Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Name that Saint: Mary!



I know most of you probably saw the answer in the comments box... but I thought I'd officially announce it. The saint that is supposed to be depicted with this statue (which is at the cathedral in LA) is... Mary.

I know... I know... The guesses from people who didn't know were usually male... because... well.. they made Mary look like a preteen boy...

The one aspect that gave it away with a few of you (and that Paul noticed after guessing Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Augustine) was what she's standing on...

Still, I think this statue does say a lot about a certain mindset that would make all women androgynous (even the Blessed Mother) so that we could all be "the same..."

"Mae Bae Bite Me!"

We've been warning Sadie that her sister has a tooth. And that she wields that tooth passionately to sooth her aching little gums. Until this morning Sadie was laughing off the warnings. Come on Mom, Mae Bae is a Bae. She can't really bite.

Then I heard it. "No Mae No!" followed by "Mae Bae bite me!"

Sadie was more than a little pleased. She cherishes any reason to tell her little sister "no!" If you ask her if she is bossing her little sister around she'll say "Boss! Boss! Boss!" And Mae follows her sister around with an adoring little look on her face, pretty happy to be included in any plan (particularly if it involves the destruction of the house). Their favorite activity is removing every DVD that we own from the cabinet under the DVD player. It has a little lever lock, but they both can open it in about two seconds and in less than five minutes they can create a mound of DVD boxes that pleases them both immensely.

In other news, Sadie continues to grow and looks determined to pass me in height by kindergarten (I'm 5'5"!). In this pictures she's wearing a t-shirt I wore sometime in elementary school... it's a size ten...

Together the girls make up a solid sixty lbs of baby... I never knew that being a mom would be such an upper body workout!

Monday, May 30, 2011

My "New" Old Sewing Machine

I couldn't take it anymore. My Singer had to go. I was spending three plus hours a week on Singer maintenance, which was like losing three plus snoods every single time something went wrong (plus my sanity). I was cleaning it out constantly, which was fine, but I thought they payoff of cleaning it out should be that the other parts wouldn't malfunction every couple of hours and it just wasn't working out that way.

I finally came to the conclusion that there really is a difference between the "basic" sewing machine models and the sewing machines that are a little bit more high end.

So I started to research a potential "business investment" and hoped I could find a great 50% off sale like the one I saw a couple of weeks ago where the $400 sewing machines were $200. But I wasn't thrilled about it. As I recalled the mixed reviews I saw on some of the more expensive sewing machines I was a little hesitant. But I needed a sewing machine and mine just wasn't cutting it.

Then I called Nani. And she mentioned that she had two, one that was my grandmother's and that had always worked really well and never had problems (it's an old Kenmore 12 Stitch). The woman at the sewing machine shop had said that it was a really good sewing machine.

Last night I set it up. The first thing that was clear was that it had about twenty pounds of metal that my sewing machine was missing (could it be that the flimsy plastic parts that make up my Singer are part of the problem? They just couldn't hold up to sewing 20+ hours a week?). The bobbins are metal, and the entire sewing machine is just a little more elaborate and heavy duty than my "old" sewing machine.

With a deep breath I started sewing and... it was like a dream! It was so smooth! I wouldn't have described my old sewing machine as "bumpy" before I used this one last night, but after using it that's exactly how it felt. And that didn't even compare with the way the machine felt when it was acting up!

So I'm really excited. I sewed a bunch of snoods and my sewing time was cut way down by the fact that the sewing machine could handle sewing through more than two layers of cotton at a time.

I imagine my "new" sewing machine has twenty plus years on my "old" one (at least!) but it sure can sew!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Circle of Moms Top 25 Faith Blogs...

The Baroness Von Korf posted this morning about this list of Top 25 Faith Blogs on Circle of Moms and how only 1 of the top 25 was Catholic and there were lots that identified as Pagan... If you want to join the fun by adding your blog (or if you want to vote for my blog!) click on over. At the moment mine is the one at the very, very bottom!

The New Blessed JPII Statue in Rome...

The new statue of Blessed John Paul II as reported by reuters. I have to say... I'm not really a fan. Even after reading what it's "supposed to represent."

Name that Saint


I ran across this picture yesterday filed under a thread about beautiful and ugly churches. It's from a cathedral in California (extra points if you can guess which one!). So can you name this saint (let's just say, this is not by far, my favorite depiction of this particular saint...)? In fact, I really dislike it.

Paul's first guess was Saint Martin de Porres. What do you think?

(I'll announce the answer later in the combox!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Prayer

A Universal Prayer

For All Things Necessary to Salvation

(Composed by Pope Clement XI, A.D 1721)

O My God, I believe in Thee; do though strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in Thee; do Thou secure them. I love Thee; teach me to love Thee daily more and more. I am sorry that I have offended Thee; do Thou increase my sorrow.

I adore Thee as my first beginning; I aspire after Thee as my last end. I give Thee thanks as my constant benefactor; I call upon Thee as my sovereign protector.

Vouchsafe, O my God! to conduct me by Thy wisdom, to restrain me by Thy justice, to comfort me by Thy mercy, to defend me by Thy power.

To Thee I desire to consecrate all my thoughts words, actions and sufferings; that henceforward I may think of Thee, speak of Thee, refer all my actions to Thy greater glory, and suffer willingly whatever Thou shalt appoint.

Lord, I desire that in all things Thy will may be done because it is Thy will, and in the manner that Thou willest.

I beg of Thee to enlighten my understanding to inflame my will, to purify my body, and to sanctify my soul.

Give me strength, O my God! to expiate my offenses, to overcome my temptations, to subdue my passions, and to acquire the virtues proper for my state in life.

Fill my heart with tender affection for Thy goodness, hatred of my faults, love of my neighbor, and contempt of the world.

May Thy grace help me to be submissive to my superiors, condescending to my inferiors, faithful to my friends, and charitable to my enemies.

Assist me to overcome sensuality by mortification, avarice by alms-deeds, anger by meekness, and tepidity by devotion.

O my God! make me prudent in my undertakings, courageous in dangers, patient in affliction, and humble in prosperity.

Grant that I may be ever attentive at my prayers, temperate at my meals, diligent in my employments, and constant in my resolutions.

Let my conscience be ever upright and pure, my exterior modest, my conversation edifying, and my comportment regular.

Assist me, that I may continually labor to overcome nature, to correspond with Thy grace, to keep Thy commandments, and to work out my salvation.

Make me realize, O my God! the nothingness of this world, the greatness of heaven, the shortness of time, and the length of eternity.

Grant that I may prepare for death; that I may fear Thy judgements, and in the end obtain heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Confessing MY Sins

I'll be heading back to confession soon. You see, after my last confession, it will end up going something like this:

"Bless me Father for I have sinned, it's been about three weeks since my last good confession... And I need to confess failing to complete my last penance. It was to say this prayer" (pause to show completely worn prayer where the words are now barely visible from being put in and out of books and pockets and purses over and over again) "throughout the day whenever I thought of it for the next three or four weeks... But I thought of it dozens and dozens of times a day and while, after a while, I had about a third of it memorized I still couldn't pray the whole thing, or I'd get distracted by a baby and so I only ended up praying it when I thought of it about a third of the time..."

And then whoever is hearing my confession can realize how crazy I am and that maybe, just maybe an ongoing "whenever you think of it" up in the air sort of penance isn't the best thing for me. I hope. This is the downside of having a different priest nearly every week of the month (I could aim to go every third week in an attempt to at least see the same confessor). Hopefully the penance won't be to try the whole thing again, because really, I don't think it'll work out.

This is actually one of the rare times I'm making an exception to my rule. I usually don't like to make "excuses" during confession (at least that's how a lot of explanations feel to me, although I know it's not always the case). I know that I'm quite capable of justifying each sin to myself (which I think in a way can compound it) and of telling my confessor, "Well I was in an argument and said some really mean things, but so-and-so said this first" or "Well I did this because this person upset me."

Nope. Not happening. I'm not confessing for someone else. Certain situations may lessen culpability, but they don't make my sins any less mine. And that's what I'm their to confess. My own sins.

I try to apologize in that way too, without trying to pin my bad behavior on someone else. When I hear an apology of that kind it always impresses me. It's natural to want to excuse what we've done away. I know I've done it before and will likely do it again. But I'm really trying not to.

And I'm going to try to get that prayer posted before it completely wears off the paper (here it is!). I googled it and I could find half of it but I couldn't find the entire thing anywhere (which made me feel a little panicky that I'd lose it!).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Daily Dose of Cuteness: "Daddy's Driving Across America to..."

This conversation between Nani and Sadie had me smiling today:

Nani: "Who is going to be going on the airplane when you move to Florida?"
Sadie: "Mae Bae... and Mommy and Grumpa and Sadie and Nani!... Daddy is going to drive across America to bring my toys!"

She's been a little sponge lately. She knows her colors and shapes and can count to twenty in English and twelve in Spanish (and lately she prefers to count in Spanish). She's also taken to saying "I haven't done my music yet today!" if she hasn't had a chance to play on my keyboard which is at Nani's house (when she plays on it she adds "I'm trying to wake Mae Bae up" or "I'm trying to wake Dee up" [Dee is the cat]).

Sadie's favorite lesson seems to be geography. Nani put up a map of the US and Sadie loves to sit in front of it. She can tell us where we live and where her aunt lives in Texas and where the school in Florida is. Yesterday she told me that the President lives in Washington D.C. and that his name is "Barak O!" After that I decided to see how much she could remember and told her a few names and jobs. This morning when I asked her who our senators are she said "Barbara and Diane!" Okay... it's a little informal, but she's learning so much! I'm just amazed at what a two year old brain can absorb on any given day!

And Mae Bae has been showing everyone how much she understands by bursting into tears if any character on any of the DVDs Sadie watches aren't being nice. Today Sadie was watching Dora for a bit and there was a king who wouldn't share. When the king said he wouldn't share Mae looked around the room at each of us and then burst into tears. When Dora taught him to share she started laughing again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Turtle Bay Dress

Yesterday morning when I was getting dressed Sadie ran into the room like a mini-hurricane intent on rushing me out into the living room. To distract her from climbing up and jumping on the bed I asked her what I should wear. She instantly came to the edge of the bed and said "Turtle Bay Dress!" Now she's told me she wants me to wear my "Turtle Bay Dress" before but I always just thought she was being silly, because Turtle Bay is a park we sometimes visit when we go to "The City" with Nani and Grumpa and so I just assumed by saying "Turtle Bay Dress" that she was asking to go to Turtle Bay.

This time though, I asked her which dress that was (expecting a random answer) and she carefully glanced at my skirts and pulled on this one (I already had the white top in my hand):


I didn't immediately make the connection, but after a moment it came to me. When she was around 14 months old we went to Turtle Bay for their big Birds and Butterflies exhibit, where they have an aviary full of birds and a separate butterfly house. Apparently that moment was pretty big in Sadie's life because I was wearing the same outfit on that day back in September of 2009 and it is now my "Turtle Bay Dress."

We have pictures of the day in her photo albums, but she's hardly touched those in the past year! Here are a couple of my favorites:



Either way... What a memory!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mae Bae Smile: Our Finalized Housing Plans

I know what your thinking: "How many posts can she do in one day?"

But I'm very excited!

We found out that we got housing and...

We are going to be moving in to a two bedroom two bath apartment with a den! At 1500 sq ft it will be by far the most space we've ever had! It will be 10x bigger than the cabin and twice as big as our trailer!

And the den can do double duty as an office/craft room so Paul can study and I can work! When we heard the price I was sure we'd gotten the tiny apartments but... the paperwork came today and it's the big one!

I'm on cloud nine!

Too Competitive?

Some of you will understand what's going on here and some won't... but I feel the need to be necessarily vague. You may just want to skip this post and go on to my regularly scheduled blog. On the other hand, if you've recently asked yourself, "what is she thinking?!?!?" you may want to read on to understand my motivation. I'm really hoping this doesn't sound mean. I'm making an effort to avoid stress at the moment and well... that involved deleting a stressful situation:

I recently had cause to ask myself (and I'll spare you all the bloody details) whether or not I'm "too competitive."

As a child I would say that I definitely was. You don't become Valedictorian and win a Presidential Scholarship by being un-competitive. I liked succeeding and I judged that success by my class rank. I was kind of a gangly kid and I definitely wasn't going to be succeeding in athletics at that point (martial arts, later on would help me immensely in the coordination area).

That natural competitiveness has faded with time. I usually compare myself to... well... myself, these days. Am I doing a better or worse job making healthy homemade meals than I was last month? Is the house cleaner or more messy (let me just say Epic Failure in this front at the moment!)?

In other ways, competition is very much alive and well at the moment. I need to make sure that I have stores with lots of variety and high quality, beautiful products, to help support my family. Paul will be limited to working 20 hours a week in less than two months. That makes my stomach hurt a little. I am working my tail off these days, which is part fun and part stress at the moment.

Some people have the luxury of having hobbies (in which case being non-competitive would be a luxury as well I guess). Someday I really hope my stores are just hobbies and that I keep them open simply because I love to sew. Then you'll be seeing giveaways on here weekly again (I am hoping to do them monthly soon!). At the moment they aren't just hobbies. They help us pay rent and put food on the table. And that might make me feel a bit competitive at times (I do try to squelch that...)...

So I'm trying to eliminate that competitive drive (at least the part that makes me want to hyperventilate) by following the adage "out of site, out of mind." That way I can focus on what I need to do, continue to grow all three businesses (more dolls soon! Really!) and not feel that mean little impulse that could send me straight to confession if I gave it free rein.

It's my problem (or my almost problem). I know that. At the moment, I'm dealing with it as best I can. And for now that will have to do!

72 Year Old Ring Found

Here's a fun story, and I'm posting it because it involves a family friend who recently found a high school ring that had gone down a drain 72 years ago and tracked down the 90 year old man who had lost it to return it to him.

Grateful

While I was making dinner last night Paul and I began talking about one of the comments from yesterday's post. Cliff made a great point. It was something that I'd thought about in a round-about way, because I do know how grateful I am to have the friendship of so many wonderful people across the country through the Catholic blog-o-sphere (and CAF) who share my beliefs. But I'd never given much thought to what it would have been life "before" this all existed. He said:
"Been there, done that... with the snarky comments. Fortunately, you young folks have the internet to keep connected & encouraged. It can seem lonesome at times and the temptation to self-pity or discouragement may be present. People are so odd."
The more I thought about it the more thankful I was. You see, in real life, I don't know anyone who has taken the path that we are attempting (at least who are at this point in their lives). But I can go online after the girls are in bed and the days work is done and read about other Catholic women and men who've made the same decisions and who are face the same struggles.

I can even see that I fit a certain stereotype.

I'm a skirt wearing, headcovering, rosary praying mom who hopes God blesses her with a large family and who wants to homeschool.

In California I'm something of a freak. In the Catholic blog-o-sphere I'm like a sizeable portion of the population. And that makes life much easier.

You all have been so inspirational and informative and I'm very thankful for that!

Thank you all! And may we all continue to learn and love God together (and maybe there will be more of us as time goes on!)!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Toddler Quote: You Know You Have A Nursing Baby in the House When...

Your Toddler announces to everyone:

"Want mine make milk too!!!!!!" in a slightly whiny voice.

Snoods, Snoods and More Snoods!

While we drove to the Bay Area I made rosaries for Paul's professors and a classmate. While we drove back I sewed. Over a dozen snoods later it was time for a photo shoot for A Snood for All Seasons. Today will actually be Day 2 of the photo shoots because there were so many snoods and only so much baby patience to go around. Here are my favorite pictures. By the end of the shoot we were calling them "swim hats" because Sadie, who doesn't mind it if I put one on and leave it, was growing a bit impatient with me changing her "hat" every two minutes. Apparently changing her "swim hat" made it a bit more acceptable.

Most of these snoods are made with a "retro 1930's print fabric" that I bought four or five years ago. I loved the prints, but I never could find the right thing to make out of them (they were all fat quarters and every single scrap of fabric was used making them, so these will be the only ones of their kind unless I magically stumble upon these fabrics again someday).

Here are the highlights:

This was around the time we discovered, with the "Pink Flower" Snood that there's more than one way to wear a snood. It actually looked pretty cute with her hair down and up!


Sometimes it was tough to catch her to snap a picture as she zoomed back and forth on her tricycle.


But she was more than willing to pause to play peekaboo with her baby sister.


Mae Bae played in her crib after getting out of the pool and modeled on of my favorites: The Garden Snood (I wish I had enough fabric to make a grown up one!)!


She played with the lilacs while wearing the "Kids" Snood.


More fun with the "Eyelet" Snood.


This may well be my favorite little girl's snood of all time. It reminds me of "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Jemima Puddleduck." I wish I had more of this fabric!


Sadie models the "Dots" snood on Grumpa's lawn mower.... in one of her fancy dresses...


And that is (in part) what I've been up to lately. I will have more grown-up snoods up soon! I got so wrapped up using all my 1930s material (and there are more 1930 snoods coming!) that I didn't finish the grown-up snoods I've been making!

"Your Poor Wife!"

This morning’s post is a two-sided coin. Some people are hostile towards women who have embraced a more traditional role and, perhaps more importantly, have embraced the inherent femininity that they find within themselves. However the hostility that certain people seem ill equipped to hide when facing a woman who has embraced this role doubles (at the very least) when they encounter a man whose wife has embraced this role. I’ve seen it first hand and let me say: It’s not pretty.

Poor Paul. My insistence on acting the way I act, like a woman who believes that her femininity is a gift from God, means that the words: “Your poor wife!” are ones that he hears fairly often.

Here’s a typical scenario. Someone asks how the family is doing and how old the girls are. They then add: “So are you done yet?” As a side note, I often wonder when our society degraded to a point where this became an appropriate question for a casual acquaintance to ask. Stranger still that the very-much-called-for-answer “excuse me, but that’s really none of your business” would be looked on by many people as rude. But I digress. Back to the conversation.

He answers this rather rude question in a variety of ways depending on his mood. He might say: “Oh no. No. Not even close” accompanied by a shake of the head. Or “We’re really hoping for at least seven.” Sometimes it’s: “No, we’re still trying for at least another ten more… I can’t see her being done this early…” and other times, when he’s being particularly silly: “Seriously? The (fill in the name of a nice Mormon family with lots of little ones who lives in the area)’s are still beating us by like three.” Or maybe it’s the sweet: “I realize that my wealth won’t be money. My wealth are my children.”

Given the unvarying response to whatever answer he gives he might as well have fun with it.

Because he knows that really, it doesn’t matter how he answers the question, he’s going to get the same response. A widening of the eyes. A shake of the head. And then the: “Oh, your poor wife!”

It isn’t possible, in our modern world, that I would chose of my own accord, un-coerced, to embrace the children that God sends our family as a gift and praise Him for His generosity. That is simply unbelievable. They must be being forced upon me.

This way of thinking extends into other areas. My husband must force me to cover my head (no). He must force me to wear skirts that are past my knees (no). He must force me to cook and clean and make a home for us (no). I could not have chosen this life on my own. It must have been thrust upon me (no).

The funny thing is, Paul is a theology guy. He reads lofty theology tomes that, on the off chance I pick one up out of curiosity, are bound to put me to sleep in next to no time. I’m more interested in books that focus on the practice of religion and the formation of the person on their journey towards sainthood. His books are often about the “whys” and mine are usually about the “hows.” Paul insists that his are about “hows” too… But his are different “hows.” His are about “how is this accomplished.” Mine are usually about “how we should live and grow.”

Thus he was never the one who suggested my lifestyle changes. I read about headcovering and told him what I’d found and he supports me whole-heartedly. But it was never his idea. I read about dressing modestly, did a few month-of-dresses experiments and found that I really was treated in an extremely different way when I dressed modestly. This isn’t the motivation behind my dressing modestly, but it did influence my interior debate over what was necessary for me personally and what wasn’t. I made the change. He supports it. But it was my change.

He is the head of our household. But he trusts me and knows that we make a pretty good team, particularly when we both play to our strengths.

Still, I feel for him. His wife is feminine and perhaps a bit retro, so he must be a tyrant. Ah well.

I’m made more thankful by the fact that I have a husband who supports and understands my vocation as a wife and mother than I would likely be able to be if we lived in a world in which it were a common thing.

So we will continue on our way, doing what we are called to do: helping each other to grow in faith and grow towards heaven.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Femininity and a Strength Most Feminists Don't Understand

I’ve been noticing something more and more lately and I have to say, it bothers me. I guess I’ve noticed it before, in different, round about ways, but these days it feels like I’m confronted with it more and more often (this may be a direct result of my Year of Dresses). Here it is:

Feminists don’t believe that women can be traditionally feminine and strong.

Wait. Lower the pitchforks. Let me elaborate. And I’ll begin with my standard disclaimer:

I don’t have a problem with the early feminists. I think they did a ton of good. I’m grateful to them. I’m thankful that I have the right to vote.

Things get a little fishier as we go along (think about: by the 1920s women were dying on a certain island so that Margaret Sanger could test out the Pill... all so we could be "free").

The focus of feminism has shifted over time, and for the purpose of this post and this blog, it’s this newer feminism that I’m referring to when I use the term. At some point feminists decided that we all needed to be the same. And that since men sometimes behaved badly, women should be allowed to behave badly too. They told us that we could poison our bodies and the environment. They told us we could do whatever we wanted to do simply because we wanted to. They elevated pride to an art form and self gratification (and destruction) to what is basically a form of idolatry.

Lately I’ve noticed though, that the “we’re strong and we can do whatever we want” attitude does not extend to living a life that is authentically feminine.

Embracing who I am as a woman is only okay if it involves promiscuity or taking on traditionally male characteristics (or both). It’s not okay if it involves wearing dresses and learning what were traditionally womanly arts.

You see, what I’ve noticed lately is an attitude that, because my exterior is rather feminine (and my interior too!) I must be weak.

Hold on. That’s odd. Feminists tell me I must be strong. But it seems they only will accept a woman who’s strong in their own image.

I’ve noticed this more and more on a day to day basis. Maybe it was the woman at our garage sale who couldn’t hide her shock when she learned that the karate gear, and the surfing gear and the skiing and snowboarding gear and the skateboard and rollerblades, were all mine. She’s just been talking about how sporty her own daughters were, but her jaw nearly hit the pavement when she commented on how I was making my husband get rid of all his stuff and he said that actually it was mine. The conversation that followed was rather uncomfortable.

For the sake of length I’ll eliminate some of my other recent experiences, but the hostility has been cropping up more and more lately (one dress in particular actually seems to bring on the most negative reactions). And the negative assumptions. I must be weak and a little pathetic, and probably not all that bright because I’ve embraced my femininity.

The sad fact is, modern day feminists are attempting to force women into a mold just as strict and restrictive as any mold past societies have thrust upon women and heaven help any woman not willing to bend and change to fit that mold.

Paul’s sort of funny. I’ve heard him tell quite a few people that his wife is tougher than she looks. They always look at him like he’s a little bit crazy. Most people who know me these days don’t know I’m a black belt or that I played rugby on two continents (and broke six bones and my nose twice in a single year). They don’t know that I won a number of tournaments (fighting) and further damaged my back surfing.

You see, I used to fit the feminist image of femininity pretty well. But it wasn’t me. I was conforming to someone else’s idea of strength and womanhood. It was like wearing a dress that just didn’t fit.

So now I sew and knit and crochet and cook and bake and garden when I get a chance. And I take care of my home and family.

I’ve come to realize that that takes a lot of strength too (and inexhaustible reserves!). Giving birth, staying up with sick babies and going for years without sleep, isn’t for wimps. Keeping a house clean certainly isn’t for the mindless.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful that I have the right to work and do a great many things. But I resent the idea that those things should form the entire scope of every woman’s existence. My vocation has called me in another direction and I’ll follow that call.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Prayer Request in the Wake of a Very Sad Situation

Here's a prayer request for a family that I don't know.

This weekend, while we were away celebrating Paul's graduation, a very sad event occurred in the area surrounding our small town.

A little girl, a few months younger than Sadie, went missing in a county a few hours away and her mom's car was found just on the other side of the county line on Friday morning.

A while later they found the girl's mother walking by the side of the freeway in our county, naked, with her belongings strewn over ten miles. She told the searchers that she didn't remember having a child. Reports say that she is either mentally ill or under the influence of narcotics. Later when she they brought her husband to see her it's reported that she began to remember a bit more.

Yesterday they found the child's body floating in the river.

The mother is being charged with her murder.

Please pray for the family and the rescuers that worked on the search and recovered the little girls body. I can't even begin to imagine how they must be feeling.

Paul's Graduation Weekend

We had a lovely, extra busy weekend (this weekend ran from Thursday to now because of Paul's graduation and is the reason I wasn't blogging!) but I am very glad to be home. Paul graduated with his MA in Theology on Friday afternoon. Here are a few (okay, a lot of!) highlights from the weekend:

The weekend began on Thursday when we set out early in the morning so that Paul could go to his graduation Mass. Unfortunately by the time we got to the school Mae had spent a solid five plus hours in the car and after five minutes in the chapel made it clear in no uncertain terms that she wasn't having it (Sadie had gone ahead to the hotel with Nani and Grumpa). So Mae and I ended up outside on the green before Mass started.

As a sidenote: If you go to a school that calls itself "the most liberal school in the country" and wear a headcovering to Mass (even an unobtrusive snood) you will be seen as so bizarre that people will not be able to help but stare... however the 50+ girls who are wearing super-teeny-tiny-mini-skirts will be the norm and no one will bat an eye (a pregnant woman in a mini dress literally came centimeters away from flashing us as she was getting into the pew... the dress was, disturbingly, really that short...).


Mae decided to test her limits while we were outside waiting for Daddy (and getting her wiggles out). And I decided to see how daring she would be. Pretty daring. Although she got about fifty feet away from me and made a huge circle in what looked to be an attempt to sneak up behind me and steal my chaplet book out of my bag. Unfortunately for Mae her clever sneak attack did not work out...


This is actually Sadie's second carousel ride of the night. She'd already gone on this carousel (at Pier 39) once with Nani while we waited for dinner. She could hardly stop talking about the zebra until...


She saw the giraffe. Ride #3 was on the giraffe at the carousel in Golden Gate Park the next morning. And thus began our weekend of Merry-Go-Rounds...


After we went on the carousel, Mae enjoyed a ride on the swing (although she hated the sand box and clung to me when we had to walk over the sand after Daddy had been silly enough to suggest she might enjoy playing in it).


Sadie climbed a cement wall shaped like a wave (with a bunch of ten year old boys) while I hovered near-by, rode on a pelican, went down every slide she could climb up to, and said "Hi!" to every kid that walked past her. Unfortunately we discovered that we weren't trendy enough for many of the mom's to be friendly too... but that is another post...



Then we went back to the carousel... This time Sadie picked the tiger. I think she was attempting to ride every single animal at the zoo that we were going to see. In the end this carousel was my favorite off all the carousels we rode on in San Francisco.


After we left the park we grabbed a quick lunch at Mel's diner and then headed over to the school to find parking and wait for the chapel to open to get seats. Mae and Sadie decided that while we were waiting for the doors to open it was the perfect time to hold a wrestling match. Mae won (as she tends to do). And gave Sadie plenty of slobbery baby kisses.


Sadie may have been defeated because of the simple fact that she couldn't stop giggling. And because she's so gentle and good with her baby sister!


It was finally time to go inside. The chapel was beautiful... I loved the garlands that they had hung as decorations. And the gallery even had an appropriate theme (although the loss of the majority of the confessionals still makes me sad)


Here's a blurry picture of Paul beginning to walk across the stage to collect his diploma. My camera just wasn't working very well with the lighting and the distance. Paul is the one with the red-lined hood on the right side of the stage.


He did it!


Our attempt at a family picture. Unfortunately Sadie was much to busy to be bothered with holding still for any length of time. It is fairly typical of our family pictures these days.


Even Holy Baby was exhausted from all everything that had been going on. After a quick visit to the reception she lay down on the grass and had a break while Sadie continued to run amok.


Daddy spent a little more time visiting in the reception hall. Sadie was running wild when she spotted him as he walked out to find us. She was insisting that if Mae got to be barefoot she did as well!


She'd been told that if she took her sweater off she would have to go back to the car (otherwise she would have been prancing around in as little as she could have and it was very windy!). So when she took off her sweater it was a pretty good sign that she was done for the day and ready to crash.

Today was our last day and was also pretty busy. After breakfast we headed with the girls to the zoo. In this picture Sadie is lobbying to be allowed to ride a giraffe. She's quite hopeful that we're going to say yes.


Little do we know that storm clouds were on the horizon (Sadie storm clouds) when this picture was snapped. When we moved on from the bronze lion statue a giant tantrum ensued. Sadie would have spent her entire day laying here with the bronze lion cubs...


Here Mae gets to see Hasani, the baby gorilla, at the zoo. He is two years old and 35 pounds. Sadie just got measured this week and weighed in at 38 lbs and was 39 1/4 inches tall!


Did you know that the zoo had a carousel? There are so many carousel's in San Francisco. Nani and Grumpa had bought Sadie two tickets, but then... Mae didn't want to go on it... so Sadie had extra tickets... which meant lots of rides... First we rode the giraffe (I guess she did get to ride a giraffe after all!):


Mae was convinced to take one ride with Daddy. She rode the stationary lion.


Then Sadie rode the cat (which she called Dee after "her cat."


Lastly she rode the "white tailed deer" with Grumpa. (even though he didn't have a white tail... the deer on a Diego episode we have on DVD does). We named the deer "Tucker" after one of the deer that has frequented Nani's garden for years.


We ended the morning with a ride on the steam train that runs around a portion of the zoo. Sadie was thrilled. She told us later though that the Merry-Go-Round was her favorite. When asked which Merry-Go-Round was her favorite she said the one at the park!


And then we got in the car (around noon) and drove! We arrived home right around seven pm. We did note a little after six that the world had not ended! And that was our very long, but very fun early weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Confession, Scruples and Just Being A Little Crazy

I went to confession on Saturday afternoon before Mass. It began in an interesting manner, because the kindly old priest saw me and apparently decided that I’d never been to confession before (three priests seem to rotate each weekend and we've only been going to the parish for a few months) or at the very least thought that it had been a very long time, and launched into an explanation of confession and how I should do it (ending with “You may want to begin by noting how long it’s been since your last confession.”). In the pause that followed I began:

“Bless me Father for I’ve sinned, it’s been about four weeks since my last good confession.”

This was followed by confessing the same sins that I end up confessing every single time I go to confession. It’s a little depressing that the script is so regular… but I guess that’s often how it is… the same old sins that are hard to shake… arguing with my husband… losing my temper… repeating something to my husband that I’m not entirely sure was gossip… but that could have been… That sort of thing.

And then came my penance. When I heard it I winced (internally).

“There’s a prayer outside the door” (I’d seen it) “and I’d like you to take it and say it every time you think of it for the next three or four weeks.”

I said: “Okay.”

But what I thought was “Oh no! Father! You don’t know me yet, but this is going to be a problem! While I can mostly ignore my borderline scruples” (because most of the time they’re just silly) “this will definitely cause them to become inflamed to epic proportions! You see, I’ll think about the prayer 50 times a day! I’ll think of it and realize that I’d taken it with me and left it in the car” (it’s already happened) “and so I’ll take it out of the car when Paul gets home and think I’m fine and say it every time I think of it before bed, but then I’ll put it in my jacket pocket when I leave the house and forget my jacket in the car and the next day” (today) “it will be at Paul’s work all day and I’ll think of it 30 more times and feel like I’m sinning and say an Act of Contrition each time and promise myself I’ll be more responsible and remember to take it with me… which will work for twenty four hours until I’m haired and exhausted and lugging around a ten month old and a two year old and I forget it again, in this bag or that bag, this pocket or that pocket. And that’s just the beginning: Which is it… three weeks or four weeks? When is my penance done? After twenty-one days or twenty-eight days?”

The prayer is two pages long and from the sixteenth century (and it's quite beautiful) and while it is a prayer I'd like to memorize, it's probably going to take a while before I know it by heart.

Deep breath. Yeah. I know. It sounds a little insane. I think it’s my INTJ, “Rational” (by the Keirsey Temperament sorter) that likes things clearly defined and laid out.

So the next time I make it down to confession I can explain my imperfect penance and how I tried and failed many times a day and was successful sometimes too. And the priest, like anyone I’ve shared this with, may realize how crazy I can be about completing penances (although I should say that I prefer “three or four weeks” to “a while” which has also happened in the past).

Then I’ll wait and hope that the next penance is one that I can know that I’ve completed…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Holy Baby Birthday!

Sadie has been adamant for months now.

She's not open to compromise.

And she won't be manipulated.

She wants a "Holy Baby Birthday" with a "Holy Baby Cake." She started thinking about it back when it was my birthday, and has been set on the idea ever since.

She also doesn't respond to Sadie any longer. Anyone who calls her Sadie is met with a tearful:

"I want be Holy Baby!"

She does accept being called "Sister Scholastica" however.

She even went with Nani and picked out "Tangled" plates and napkins (she will have a Tangled celebration at Nani's). I was hopeful. But when we got to the car and I asked her what her birthday was going to be the answer hadn't changed: "Holy Baby Birthday" (which actually sounds like "Ho Bae Birthday!" because she hasn't quite gotten her l's down 100%).

I tried when she was bouncing off the walls at Nani's house watching Winnie the Pooh. "Would you like a Winnie the Pooh party?" (as visions of all the easy birthday packets at Walmart danced through my head... this was before Nani had gotten her Tangled plates...). Without missing a beat she said "Holy Baby Birthday" and continued frolicking.

So I've been wondering... What exactly is involved in a Holy Baby Birthday Party? I have ordered two "party favors" (one for Sadie and one for Mae) from Saintly Silver on Etsy.

Here's Sadie's Softy:


And here's Mae Bae's Softy:


And I do plan on making a few things (some nun dolls like the dolls on my shop) and a "Holy Baby outfit" for Sadie.

Any other ideas for throwing a Nun Themed third birthday party? I have a little over a month to get ready for it and while I wouldn't usually be putting this much effort into a birthday party (particularly since it's going to be almost all family) a Holy Baby Birthday does seem to require a little extra work! Ideas?