Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hail and Blessed

                                           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 the piercing cold.

                                            In that hour, vouchsafe O my God
                                            To hear my prayers and grant my desires
                                            Through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ
                                            And His Blessed Mother.

You know how I know I'm really Catholic?  Come Thanksgiving clean-up, I begin anticipating the recitation of this prayer every day of Advent.  I now have a history with it ~ memories of deciding my desires to mention, of focusing on hailing the moment of Jesus' birth, of sitting quietly all alone in the early mornings with the Christmas tree glowing and whispering my prayers.  Several requests remain each year and several requests have been affirmatively answered.

One Advent, with a brand-new positive pregnancy test, my only desire was that the child would live, sparing us another miscarriage.  He is now a jolly toddler named Joseph  (Not the girl we were going to name Mary after all the prayers!).

Last Advent, I focused upon four different desires, one of which was a baby girl.  She is now growing beneath my heart and I lumber around until joyously await late February.

This is the second year of praying for "a better job for Ken", kept ambiguous purposefully, knowing that what I presume better may not truly be so.  I leave it in the hands of God.  Mary and I leave it in the hands of God. 

When I first learned of this devotion  (Maybe four years ago, from Elizabeth Foss.) and shared it with the children during our morning prayers,  John quietly told me afterward that he was going to ask for "no more CF for Rees".  Oooohh Boy.  I kept my composure and managed a small smile and nod.  Maybe. 

Months later, when he voiced his disappointment over Rees' lack of healing, we had a good talk about prayers, desires, good people and bad things, suffering, heaven. . . Thank God for His Church, the pillar and foundation of truth (I Timothy 3:15), that guides us into all truth  (John 16:13).

So we pray the old words and we voice our desires in that most holy moment, for Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever  (Hebrews 13:8) ~ the significance of His Incarnation just as effecacious now.  Perhaps the answers will be granted exactly how we want.  Perhaps we'll die asking.  But we hail the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary.  It is blessed.

And either answer ; this side of heaven or the other ; so are we.


P.S ~ I know that the birth of Jesus was not really "in the piercing cold".  It's poetry, folks.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where Rees and John attempt humorous writing ...

Rees and John's writing assignment this week was Something Personal.  I rotate topics : a Current Event,  Something You're Reading,  A Persuasion,  and this week's.  After they insisted that guys don't actually think about things and I insisted they sit down, let their minds wander, and begin writing, this is what I was presented with by the 5pm Friday deadline :

By Rees Howell

Hello everyone, my name is Joseph. I am 2 years old and I live in the best house ever. My dad made it himself a long time ago. You can call Me whatever you want. Some people call Me “Jofus”, while others call Me baby. Sometimes, they say “hey you” (and expect Me to respond the first time they say it). There are some people that actually call Me Joseph. I end up answering to all of them though, but to Me; I’m Me. The life of Me is great! When I get up, I dress how I want. Usually just a shirt and diaper will do, but sometimes I have to put underwear on over the diaper. When guests are at the house, I get dressed up and put on socks! I have decided that footgear is the only required equipment in order to go outside. Sneakers, rubber boots, cowboy boots, any will do (even in winter). But most of all, contrary to popular belief, I can do ANYTHING!
One of the coolest things about Me is My extended use of vocabulary. I can say so many things. Here is just a sampling. More: do it again, or give Me that again. Please: I have to have it NOW, because I think I need it (and I will get it since I’m using nice words). Yes: My favorite word. I agree with almost everything, and people say it’s cute when I say it (the boys say guys can’t be cute, but that shows how much they know!). No: My second favorite word. No, I don’t want that, or need it. No you can’t take it, nor give it to Me. “Brrmm Brrmmm” (any vehicle): tells someone that they are, were, or will be, in a car or 4-wheeler. Or maybe they will let Me ride! Go: usually refers to a dog, or someone acting like a dog. Toot: a funny, pointless remark made after a noise that makes everyone laugh. Train (My movie): something said to put on “The Screen of Relaxation”. It’s a land of talking trains, and wooden people. Most important of all, I have some names down: Da (father), Mom (mother), Wee (Rees), Don (John), Cla (Clare), Ena (Ian), and Lu (Luke). They’re amazing!
Everyone in My family is a little different. There’s Rees: the guy I play with, and the one who gives Me candy and chips. John: the “mean one”. He’s not really mean, but he always puts Me to bed, and I hate that. Dad: he always makes Me happy, especially when I’m sad. Clare: she’s either really nice or really mean (her personality is extreme). Luke switches between the “Coolest Guy Ever”, to the “He-hit-Me-again” kind of guy. Ian is just another boy with crazy sounds and faces. He’s a cross between Clare and Luke. Then there’s Mom. I can’t live without her. She is everyone else, and then some. Mom is My whole life. My family is amazing and My life would be boring without even one of them. I mean, besides learning good things from them, how else would I learn to fight and stand up for myself? After I’ve thought about it, it’s great to be Joseph Howell.

And John's :

Special Radar
Silence… it’s a rare moment in my house. You see every kid from the age if birth to about 10 or 11 have
a special kind of radar that seeks out anyone who needs silence for something (phone call, school work
etc.) and then sends out call for any kind of loud noise possible. For instance someone will leave a
message on the phone and then suddenly Ian stubs his toe, or maybe Luke needs to practice singing
Bach. It can be very annoying sometimes especially if you’re in the middle of a tough algebra problem
and Luke decides that Ian has a Lego piece that’s his (“MINE!!!!” “NOOOO ITS MINE!!!”). After some
time I have discovered two things: one the best time to school work is in the early morning, and two I
think I’m going to join the silent monks!

Which inspired Clare :

Hi everyone! My name is Luke. I am 4 years old and I live in the coolest house ever! (Leaving out the fact that my Dad threw out the train table). my Dad built it himself, before anyone even knew about me. (Amazing, isn’t? I mean, normally I’m the center of attention!). One of the most important rules about me is that you may only, only call Me Luke. I do not like to be called bad Luke, or tooty Luke (I hate that one the most), when I wake up in mom and dad’s bed, which is unofficially mine too, (I come down at night and sleep there) I lay in front of the heater until mom fusses at me to put some clothes on. Then, I put on the clothes I wore yesterday, and, so mom won’t notice, I will strategically put on a jacket, and slip on my snow gear and am outside before she realizes what’s going on! (Face it, I’m awesome).

I have different names for everybody, though most I shouldn’t say, I’ll tell you what I can. (Mom, dad, and Rees don’t count.)    Dummy (John) poop kid (Clare) and Fat-kid (Joseph). Ian, well, he’s just my slave, you might say.

Everyone here is different, there’s Dad, the Guy who plays trains with me, Mom, she reads me stories, and helps me weasel my way out of things, such as pushing Ian (please don’t think me too bad, he is always too sensitive.), Rees gives me chips and puts on Thomas the tank engine for me, John is none of my concern (he’s never at home), Clare’s temper varies, Ian is my personal servant and train-track-builder, Joseph is my playmate, plaything, and personal punchbag.

Now that I’ve thought about it, it’s great to be Luke Howell!

Grammatical mistakes unfixed by their teacher, because then it would be my work, not theirs!
Wincing with pride (!),

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Moronic Cartoons

The title is copied from Dennis Prager as I submit the following "works of art" :


Ian, age 7

10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with "art" that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo's art in the Sistine chapel. The latter elevates the viewer — because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.

Again, from Dennis Prager.  The entire article on the goodness of religion  (He is a practicing Jew, very conservative, and a favorite radio host of ours.)  can be read here.

My children scoffed when I put up the Picasso prints on the first day of October and are looking forward to what they find tomorrow morning  (Renoir), so when I suggested they attempt to copy one of the prints, Ian made a derisive boy noise and swaggered over to the art basket to choose his weapons.  He presented me with the above picture and said something like, "I did this in half an hour."

Warmly and colorfully,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Blanket

Blankets are an essential part of our family life.  We spread them out on the floor for tea parties, arranging sweet snacks into the middle and circling the edges with our hungry bodies.  We use half a dozen of them for rainy day (or 20 below day) forts, each child clamoring for their own space within the quilted walls.  Most belovedly, though, we curl up underneath the cloth for book reading.  Although none of my children has a “blankie” and any one will do for the task at hand, there exists some unwritten rule that requires every child to be, if not actually embraced by the blanket, to be touching it somewhere.  A recent read-aloud morning found us thus : Mom and two toddlers in a chair and under The Blanket, a pumpkin colored fleece newly retrieved from the basement depths with the change of seasons; two older children sitting at our feet, on top of orange fluff that flowed onto the floor (This rendered those of in the chair captive, since any shifting pulled down The Blanket, which, according to some other unwritten rule, is to be avoided at all costs.).  The very cool teenager, not to be confused with the younger children, was nonchalantly leaning against the chair, but his arm was resting on The Blanket.   So we remained, pleasantly entangled with each other as I read The Secret Garden.

It is comforting to reflect upon The Blanket as a type, or picture, of the Church.  We connect with Her in varying ways throughout the years, as seasons of life turn, as our circumstances alter, and as emotions ebb and flow.  Sometimes we long to be completely hidden within the Church for illuminated peace and healing quiet.  Perhaps we are content to be casually wrapped and happily chatting with enfolded others.  Maybe we are purposefully reaching outward, retaining the all-important connection to a corner, as a pivot-point.  And so we live, touching The Blanket, our Holy Mother Church ~ for peace, for quiet, for comfort, for healing, for fellowship, for grounding, for sharing the heavenly Eucharist meal.  It is forever available to each of us and to all of us, as God’s beloved family.

Warm and curled up,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quiet Fight

CF has been very quiet lately.  Almost a year since his last hospitalization and no fearful flare-ups in between.  Sometimes it goes like that.  And sometimes he's been in for two weeks, out for six,  in for two, out for six, through several cycles.  Tough times.  Makes Mommies feel utterly incompetent, and with sinfully short tempers.  Dangerous mix.  Recognizing this is half the battle toward safeguarding sacred relationships.  That and flawlessly foamed cappuccinos (My personal daily indulgence when Rees is "in".)!

He spent four monotonous hours last Friday at "Prov" (Providence Hospital), subjecting himself to scores of screening tests for a drug study.  Then a telephone call two days later ~ rejected.  Rejected because his lung function wasn't low enough.

He was happily disappointed.  Happy at his fairly healthy pulmonary numbers ; disappointed at his inability to access the experimental drug with a shorter delivery system that would lessen time spent "doing medicines".

*He just read over my shoulder and corrected me : "I'm more disappointed, Mom, because they pay me to offer my body to science."

Well pardon me.  I'm only happy.  Sorry, kid (!).

Resting in these quiet CF times, but ready to toughen up if necessary ~

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What I Love About Boys, part 2

Rachel B. has part 1 ~

John to me, driving home from his orthodontic evaluation :
Wow ; I didn't know braces were over $6000.

Me :
Your mouth will cost more than any vehicle we've ever bought.

John :
How about we leave my mouth alone and you guys buy me a truck?

Big smiles,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Homeschool mornings here ~

For the past few mornings, Joseph's hairdo has been a cross between Justin Bieber and Albert Einstein.  Ian and Luke, lacking this biographical information, felt left out of the milk-snorting laughter.  This prompted google image searches with a viewing of Bieb's video, taking up the better part of an hour yesterday morning.  You know, to ensure my little boys' cultural literacy.

This is why my children would probably fail a standardized test . . .

Cleaning up my face,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bear burgers, anyone?

                                   I love how they all have that "Just graduated from Boot Camp" look.

Well, they did it again.  Last weekend, Ken took Rees and Ian several hours north to hunt black bear and was successful!  Ken tracked off in one direction and shot his bear ; Ian remained with Rees, watching another through binoculars  (That one eventually wandered off too far and lived another day.). 

At just seven years old, Ian is particularly sturdy.  Both in mind and body.  He even offered to carry Ken's rifle on their return trek to the base camp since Ken had to empty his pack and push his gear into Rees's pack to make room for the bear parts.  Understanding the male psyche, Ken smiled and strapped a gun as tall as Ian across his four foot body.  The boy marched on.  And this was all between 9pm  (When the bear was shot.) and midnight  (When they arrived back at their base camp.).  Amazing.

How does a guy with CF do such things?  Right now, CF is pretty quiet.  No coughing.  No headaches.  No stomach troubles.  Just maintenance and prevention.  Flutter valves fit in pockets and can be completed while walking or driving or sitting at a campfire.  The pulmozyme that requires electricity for the compressor can be plugged into a converter utilizing a vehicle battery.  Pills can be tossed into baggies and swigged with water.  So he does his lung chores and does his other things.  Amazing.

With really, really full freezers,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Real Presence

There was no burst of light.  No angels heard singing.  I did not tremble.  My eyes remained dry.  I received the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ at the 2006 Easter Vigil Mass after two years of study and preparation.  Converting from pentecostal style protestantism, I was expecing some sort of emotional, physical response ; but quietly completed the proper postures.  Then, it was over.  Holy Communion continued that way for many months : attentive listening, participating, receiving, praying, and singing without the waves of emotion I'd been accustomed to.  Intellectually, I understood that feelings are not what my faith is based on, that dignified liturgy as the expression of our ancient, ever-new Holy Faith is deeply satisfying.  The Catholic Mass is always a "great service" because of the Eucharist, not because of the musical selections or sermon.  On some level, however, I missed the feelings.  I figured I needed to learn how to worship God in spirit and in truth, not in dancing and tears.  I figured I needed to learn how to worship God the way the Israelites did : doing the right duties for hundreds of years without necessarily experiencing miracles or emotional highs.  This was good for me.  In those quiet Sunday mornings, I was quiet, too.  Like the Israelites of old, I was part of something that, while not taking my breath away, gave me deep breath.

But Moses did come to them.  Nehemiah did build the walls.  Gabriel did visit Mary.  And so it came to me.  Leaving Mass to nurse our wiggly six month old, my return proved too late for reception of the Eucharist.  The extraordinary ministers had turned their backs to the congregation and were lovingly folding, stacking, and returning the sacred vessels to their places at the side table.  I had missed it.  Without warning, I burst into tears.  This response surprised me, as there was no logical lead up in my thoughts, no emotional work up in my heart.  It was quick.  It was powerful.  It shook me.  I stood outside the sanctuary, weeping and mopping up my face, waiting for the rest of my family to join me.

I have missed Holy Communion several times since that day, feeding hungry babies or removing naughty toddlers (sometimes both) and have never had such a fervent reaction again, but I will never forget it.  It is how I feel that I know that I believe that Jesus is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Thanks be to God for such an unspeakable blessing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Heavenly Men and Meat

He shot a caribou.  By himself.  And when I say by himself, I mean By Himself.  As in, Ken was a mile away on the other side of a ridge, retrieving one of the four-wheelers to cart his caribou back to their base camp.  Rees was left to guard the kill from predators  (Good Lord.)  when he saw another one emerge and had to make the call on his own.  And he did.  And now we have 167 pounds of meat in the freezer.  Awesome.

This awesomeness is not regular awesome, but truly awesome : we will have more than salmon and beans for the upcoming year.  You see, they do not hunt to keep up an American tradition, or for male bonding, or for the thrill of the hunt.  Those things are frosting on the cake called Family Food.

An accomplishment on so many levels.  Ken and I tiptoe a balancing act between, "You are so amazingly better than anyone else just look at what you've done and you have CF."  and a gruff  "Good job, boy."  (We don't want him to get a big head, right?).  Darn it, though, he's dealing with cystic fibrosis ; a little applause, please. . .

. . .but ~ we also do not want him to expect different treatment or bent rules because of CF.  So.  Our charge to him  (And all our children)  is to live well with All You've Got.  And don't got, so to speak.

Now they're all hopped up on testosterone and antler racks and meat and guns.  And I'm all hopped up on love and pride and a full freezer and this cookbook.  A match made in heaven.

My boy and his caribou.

Ken and his kill.

Ready to head out.

Lovely legs on my table.


Friday, August 26, 2011

I (Heart) Country Music

See that title?  I wrote it myself.  I, forged in Yankee-fied SE New England, land of U2, the Cranberries, Boston and Bon Jovi, have had a musical conversion.  Ask me who I think King George really is.  Strict Evangelicals growing up, I listened to popular radio covertly, as our home only allowed the likes of Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, the Imperials, and Michael W. Smith  (Whom I still enjoy.).  At our home now, though, one might hear Matt Maher, Josh Groban, the chaplet of Divine Mercy, the composer of the month, or . . . (This is difficult to write.) . . . a local country music radio station.

For twenty years, I'd politely listened  to Ken's musical choices while driving, offering pleasant commentary : The words are good but I don't like that slide guitar-thing.  That fiddle player needs to relax.  Her twang-y voice is giving me a tic.  As soon as I'd drive anywhere alone, the dial would turn.  But truly ~ rock, pop, and alternative music has mostly wretched words.  No stories.  No charm.  And while I must occasionally turn down the country volume due to raunchy, immoral lyrics  (Men who sing about women shaking their "rock and roll thang" get no play time in the huge Howell van.), it stays put plenty enough.

After two decades, I finally realize that this is the place to hear heart-warming, tear-jerking, downright funny tunes about love, family and children.  And of course the hunting dog and old truck. 

I submit to you these gems, all of which, by the way, are popular.  Gives me a bit of hope regarding our moral fiber!

For Daddies and Daughters :

For Daddies and Sons :

For Marriages :

And for our Good Old USA :

Humming away with my fingers on the dial just in case,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Semper Fidelis

We googled "Can I join the marines with cystic fibrosis" and clicked on an official list of medical disqualifications.  CF was there, of course, and a host of other conditions, some of which aren't even conditions ~ like a man may be neither shorter than 60 inches nor taller than 80 inches.  I scrolled down, down, down while Rees watched and we read everything from asthma to active ulcers to arthritis.  Passing the physical fitness examination and graduating from basic training  (Both of which Rees could do.)  aren't enough.  We already knew, but it was tough to see it right there in print.

But with such a long list, there are certainly many young people unable to enlist, which is somewhat . . . comforting?  Not exactly.  A relief?  Not really.  It just didn't sting quite as much to see so many reasons for exclusion.  Clearly, he is not the only one.

He sure wishes there was some way to officially serve his country, though.  Maybe a Semper Fi tatoo?  Oh dear.

But he'll be a good man.  An honorable, faithful Catholic cog in the American wheel, serving in his own way with his own unique set of gifts.

"Participation is achieved first of all by taking charge of the areas for which one assumes personal responsibility : by the care taken for the education of his family, by conscientious work, and so forth, man participates in the good of others and of society."   CCC 1914

Always faithful,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


After the recent criticism of my Rocky post as "promoting the sinful sport of boxing"  (Does this make me a real blogger now?!), I've been thinking about boys and boxing.  Boys and fighting.  Boys and jumping down stairs.  Boys and running full force into the couch.  Boys and motorcycles.  Boys and soldiers.  I'm married to one and I'm raising five and with the greatest affection, I assert that boys are weird.

But their masculine genius is a perfect complement to the feminine genius  (To use mystique is to give credibility to Betty Friedan and I refuse to do so.).  The same boy who loves his mama, plays with his sister, hugs his nana, and holds doors for ladies, also has the innards to physically protect those females.  I plan to see to it that their maleness is not "Orlando Bloomified"  (as Laura Ingraham so charmingly phrases the modern weakling!).  Do I want them to be able to put up a good fight?  To be able to shoot a crazed gunman?  Yes.  Do I want them to fight or shoot someone?  No.

But the discipline required to train the body and mind for such activities as boxing, martial arts, tactical handgun or long range shooting are priceless.  Maybe even lifesaving.  Certainly beneficial into turning wild, naughty little boys into strong, self-disciplined, reasonable, wise men who are proud of who they are.

So yup, we'll watch boxing movies and martial arts movies and police movies and soldier movies ~ as long as the Story is good, true and moral.  And I'll concentrate on my knitting or check on the babies when the fight scenes become too much for this delicate female to appreciate.

So much more on this topic,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Raining Responsibilities

It's been raining for so many day now, I've lost count.  Five?  Could it be fifteen?  The animals pretty much remain in their shacks, squabbling, eating, and relieving themselves.  It's messy and loud.  Like us.  Lovely.  I have, however, set to paper my educational plan for our medium to small children for the next nine ('ish) months.   Teenagers do their own odd mix of math, science, reading and current events, which is education-ese for Drudge Report headline reading and yelling about things afterwards.  I don't use curricula.  Or lesson plans.  Or tests.  Or desks.  Well, Rees uses a desk in his room because he's like that.  Just a monthly, three column chart of what I call 
Ordered Unschooling :

*The composer of the month gets his greatest hits CD played throughout the day  ("Greatest hits" seems fine for something like Alabama ; not Mozart.  Anyway.)

*The artist of the month gets his six Dover postcards taped up around the mirror  (Someday I'll purchase big prints.  When I have big money.).

*The literary theme of the month gets all related household books dumped into the living room ottoman for constant visual access.

*Art, science and math materials are available at all times, plus a list of mean Mommy chores. 

Done.  Oh, and for the first week, we're going through this family retreat.  Gargoyles, architecture, cathedrals and our one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church ~ with themed snacks?  Oh, yes.

And since I really do feel badly about the children heading outside for barn chores in the slop pit, I plan on frying up a good farmer's breakfast.

I'll concede.  The rain can have benefits.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weekend Recipe ~ Rocky cookies

*I realize that today is Wednesday, but I thought of the post over the weekend, so it counts for the title!

We recenly introduced the big boys to a few of the Rocky movies, and they are quite taken with the story of the iconic American underdog who succeeds on pure grit.  And the positive portrayal of our Catholic Faith.  And the cute wife.  Enamoured now with All Things Stallone, Ken came home one day last week with Sly Moves: My Proven Program to Lose Weight, Build Strength, Gain Will Power, and Live your Dream, a book by Sylvester himself (mostly), wherein was discovered . . . a cookie recipe!  For healthy little keep-up-your-energy-for-hours confections that he says he relied upon during the physically demanding filming of the Rocky movies.

I made these things three times over the weekend because the batches disappeared quickly.  I'm not sure Mr. Stallone would approve of inhaling a dozen at one sitting, however.  Rees' excuse, of course, was that awesome CF diet ; my excuse was how perfectly they complemented coffee with cream and sugar.  Ahem.


1 C       whole wheat flour
3/4 C    brown rice flour*
1 1/2 C oats
1/2 t     baking soda
1 t       cinnamon
1/4 t    salt
3/4 C   brown sugar

1         egg
1/2 C   olive oil
1/4 C   water
1 T      molasses**

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients.  Mix well.  Roll into tablespoon-sized balls and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 7-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

*Brown rice flour can be purchased in health food stores / sections or made in the Vitamix just like wheat flour.  I run it through a sifter when completed  (Or maybe I need to do that because my machine is seven years old!).

**I use blackstrap molasses for all those minerals, especially iron.  Every little bit helps bodies, CF or not.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Apples of Gold

The grocery store clerk leaned forward, voice lowered, eyes narrowed. "Is it . . . religious?"she asked when I answered her query of how many children I had (six).

 This was my Big Chance to evangelize, to speak of the beauty of the Catholic Church's teachings on marriage and family. I had to be short, sweet, smart. If I said Yes, she'd think we had a large family because we had to. No wasn't exactly right, either. How to answer? And quickly. . .

"Yes, and we LOVE it!" I sang out with a smile, hoping it was Good Enough.

She jerked back, eyes widened now. "Oh. Well THAT'S good." 

I pushed my luck while punching PIN numbers as slowly as I dared and continued: "We converted to the Catholic Church a few years ago. Best decision we ever made."

Her eyes widened even further as she gasped,"People become Catholic on purpose?"

I grinned again, nodding, pushed my luck yet again and suggested she check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church instead of things written about the Church. Her face back to normal, she looked thoughtful and smiled pleasantly. "No kidding," she murmured.

I stuffed my receipt into my purse and proceeded to navigate the full cart whose edges were covered with hanging monkey children out of line. "See you around!" I tossed over my shoulder. Ours is a small town; I hope I will.

My word-perfect, KJV past came to me while driving home:

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a picture of silver."  Proverbs 25:11

Yes, Lord, may my words be apples of gold. Amen.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Pills are an inescapable fact of life with CF : handfuls of capsules, tablets, and geltabs of multi colors and shapes precede every meal or snack.  One of Rees' claims to fame was his ability to swallow  enzymes just before his second birthday ~ no more sprinkling the capsule contents onto applesauce.  No more teary tantrums over eating that grainy applesauce before any other bite.  Halleluia!

He interrupted my typing here a minute ago, smugly adding that his record is now swallowing fourteen at once.  Showoff.

However, pills are more thorny now, in these teenage years, than in those troublesome toddler months.  He hates them.  He has attempted to cease Prevacid, but the 2400 mg of Motrin daily aggravate the stomach.  Dropping both is unacceptable because the high dosage of Motrin keeps lung inflammation down.  Culturelle helps with good gut bacteria, even with oral  (another pill) and inhaled antibiotics.  Extra fat soluable vitamins are necessary, because a person simply cannot get enough A, D, E, and K from food sources.

Every few days or so, I hear him banging and bashing around in the kitchen cabinets and I know that he's resenting the gathering and ingesting of fourteen pills before eating.  I don't know how he did pills at ACYC ~ with an audience?  Secretly?  Occasionally I wonder how he'll care for himself when he leaves home.  Then I shudder and pour myself a nice glass of red wine. . .

But care for himself he must.  And pills will always be present.  While my heart breaks at his angst, I am grateful for the technology that enables him to lead a good life.  Pills and all.

*Slainte!  (Which means, according to my Uncle Tom who lives in Ireland half the year, "Bright Health") ,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Evening Snack

For a bit of shocking reality, here is the evening snack Rees just carted into the den after completing his lung chores*  :

A quart of mocha shake
A bowl of Ramen noodles
Two Snickers bars
A bowl of potato chips

*Lung chores consist of Pulmozyme and TOBI inhaled with a compressor, albuterol and Flovent inhaled with a spacer, and a couple of rounds with his Flutter valve.

And because it's gorgeous and amazing, here's his backpack at the top of Lazy Mountain this morning, which he and John have hiked once a week for the past month.  They are proud to announce that their time up was 1 hour 10 minutes ; and their time down was 31 minutes!

Top of Lazy Mountain

Hungry and tired just writing about it,

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dreams and Puking

"I had a dream last night," an acquaintance said to Ken over the telephone, "and God told me that He was going to heal Rees." Oh puke. Ken tells me that he remained silent while the man continued,  "I sense that you're the kind of person who'd receive it."  Double puke.  He then began "encouraging" Ken on matters of faith and healing and dreams and God, to which my former Marine, veerrry polite husband replied, "Thank you for sharing that; I'm glad you were comfortable enough with me to do so. 'Bye, now."

Ken relayed this entire exchange to me hours later, when the children were all abed and we were half asleep ourselves. Got my blood pressure speeding and kept us up much too late . . . discussing. I cried. Also punched the pillow a few times.

What arrogance. To assume that healing depends on our "receiving" it. To assume that Ken needed or wanted teaching on anything. To assume that we'd be overjoyed. TO NOT REALIZE THAT THIS IS HURTFUL (Although since we have navigated through this bogus theology, there wasn't much hurt, merely bafflement that people embrace such beliefs without  t h i n k i n g  logically. Or historically.  Or theologically. Or Biblically. And these words fit together like a flowering Venn diagram.).

Do I want Rees to be miraculously healed?  Of course.  A million times, of course. I know that God still heals today. I also know that many more faithful followers live, suffer, and die, asking and loving their Lord  (Check out Hebrews 11). But how about a breakthrough cure of the basic defect to repair the mutated protein, enabling all people now and forever born with CF to have a properly functioning chloride channel? How about all those talented, hard working, blessed research scientists? Isn't that a miracle? Wouldn't we fall on our knees and thank God?

Since the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1Timothy 3:15), I trust Her teaching on life, suffering, and miracles; I entrust my son (and all my children) to Her to be taught, to be strengthened, to be loved, to be led ever closer to Our Lord. And Heaven, where all will be miraculous and perfect.  Thanks be to God.

Just dreaming  (Just kidding),

Saturday, June 25, 2011

At the Farm, a poem written by Clare who was supposed to be walking her dog.

At the farm I hear :

Chickens eating breakfast,
A car driving far, far away,
Birds chirping in the many trees of spruce and birch,
A goose, honking its delight to the skies.

At the farm I see :

A goat, walking silently across the pen,
A rabbit, lying ever contented in its hutch,
A chicken, pecking at small grass seedlings and savoring the taste of spring,
An insect, buzzing across the lawn.

At the farm I feel :

A small bug, climbing along my arm,
The cool spring breezes, playfully tugging at my hair.

At the farm.

By Clare A. Howell  (Who is not really in trouble for not walking her dog!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Backpacker Bars

We hike and camp more in the summer than in the winter, but only slightly more, because Ken is big on winter survival skills and takes out all but the smallest two to test their mettle.  I remain home to welcome them back with cinnamon rolls  (My outdoor survival skills are somewhat lacking.  Where was I?  Oh.  Summer camping food...).

These bars are very, very healthy.  And very, very high in calories.  Perfect for hours on a trail or in a tent with hungry kids.  And husbands.  I also made a pan for a dear friend who just gave birth to her fourth child and spends hours on the couch with a nursing newborn.  Keeps health and energy up without having to leave the couch.  Keeps the other kids full for a long time. Again, without ever having to leave the couch.

1 C   butter
1 1/2 C brown sugar, divided
1C  quick cooking oats  (or whir regular oats in the blender for a few seconds)
1 C  whole wheat flour
1 C  white flour
1/2 C wheat germ
1 T flavoring  (zest, vanilla, almond ...)
4     eggs, lightly beaten
2 C sliced or chopped nuts
1  C chips  (chocolate, white, peanut butter, butterscotch ...)
1 C  dried fruit
1/2 C  shredded coconut

Oven to 350

Cream butter and 1 C brown sugar.  Stir in oats, flours, germ, and flavorings.  Press mixture into bottom of an ungreased 13x9 pan  (I often use a 10x15 and they're just not as fat.).

Combine eggs,  next four ingredients, and remaining 1/2 C brown sugar.  Mix gently, but very well.  Spread evenly over crust.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool before cutting

Our favorite combinations :
* walnuts, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, orange zest
* almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, vanilla
* pecans, broken pieces of banana chips, butterscotch chips, orange zest

As an aside, Ken and I have now been married for 21 years and to celebrate, we locked the children at home with a list of jobs, lunches, and movies, and headed out to a favorite trail system.  Spent six hours hiking together.  Glorious.  Believe me, no restaurant dinner could possibly taste as good as backpacker bars in the middle of the mountains! 

And as another aside, of course these bars are perfect for CFers, what with all those nutrition-packed calories ; but so is hiking.  Hours of muscles in motion combined with sustained deep breathing helps to keep lung tissues supple and healthy!

Here's hoping you leave the chores for a few hours and get outside, too ~


Friday, June 17, 2011

Poor Rabbits / Poorer Babies

Mothers who savage their young ~ a phrase we were unfortunately introduced to this morning when Clare discovered that her longed-for baby rabbits had arrived, but were all dead.  Her joyous shouts quickly turned to screams of horror when she noticed severed body parts and five perfect kits huddled together, perfectly still.  Our books tell us that rabbit do eat their own kits ("savage their young") for several stress-related reasons : if their surroundings are too noisy, if they're immature, if their lactation is retarded, if the babies are weak or stillborn.  We are advised to dispose of the offending doe, as the chance of her repeating the repulsive act is too great.

Now that our household mood has quieted to sad brooding from wide-eyed freaking out  (I did attempt to find a better phrase but that's really what was happening here.), I've been turning things over in my mind.  I cannot help but draw parallels between a female rabbit savaging her young and a female human savaging her young  (abortion, of course) ~ from the stress-related reasons to the ripped up body parts.  Dead babies.  But in the animal world, the female is labeled brutal and heartless ; while in our world, the woman is called brave and pained.  Our society has so twisted the meaning of life and maturity that we are horrified at the nefarious rabbit ruled by instinct and applaud the frightened woman ruled by feelings  (instead of values).

Humanity is thus cheapened, lowered to an animalistic level. 

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead."  James 2:14,17

So many souls lost . . . what are we doing?

Still brooding sadly over rabbits and babies,

Clare laid out the whole ones before burying them.  Poor kid.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Not sure if I'm thrilled or mortified :

Rees relays to me that the first evening in the tents at ACYC  (Alaska Catholic Youth Conference), he told the guys, "Hey, I have to breathe in this stuff every night with a smoky machine and I brought my laptop with an entire season of Walker Texas Ranger to watch.  You can stay or go, but that's what I'm doing."  And they remained each night.  And they joked all week, winking, elbowing, and guffawing about Rees' legal marijuana and how excellent Chuck Norris is  (of course).

I know he will encounter prejudices and troubles when certain types of people learn of his CF, which is not immediately noticeable like Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy.  But thank God for these Catholic boys who shrug their shoulders, check out the machinery, declare it cool, and make jokes.  These same young men also labored behind the scenes for their youth pastor, waited in line for Confession  (tough to be too cool when you're in line to confess your sins...!), showed off for the girls, and prayed through many Masses with those same girls.

Rees is being grounded in his Most Holy Faith and his roots are strengthening for his unfolding future, which will undoubtedly include the Not Nice.  Right now though, he is surrounded and fortified by his family, his church, The Church, and his friends ~ faithful and loving.

Even if I don't like their marijuana jokes.

Smiling, but not exactly laughing,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What fairies may come...

Yesterday's excitement :

Drizzly day delights ~ complements of backyard twigs, pebbles, greens, and a glue gun.

We got the idea from this book, which is a nightmare for not-very-crafty sorts, but I swallowed my panicky desire to toss it in the trash and continued flipping until I found a page or two  (out of, like, 100)  that looked engaging and manageable.  In truth, it was Ian, Clare, John, and I who did the actual doing and gluing, but Luke and Joseph were right there with us, organizing, piling, and licking rocks, a Very Weird Thing that Luke enjoys.  Maybe he needs a better kids' vitamin?  Anyway.

Sprites and a porcupine.  I think.

Some may frown upon fairy play.  Some may associate them with anti-Christian paganism.  Bah.  A child's imagination is a beautiful thing.  It is within their fantastical stories that they make sense of and give value to all the goings-on and emotions of their world.  Nothing is trivial : what they do ; what happens to them ; how they feel ; even their faith.  Just listen.  It's rich, friends.   My only rule, thanks to this book, is that dragons and serpents must be evil.  Because some things just are.  Always.  Both in this world and the next.

Pretty ponies

So now we have a pile of charming woodland fairies, ponies, unidentifiable animals, furniture, and houses, ready to be played with.  Oh, and a hairy weed troll with his hairy weed dog made by me, thankyouverymuch.  Hopefully, Luke didn't roll over and snap the twig pony he insisted on sleeping with last night . . .  Who knows what the day will hold for them or what our yard will become?

                                                         Hairy weed troll and dog

Slumbering fairy with table and chair.

Playing and listening,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sun! Warmth! Grass!

Rees and John are climbing Lazy Mt., their summer Fridays plan ~ with a camera.
Ken is hiking with a very large rifle 2 hours north of here, looking for black bear ~ with a camera.
The rest of us are spread out in the yard in 75 degree weather (in Alaska!) ~ without a camera.  Grumpf.

I decided to forget about scrubbing the bathrooms to spend the entire day outside  (I'm not lazy, just being present to my kids.  Loved that article.  Ahem.).  Took me half an hour to cart out tons of things because going back into the house is to be avoided at all costs.  Breaks some unwritten rule about hot Alaskan days.  And 75 degrees is hot for us.  Kids cry and everything.  Here's what I brought :

Big blue blanket accidently stolen from the hospital 13 years ago, stained with salsa, root beer, ice cream, and popsicle juice,

Tipsy travel mug of coffee that Joseph keeps snitching sips of  (Must be Ken's Norwegian blood),

Notebook and pen, because I am, as I've said before, lost in the 80's.

Diapers, although most of the time he takes them off and runs off in boots alone,

Water bottles that noone will use because they like to slurp from the hose but it makes me feel efficient,

Cookies whose chocolate chips will melt internally, rendering them Extra Good,

Rubbermaid full of plastic animals to be set up in scenes all around the yard, half of which will be forgotten, snowed upon in October, and acidentally rediscovered next April,

Bottle for the baby goat, impossibly cute as she bounces all around us,

Telephone in case Ken calls,

Small scissors for popsicles in the nearby freezer, because sometimes only a frozen chunk of sugar and chemicals will do.

(I think we'll have cheerios for supper. . .)

Simply a sensational day! 
Warmly, indeed,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caprine Consolation

Oh no.  The black buckling has died.  Fine for three days, weak on Saturday, worse on Sunday, then no poos, convulsions, cries, last breath.  Ken held the little guy in his lap and Clare pet him until the end.  They buried him in the evening at the north end of our property.

We will, indeed, keep the white doeling now.  A bit of sweet consolation to remember her brother.

She was the first to hold him and the last to hold him.  Her passion is my consolation.  I love you, Clare.

Caprine Catch

She sat in the straw, hunched over with a towel pulled tightly around her shoulders, watching.  It had been almost two hours when I walked outside, mug of dessert coffee (decaf, lots of milk and sugar) in hand.  She unfolded herself, stood, yawned, stretched, and smiled at me.  I raised my eyebrows, half shrugged, and tipped my head to one side.  She pursed her lips, half shrugged, and shook her head.  I nodded and handed her the warm mug.  She nodded, smiled again, and returned to her focused hunch, while I tiptoed back to the house.  It seemed silly to tiptoe through (sort of, Alaskan spring) grass, but when your best dairy goat is in labor, you don't want any jarring noises that might give her cause to transfer to another birthing spot.  One not so easy for us to keep an eye on her and scoop up the babies immediately, like we do here.

About another hour passed with the rest of us more clamorous family members banished to the house, when a glance out the window rewarded me with a silent, frantic, jumping-jacking Clare.

Since I could be loud inside the house (!), I cheerfully shouted for the boys to get out to the barn for the birthing of the babies.  Rees was working and I swallowed a lump of resentment at the store for his absense and pushed more towels into John's arms, grateful that he'd grown responsible (Praise be.).  Ian opted to remain on the couch with Disney's old Swiss Family Robinson, a reward for completing the reading of a children's version ; the littlest boys trotted after John and me out the back door.

Have you ever heard a "whisper-scream"?  Clare has perfected this mode of communication and gave us the lowdown, her bright blue eyes blazing and her wiry arms flailing like a good Italian talker :

She has mucus dripping.
She hasn't gotten up in a long time.
Her sides are heaving.
I think I see the water sack coming.

Alrighty then.  I'll worry over existential issues and whatamIdoing later.
Small boys were instructed to stay by the fence with John, while Clare got into position, catching towel ready :
Caught.  No problem :

Another towel to mop up the sticky wood chips :
Next baby goes to Luke.  No catching picture, as I was assisting him :

And only two this time.
Mix up warm water, molasses, peanut butter and run it back out to Patches, then into the warmer house to clean off and exclaim over the kids :

So now we're bottle feeding one doeling and one buckling, cute as can be, and milking Patches again, who gives us half a gallon a day.  The children always beg to keep a baby  (We've only had 3 litters.) and we always sell them to offset feed cost, but maybe this time . . .

Must go get the bottle again,

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Sunday is our Great Strides Walk  (See the button on the sidebar?), the culmination of the past year's fundraisers and the biggest event of the CF Foundation.  We go, we walk, we eat, we visit, we laugh, we cry.  Then we throw a dessert party at our house afterwards to thank friends for coming out.  It's a Grand Day.

But it was not always so.  For many years, we had no desire to be involved with it, or anything else officially CF related  (Other than Rees' care and doctor visits, of course.).  Ken's take was that we "do" CF all the time ~ enough already.  I just did not want to be one of those mothers  (Whatever that means.  I was a little conceited back then.).

I suppose one year, my craving for connection won out over my aversion ; I probably had also resigned myself to the fact that no supernatural healing was going to occur  (See conversion story above.).  I promised to watch some old World War II movie that evening and Ken agreed to sign up.  And it wasn't bad.  Pretty good.  Fun, even.

In the years following, Great Strides has become important to us all, as we have many  (usually)  sunny hours to meet up with old friends and introduce ourselves to new, anxious parents.  The people not there are important, too.  Not there due to hospitalizations or due to passing away.  They are missed, talked about, remembered.  As it should be.   It's worthwhile for Rees and the other children to be around lots of other CF families, absorbing energetic, joyful support, then reflecting it back to their world.

There's an intensity present, also.  An intensity focused on raising research money for the CF Foundation, because as I understand it, they are the ones financing drug studies.  The more money they have, the more research they finance.  Simple.

So we attend Great Strides for relationships and for money.  And we will until there's no more need for research.  *From my mouth to God's ears!*


P.S. ~ Nice doc explaining amazing drug study here!

Weekend Birthday and Recipe

When your boy turns 7 and calls for Dirt Cake, you find yourself saying things like,  Do you want worms in your bowl?  And  How many scoops of Mud Pie ice cream with that?  Charming.  Delicious.  Feeling sick from eating too much dirt, worms, and mud . . . Happy Birthday, my Ian! 


                                          A Swiss Army Knife!  Now I can do anything I want!
                                            O Lord.


Make any chocolate cake, and break it up into chunks,
Make chocolate pudding,
Make whipped cream  (or get cool whip.  shhh.)
Crush up a whole package of Oreos  (or a knock-off brand.  shhh.)

Layer at least twice, ending with cookies.  Poke gummy worms in.

This is also great for a party, putting the dessert in one of Walmart's plastic wheel barrows and serving it up with a plastic shovel into plastic flower pots.  I just don't do birthday parties anymore.  Meanie, I know.

In love with my boy Ian,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Figuring Together

Rees has been working close to thirty hours the past few weeks (not the twenty he'd written on his entry paperwork), but they assure him it will not continue past Mother's Day.  Who is they, Iwouldliketoknow, and how did they acquire such power over my boy?  He is tired ; he has lost weight ; I don't know if he's used the flutter valve enough ; and he is stressed about how to walk the line between being a helpful employee and standing up for himself and his goals.  Ken reminded him of how good his paycheck will be, which did quell the worry and bring on a grin (dimple and all!).

It's impossible to worry about his growing up without worrying about CF.  How long will he able to work?  Will ge be able to find meaningful employment with health insurance?  Enough to support a family?  Should I push strongly encourage him toward something he'll be able to do when his health declines?   S.T.O.P., Mama.   We don't know what the future holds.  Make plans.  Get jobs.  Do stuff.  Adjust.  Change.  Adapt.  As necessary.  Only hindsight is 20/20 so we  (all)  must march on ~ sometimes tiptoeing, sometimes charging with bayonets, sometimes dancing.

So I'll be better about making a pitcherful of the shake for him to take to work ; Ken will pick up earplugs so the wee ones don't wake him prematurely ; and we'll make better use of weekends for discussions on current events, history, theology, and logic ~ family education favorites.  We'll figure it out together in the days and weeks to come. . .

. . . along with figuring out how to help Clare keep calm when attempting long division,

. . . along with figuring out how to get Joseph to stop   s c r e a m i n g   a l l    t h e    t i m e,

. . . along with figuring out how Ken and I can manage a weekend alone somewhere (It's been 11 years).

Ah, life.   Thanks be to God  (I say that often, don't I?) !


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What party?

Last evening, while searching through a recipe file, I happened across a scrap of paper  (And yes, I still use lots of paper scraps, not iphone messages or anything.  Lost in the 80's am I.).  I had scribbled :

Weekend party ~

Cold broccoli salad
Thick salt and vinegar chips
Hot artichoke dip
Sourdough bread
Dark chocolate nuggets
Individual lemon cakes

And I thought, What lucky friends got this menu???   Then, Who can I invite over to eat this menu again???

Even though today is not the weekend, I want to tag this with a Weekend Recipe label so here's the recipe for the broccoli salad :

5 C      Raw broccoli florets
1/2 C   Raisins
1/2 C   Sunflower seeds
1/2 C   Crumbled bacon
1/4 C   Chopped red onion
1 C      Thawed peas
1 C      Mayo
2 T      Vinegar
1/2 C   Sugar

Toss together first 6 ingredients.  Blend last 3 ingredients and stir into salad.

Good for a summer meal.  Or a party!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Charming Compliment

I frowned at my reflection in the mirror : twisting my head left and right, measuring length, checking shapes, pursing lips, overall unhappy with the picture.  I have got to chop my hair and let it grow again, I growled to my hapless husband.  Ian happened to hear my. . . less than genteel voice and spoke up,

Oh no, Mommy ; I LOVE your hair, even when it's messy!

I did melt a little and bent to hug him and thank him  (I resisted the desire to give him candy for such lovely sentiments.).  He sauntered away, pleased with the power of his words.

*It is messy, though, and I'm still going to have it cut.  Maybe just a trim, now.*

Updated 3-1 to add my quirky FB message :

No matter how desperate you may feel about your looks, having your 13 year old son "cut off the scraggles" is NOT A GOOD IDEA.  I've been bobbed.

Joseph's not sure...


Bubble Bath Peace

Luke was crazy-naughty at the dinner table tonight, eschewing all manners, refusing all food, pouring all water, kicking all legs ~ get the picture?  We yelled, cajoled, and babied, all to no avail, so we sent him upstairs.  Banished from polite society, I believe I said.  Hmmm.

As soon as I was finished, I tiptoed up and discovered him hunched over on his bed, crying softly.  When I suggested  a bubble bath, he turned his teary face toward me and whispered,  Just me?  No one else?  And will you stay in there with me?  So here I am, sitting on the you-know-what, scribbling in a spiral notebook  (updated to this blog later).  He's even pulled the curtain over, creating a watery cave, enjoying the warm solitude.  I'm close, though, at his request, and I listen to my boy's gentle bath-toy play behind a vinyl American flag shower curtain. 

No need to discover what was wrong at dinner.  He's calm and cozy, content and clean.  I plan to brush his teeth, read him a story, and tuck him in to an earlier bedtime.  Tomorrow's a new day.  For all of us.

Thanks be to God,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who are the Bad Guys

It was a perfect homeschool afternoon :

The eldest two were working in one room ; the next two were upstairs, putting together some sort of market, where later, the rest of us would pay pennies to retrieve our own possessions stolen for the store ; the baby was napping ; and the four year old was engaged with a cheerful assortment of toy animals, people, and vehicles in our living room wood pile.  The queen reigning over this peaceful scene  (Me!)  was curled up on the couch, close to the wood pile drama.

John, finished with his pre-algebra, meandered out and poked his head around the corner.  Seeing Luke's set-up in the wood must have struck him as entertaining  (young teen boys are awfully cute that way), as he brightened up and slid into place beside his little brother.

Who are the bad guys?  he queried, and Luke, never missing a beat to his game, pointed and explained.  John listened intently, nodded, then joined him, moving things around, knocking things down, and making Boy Noises.  You know what this is, right?  Hardly any recognizable words?

Get down!  Buzsch !  Buzsch!  Buzsch!  Aaaaawwww.   Kgh.  Kgh.
Over there!  Kush, Kush, Kush.   Wiiiiiiiiing!   Splurthrch.
Get it!  Ug.  Ug.  Uuuwwwwah.  Puuagh.

OK. Enough of that.

Who are the bad guys?  He had to acquire that knowledge before commencing the play.  He had to ask the one who had been at it longer  (Really, the one who'd invented the Whole Thing.).  Once the bad guys were identified, he was good.  He could jump in.  He could play hard.  Sometimes the bad guys were avoided ; sometimes they were engaged.  Sometimes they were knocked down ; sometimes they advanced.  Sound familiar?  Mmmm.

We need to know who the bad guys are, too.  Whom do we ask?  Who has been playing longer?  Who created the Whole Thing?

We heard at our church's Great Easter Vigil Mass, eight Scripture readings and eight sung psalms, chronicling salvation history.  God's plans for the game.  Let's listen intently and check in often for confirmation, redirection, and encouragement.  Let's jump in.  The Church knows the Plan.  We can know who the bad guys are.  Let's play!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Peanut butter stuff

Peanut butter is one of the Best Ways to get lots of fat and protein calories.  Here are two of my fastest recipes for when my meal plan (*) falls flat and I'm in a hurry for a good snack  :


1 C PB
1 C sugar
1 Egg

Mix 'em all together, roll 'em in golf-ball-sized balls, flatten 'em just a bit with criss-cross fork tines, bake 'em about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let 'em cool about 10 minutes, or they'll fall apart.


I'm not really sure this should be classified as a recipe, it's so easy!
Just mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar until it's very stiff.
Give it to the kids to play with and eat.  Ta-da!
(This is one of those foods that you eat tons of because it's so yummy, then feel sick afterwards.  Just so you know.)

* I don't really have a meal plan.  Really Organized Mothers have one and swear by them.  But.  I just don't.

Blessed, warm Holy Week,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Much ~

C o u g h i n g . . .

Taking forever

Monday evening saw the Husband, John, Clare, and I at our church's Lenten Reconciliation service, leaving Rees home with the 3 little boys.  His instructions were simple : don't let them hurt each other.  When we arrived home 2 hours later, Joseph was already sleeping in his crib while Luke and Ian were in their beds  (actually, both in Ian's bed, but that counts) quietly playing with small toys.  We were thrilled, properly gushed thank-you and turned to tackle the messy kitchen when Rees sheepishly divulged, I'd hoped to surprise you with a clean kitchen but it took forever to play one game of Camp, clean it up, get their teeth brushed and in bed oh man I forgot to have them tinkle hope no one wets the bed.

My sideways smirk to the Husband was interrupted as John piped up to Rees, No kidding, huh?  When you and Mom and Dad are at Shoshindo, it takes the whole 2 hours just to get them ready for bed and do one nice thing like a story or game.  Sheesh.

The two of them shrugged, shook their heads, and meandered together into the den.

Sheesh indeed!  The Husband and I shared a good chuckle and one of us  (probably me)  commented,  Boy if we had known That in the beginning of babies and toddlers . . .

Well.  Their wives will thank me someday.  Yup.

And in keeping with the theme of How excellent it is to have lots of kids, I offer these photos of bigger people doing nice things for smaller people, enabling me to eat chocolate and drink coffee while reading friendly blogs :

                                          Bubbles in the house?  Hey, it works!

                                          Who doesn't want to hold a newborn?!

                                     The littler one doesn't know that the bigger one can't read!

                                          Whatever they are doing, I love!

                                             Mini George Strait loves shoulder rides!

Our children do take forever ; thank God!