Monday, March 31, 2008

Have Faith!

My weekend retreat was a taxing and gainful experience. I met some wonderful women. Ones that have no idea how amazing and motivating they really are. (Especially you, Barbara) I even ended up attending the retreat with a neighbor of mine that I had no idea was going to be there. Strangely enough, we were placed in the same group and positioned in seats right next to each other for the entire weekend. We are both still wondering if we will have some kind of bigger significance to each other in the future. Regardless, it was nice to have someone familiar around and we definitely got closer throughout our time there. She has eight children in her blended family and is an inspiration as a mother.

The retreat was a peaceful place to be. A rare place where there was no judgement on the way you looked. A judgement, I spend way too much time dwelling on and worrying about. It didn't matter if you had some extra pounds packed on or the most perfect body possible. It was not about your physical image, instead about your spiritual one.

A lot of our energy was spent hearing peoples stories..and I realized compared to most there, I had a fairytale one. I've never cried so much in my life. So many blessings that I needed to work on being thankful for. These anecdotes that these women told included a lot of scripture references. I have always been skeptical of bible reading and studies because any attempt to read scripture for me, felt as though I was reading a different I never could imagine getting anything out of it. Some of the passages that these women included in their accounts actually touched me and held meaning in my own life. To list a few...

Philippians 4:6 "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything." (Words for someone like me to live by!)

Proverbs 22:6 "Teach a child how he should live and he will remember it all his life." (Something I will try to believe as I worry about Barrett and Peyton's futures)

1Peter 3:9 " Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it." (This is a tough one -- but worth trying when I come across certain people in my life)

1 Peter 5:7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you." ( I'm all about getting rid of these worries, can you tell?)

My retreat focus ended up being "how much faith in God do I really have?" I've always been Catholic, I've always believed in God. I've always prayed and I've always thanked God for the things I have in my prayers. But I realized that I spend a lot of my existence waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have all these fantastic gifts in my life...a wonderful husband, wonderful family, wonderful friends, good finances, a beautiful home and good health all around me. I waste many moments worrying that if I truly let myself be happy and grateful -- something will be taken away. Someone will be struck with illness, someone will die, an unfortunate event will happen to take away my stability. I hadn't realized that this frame of mind I was keeping was a true lack of faith in God. Why would someone so good purposely want to take away any of my happiness? Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Would ya look at me...quoting scripture on MY VERY OWN LIFE!

For now I believe that I was called to that retreat to strengthen my faith and count my blessings. Even if the real purpose in finding this renewed faith is to prepare me for a struggle or hardship to come -- I know now that the misfortune will occur whether I live life to the fullest right now or not. However, my attitude toward life could help me control my reaction to such happenings. And I'm all about control!

This retreat was a wonderful thing to happen to me. I'll never forget it. And I look forward to doing it again. I'll take all the renewal I can get!

1Peter 1:8 "Though you do not see Him, you trust Him; and even now you are happy."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stepping Away...

This morning I'm leaving for a church retreat at our parish and won't return until late afternoon tomorrow. When I was asked to do this, I tried to make excuses as to why I couldn't. I was worried about leaving Brad with kids to fend for himself. I'm going to try to let that go, leave with no instructions or orders. Since it is a prayer retreat, I will simply pray that no one gets sick, no one gets hurt and all is well while I am absent. The quiet alone time will probably do me wonders.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Barrett is Still the Reigning Champion...

Another year, another win! Barrett did it again. She beat those Smick boys at the easter egg hunt with a whopping 45 eggs to their 23 and 27. Peyton brought up the rear with 20 eggs. She will need heavier training for next year if she wants to hunt along side of her sister.

Sorry Boys, we told you "It Was On"...and we meant business. Maybe next year for you guys...but I wouldn't hold my breath!!! Mwa-ah-ah-ah!

Our Easter was Full....

....of our Sunday best for Easter Mass

...of baskets filled with goodies

...of chocolate for breakfast

...of family eating and egghunts


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Papa's Eggsellent Birthday Party!

Every year, the friday night before Easter all the grandchildren gather to color eggs at Grandpa's house. This year the event happen to land the day after papa's 59th brithday -- so it made for a "eggsellent" birthday celebration. Papa and the kids dyed one hundred and twenty eggs in what seemed like minutes. Purples, blues, pinks and greens were splashed everywhere -- the table, clothes, hair and faces. They all love the chance to get down and dirty. This is always a favorite tradition each year, one that sticks with them for as long as the stain lasts on their hands (oh, and this everlasting hand-color seconds as fashionale gloves to go with their pretty Easter dresses.) Happy Birthday, Grandpa and Happy Almost Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thanks to the Luck of the Irish...

...we didn't have to spend the St. Patrick's Day Dogtown Parade sopping wet. It poured down rain the whole ride into the city and stopped at exactly the moment we pulled into the zoo's parking lot. It stayed dry through the parades entirety, then rain drops began to fall as the last parader marched passed us. That had to be the luck of the Irish!

Every year, for as long as Brad and I have been together St. Patrick's Day has been a national holiday in our family. Nobody works, nobody goes to school and about thirty to forty of us steak our claim on the corner of Tamm and Oakland. Aunts and Uncles and Cousins, oh my. This year was a little more vacant due to the weather.

The kids have a blast! They get all hyped up on tossed sweets and their vocabulary is limited to one word throughout the procession..."beads, beads." And boy do they get beads. By the end of the day they are so weighed down with colored necklaces, they can hardly walk. The adults have been known to get a little rowdy as well.

After the parade, family and friends gather at a family friend-owned pub in Normandy called Whelans where everyone chats the rest of the afternoon away in the dark, smokey tavern (more like cavern). And the kids run around like banshees. Why do we do this? I ask myself that very same question every year. But, it has become a family ritual that is strong and predictable. It has developed into our family's passage to the next season. So now that the custom is completed, my hope is that Spring will be close behind.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Daddy Got Some New Wheels

Brad finally went out and got himself a new car, not just a new car...a Mercedes. He and his car will be very happy together.
Peyton has some trouble with change. She was whining that she missed daddy's old car. Barrett's response: daddy's old car was boring...this is a "sweet ride". Where does she get this stuff?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mommy Got An Itouch...

...but is it really mommy's?

This Sums Up How We Felt Last Week...

But we've made it through all the yuck (mommy even got in on the action) and we're all alive and kicking now, just waiting around for Spring. Where are you?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

An Unexpected visit form "Ralph"

This lovely Sunday afternoon did not go as planned. We had a nice family day scheduled of church, lunch out and spending the afternoon at our parish St. Patrick's Day carnival where we were going to play game booths and enter to win all kinds of prize baskets and raffles and hopefully run into some fellow parishioners that we're working on friendships with. A day we had been looking forward to.

At mass, Barrett was acting a bit listless. I was thinking it was due to the lost hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time. I just new that dreaded "spring ahead" would cause me some trouble. After church we headed to the ATM to get out our raffle-paying cash when Barrett proclaimed that she had to throw up. Brad ripped her from her car seat and stood her in the bank parking lot where she could heave upon the pavement. All the while, I was having flashbacks of college.

Change of was time to head home. We were almost there when I looked back and Peyton had a weird look on her face. I immediately dumped all of the contents of the girls' "church purse" in one swift motion and opened it under Peyton's chin. All I will say is that the frilly pink purse that we bring filled with entertaining munchies and toys to church every single week is in the garbage can waiting by the curb. And instead of fun, the afternoon has been filled with hurried trips to the restroom where I hold hair back and give encouraging words. Seriously, at one point BOTH girls were barfing into the same toilet bowl simultaneously! I have to admit that was quite a rare comedic moment of motherhood.

As I sit here typing I feel nothing but dread. Where did this come from? How long will "Ralph" be staying? How many bed cleanups and interrupted night's sleep will the Lord bestow on me this time? I feel like I was just here. The housework will suffer, the laundry will pile up. It could be days or even weeks before things bounce back into normalcy. Dread , I tell you!

Worst of all...I just changed the girl's sheets this morning. Dammit!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Snow Day

On Tuesday morning I woke at 6:30 a.m. and all the schools were closed -- but there was not a flake of snow on the ground or falling. I thought the weatherman had really messed up this time!But by 8:30 It started coming down and didn't stop for hours. We ended up getting 7 or 8 inches which is more than we 've gotten as far back as I can remember.

When Barrett awoke we told her "snow day!". Instead of smiling and squealing we got a different response...."ahhh...I wanted to go to school today." I guess she's too young (and only in preschool) to enjoy the benefits of an unplanned day off. She does only go to school 3 days a week anyway. I guess she saw the snow day as just another day stuck in the house with her little sister and me.

We had a nice relaxed day watching those beautiful flakes come down like rain and we had our laughs watching Guinness coast down the back steps like he was riding a sleigh. The three of us taunted at the window and giggled as he searched endlessly for a good "spot" in the sea of white only to find that when he crouched down to go, his backside dipped down into the freezing snow everytime -- sending him on a whole new search. What a show!

When Brad got home, he bundled the girls up and took them outside to sink their legs into the huge piles. Barrett pelted everyone she saw with giant snowballs, Peyton ate the snow off her mittens. Neither of them lasted too long out there. When they came in we plopped them in a hot bath and I had hot chocolate and cookies waiting. Doesn't that sound great?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The interview

Yesterday we had our Kindergarten "interview" at Holy Infant. I could have drove myself nuts wondering what that meant exactly. I couldn't imagine the interview questions. Fortunately it turned out to be much simpler than I anticipated. The pastor just talked about how important it was for us to be taking our family to church to co-incide with what they will be teaching there at school. And he wanted to make sure we knew the tuition and what ways we could pay it. Easy enough.

Then we had to chat with the principal who is an adorbale older nun who's Irish through and through. She spoke about the academics, pick-up routine, uniforms and wanted to know things about us, like where Brad worked, if I worked, and what we knew about a Catholic education. It turned out quite a bit, compared to some. She seemed to be excited to have us, especially once we explained how important it was to us for Barrett to go to a Catholic school, not necessarily education-wise ( we are aware of the known benefits of a Rockwood school district education) but value-wise. We really feel there is a difference and we made sure she knew that.

I am so excited for Barrett to get started on her journey at Holy Infant. I think she'll love it. However, I can't believe I'm going to have a kindergartner!