Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Little of This and a Little of That

Several weeks ago during our months of illness (well, maybe it really was just weeks) we had that garage sale which I had spent so much time preparing for. We did rather well. And the kids so willingly let go of toys and games, books and clothes. Brian and I had promised they could keep the money they made on their items. So this Friday afternoon, we headed to the toy store, money in hand, to have a little fun.

Jacob didn't need much time to decide on this so that he could make more of...

these



Nicole took a little longer, but was thrilled with her choice of this so that Bitty Baby could do...

this



Andrew did better than I expected. He kept gravitating toward the same area. He came home with one of these so that we could spend lots of time doing...

this



Saturday was a great day!

Brian's day was spent using
this and this enabling him to do lots and lots of...

this


And, last but not least, I spent a little time at this place, buying this so that I could spend time doing...

Well, I can't show you that yet, but hopefully by the end of the week, I can unveil my little creation. Let's just say I am having loads of fun!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Five Things I love about Jesus meme

Well, I haven't done a meme in a while. Michele tagged me for this one and I think it is a worthwhile endeavor to write about just a few of the things I love about Jesus.


1. He loves. I don't deserve it. I have done nothing to merit it. In fact, at times I can be so foolish as to even turn away from his love through my sin. And yet it is mine. His great, unconditional love is mine. The thing that bothers me about this is the fact that I often do not put myself in a position to experience the true depth of His love for me. I do not think we can ever fully comprehend the magnitude of His love in this life, but so often I think we allow ourselves to have such a limited "human" perspective where His love is concerned. I wonder what would happen in my daily life if I could be open to and more fully receive the love He waits to shower on me.

2. He forgives. Over and over and over and over. He forgives. And then I turn around and do the same old sins again and he forgives me AGAIN! And along with this gift of forgiveness is His gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Of course there are countless times in one day where I must stop and ask Jesus to forgive me for something. Imagine that. I am sorry for my sin and I am forgiven right there, right then. No doubt about it. But I cannot explain how much more real that forgiveness seems when I approach the throne of mercy through the Sacrament. Maybe it is the fact that I must fall down before another human who is acting in the person of Christ and vocally admit to my sinful habits. Maybe it is the words of wisdom spoken. Maybe it is hearing the words of absolution and feeling my skin tingle as the priest delivers that forgiveness from Christ. It is a beautiful thing. I always leave feeling like I want to come back again and sooner.

3. He shows. Over and over again in Scripture Jesus shows me how to follow Him. He shows me how important relationships are as he spends time with Martha and Mary and Lazarus. He shows me how to pray when stays up all night praying and rises early in the morning to go off by himself. He shows me how to serve in countless ways - feeding, healing, washing, teaching. He shows me that rest is part of the Christian life. He rested in the boat on the water. He rested with his disciples. He shows me how to be one of His own if I but look and listen.

4. He waits. Yes, Jesus calls me. He invites me. He even sends me messengers at times. But He does not badger. He does not nag me. He calls and then He waits. He desperately wants me to come to Him. But He waits for me. I have to come on my own. He will never force me. I am thankful for this patience because I know how stubborn I am. I would get tired of waiting on me, but He doesn't. But what I must realize is that someday my life will be over and He will no longer wait for me. So I better not wait too long to turn towards Him.

5. He lives. Jesus died. Thank you, Jesus. Jesus, rose from the dead. Thank you, Jesus. He lives. He gives me the chance to gain eternal life in Heaven with Him. To live with Him forever! And He lives here with me now in the Eucharist. What an awesome gift!! I know He is always here by my side, but He is here Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. He is there in the Tabernacle in every church waiting for me. He is so real that I may receive Him in me to strengthen me. He knew I would need Him to be that real in my daily life. Thank you for such an awesome miracle. Thank you for never leaving me. He lives!

And now I tag Melissa. How I would love to hear her beautiful reflections. I know she has so much insight, so much to offer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Notes

Well, it has been a good day. Not a perfect day (are they ever?), but a good one. Finally, I have no fever. Yesterday evening my temperature stayed in the 99's and even so, I never felt bad. Today I have not had fever at all and my throat is finally on the mend. I think I am out of the woods now. I wish I could feel confident saying that this whole thing is over, but the way this virus has been I do not have my hopes up. It is a real possibility that Brian could have it soon. I am praying not. I sooooooo want a normal weekend and week ahead. Thank you for everyone who has been praying. Please keep us wrapped in prayer a little while longer while we completely get rid of Monster Virus.

Today we made banana bread. That was an enjoyable treat. The kids really do love to bake and cook. Mental note: do more! I think I would even like to go as far as letting them help with more dinner preparation. I always here of families where older children (10 and 11 or so) actually prepare whole dinners. I am all for that!

OK. Reason number 5,892 I love blogging: Other people's ideas!!!!!

This afternoon, we also took some quiet nap time to make a nifty art project. A while back I had seen Suzanne's boys make these beautiful butterflies. I was so impressed! I had seen these lovely Dover stained glass coloring books in many different places, but had never been quite sure what to do with them. Now I am inspired. Much like the Temples, we colored and cut out some of the larger butterflies from the book. Then we hung them from threads in front of our sunny playroom windows. How lovely! Thanks Suzanne for the wonderful idea!


The one on the left is Nicole's. On the right is Jacob's. Mine is in the middle. I think they will look even lovelier when it is sunnier. Yes, another rainy day.

And last but not least - the Kroger trip. You gotta love this guy. He was a bit wired when he got home at 10:47 P.M. I wonder if that has anything to do with the VENTI Starbuck's Mocha??? He said he clocked it and it took him one hour and 18 minutes from walking in to walking out. Speedy, if you ask me. But, you have to give him a lot of credit! He comparison shopped, evaluated price per unit costs - SAVED. US. MONEY. And other than some items were a bit larger than I usually buy, everything in the bags resembled the list exactly! So now, what to do with the giant can of coffee and the rolls and rolls of toilet paper.

Thanks again for your many prayers and I think the real Celeste is back. These boots are made for walkin'!

Oh, and P.S. - I meant to mention that I also bought an angel stained glass coloring book to use for the Feast of the Archangels! Beautiful!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nursery Rhyme

Sick Mother Harrington went to the kitchen
To fetch her poor family some food.
When she got there, the Frigidaire, it was bare
And so the poor husband went to Kroger.

(If you say Kroger as crow-zshair, it makes quite a nice rhyme)

Questions of the day:

How long will this 30 minute trip take him?
Will the contents of the bags resemble what was on the list?

Hint: He doesn't have to do these comprehensive type grocery trips very often and the last time he did, he came home with a GIANT can of Chef Boyardee ravioli.

Really?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart dear, sweet Brian. I don't think I could have done it tonight. You have been so patient with me through my sickness. You are THE BEST!

More normal



We are getting there

Back to normal, that is. I am still sick, but thanks to Ibuprofen, I can function pretty normally. Yesterday I noticed these signs that things are getting back to normal (?)

1. The "sick mat" is no longer in its proud spot on the floor near the fireplace.

2. My children are no longer strewn about the den, magically hypnotized by the gentle flicker of the "tube."

3. The loudest noise is no longer the sound of the current video selection, but that of children arguing with, I mean, playing with each other.

4. Toys once again litter the floors.

5. Mom has her old job back - cleaning on top of and underneath the kitchen table three times a day.

6. And, at the end of the day, as your fever is rising and you think you are hallucinating again, you find this in your freezer:


If you can't quite make it out, that's OK. I'll help. It is a Hot Wheels size toy bulldozer
frozen in a large bowl of ice. That's the quality of our science experiments these days.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Little Dedication

This next little ditty goes out to Monster Virus.

"These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do,
one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

Are you ready boots? Start walkin'!"

(Courtesy of Nancy Sinatra)


Walking?

Well, once I get these horribly aching joints out from under the ten blankets, then I am going walking!

Hey, who turned the AC down to deep freeze?

Oh, yeah. That would be you, Monster Virus.



P.S. Dear Readers, Sorry for the bitterness. The real Celeste should return shortly.

Today I Turn 5 Months


"Yep. Today's my birthday. I didn't have a big party or anything. Mom wasn't quite up to it. Though I heard they baked muffins while I napped. I did celebrate though with a couple of peaceful naps, some great feedings, and lots of being held and loved on. Oh, and on Sunday they graduated me to this wild and crazy, spinning and bouncing, saucer-like contraption. I like it. Really. I do.

I just couldn't let this day pass without saying a few thank yous:

To Jacob: Thanks for watching over me and doing just about anything to entertain me. You have earned your super oldest brother status.

To Nicole: Thanks for wanting to hold me and for cheering me with your smiles and your sweet sing songy voice. I love it when you dance.

To Andrew: Thanks for not crushing my inner organs every time you show me "a little love." I know you truly mean well. You love me fiercely and I know we will be best buddies before we know it.

To Daddy: Thanks for swaying back and forth in front of the TV with me on those long evenings while Mommy would take her shower. You love me and cuddle me and play with me in your own special Daddy way. But thanks for not wrestling me yet. I am sure I will grow to love it too.

And last, but not least, To Mommy: Thanks for bringing me into this world (with a little help). Thanks for feeding me and holding me and feeding me and snuggling me and feeding me and changing me and feeding me and rocking me and feeding me and playing with me and most of all, for feeding me.

I love you all, my great big happy family!

Happy Birthday to Me!"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Confusion

Just so you will not get confused when you see a comment on your blog from "Celeste", let me just say that would be ME. I think I accidentally changed it today, but I think I like it. So it stays.

P.S. I still have a fever, but as long as I have medicine in me, I feel OK. My mom has kept Jacob and Nicole today so that has made my day a little easier and more restful. Thanks Mama!

It's All About the Food!!!

Something I have been wanting to do for a while is finally taking shape. Robin, Michele and I are hosting our own little "food blog" called Mixing Bowls and Measuring Cups. Come on over and visit us often. We hope to be adding lots of great recipes, tips and fun! You can see the link over to the right. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monster Virus

More later, but for the time being:

* Jacob is better. No fever today. His was much more short-lived.

* I have had a sore throat since early Friday morning and today I have fever. I was wondering why it was so cold at Mass this morning! And at the store. This is the girl who loves her A/C in the car and I wasn't even using it.

More prayers are in order. Brian and Michael are the only ones who have escaped the monster thus far. Today is July 22nd. This has been going on since July 6th!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jesus

Tonight as I drove to a meeting a short way from the house, I listened to a CD that I hadn't pulled out in quite a while. The next song was Jesus, Lover of My Soul by Stuart Townend. It had been so long since I had heard it. But once again tonight, it brought about the same peace and calm of soul that I remember it bringing many times before.

It's all about You, Jesus
And all this is for You
For Your glory and Your fame
It's not about me
As if You should do things my way
You alone Are God
And I surrender
To Your ways

Jesus, lover of my soul
All consuming fire is in Your gaze
Jesus, I want You to know
I will follow You all my days

For no one else in History is like You
And History itself belongs to You
Alpha and Omega, You have loved me
And I will share eternity with You

"Shiny Happy People"

This afternoon Andrew was napping and Jacob and Nicole were - yep, you guessed it - watching yet another DVD. Michael and I decided we would head out to the front yard for a little break and to sneak in a Weight Watchers one point fudge bar (you know, to lift those failing spirits).

It was drizzling a bit. We surveyed the heaps of unwanted stuff priced and awaiting Saturday's garage sale. We checked on the soggy lawn and overgrown, but happy plants. We admired the flowers. We watched some workers pull up at the neighbor's house across the street. Hmm. I wonder what kind of work Friendly Neighbor is having done. We stood there a few minutes.

The men got out of their red delivery type work truck. The men went to knock on our neighbor's front door. The men came back to their truck to retrieve some paperwork. The men stood by the truck discussing whatever they were discussing.

Hmm, again.

Then it hit me.

"Those guys are silver."

Their clothes were silver. Their shoes were silver. Their legs and arms were silver. Their faces were silver. Their hair was silver. Head to toe - nothing but silver. Hmm.

For a moment I stood there trying to process the strange sight. Were things really getting so bad in that house that I was beginning to hallucinate? Wow.

Apparently, these men work for a company that sprays radiant barrier insulation on the underside of your roof in the attic. Apparently, according to a home improvement show Brian listened to once, if you do this job yourself you should wear full body protection. Apparently, that is because the job turns you silver. SILVER. Apparently, it washes off????????

At some point I decided it was a good time to head inside and rest my eyes.

Top Ten Reasons this Sickness Has Been Good

OK. How about five reasons? I am hard pressed here!

Number 5:
Oldest son has become an expert at inserting and removing video tapes and DVDs thus eliminating one of mom's many jobs. His new found love is the remote!

Number 4:
I challenge anyone to find cleaner towels, quilts and pillowcases anywhere!

Number 3:
If mom decides to step outside in the back or take a break upstairs, nobody follows. They are all glued to the T.V. set.

Number 2:
My need to vacuum the kitchen floor and wipe down the table has been reduced to next to nothing. We haven't used it much!

Number 1:
I do not feel one bit guilty for making a second pot of coffee. Right about........NOW!

Actually, I would trade any and all of these "benefits" for laughing, playing children and NO T.V. Hey, I'll even taking arguing, playing children at this point.

Another one bites the dust

Dum Dum Dum

Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust!

(Thank you Queen - so appropriate)

Today was looking UP! Andrew had no fever all night and has had no fever thus far today. But UP soon came DOWN. Jacob has looked a bit pale this morning in my estimation, but I'm just an uptight, nervous, worried Mom - what do I know? At this point if someone blinks their eye funny, I start wondering. I kept asking if he was OK and he kept answering yes. Before lunch, he got a blanket to lay on the sofa and watch the current video selection. Hmmmmmm. Now I'm really wondering. I fetched the thermometer and sure enough 100.1. Another five days? Who knows anymore. All my best efforts to protect the others have been useless. Is Michael next (my worst fear)? I pray not.

I am seriously worn out, discouraged, bitter and frustrated. This has been going on for 13 days now. I so long for normal life again. I know sickness is part of life as a "normal" family, but I miss the way things usually are. I really don't feel like I can handle much more. I guess God thinks otherwise. I know He is not sending this to us to be mean and I am not mad at God, by any means. Just tired in so many ways. It leaves me to wonder what am I supposed to learn here? I am trying not to be a hopeless, teary, blubbering mess of a mother, but it is hard to fight.

I would say that I hope Jacob is over this more quickly than Andrew and Nicole, but I am a little lacking in the hope department, especially where this virus is concerned. What a monster of a virus.

PLEASE pray for me and most especially little Michael. I'll pray for you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ask and you shall receive

But I have learned in the most recent years of our marriage that husbands do not read minds. And finally, after nine years, I decided I could act upon the knowledge I have gained. With a little stubbornness, I did just that this evening.

I am no longer upset that Brian cannot read my mind. I will no longer hope that he will magically wake up one morning and know what I am thinking (often times I don't even know). Instead, I will take the advice of many seasoned women and just tell him what I am thinking or needing.

So tonight, as I scrubbed a pot, Brian was talking about the different things we could get done this evening. I began to brood and stew.

"Doesn't he know that I am SOOO in need of a break? Cant he see I am worn down by all this sickness and would love some quiet uninterrupted time to read sometime before 11:30PM? Why hasn't he asked me if I would like to go somewhere?"

Then I stopped. I gathered my thoughts. I vocalized.

ME: "You know, I would love to get out of the house for a break."

BRIAN: "Oh, OK. Why don't you take Nicole on an outing." (Good suggestion. That would be fun, but doesn't meet the quiet book reading requirement.)

ME: "Well, actually, I would like to go alone and read."

BRIAN: "OK. Go get a coffee and read."

Of course, then he had to twist my arm (practically off my body) because I felt guilty leaving him at seven in the evening with four children, one of which is a sick 2 year old. But I went.

I went to one of the 5 billion Starbucks within 5 minutes of our house. I got a yummy White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha. I read. I read for 45 minutes. I finished my organizing book. I walked down to Kroger for a few garage sale supplies. I filled the van with gas.

I returned home refreshed. I got what I needed. And all I had to do was ask. I kind of like the asking thing. No more silly mind reading around here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Poor Me

I have been stuck in the "poor me" pity party ALL DAY! I would say it is not fun (I am not enjoying myself in the truest sense of the word), but it must be fun. It has to be fun or I would have left the party hours ago.

The two littlest ones have napped well this afternoon and I had some time to work on plans for the school year. But even after spending lots of time on the computer while Jacob and Nicole played beautifully together and accomplishing a lot, I still felt tense and frustrated.

So I stopped and went in the kitchen to wander. I wandered over to the watercolor paintings that Jacob and Nicole had done earlier. They were dry and they made me smile. The first two are Jacob's and the third one is Nicole's.


Before I knew what I was doing, I tore out a sheet of watercolor paper and began creating.


I am not an artist - not one little bit! I do not know the first thing about watercolor painting. My creation will never make it in any of Sister Wendy's books. But as I painted I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders. I felt as though I were floating. I added color and I brushed. Maybe it was in the act of quieting my mind and doing something that I will not try to be perfect at that allowed me to feel some relief. At some point Nicole joined me to create another painting. What a joy!


After I had done most of the painting, I looked at my butterfly and noticed it had an angry "face". Maybe that is symbolic. Actually, I think it is called "Celeste doesn't know how to paint". Hopefully on another, more cheerful day, my watercolor butterfly would look a little happier. Oh, well.

On and on and on and on

Sickness, that is.

Andrew is still sick. He still has fever. While he has not seemed as sick as Nicole was, it is still the same nasty virus. Hopefully, that means in the next day or two he will be well. Then we sit and wait to see if anyone else comes down with it. I am praying that this will be the end, but it is hard to get my hopes up, especially after watching Robin battle the same thing in her family for weeks. I am becoming bitter, discouraged, frustrated, discontented and very tired. I try to look on the bright side and be positive, but it is difficult. With each passing day, it becomes more difficult. We never had much of an Anniversary celebration. We missed our trip to visit family this past weekend. We haven't done anything normal as a family in what seems like forever! I am ready for some fun and normalcy around here. Yes, I know, I here the violins playing too. It is easy to wallow in my own little pity party. But I must not.

This morning these words of Paul in Scripture came to mind. Divinely planted there, I am sure.

"Not that I complain of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:11-12

I think of all Paul endured.

"Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure."
2 Corinthians 11:24-27

I know for a fact that if he can learn this contentment amidst his momentous trials, I can surely try harder with God's grace to find contentment in my small trials.

So that is my job for today and I am praying for success.

You pray for me. I'll pray for you.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who Says Friends Can't Be Bought?

I just went out and bought my new best friend this afternoon.

Not out of the woods

During the night we noticed Andrew now had a fever. Seems we have not escaped this nasty bug yet! Prayers for their health are in order. And also, if I may ask, prayers for me - that I may trust God with my children's health, that my anxiety and worry will leave and that I will find joy and smiles even amidst the trial of what seems to be endless sickness. Now I know all too well how my dear friend across the street must feel!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Six Days Lost to the Great T.V. Abyss

Friday Afternoon: Getting sick

Saturday: Feverishly sick

Sunday: Fever, tummy troubles, mild dehydration

Monday: More fever, more tummy troubles, time to see the doctor

Tuesday: Still feverish, general lethargy

Wednesday: Yep, you guessed it, more fever, but on the mend

Thursday: NO FEVER, but still in great need of rest, food and healing

WOW! What a virus! It has left Nicole feeling really awful, wiped out, and just plain sick. Poor girl. Even if I had wanted her to get up off her mat in the den, I don't think she could have mustered up the ability. So there she parked it - six days. Sick. Sleeping. And watching loads of T.V. There wasn't much else she could do.

Now, I am not a big fan of T.V. watching. I am not a big T.V. watcher myself. We have a T.V. We use it. We watch it. We enjoy it. But I do not want to let it become the centerpiece of our days at home. A year or more ago, Jacob and Nicole would watch 2-3 hours a day. Some in the morning and a little in the afternoon. There they sat - glued, mesmerized, hypnotized. And always, after their viewing time was up, they wandered about whining and lacking any bit of energy, spunk, creativity or enthusiasm. They are what is better known as "T.V. Vegetables."** About the time I was noticing this highly frustrating behavior, I happened to hear a compelling talk on CD about such a subject. After that, Brian and I talked and decided we would greatly, GREATLY reduce the amount of T.V. the kids watch. We cut back to 2 hours a week. Occasionally they watch something on the weekends with their Daddy or we add in an educational show like Signing Time or the Magic School Bus, but for the most part the T.V. is off. It is a blessing on our home life.

So you can see what the past 6 days have been like for us. We have watched PBS in the mornings and just about every available video we own. Well, maybe not every one because I think we have watched Tom and Jerry no less than 5 times. But when the kids are sick, this is how it is. It has been helpful in that since Jacob and Nicole are T.V. Vegetables, they do not wander around, willy-nilly, contaminating every available door knob. It helps the sick child stay put and rest (or should I say, zone). So Nicole has been a vegetable and, of course, there is no way to avoid Jacob becoming a vegetable as well. Andrew, so far, doesn't care about the T.V.

And so the week has disappeared - into oblivion! I am so thankful Nicole is better. And if endless hours of T.V. helped in some way, I am thankful for that too. I am not thankful for what T.V. does to kids and I am looking forward to next week when we are once again T.V.-less. God willing this nasty virus will find its way out the back door and never come back. And if that be the case, I plan to turn off the great flickering glassy screen and shut. the. doors.!

Thank you to those of you who have prayed for Nicole. Keep a few extra prayers going for Jacob, Andrew and Michael that they will be spared. I am praying my heart out.

Simplify My Life: Stage 5

I cleaned out the laundry room shelves and the homeschool/crafting closet on Saturday. Due to illness, I forgot to take photos and post. I am happy with the results and got rid of more stuff! Although I wish my laundry room was a little more picturesque. That would require some major surgery though.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Anniversary Photos

One of the things we did after Brian came home early from work yesterday, was a little homemade photo shoot. The two oldest kidos were watching a movie. Andrew was napping and Michael was in his bouncy chair. We took the camera and the tripod out back and had fun! We are really pleased with the results.

I also took a new photo for my blog profile, but I am having so much trouble putting on that I am breaking into a sweat! Maybe later.



New to me

I just ran into this lovely little blog from a link at Waltzing Matilda. I can't wait to buy this book Alice wrote and I thought others might enjoy what she has to share.

Enjoy!

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Nine years!

"Sometimes it seems like a long time. Sometimes it seems like a short time."

We have always said these words to each other as the months (once upon a time long ago) and years pass. And today, once again, as we celebrate nine wonderful years of marriage, I would say the same. At times it seems as though we have known each other all our lives - have been together forever. At other times it feels like just yesterday we were that happy couple in the photos celebrating our wedding day! Whichever it is, it is amazing. An amazing journey. An amazing love. An amazing lot of fun! An amazing great adventure!


Today feels vaguely reminiscent of an anniversary post by Danielle. We are not off on some exotic trip. We are not even doing a fun outing with the kids this morning as we had hoped. Brian is at work (at least it's only for half a day) and I am at home cleaning up, doing laundry and tending to a sick little girl. As Danielle said, it is not romantic. It is not ideal. It is not even fun at the moment. Totally not as I would have our anniversary day turn out! But it is our life. The life that is a result of our love. The more I have unrealistic expectations and the more I allow myself to feel disappointed, the less I will enjoy this day. What the day is, is inevitable. I will find joy. I will smile at the memories of our wedding and all the happy days since. I will look forward to simple steaks on the grill. It is not about what we do. It is about who we are and the love we share. And today who we are and the love we share means sharing our love and care with our little ones both well and sick.

To my dearest Brian. I love you always and in all ways. All the memories of our early days and months and years are so fresh in my mind. In that way it does seem just like yesterday. In the past couple of days, as Nicole has been sick, I have seen what this love is all about. I see you helping me and working as a team to get Nicole through this illness. You love me when I worry. You love me when I complain. You love me when I don't make much sense. You even love me when I break into tears mid-sentence, "Tomorrow is our (boo-hoo) ann i ver sar eeeeeeee!" You love me. And I love you. It was so apparent to me so soon after we met that you were THE ONE. You are still the one. You always will be. I love my life with you. Happy Anniversary dear HG!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sick Little Girl (sorry, no titles allowed here either)

Anyone who can, please offer up a little prayer for Nicole. This sweet little girl has been sick since Friday afternoon with a icky, fever producing stomach virus. Not a pretty thing. She went to the doctor and is hopefully on the mend.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Minimum Wage?

Jacob: Mom, I really want that job.

Me: Which one dear?

Jacob: The one at the mall. The guy handing out chicken nuggets. I'd be really good at it.

Yes, you would, dear son. In about 10 years!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Changes, Changes

Yep. Same blog. Same Celeste.

Just couldn't resist messing with the blog!

Rain

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

by Robert Louis Stevenson
(the first poem Jacob memorized as a Kindergartener)


Our ever trusty Dr. Neil Frank said last night that there has been rain the last 20 out of 23 days. I guess today makes 21 out of 24. But I praise God we are not involved in serious floods here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth and Fireworks


As many of you do, we celebrated the close of this wonderful National holiday with a fireworks display. We turned out the lights, pulled up our chairs and watched out the kids' bedroom window. Not so traditional but way fun!

We live in an interesting little neighborhood. We belong to none of the cities that surround us. We are "unincorporated." We belong only to the county. This is nifty. It makes for really low tax rates comparatively. It is also very neat for those who love to shoot fireworks. Here they are legal. This year, more so than ever, I am convinced that people must come in by the busloads to take advantage of this.

Now in the past you would have heard me saying things like,

"Ooooh, it's so noisy. How rude!"

Or,

"That is so dangerous. Someone is going to set my house on fire."

And maybe even,

"I wish they would make it illegal."

I still admit it is quite noisy. Much like I imagine a Civil War battlefield must have sounded. And it is potentially dangerous. It does make me nervous still. But tonight I was actually thankful. I was thankful for my firework happy neighborhood for the first time in the almost eight years we've lived here. I was thankful that it wasn't illegal.

After baths and story and prayers, my excited little ones jumped at the opportunity to turn off the lights and roll up the blinds for an extra special treat! It was quite spectacular. We all enjoyed the sight. I am so glad these people decided to spend money for our viewing pleasure. And even when I needed to go feed Michael in his nursery, all I had to do was open the blinds of his big window, settle myself in the rocker and enjoy a completely different display from the one the kids were enjoying in their room. What fun.

We oohed and aahed, gasped and giggled. It brought back fond memories of Fourth of July firework displays as a child. I loved doing the same thing with my mom. I loved trying to decide what each type of firework reminded us of - fireflies and growing hair. Tonight I was a kid again for a short hour. It felt so wonderful to be in that moment with my kids. To enjoy their enjoyment and to see the world through their eyes. It was a delightful ending to a fun day. And all in the comfort of my own home.

So from now on I will be thankful for the firework frenzy each July 4th and December 31st. I won't stop worrying about its safety. I will continue praying for our safety and that of our neighbors. But I think I will worry a little less and enjoy a little more. Hmmm. Seems like I could use to apply that to other areas of my life.

Oh, and next year, I think I'm going to give some money to the guys a street over so they can purchase some more of those great big sparkly ones.

Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Declaration of Independence


God Bless the U.S.A.

Request for Rosary Reflections

There is one thing I would love to hear about from those of you who have made the Rosary a beautiful habit. How do you concentrate on the mystery at hand and upon what do you meditate as you say the prayers? How do you chase away those thoughts that sneak in the door?

I would love to learn from you all. Do share your ideas.

Rosary Reflections

About a week ago, over at Waltzing Matilda, I read her lovely post about the Rosary. She got me thinking and reflecting on all my failed attempts in the past to make the daily Rosary a habit. I want to make it more than a habit, though. I want it to become a devotion that I can't live without. Something I look forward to doing. I want to relish that sweet, quiet time with Our Lady. I want to know the true treasures of saying the Rosary. So I've been thinking and planning and working and praying.

One thing I decided was to make better use of the Rosary CDs we have. Play them more often in the car and around the house. I would also like to work on incorporating a decade of the Rosary into our bedtime prayers (that's in the works). But I also needed the Rosary to be mine. A personal time with Mary. My own time with Mary and her Son.

Around the same time, I read something somewhere on the Internet (maybe someone out there can enlighten me) about saying the Rosary throughout the day. At the beginning of each hour you were to begin the next mystery (out of the 20) and then reflect on it the whole hour. I like this idea. It certainly does make the Rosary prayers a thread interwoven throughout your day, but I wasn't quite sure I could keep up with that. I needed to spend more time thinking about how I could make the Rosary weave throughout my day. I felt I needed to start simple. And so I began. I began to pray the Rosary.

Yes. Yes. I had tried that before and failed. But this time I began with the hope that while I prayed, I could receive some inspiration as to how I could grow in this devotion. I realized that the time I spend nursing Michael had changed. We have more regularity to our feeding times now and I was feeding him more often upstairs in the rocker in his room. So I located the little wooden finger Rosary in my bedside drawer and put it in my pocket. I made a decision to say some of the Rosary each time I sat down to feed Michael. It has been a joy and a blessing. This quiet feeding time (well, most of the time it is quiet) has been a time of quiet prayer instead of a "think fest". You know all those wild and crazy, busy and nagging thoughts that plague you when you have a few free quiet minutes. I realized I could spend this time thinking aimless thoughts or I could spend it in prayer. Hmmmmmm. Tough choice. The time is never perfect. I don't finish a whole Rosary in one sitting - I wasn't aiming for that anyway. Often times little people waltz in or decide to start fights in another room. Despite the interruptions and the ability to only say a few mysteries at a time, I noticed I was saying a whole lot more of the Rosary than I ever have. It has been lovely.

And I have received lots of inspiration. Just yesterday, I taped this little Rosary pamphlet on the wall next to the rocker. I can remember all the Mysteries, but was having a hard time remembering the fruit of each mystery. I really wanted to incorporate these fruits into my prayer. That has been great!

Over these last days, I have been inspired by another idea to aid me in this devotion. The Rosary ring was working well. It was light and fit in my pocket (I pretty much always have a pocket here at home) so I could pull it out when I sat down in the chair. Plus the small ring is small enough to hold and manipulate while nursing a baby. The only difficulty was remembering where in the Mysteries I had left off at the end of my "time in the chair". In my head, I designed my own new Rosary ring or single decade Rosary. I was inspired by other beautiful Rosary products out there, but also by Weight Watchers (???) Now I know there are other single decade Rosaries out there. And I do not know if there is another single decade Rosary out there just like mine. But I did think this up in my own little head. WOW! ((I just did a quick search to see what was available and at first glance I did not see one like this.))

I made it last night, so this is my first day using it. The test run. So far so good. Despite the slight difference in weight because of the beads and the metal, I still do not notice it in my pocket. It is still small enough to hold easily. When I said I was "divinely" inspired by Weight Watchers, I meant it. The unique feature of my new Rosary is copied from the a point counting bracelet I had bought at a meeting last summer. I used it on vacation. The ideas was to move the charm clasp around the beaded bracelet as you used your daily points allowance. Thus, my Rosary. The five larger beads are for marking the five Mysteries as you say them. The smaller beads are, of course, for a series of 10 Hail Mary prayers. The charm on the clasp can be used to mark the bead for the Mystery you finished before stopping your prayer time. So far today I am really enjoying it. I have another version in mind that I may pilot in the next week. I will write about it if I do.

I hope that my reflections inspire others to get back on the Rosary "wagon". I so want to say the Rosary and love it. We are told countless times how important it is to say the Rosary. I do not want to be lazy anymore and exclude it from my prayer life. I pray others will join me on this journey.

I would be interested to hear from you all - your thoughts, reflections and ideas.

To Jesus through Mary!

On a side note: For anyone not familiar with the Rosary, here is a bit of good reading from a favorite faithful source.

P.S. With some of the extra beads and a few extra I bought, I also made myself a stunning bracelet, if I do say so myself.

Nicole's Girlie Bed

I remembered the other day that I had not yet posted a couple of photos on the changes I made to the kids' bedroom, most specifically, Nicole's bed. Melissa and I had been discussing bedding and rearranging and her recent entry on her kids' new bedroom (how adorable is that!!!) jarred my memory. I had posted a bit ago about the butterfly canopy that Nicole and I made and then I just left everyone hanging. Not that you've been checking in everyday wondering about her bed, but anyway.

So......

After much searching and deliberating, we chose to go ahead and make her bed an official girl bed even though we can't do a girl room now - maybe the next house. I had a hard time finding something that wasn't too pricey, but would also compliment (well, enough) the quilts on the boys' beds. I had even considered the pink monkey quilt that Melissa chose, but decided it was too different from the others. Plus, I wanted the flexibility to work with the quilt when we could decorate a girl room someday - without having to buy all new bedding. I found this quilt and sham online at Target and luckily they had it in the store. I love how it looks and it is nice quality. I made her a pillow with pink quilting fabrics I had stashed and we gathered all her pink animals. I still need to talk with my sister a bit more about the monkey pictures we would like her to draw.

Here is how the bedroom used to look. Nicole's is the bottom bunk.


This morning I had Nicole go take her own pictures of her own bed. She was very happy and proud to do so. Here's what she captured.


Nicole is really enjoying her own little space. I am glad we did this. Thank heaven for little girls.

The pressure is killing me!

OK. This was the best I could do. Shorts and a solid color t-shirt. Check. Holding a little baby boy. Check. Brown eyeshadow. Check. Sandals. Check, but only if I was actually going somewhere. And, yes, that looks JUST like my kitchen!