumbled upon the subject in a relatively old book that Paul had picked up at a Catholic books store. I was stunned when I came upon a list of sins that were considered mortal and found that contraception was a mortal sin. We were sitting in the car (if I remember correctly we were waiting to go to confession) and I glanced over at Paul and asked if this was “one of those things that changed after Vatican II” (oh I still had [and continue to have] so very much to learn!).

When I found out that it wasn’t I burst into tears.

You see, I understood by then that I would have to embrace this teaching (and let me say quickly that the teachings that were difficult to accept in the beginning were the ones that, after much prayer and reflection, have often proved to have the greatest positive impact after I came to terms with them). I had accepted apostolic succession (more on that later) and that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that Christ founded on Peter (Matthew Chapter 16) so being a “cafeteria” Catholic wasn’t an option. It was all or nothing and I had already made the decision that the choice was gong to be “all” even though I didn’t know exactly what “all” entailed.

After growing up in a culture where life isn’t recognized as the gift that it truly is, I was frightened by the implications that this particular teaching would have on my life and my future. Sure I wanted kids, in some vague time, some distance in the future.

Thankfully God’s plans for us, while seldom in line with our plans for ourselves, can lead us more fully towards realizing our potential if we have the courage to say “yes.”

And this particular “yes,” while difficult at the time, was another step down the road I was supposed to be heading down.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Sadie's Spring Cleaning

I've been keeping my eyes open for quite some time for a Sadie sized broom or mop. You just don't see them all that often anymore. So when I saw a mop with a little pair of gloves for $4.99 at Target today I got them and presented Sadie with them this afternoon while I was putting away groceries (and the house looked like a tornado had hit it. Sadie also got a bathing suit today and she'd wanted to put it on when we got home (I should note it was 30 degrees when we left the house this morning, although it was considerably warmer by this afternoon... I did make her leave on her tights however...). Here are some pictures of the cleaning episode that followed (I should also promise that I'm brainstorming a more serious blog post... My brain feels like it's turned to mush these last few days. I'm just so tired I've been reading the news and practically falling asleep!).

I've been meaning to clean the oven for a while...

And the floor...

Taking a break...

And cleaning the laundry room...

Sweeping up the flour that I hadn't put away yet.

Then the broom was transformed into a pony!

Maggie ready to go to work on the food! She is into everything these days!

The Best Part of the Day...

...finding out that the New Jersey Governor vetoed funding for Planned Parenthood!

Toddler Quotes (And a Video)

I should keep a running list of Sadie's Greatest Quotes. She comes up with something new every day and there's usually a pretty good chance that it's going to be hilarious (or at least, it will be when she says it). Here are some of her latest quotes from memory (I should just carry a recorder with me all the time):

Me: "What's you name?"
Sadie: "Mae Babe. Mae Babe." (usually accompanied by a look that lets me know she's feeling especially silly).
Me: "No, your name. What's your name?"
Sadie: "Hadie Kat Wall!"

Followed by a name change yesterday:

Me: "How do you say your name?"
Sadie: "Cat Wall!"
Me: "Your name's Cat?"
Sadie: "Cat Wall!"

While walking by the bank:
Me: "Who's that baby looking at you."
Sadie: "Mae Hot Babe!"
Nani: "What?"
Sadie: "Mae Hot Babe!"

We're all still baffled by that one.

And for those of you who wondered the other day (I need to go back and reply in the comments too) the rhyme Sadie was saying (and is constantly saying over and over again every day) is "Here is the church, here is the steeple..." After watching the video again though, there's no way I would have gotten that if I didn't know it.

And the final Sadie moment of the night:

Yesterday when we were at Mass Sadie and Maggie were both in fine form. I felt a bit like I might lose my mind as I tried to wrangle them and keep them quiet during an extra long weekday Mass (they were doing a novena during Mass and there are weekday homilies, so while it's nothing like Sunday it can seem long to a toddler). Sadie began by giggling in a strangle, fake voice. After being hushed she was quiet for a while, until she thought things had gone on a bit too long and she started saying "Ahhhhh- Meeeeeeeeeen!" over and over again (until the hushing worked... it's only a matter of seconds but it can seem much longer). We were in the home stretch after communion when I heard it- a loud fake snore as she pretended to be asleep. She certainly is a character! And she definitely keeps me on my toes...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Case of the Missing Keys

Here's a little snippet of my day (as I remember it)-

While driving in the car on the way to Mass this morning:

DH: "So what are you and the girls going to do while I meet with Fr. D? Are you going to take the car and take them home?"
Me: "I'm not sure. I was thinking about it..."
DH: "Are you thinking about waiting up at the church?"
Me: "I don't know... I couldn't find my keys." (quiet) "I mean, I guess I could take your keys..."
DH: (with a slight "tone") "That's just great! What will I do then?"
Me: "What do you mean?"
DH: "I was going to go by the post office and get the mail. And then I was thinking about walking home. How am I supposed to get in the house if you have the keys."
Me: "If I'm at home with the girls I could open the door and let you in."
DH: I specifically told you that your keys were on the table before we left." (You may be able to gather from this comment that I frequently lose/can't find/have my keys swiped by a toddler).
Me: "I looked there. I searched the house. Okay, well not quite searched, but I looked. You and Sadie were already getting in the car and it was getting late so I gave up... I looked on the table. I didn't hear you say that..."

A somewhat tense silence follows.

We arrive at Mass and go inside.

Halfway through Mass I see Paul feel something in his pocket and then reach into his pocket. A "look" passes across his face. The look might be described as "sheepish." He then reaches into his pocket and pulls out my keys.

Before that moment I was pretty stressed out. Maggie really wanted to chatter baby talk through Mass and Sadie was attempting to do this loud fake giggle and I was trying to keep both of them quiet while attempting to reserve some small piece of my attention for what was going on on the altar. When I saw the keys I felt a smile break out across my face. And when Paul whispered "sorry" with a smile sheepishly it was tough not to laugh. My mood lightened considerably. I'm not sure what was so funny (Paul might have thought I was having a nervous breakdown) but at least the missing keys weren't my fault!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Name that Rhyme!

Here's Sadie saying a rhyme. Does anyone speak toddler talk well enough to be able to tell which one it is?

Steak Rub Recipe

Here's my latest recipe. At the moment I'm in love with the spice cumin. When I lived in South Africa there was a little meat pastry thing that I ate almost every day called samosas. When I got back to the states I tried them when I finally found them and they had very little in common with the ones I remembered. I finally discovered the spice that was used to flavor the ground beef (cumin) and I'm now using it as much as I can. When I made the rub I wasn't sure how it would work out, but it did! And it uses most of my favorite spices, showing that more of a good thing can be wonderful:

Steak Rub

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
10 turns of our pepper grinder

Mix and rub down both sides of steak (this recipe was for two medium sized steaks). Cover rub with barbeque sauce (I used A1’s Chicago style marinade). Barbeque to your liking.

I then made a sauce to go with the steak by mixing the same spices together in a bowl and adding the rest of the Chicago style barbeque sauce to it and mixing it well. I refrigerated the entire thing for a little over and hour.

I drizzled the sauce over the cooked meat and watched as it disappeared (Sadie even ate a bunch while repeating “Meat!” over and over again).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Full of Grace Creations Monday Morning Giveaway: A Pearl and Amethyst Bracelet and the Winner is...

I am so forgetful! I just looked at my computer and realized that it's Monday! And it's already night! So today's Monday Morning giveaway is a night giveaway (the bracelet is actually pictured here, but I'm having a problem finding the picture I took on my computer!)! Here's what I got when I used to pick a winner:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2011-02-08 04:03:53 UTC

And that means that the winner is...


Congratulations Caitlyn! As soon as I get your mailing info I'll get your new bracelet in the mail to you!

And for everyone else I'll post another giveaway tomorrow!

Name that Baby!

Here's A Woman's Place Trivia Question. Can you name these two babies (okay, this is probably a pretty easy one. They don't look nearly as alike in these pictures as they did a couple of months ago!)?

Baby #1:

Baby #2:

In other news Maggie started full out crawling on the 4th (on her 7 month birthday) and stood up holding on to her cruise and crawl toy for about thirty seconds yesterday! She so desperately wants to be able to do all the things her sister does!

All Dressed Up...

The girls got dressed up for the superbowl... even though our team wasn't playing! We did cheer for Green Bay though, since their quarterback is from our area! And I promised myself that all of our kids will know the words to the National Anthem by heart...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Done. Maybe.

I am feeling a little sad right now. The way that one feels when you've gotten your hopes up that a liturgical abuse is going to be corrected, only to have them dashed, yet again, when the priest enthusiastically joins in the butchered version of the Our Father that passes for a prayer at our parish on Sunday mornings, singing even the words which have been changed so they "fit the music" (at least I imagine that's the excuse for changing the "Words Jesus Taught Us").

I don't think I'm all that picky about things like this. Priests are human and I wouldn't recognize 99% of liturgical abuses (and for my sanity, that's probably for the best). But when the abuse is so simple a three year old could pick it out, there's a major problem.

I've been listening to this travesty for four years now and I'm starting to understand, one different levels, why this is so upsetting. At one level it's upsetting when anyone in a parish just decides that they're going to change the Mass. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the thought process that must go on to decide we're going to sing different words to the Our Father, when the words are clearly prescribed.

Is that pride? I know that, if I were the one making the decision and I assessed it, I would think I would have to confess pride. I don't know what it is for the person making the decision, because I have no idea what they're thinking and I pray that they just "like how it sounds." And that leads me to the next problem that I have with the changes...

We sing:

"Lead us not into temptation but forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, Father Hear Our Prayer. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us, deliver us, from all that is evil, Hear our Prayer."

and then:

"For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, Father almighty, hear our prayer."

Okay let's examine the words here. They add "Father Hear Our Prayer," and extra "deliver us" and "Hear Our Prayer" and lastly, "Father almighty, hear our prayer." And of course we're changing "deliver us from evil" to "deliver us from all that is evil," which I do believe has a pointedly different meaning.

I think changing "from evil" to from "all that is evil" is another example of how many people would like to downplay exactly what evil is and how it exists as a real solid presence in our world. I'm not sure I'm articulating it well, but when I hear, "deliver us from evil" I think of Satan. When I hear "deliver us from all that is evil," I think there's a greater room for interpretation. The singer or hearer could mean Satan. But not necessarily (at least that how it strikes me when I hear it each week). When I hear it, instead of thinking of Satan and Hell, I think less of Evil as a real tangible presence and more as "the bad choices that people make or 'bad vibes'."

I know I'm falling short of explaining exactly why this change bothers me so much, but I do know this:

The spoken words and translations are the way they are for a reason. When they are changed, it should be from careful consideration and agreement from our shepherd's. Not because someone, on a whim, likes the way this sounds. As Father Z says, "Do the Black, Say the Red." I'm not sure exactly why this is so tough.

I did email Fr. Z. and asked him my question about singing the Our Father and his response was: "Look at the lyrics and then look at the actually words approved for Mass. If they are not the same, there is a problem."

I'm tired of being upset about this. I've prayed about. I've tried not to be bothered (but because I think it's a problem that needs to be fixed so it's hard to really let go of the issue). And so we're making a change. At least, we might be. Paul is going to talk with our new priest about it and get his take on the issue. If the status quo remains we're going to schedule our weekly (okay, they're usually more like monthly, but they may be becoming weekly) trips to "The City" for Sundays and we're going to drive an hour to attend Mass. I'm hoping that doesn't happen, but I'm tired of hearing the words that Jesus taught us, twisted and changed for some reason that I'm not sure I want to understand (in the interest of being charitable I'll leave it at that and try to push away my additional thoughts on the matter).

I'll still attend week days Masses at our home parish (we say the Our Father on those days, thank goodness), volunteer in the office and serve on the committees. And I'll pray that someone can undo the damage that's been done that makes people think that adding the words "us" to the Our Father over and over again, is okay. In the end this changes the Our Father on another level to, turning the attention towards the speaker and changing the tone of the prayer from a plea into a demand.

I just wish our self-absorbed culture's narcissism could leave the Mass as it is.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

McDonalds, Subway and Being a Mom

I remember reading an article a couple of months ago about a mother who was suing McDonald's because they have toys in their Happy Meals. After googling it this evening I found one telling of the insane story here. The mother says in her own words:
"I am concerned about the health of my children and feel that McDonald's should be a very limited part of their diet and their childhood experience. But as other busy, working moms and dads know, we have to say 'no' to our young children so many times, and McDonald's makes it that so much harder to do. I object to the fact that McDonald's is getting into my kids' heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat."
The first thing that jumped out at me in the quote above is that McDonald's is "getting into her kids' head" without her permission. If a person is so concerned that their child is being damaged and changed by what they see on television, and I think this can be a valid concern, there is another option: turn the TV off. Cancel your cable/satellite/whatever. If you are letting your child watch it, then in a way you are granting "permission" for them to see advertising.

And of course there's the whole Do-Your-Job-And-Say-No! issue that instantly comes to mind. If you can't tell your kid that they aren't going to be eating Happy Meals every day when they're six, you have a problem.

There is, however, a reason for this post (you were beginning to wonder, weren't you?):

The other day my family and I went to a national sandwich chain for lunch. We don't eat out very often. In fact, I'd say we go out to eat as a family around twice a month (Paul even brings brown bag meals when he's in SF for school for the weekend), most often when we have to go into the city to do our shopping. So it's a special occasion. A kind of big deal, if you will, that we all look forward to, even though it's usually a fairly inexpensive place.

I should say before I add the part that inspired this post, that everyone at this sandwich chain was very nice and polite and pleasant. So it wasn't the workers who I had a problem with (and they didn't even know I had a problem). I absolutely will be going back again to get a $5 footlong sandwich!

No, what bothered me was the store's policy as explained by the staff. When we got up to the counter to pay we each had a little bag of chips to go with our 12 inch subs (and Sadie's little turkey sandwich). Sadie had a little bag of cheetos. She doesn't get to eat them often at home, and she absolutely loves them. But when we went to pay we were informed that Sadie could have an apple or yogurt because the chain is now promoting healthy eating for children.

We've gone to this chain before and the choices in the past have included a cookie, chips, an apple or yogurt.

I think it's great that they have healthy options. But I think they should realize that parents should also have the option of letting their kid have a less healthy treat. The kids I knew growing up who had the most issues with food (and who had smuggled in junk food troves under their beds) were the ones whose parents never let them have anything from the "junk food" realm.

Apples and yogurt aren't really "special" in our house. We have apples constantly (it's such an easy snack) and I just bought another giant box of yogurt. We don't have chips here that I know of (mostly because this grown up is trying to lose weight!).

I don't need Subway, or any other restaurant helping me decide what my child needs to eat. And I find that sort of paternalistic mentality to be infuriating. Options are great, but let me be the mom and make the mom decisions. Even if that means saying "no" sometimes.

In fact, as a mom, it's my responsibility to say no sometimes. It's part of my job. And I don't need lawyers, judges or fast food restaurants trying to assume that responsibility for me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: School with Two!

Sadie and I have been doing "School" more and more lately (she gets pretty excited when I bring it up). Yesterday Maggie got pretty into playing school too!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Live Action Releases Second Planned Parenthood Video

Live Action just released another video. While the woman in this video seems more concerned with explaining to the pimp how he can legally get abortions for his 14 and 15 year old sex workers, she doesn't seem at all concerned that he has just announced that he has 14 and 15 year old sex workers from out of the country who didn't speak English. Another example of cooperating with sex-trafficking doesn't exactly help PP's "we only want to help women do what's best for themselves" image. So much for "court mandated reporters."

Lila Rose was also on the O'Reilly Factor last night (she was also on CNN where Planned Parenthood refused to go on until after Lila Rose had been interviewed and also refused the offer to debate or discuss what was going on with Lila Rose). Click here to see the O'Reilly Factor clip.

Insanity and Hope

Snapped from the pages of our local newspaper this week. They used to say things like "Southern Sun" if the location was good for growing. Apparently they've grown more bold:

I'm wondering if this is why we saw so many law enforcement vehicles driving around town today. I think close to a dozen drove by while we were walking over the course of an hour (it may have been a little less but it felt like they drove by every five minutes or so)... Some people aren't going to be happy about this. Then again, are those people really going to follow the law, whatever it is? I am somewhat skeptical.