November 30, 2011

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen

15 times per day from The Feast of St. Andrew on Nov 30 - Christmas

November 27, 2011

November 25, 2011

Black Friday

 This is my idea of shopping on "Black Friday":  sitting on my couch with my feet up, nursing the baby, laptop on what is left of my lap and ordering on-line.  I'm a multi-tasker.  I have never gone out shopping on Black Friday and I'm rather proud of it (but I do like hearing about people who do!).  It takes me 3-1/2 to 4 hours every 2 weeks to do our grocery shopping round trip... that's enough (incidentally I discovered it only adds on about 15 minutes extra to shop every 2 weeks than every week... I'll take it!) ... plus... I don't like people  long lines.
 However in pursuit of boots last Tuesday, that weren't $40, for my littles, I stopped in at a certain "mart" to which everywhere there were shrink wrapped boxes labeled with precisely what time a particular mystery package could go on sale.  Methinks Black Friday has gotten way out of hand!
However, I did receive a call on said, Black Friday to ask if we needed pillows normally $15 on sale for $3....why yes, I think I do. (wondering at the same time if I can squeeze them into their St. Nicholas Day stockings...)  I recieved this instant picture via phone of a special someone pushing our cart of pillows. I believe this was a cart-load of time off purgatory.

November 24, 2011

Poppy with Puffed Sleeves

Auntie has the best dress ups.  This is Poppy with sleeves as big as her head.  Anne of Green Gables would have died of envy.

A Blessed Thanksgiving

If we had nothing more than the Most Holy Sacfice of the Mass, we would owe God endless gratitude.
When was the last time you thanked your priest for his vocation? When was the last time you showed acts of kindness to him?  When was the last time you prayed for your priests?  When was the last time you asked God for more good and holy priests? 

Our Blessed Mother speaks gratitude to God through her humility, let us imitate the Most Holy Mother of God! The Mother of our priests, Our Mother, Almighty God's Mother.........

My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and Holy is His name. And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him. He hath shewed might in His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to His seed for ever.

"We must be wholly devoted to the Lord." Wholly thankful to God. And completely filled with gratitude and joy for "His Mercy is from generation to generation."

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving.... and happy hunting :)

November 23, 2011

6 Months Old

Marigold - 6 months
Who comes up with these bizarre head things for babies?!

I have 2 teeth, drool, scoot around, drool, turn over tummy to back, drool, sit, drool, put everything in my mouth, drool, smile, drool, laugh, drool..... and drool.

Jack Sparrow's Van

This is a *real* picture taken by Aragorn. He sent this to my email from his phone. (I cannot believe that sentence is even for real) 

If you saw the Pirates of the Carribbean movies I am curious if you liked them? I never wanted to see them until I saw Jack Sparrow AKA Willie Wonka  Anyway,  I liked the first one, thought Davy's Locker was neat in the second one and they just progressively went downhill. I did not like the 4th one.  Too suggestive not to mention,  I had made friends in the first ones and they were gone in the 4th.  Cruel.  However, Jack Sparrow cracked me up wildly.

GREAT movie coming out Tintin! Dec 21st.  Can't wait to see it on the big screen.  On the little screen it was really good, a few times I nearly died laughing.... litereally, breathing became an issue.

My kids really like the cartoon Tintin movies ... just like the comic books.  Volume 1 is in English (Volume 2 is still only in French.... waiting... waiting....)

Guess what?  My new digi-cam died.  Yes, one battery-life-time, it wouldn't charge.  Who invents these things?!

November 22, 2011

Prayers for Father-in-Law

Please pray for my Father-in-Law, Don.  He had an ERCP with ultrasound done today which showed a large mass at the head of the pancreas and the biopsy was positive. They will schedule a Whipple Procedure Surgery by mid-December. This is a complicated major surgery so any prayers are greatly welcome and appreciated.

Happy Feast of St. Cecilia - Nov 22

Since I both sing in a choir and co-direct a children's choir, I cannot help but have a devotion to St. Cecilia. Then again, she is also a martyr and I do love the stories of the martyrs.

I also have been to the Catacomb of St. Callixtus in Rome where St. Cecilia was buried (her remains were transferred at one time but the memorial still remains).   It was one of my absolute favorite places I have ever been to. The Catacombs are such a holy place, you could just feel it all around you.  It amazed me that buried in the walls were the relics of saints!  Real people who died for the love of God.  These Catacombs were very intricate hiding places for the early Christians during the persecutions.  They had symbols for Christians to worm their way around inside, but those lacking Faith would get lost and sometimes perish in the attempt. I remember during our tour they carefully had areas roped off so that tourists wouldn't get lost.

November 21, 2011

Jump Roping

The children have gotten into jump roping. I used to be into jump roping. In 3rd grade I won 1st place for doing 110 jumps in a minute.... ok, so the world record is something like 200 in 30 seconds which shattered all my childhood dreams. But I'm just going to pretend I didn't read that today.  I won a lovely medal and although I no longer have it, I won something and I'm still proud of it.

I started getting the itch to jump rope again. I felt as if I jumped for hours today .... realistically it was about 3 minutes.  My body was telling me it was about 3 hours.... at least.  I flopped on the couch and asked my ever-loving-husband....
"Am I too old to jump rope?"
I never knew men giggled, but he did.  I think he was being polite and not giving me the full-belly-laugh that he really had pent up inside.
I believe answering a woman's question about "age", is about like answering a woman's question about "weight" or "does this look good on me".... he decided it was best to proceed with caution.  So instead of answering my question, he googles "who is the oldest jump roper".

My next question for the peanut gallery is, "Should I be insulted?"

Surgery Prayers

Please say a prayer for Jason as he has surgery Tues. morning. Also pray for his wife and their 6 children as the next 6-8 weeks will take a lot of patience, love and care... though.... I'd say those 3 words sum up his wife.

November 20, 2011

Pippin Hunting

Aragorn after Pippin had been hunting with him:  We would have gotten another deer if we hadn't had Pippin along.

Pippin: hee-hee I hit a thorn with my finger and hee hee I screamed and hee hee scared a deer out of the woods.  hee hee.  The deer ran off. hee hee hee hee

Mom:  That isn't a good thing when you are hunting, Pippin.

Pippin:  It's not?  hee hee

Excitement Galore

Hunter's Excitement

 My bologna has a first name it's Oscar
My bologna has a second name it's Mayer....
I'm dating myself by including a link to this youtube....
 For funsies... and grossness-ies.... I prepared the "family's traditonal hunters' lunch".  I kid you not, when I say that I had my eyes opened the first year we were married and my husband went hunting.  Or perhaps it was the second year when I got to make the lunch. There were very specific guidelines.  For example it had to be baloney (bologna) with "fake cheese" and miracle whip. This was before the days of the squeeze bottle (I remember when that was invented it was the year after I prepared my first hunter's lunch), and we would fill a ziploc up with miracle whip so they could squeeze it out on the sandwich.  I think the squeeze bottle was invented by the wife of a hunter.    Then there were plain potato chips.  Why?  Because then you could see if you got anything on them.  Go ahead and laugh (or get sick). That is what I was told. Truly.  I always liked to think I was a "country girl" even if I was born in St. Paul but I learned at this point that I might as well have been raised in New York City for all I really knew about country living.  Then of course there was the life time supply of Mountain Dew. 
 Aragorn got his first deer on opening day... that is the real opening day, not the early season which I have heard doesn't really count for some hunters.
 Pippin:  Why how nice to meet you! How have you been?
Dear Deer:  I've seen better days.
Once again the innerds of this deer were donated to people who like to eat odd strange gross unique body parts things. :D

Driveway Excitement
 Have you ever tried to homeschool and compete with a dumptruck (or 6) full of rocks?!  I dare you to try it.... Double Dare!
 Class dismissed.

 This black rock stuff is just ground up old road.  Truly.  It's what people like us use to represent black top. It is black top... old black top but it isn't black top. But it's excitement for us.
 Not to mention the kids loved running through it.  Yes, yes, I know our wood shed needs some tidying. 

 Running on blacktop can be very exhausting work.

Bowling Excitement

 Our small homeschooling group (vs our large homeschooling group) went on a bowling trip.  The children bowled while the mom's got their monthy therapy session.  That's Marigold with a friend of mine.  I call the face Marigold is making the toofus doofus face.  The face that usually preceeds teeth.... you know... razor sharp teeth.  I actually caught her sharpening her teeth on a plate at the dinner table. I think her purpose was to go from razor sharp teeth to diamond cutters.

 Glow in the dark bowling.
 Love the cool shoes. Do you know, they have actually had troubles with people stealing the shoes?  Can you imagine?  Yes, what I've always wanted, a pair of shoes that perhaps an Ooompa Loompa might wear.
 This was hilarious. Please note that Marigold seemed to summarize this baby with a wordless, "ACK! She's the same size as Poppy, someone.... help!" 

Baby Excitement (1)

 Our newest nephew!  I love this picture with the doll and teddy bear!  Precious!
 2 of his 4 siblings doting on their new baby brother.  I cannot wait to meet adorable Baby B on Thanksgiving!

Baby Excitement (2)

 My friend's miracle baby arrived safe and sound, perfectly pink and beautiful. Deo Gratias!  I was holding him at his 12 hour birthday.  Sadly I made him cry. I think he was saying, "I've heard that voice before.... I don't think it is a good thing!!"
 Big brother comes to the rescue.  Happy,  Proud, Delighted, Thrilled... with baby brother would be one way to put it!
Little Big Brother enjoying a precious moment with Baby and Dad. 

It is so beautiful to know so many families who are open to life and happy to enjoy the beautiful gift of LIFE.  I think the problem in the world today is that there are not enough babies to liven up and bless a family.  What makes us laugh are the antics of a baby!  They are so cute and so funny!

November 17, 2011

Advent and Christmas Preparation

In preparation for Advent I thought I'd share some of the things we do and resources.... 
First this is a very busy time of year for just about everyone.  So to help me, I make a simple chart/calendar, type everything in and hang it up. Yes, one could use a calendar, but there is just so much, this is much easier for me.  Yes, if you want to see mine you may email me.

Our fun Advent *thing* is to set up our Fontanini Nativity.  We received the initial set as a wedding gift and have added to it every year. Being that this is our 16th Christmas, you can imagine the set has grown.  The 1st Sunday of Advent we put up the villiage (well the day before I suppose) and each day of Advent we put up some pieces. 
O Night Divine - Suggestions for celebrating Advent and Christmas, Prayers and just about everything (check out all the linkies along the side bars!)
Catholic Cuisine - Many Feast Day food suggestions and ways to celebrate, if you look off to the left you can view Advent/Christmas. 

Must-Have Book: Christmas Mosaic - picture book study for Advent and Christmas (the publisher is my cousin's wife and a beautiful, beautiful soul!), through the use with picture books like Tomie de Paulo.

ADVENT - Remember Advent is a *penitential season* of the Church year.  Children should be making daily sacrifices. Unlike Lent when the penitential season which has death as it's end followed by resurrection, Advent has birth... life... as it's end, so Advent contains a joyful anticipation.  The children can come up with sacrifices for every day or, like I do, we try to tighten up the loose ends.  Where have we slacked a little?  Are the children eating all their food with joy?  Are we remembering all our prayers and spiritual reading?  Are we remembering the daily Rosary. 
Other ideas for hands on activities:  Jesse Tree, Advent Cubes, Sacrifice Paper Chain, Tomie da Paulo Advent (email me for document), O Antiphon (email me for document), Advent Wreath Coloring Page (email me for document), Advent Faith Folder, 12 Days of Christmas Faith Folder, and lots and lots more.  Please email me your ideas!

Nov 30: St. Andrew (Start Christmas Novena)
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen

Dec 3: Feast of St. Francis Xavier (CCC Video)
Dec 6: St. Nicholas Day: We put up our stockings the night before and put in chocolate gold coins and a little gift or treat, candy canes
CCC Video Boy Who Became Santa
Dress St. Nicholas Coloring Page
St. Nicholas Center there are fun links and fun stuff you can buy from napkins to stickers to cut outs for cookies

(after St. Nicholas Day the kids start filling the stockings for Christmas with gifts and funsies for each other, anything from sacrifices to prayers offered to pictures to little toy exchanges...)

Dec 7: St. Ambrose Feast Day (Honey-tongued Doctor of the Church: honey recipes, bees)
Dec 8: Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation) (White Foods, Angel Food Cake, Blueberry recipes (blue for Our Lady)
Dec 9: St. Juan Diego (see Dec 12)
Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican, piƱata)
Dec 13: St. Lucy Day (Cinnamon buns, dress up a girl as St. Lucy to present cinnamon buns... or a doll in our case)
Dec 16: Las Posadas (Novena (9 days) before Christmas) - Expectancy of the Blessed Mother

Dec 17-23: O Antiphons (or email me for document)

Dec 24: Christmas Eve
Dec 25: Christmas Day - Birth of Our Lord (Holy Day of Obligation)
This is the day devoted to Jesus
Stockings with gifts from each other and some other small gift

Having 11 children means a multitude of gifts from a multitude of generous souls.  Do the math...  So, gifts from family and friends are divided up and opened on various days during the 12 days. I make a calendar/chart to keep track of everything we do from The week of Thanksgiving to Epiphany with what to open when, what to celebrate when. If there is not a gift on a given day we make cookies, have a field trip,... be creative.  I think this year I might make a "Mom gets a nap day".

Feast of the 3 types of Martyrs (I love martyrs so these are 3 of my favorite days):
Dec 26: St. Stephen (first martyr by blood) - Wind down New Movie day and popcorn (family tradition)
Dec 27: St. John the Apostle (white martyrdom)
Dec 28: Holy Innocents (innocent martyrs)

Jan 1: Octave of Nativity, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Circumcision of Our Lord (Holy Day of Obligation)
Jan 2: Holy Name of Jesus (Traditional date) If you would like a copy of the Litany of the Holy Name email me.
Jan 6: Epiphany - Epiphany Blessing (scroll down for 1 page download) 
Gifts from parents (some do 3 gifts per child like the 3 kings) I give the gift of a Mass for each person in our family and then we try to do as many "group" type gifts as we can (read: we don't need any more *stuff*) but sometimes there is something special for a particular child.

Of course most of that is for the children (though I do benefit from it).  So what do I do?  In addition to what I already do (spiritual reading and my personal prayers and such), I have 2 books "Advent and Christmas"  one is "wisdom from Padre Pio" and the other is "wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi".  Each day has a quote, prayer, action and blessing for each day.  I also work on something that I need to improve on  within my soul (which is really quite a lengthy list.) and make some kind of personal sacrifices for self-discipline.

November 14, 2011