Sunday, May 15

Beth's Confirmation

May 15, 2016

Dear Beth,
My sweet girl.  There are no fitting words to express how proud I am of you today- truly, how proud of you I am always.  You have always been intelligent and mature, thoughtful and insightful.  You stump me with questions about how our world works and how God is a part of our lives, and you humble me with your loving and forgiving heart.  Your longing to find God's place for you in this world has always impressed me.  I didn't make you that way, your Heavenly Father did.  He called you at a young age to be a witness, to be His.  And you said yes.

You are blessed to be in a faith community that not only supports but encourages you to receive the Sacraments, and as you prepared your mind, heart, and soul for the sacrament of Confirmation, I knew that the Holy Spirit really had called you to this.  You were already His, and now that you've received the gifts of the Spirit, I know He will continue to call you to great things. 

At 9.5 years old, you are the youngest member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter to be confirmed.  I believe your enthusiasm for the graces this sacrament will no doubt pave the way for other young girls and boys to be confirmed in their faith!  We believe that you've received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit- piety, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, fear of the Lord, counsel, and fortitude- and what else does our world need more right now?  You understand what it means to be a soldier for Christ as we spoke at length about this during your preparations.  You know the world needs Christ, though thankfully your innocence prevents you from knowing just how badly our world needs Him.  Your understanding will grow and change as you get older, but those holy gifts, this indelible mark, will remain with you always.

Daddy and I are filled with joy, our hearts overflow with gratitude to God for giving you to us. We know the Holy Spirit will guide you as you leave childhood behind and enter into adolescence, and for that we are also so very thankful!  We pray that you will seek His guidance and wisdom all the days of your life.

I love you, my precious girl!  
Love, Mommy

Sunday, April 24

Luke's First Holy Communion

Our dearest Luke,
On the day that you received the most precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, we prayed intensely for you.  We begged God to bless you through your faithfulness to Him, to increase your strength as a growing virtuous boy, and to grant you grace to always follow Him, no matter where that takes you in life.
We are so proud of you, of the preparations that you've made, and the excitement you've demonstrated in being able to participate more fully in the church through the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion.  Your special day was witnessed by your godparents, grandparents, and friends, and we celebrated afterward with a fun little party with your sweet friend!  You had a great day, and kept telling me how happy you were that you finally were able to receive Jesus.  You filled my heart with joy!

Thursday, April 21


Math patterns. 

This is why I don't enjoy reading aloud.  Everyone want to next to me.  Not on me, but next to me, and they don't understand that I have only two sides.  So they argue and kick, someone pouts, and someone is unhappy.  Guess who that one is in this photo...

Waiting for Luke to finish up his ukulele lesson.  Beth usually has her piano lesson at the same time but today her teacher was out of town.  We walked around the parking lot checking puddles for interesting things.  Jack rescued a lady bug from drowning and nearly caught a lizard.  Beth squashed some crawfish chimneys and found the "back door" to a couple of them.  Caeli mostly held my hand and copied what everyone else was doing.

Tonight we went for a walk after dinner.  Beth has a new-to-her bike and Ryan and I discovered that walks are much more pleasant now that we can trust the three big kids to not ride away, fall in a ditch, or get hit by a car!  It's been raining so much that plenty of ditches were full of running water, so of course we let them climb down and check it out.

We also foraged for wild blackberries, brought them home, washed, and ate.  They were tart!


I rocked Caeli to sleep last night and noticed the shrinking size of my lap.  In order to lean up against me, she has to arch her back a little over my baby bump and wrap her tan little legs around mine to keep from slipping off.  This doesn't seem to bother her, but I notice.

And just like that, 17 weeks in, this pregnancy is flying by.  Life carries on as usual but I notice those little things, things probably no one else notices or understands. But I notice.

I notice the change in my gait.  My hips have widened and there's a small waddle that's been added to my walk.

I notice the placement of the firm part of my belly.  It's not all firm, but where it is keeps me from bending over or even kickboxing the way I used to.

I notice the additional pangs of hunger from not eating enough of the "right" foods.  Because when I eat, everyone wants to eat.  And the idea of dirtying up multiple pots and pans in the morning just doesn't seem to be worth the extra work of cleaning it all up.

I notice the lightheadedness from the additional blood flowing through my body.  The shortness of breath from one flight of stairs.  The tiredness.

And the veins in my left leg.  Oh boy do I notice them.

I've also started noticing something new.  Little gentle kicks, pokes and jabs from a little person inside letting me know he* is there.  He hasn't wasted any time with gentle flutters; this baby already know he's destined for the soccer field like his brothers and sisters.

The ebbs and flows of our day allow me time to sit and concentrate on waiting for those kicks.  I place my hand on my lower abdomen and give a gentle but firm push, to let him know he has my full attention.  More often than not, I think he knows I'm waiting for him and he responds with a push.  Our two worlds meet through layers of skin and muscle and I'm reassured that he's still there, waiting for me too.

***I say "he" for the sake of ease, but we won't be finding out the gender of this baby before birth!  It was too much fun last time not knowing that Caeli was a girl!

Tuesday, April 19

Sunday, February 7

Silly Girl

So far two-years-old has been tons of fun with this sweet and silly girl!

We pulled out our smallest pair of ballet shoes for her to wear, and she now loves to wear "bows" in her hair.  She calls pony or piggy tails "bows."  She told me she was "drawing" and I thought it was too funny and cute the way she was laying there on the kitchen floor.  Because that's a great place to draw.  In your ballet shoes.  With a giant flower in your hair.

This day the big kids wanted to ride bikes in the driveway, but I was too cold just sitting outside, so I grabbed my book and let her climb around in the car for about 45 minutes.  And she found goggles.

I think she adores our one-on-one time on Wednesdays while her siblings are at co-op.  On this day she played on Beth's bed for 30 minutes with Beth's prized American Girl doll... which Beth doesn't allow her to play with... Shhhhh....

Her naps have become so reliable that I know I can count on her to sleep during daily mass at noon.  I sat alone in a pew for some extra space and, lo and behold, she slept the whole way through.  It was glorious!

She doesn't enjoy dress-up clothes really (other than a frog costume which she'll wear for about 5 minutes!) but she loves to pull my veil out of my purse and just wear it around the house.  I doubt she'd wear her own during mass though!

And finally, she has a "silly laugh" that cracks me up every time!  Sometimes she'll just start doing it out of the blue, and I have to wonder what she's thinking about in her sweet little mind that makes her just start laughing like this on her own!

January (and February 2nd!) photos

An epiphany party which included a procession of canned goods to a nativity scene, indoor candles (because it was raining outside), a gift exchange, a cookie contest (we won second place!), and the revealing of our "advent angel"- our secret friend who had prayed for us during advent!
A drawer full of eraser-less pencils, because of an orally-fixated 5-year-old. 

Brothers learning to read together.
Our new "morning time" allows for some free-play with clay while I read shared lessons to everyone. 

A Christmas present from MawMaw and PawPaw that has already given us hours upon hours of use and fun.

Late night smores with old friends.

Regular library and park afternoons, taking advantage of a beautiful Texas "winter."

A gift basket I assembled with donations from two friends.  I crocheted the mustard and gray blanket, purchased the basket and a handful of "tried and true" mommy and baby items, which raised $200 at a silent auction for our co-op.

Impromptu soccer practice during music lessons at our new music studio.  Beth and Luke attend weekly lessons (piano and ukulele, respectively) while Jack, Caeli, and I play soccer in the parking lot.

"Mommy, take a picture of the puzzle.  It's not coming apart when I pick it up!"
The ordination mass of our new Bishop Steven Lopes at our diocesan co-cathedral.  After a day of celebration, the 7 pm mass went beautifully with our worn-out crew!

Remarks from Bishop Lopes at the end of mass, not aired on EWTN due to timing.   I have no doubt he will bring beloved Roman tradition and structure into our beautiful, young ordinariate! 

Monday, February 1

An Announcement

I've been attending spiritual guidance with my trusted priest for nearly a year now.  The fruits of someone to help me decipher God's will and plan for me has been both a blessing and a trail for me.  The blessings of attending my beloved parish, the opportunities for spiritual growth through reading, talks, and long conversations with friends, and my own personal devotions has also made me a target for Satan.  He's pulled out all sorts of tricks on me for a year now, attacking different parts of me that I can see in retrospect, were simply a failed means to make me feel worthless and meaningless.  It's been a rough spiritual year.

But back to spiritual guidance.  I bring in my issue that Satan has laid in front of me, and my guide helps me see God's love.  I tell him I want to change the world, he reminds me that change begins at home.  I say this group of people, he says your husband, sons, and daughters.  He's doesn't squash my dreams, just reminds me of God's will.  And each time I say yes and truly seek His plan, I am at peace.

I've always thought God had something huge in store for me, and I hope that doesn't sound egotistical.  Even since high school, I've always felt He had a big plan for me.  Figuring out exactly what that means in each stage of life isn't easy!

Today, I read a reflection that really hit the nail on the head and brought it all home for me.
"I sometimes get swept up by notions of the BIG IMPORTANT jobs God had for some folks. Saint Mary Magdalene: First witness to the resurrection. Saint Catherine of Siena: Restorer of the papacy. Saint Joan of Arc: Leader of armies.
I’ll tell him, “Hey God, if you need anyone to pass along some new doctrine, or convert the president, or conquer Canada . . . just let me know.”
So far, He just keeps sending babies."

(Go read the rest of Kendra's short reflection here.) 

When I read those lines, I had to put my coffee down and re-read them, for you see- He has sent me a new baby.  A reminder that my place is here, in this home, with our children.  Another soul to raise for Him.  My heart may want to serve the homeless and spread the good news to foreign lands, but for now He has once again reminded me that I need to be fully present here- serving my family and spreading the good news to them and those whose paths we cross.

I am grateful that He sees me fit to raise another soul (even though some days I might disagree), and that he's given me this gentle and wonderful reminder that my place in the world is right here, in this home.

(New Baby N. coming in early October!)

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