Tag Archive | love

Hello, I love you


Here’s the song reference.

Taking kids to vote

We voted as a bloc, as it were, yesterday.

Before we disembarked from Fran the Van, I reminded Bugaboo, Beanie, Mr. Man, and Baby Guy that we would greet each and every person we met with a warm, “Good morning, sir,” or, “Good morning, ma’am,” and an honest smile.  We spent the drive to our precinct singing selections from “Wee Sing America” and talking about how the Lord gives us free will.  We had talked about choices earlier in the day, and even took a vote on what we would have for breakfast (President Pancakes and Vice President Sausage were the victors).

As we walked the gauntlet of electioneers, Bugaboo, Beanie, Mr. Man and I greeted every poll worker for every candidate exactly as we had discussed.  Baby Guy chimed in with giggles and waves.  Each man and woman returned our greeting warmly and offered us sample ballots, which we politely declined.  Mr. Man hopefully extended his hand to each one, and was rewarded by at least a dozen smiling handshakes.

Inside the precinct, we continued greeting the people we met, from the election judges to the other voters.  People smiled, and told the tiny people what nice children they were, and commended me on their good manners.  With the exception of a minor Beanie meltdown, they weathered the 45 minute wait to cast our ballot beautifully, and made a couple of new little friends along the way.  After we voted, one of the electioneers was kind enough to take our picture.  Once we returned home, we taped a sign to the door of our little house in a swing neighborhood of a swing state so some very weary children could take their afternoon nap.

Deterring doorknockers

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for little blessings who rejoice in being salt and light to the world.  Help me teach them always, in my words, in my deeds, and in my silences, that we owe our first allegiance always to You, Who sacrificed Your life for ours.  Let my words and deeds also show them that we render unto our temporal leaders the respect they are due, and we love all of our neighbors, not just the ones who agree with us.  Lord, we serve You first, and we serve You best by being Your face to this world, in hopes of bringing others into the warm embrace of Your friendship.  We do this because we love You; grant us the strength, the courage, and the grace to share that authentic love, which does not fall into easy, feel-good gestures, but which daringly passes through the narrow gate.

Little eyes and ears


My election day plea is not a pitch for any candidate, but a simple request:  Many people bring their children to the polls with them.  Please do everything you can to ensure that the quality of adult social behavior those impressionable eyes see is the quality of behavior you would want them to emulate.

John 13:34-35

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

34 A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

Peace be with you all.

— Kelly

How easy it would be to show him how you feel


Here’s the song reference.

We moved our classroom over to Nonno and Deedaw’s house today; the cousins were spending the day there, and it was a rare opportunity for the six of them to enjoy each other’s company for most of a day.  Bugaboo made a brief attempt to snow Deedaw and Niece into believing that she really couldn’t read her assigned passage, but righted herself when I came in to ascertain why it had taken 15 minutes for her to decipher five lines of thirty-six point text.  Deedaw, Niece and I smothered our chuckles at her red-faced and rapid reading of the page thereafter.  Interestingly, Beanie finished her seatwork in record time, and received showers of praise from both Deedaw and Nonno as a result.

It was actually a very pleasant homeschooling morning, although I was slightly discombobulated from having to extract books and materials from a backpack instead of my little kitchen cubbies.  Mr. Man, Baby Guy, and Nephew wandered in and out of the dining room where we had stationed ourselves, I took a couple of diaper-changing breaks, and Deedaw produced a largish pan of macaroni and cheese just as the last math problems were solved.  We even worked in a round of the “Austrian Yodeler” song.

After lunch, the shorty syndicate wanted to go outside.  Niece, before heading outdoors, asked Deedaw where she might find a rake. Having been directed to the shed, she proceeded to gather the leaves in the side yard into neat piles.

I should point out here that Nonno has been ill of late, and has had a lot of difficulty getting outdoors to do his usual yard work.  Deedaw and I had discussed that last night, and I had assured her that over the course of the week, I would take care of the leaves.  Heartened by the unexpected assist from Niece, I grabbed the other big rake, distributed toy rakes among the tinier helpers, and set about raking and bagging the backyard.  Bugaboo did heroic service fetching and delivering the big leaf bags, and helping pile leaves into them. We managed to get in a couple of hours’ worth of work before Mr. Man and Baby Guy started “need a nap” meltdowns.

After Bugaboo and Beanie awoke from their naps (the boys were sacked out until nearly dinnertime), I called Deedaw to see how she and Nonno were faring.  Niece and Nephew had gone home with their father by then.  I marveled to Deedaw about Niece’s willingness to help, and asked her if Deedaw had instructed her to assist.

“No.  She did that all on her own.  She asked if she could do that right after she got here this morning.”

When I teach my seventh grade Faith Formation class later this week, and ask them the same question I ask every week, Niece will have provided a shining example for young people only a year her junior.  Oh, the question?

“How did someone say ‘I love you” without using words or giving you any material thing?”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for a niece who sets an example of comforting the afflicted for Your blessings.  Without words, she showed a love that is patient, kind, and humble.  Please grant Your blessings the wisdom to remember her wordless teaching as they grow, and help me to reinforce the lesson with my own thoughts, words, and deeds.   Grant us all the grace to honor our parents as we should, to be Your face to them as they have been to us.  They are Your first gifts to us.

The best I ever had


Here’s the song reference.

Nine years ago, I married the love of my life, the song in my heart, the light of my eyes.  Without him, there would be no Dailymomprayers.  It is something of a family joke that our priest obtained dispensation for our marriage to take place on All Saints’ Day figuring, having met the two of us, that we would probably need the intercession of the entire communion of saints along the way.  I’m of Irish descent.  He is of Italian descent.  Our kids got both, and there are certain stereotypes about tempers that are funny because they’re true.  And yet, here we are, still very much in love and still building our family by the grace of God.

Last night, after I had finished writing the blog post, Manie looked at me and grinned.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, the conversation that ensued will probably make you smile, but not surprise you.

“So what do you want to do tomorrow?”

“I don’t know.  It would be nice to go out to dinner.  When I talked to your mom this morning, I asked her if maybe we could come over for dinner.”

“I feel awful.  I didn’t get you anything.”

“I didn’t get you anything either.  I didn’t even get a card!”

“I’m a rotten husband.  Come on, there has to be something you want.”

“Yeah, a nap.  Really, it would be nice to go out to dinner.”

“We should probably do something with a play area.”

We left it at that, and curled up to watch the end of Apollo 18.  The movie was forgettable, but the company was terrific.

Although he was off today, Manie went into work for an hour to get a couple of things off his desk.  By the time he came home, Bugaboo and Beanie had finished their breakfast and were attempting to coordinate a raid on the Halloween candy.  The secret to their lack of success was their inability to agree who would be the mission leader.  I suppose I need to work on teaching them to cooperate, but it’s so terribly convenient when their bickering over who gets to be in charge keeps them out of the pantry.  While the girls were having their breakfast, Deedaw called to see if we might, perhaps, like to come over for lunch.  That sounded like a terrific idea, so I offered to run to Wegmans and bring lunch.  Nonno was in the hospital again last week, and is still a little weak and weary from it, so I didn’t want to put Deedaw to a lot of trouble cooking unless she was looking for a diversion.

Deedaw liked the Wegmans idea, so when Manie came home, he helped me get Mr. Man and Baby Guy some waffles to eat and clothes to wear, after which we bundled the bambini into the van and headed off to acquire the makings of an anniversary lunch.  Suffice it to say that sushi, cream of crab soup, salad and a roast chicken were involved.  We had a feast indeed for the Feast of All Saints; it was good to see Nonno and Deedaw laughing.

After lunch, we trooped home and settled the tiny people in for a desperately-needed nap, then sprawled ourselves across the loveseat (he) and the couch (me) to relish a few moments of quiet relaxation.  We talked for a while about things we needed to do later in the week, had a desultory discussion of some long-range plans, then enjoyed a warm silence for a bit.  I was pondering, with great wonder, the miracle of our little family, recalling the years before the children came, when we prayed and prayed to be entrusted with even one little life on this earth,and our joy when He answered our prayer with Bugaboo, then answered it again thirteen months later with Beanie, twenty-two months after that with Mr. Man, and fifteen months after that with Baby Guy.  For the record, there are presently no buns in the oven, as it were.  As I considered, smiling, that vow we made, nine years ago, to welcome new life joyfully, I realized there was a pretty good opportunity for a somewhat unorthodox prayer of thanksgiving to our mighty and merciful Lord.

“Hey, I know where I want to go for dinner tonight.”

“Okay . . .”

“Let’s take the tribe to Chuck E. Cheese.”

“Perfect.  We’ll have fun!”

And so, there we were, planning our anniversary dinner at the Rodent Redoubt, thanking God for blessing us with the children who made us want to do such a thing.  He and I agree that there will be many years for the quiet, intimate dinners at fancy restaurants, but the Temple of the Rat years are precious and few.  So, for now, we trade neckties and pearls for strings of plastic beads and mouse stickers . . . and count it as the most extraordinary of blessings, worth savoring and cherishing.

Afterwards, when the kids were loaded into the van for the ride home, Manie and I paused for a moment.  We looked at each other, started giggling, wrapped our arms around each other and chorused, “Best . . . anniversary dinner . . . ever!”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have blessed our marriage with love, laughter, strength, and grace.  Your design, from the beginning, was that two should become one in flesh and spirit, and we praise you for Your wisdom.  Thank You for blessing us with children, and for the wisdom to recognize the beauty, wonder, and brevity of their childhood.  Please help us teach them that all blessings come from You, and that a stalwart, humble faith in You, coupled with reliance on the guidance You left in Your book of love letters to us, will provide them with everything they need to love as they should.  What You have joined, no many may put asunder, Lord, and we thank You for joining us together forever.  Please mold us into an example of Your will for married couples, and grant that our hearts may turn always to You, whether we face exhilarating joy or exhausting grief, with a psalm of praise.  Keep us ever mindful that marriage is so important to You that You performed Your first public miracle at a wedding, and keep us ever mindful of the sanctity of the sacrament You created.

Better together


As part of her schoolwork today, Beanie made a largish lump of play clay.  While flour, salt, oil, water, and cream of tartar were being mixed and cooked, Bugaboo was sourly practicing her addition facts and lamenting that her day’s assignments did not include the concoction of moldable substances.  Beanie managed not to look too awfully smug, and I reminded Bugaboo that there are days when her own schoolwork includes a spiffy craft and Beanie’s is mostly drill.

Around 10:00, all the day’s assignments were completed.  This was about a half hour after Baby Guy decided he’d had enough of this morning and went down for an early nap.  I credit Mr. Man, who decided that he and his brother should both awaken and play a game of catch the bear between their cribs at 5:45 a.m.  Beanie snagged a couple of wipes to clean along the baseboards, Mr. Man headed for the living room to pick up the fluffs of Smudgie’s fur that seem to reproduce overnight, Bugaboo grabbed the dustpan and brush to sweep the hallway and around the living room carpet, and I started in on the breakfast dishes.

A few moments later, Beanie came skipping through to deposit her grimy wipes in the trash cans, and rendered me nearly speechless by asking, “Mommy, do you have any other chores I can do?”  Once I had recovered, I told her she could take the other dustpan and brush from behind the trash can and see if Bugaboo or Mr. Man needed help.  Shortly thereafter, Beanie and Mr. Man came giggling into the kitchen, balancing a dustpan full of dog hair between them, and managed to empty most of it into the trash can instead of the dogs’ water dish.

The rest of the day was relatively peaceful; we read stories for a while, had warm biscuits, honeycrisp apples, and slices of nice sharp cheddar for lunch, then the tribe caught the Barney Halloween special on Netflix while I dozed on the couch for a few minutes (I was up an hour before the boys, for the record) before we all headed to the back yard to play “chase the puppy” on a glorious October afternoon.

After dinner, we dropped Bugaboo off at Faith Formation (think Sunday school, but on Monday night), then came home for some more story time, a can of enormous olives, and some desperately needed baths.  Beanie generously ceded the privilege of story choosing entirely to her little brothers.  Once we had tucked them in, she and I headed upstairs for our Monday night Mommy and Beanie time (Bugaboo goes fencing with Daddy after Faith Formation).  After she put her toys away, she danced over to the kitchen table to see what tonight’s adventures might be.  She helped me chop dates, nuts, and candy for an orange slice cake, then, to her very great delight, got two make-your-own-Halloween-sticker-scene sheets for her very own.  Beanie is FANATICAL about stickers, and she set to decorating a couple of haunted houses with great glee, narrating what was happening as she built each one.  I love her stories, because everything is innocent and sweet.  Even the ghosts are nice in Beanie’s stories — they’re the ones that know the best candy to put in trick-or-treaters’ pumpkins is the chocolate kind.

Once she was all stickered out, she polished off the rest of the olives while I got her play clay, now cooled, from the refrigerator.  She gleefully dumped it out of the bag, dug her little hands merrily into it, and started to build a big snowman.  After a few rolls of the dough, she sighed and slumped back in her chair.

“What’s wrong, Beanie?  Do you need some help?”

“No, I don’t need any help.”

“Is the dough too cold.”

“No, the dough’s not too cold.  It’s just not as much fun without Bugaboo.  Will she and Daddy be home soon?  I miss making things with her.”

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your blessings, for whom we prayed for so long.  Thank You for guiding us to teach them that they are each other’s first and best friends, and that every joyful thing becomes even greater when it is shared.  Help us to continue and extend that lesson with the, Lord, that whatever they have can be shared with whomever they meet.  Please remind us that whenever two or more are gathered together in Your name, You are there, and that whenever we reach out a hand in love to share the bounty with which You have blessed us, we honor You.

Let the rain come down


Here’s the song reference.  I had Prince on the brain yesterday, thanks to a posting by an old friend.

The weather forecast yesterday was for rain, rain, and more rain, which didn’t exactly inspire me with confidence that we would have a joyful day.  One of the main ingredients for peace in our house is that the tiny people are able to get out of the house for a while every day, and, even with my wretched housekeeping skills, there’s only so much mud I can tolerate.  The Lord is merciful, however, and the morning was reasonably dry, so as soon as breakfasts had been bolted, Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man headed outside to play ball with Smudgie and invent all manner of games.  Now that the three of hem are big enough to use the teeter-totter without adult assistance, they spend a lot of time pretending to fly, although I’ve overheard them also pretending that each seat is a different pony.  Mr. Man takes a particular delight in rocking his sisters as hard as he can from a perch on the ground, which means my watchful eyes are frequently at the window.

Once the rain started, they bolted back into the house to see what chaos might be caused indoors.  Since I was cleaning the kitchen counters and singing with Baby Guy, they decided that a snack and an episode of Spider-Man would be a grand way to pass the time until the terrific trio decided what else they’d like to do with their morning.  I finished my chore about halfway through the show (here’s the episode — Rhino sort of reminds me of Beanie and Mr. Man), by which time Baby Guy had wandered out into the living room to play with the marvelous toy, so I took a break and watched the show with the tribe, smiling and laughing as they shouted out helpful advice to their favorite superhero.

While there was a certain amount of complaining about the TV being turned off after the show, Beanie, Bugaboo, and Mr. Man were quickly mollified by my suggestion that since it was raining outside, it would be a perfect day to paint.  Three little streaks of lightning bolted into the kitchen, where they were quickly supplied with tempera, brushes, and paper.  I also showed them the old “put a blob or two of paint on the paper and fold it over to make a butterfly” trick, which they absolutely loved, and the overhang by the kitchen window was quickly adorned with scads of vivid artwork, fluttering in the breeze from the ceiling fan.  Beanie exclaimed, “Look, Mommy, our butterflies are flying even though their wings are wet!”

I could actually get to like rainy days.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for Your blessings, who delight in the simplest of pleasures, and who derive joy from creating images of Your beautiful creations.  Please grant me the grace to always see the opportunity to exult in grey skies, and to teach Your blessings that the most joyful days don’t have to involve going anywhere but our kitchen table, if we are grateful for the gift of the family You have built.  Kindle in us the wisdom to see Your unwarranted generosity in every event of every day, and to find the rainbows You set for us as a reminder.

Postscript:  After doing my morning reading, I added a link to a blog post about the grace of being grateful for the Lord’s essential gift of fulfilling our basic daily needs; click on “unwarranted generosity.”  SR’s post is well worth the read.  I’ll be considering today what the things are that enslave me, that keep me from joy.

Spring and summer ever after


Here’s the song reference.  Here’s a second reference, brought to you by Bugaboo.

We awoke yesterday to a heat advisory.  I had planned to make a quick run out to the store for milk and eggs, and once Bugaboo, Beanie, and Daddy were moving about the house, headed off on a resupply mission.  What started out as a quick trip to the grocery store morphed into a run to two big-box stores, as the first one’s entire supply of milk was dated for yesterday, and I had realized while driving that we were also low on sunscreen and mosquito repellant.  In the end, I returned home with ten bags, to a very warm welcome from four tiny people and my husband, all of whom were intensely curious as to what the bags might hold.

In addition to the milk, eggs, sunscreen, and bug spray, I’d picked up some chicken for a cookout, a huge net bag of freezer pops, new crocs for Mr. Man . . . oh, and a sprinkler.  We had a most excellent beach ball-shaped sprinkler last summer; unfortunately, Smudgie decided it was a most excellent tackling dummy.  Puppy teeth and vinyl inflatables mix poorly, we’ve discovered, and thus we were sprinklerless for the first genuinely hot day of the year.  As I was unpacking the goods, Daddy advised me that Deedaw was still ailing, and after a short discussion, we decided this would be a “stay day” for us.

Bugaboo was the first to figure out that the mysterious, ropy object with all the bright colors was a sprinkler, and brightly informed us that she was the proud owner of a bathing suit which would be eminently useful in playing with such a thing.  Daddy and I grinned, I cut open the packaging, and we set about attiring Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man in their swim gear.  Mr. Man was quite upset that he would not be permitted to wear his brand new Spidey sneakers to play in the water (and resultant mud), but, upon peering out the window and spying the fun his sisters were having, consented to wear his new crocs.  Baby Guy and I played in the boys’ room for a while, then headed upstairs to make lunch.

Yes, there is a photo gallery, but the videos are better.  Trust me.  I almost burned the barbecue because I kept watching them from the kitchen window, narrating the goings-on for Baby Guy, who was happily cruising around the kitchen.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing in each other’s company, with no place to go, no pressing obligations, and not really paying attention to the time.  I took several opportunities to explain to the girls what Memorial Day means, and that at every opportunity, they should pray for the families of fallen soldiers, for the children whose mommies or daddies can’t be there to grill chicken or set up sprinklers.  I told them every man and woman who serves in the armed forces takes the risk of not coming home to his or her family, and they do it to protect us.  Soon, we’ll start a summer project of sending cards and letters to wounded veterans.  Being free has a price, and we want our children to understand how important it is to thank those who offer to buy the tickets.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You blessed us with a land in which we may come and go as we please, in which we are free to worship You, in which no man may tell us how many children to have or what we must think.  Thank You for the freedom to live according to Your law.  Help us teach Your blessings the difference between freedom and anarchy, and that the greatest and most lasting freedom comes from obedience to Your law.  You taught us that if we know Your truth, we will be truly free.  Thank You for all those who have died to preserve the freedom to know Your truth for us.

Clover and over


Here’s the song reference.

Beanie has designated herself the official flower picker of our household.  As soon as she is given permission to go play outside, her first order of business is to minutely inspect the clover that grows in random patches in our back yard, find the fluffiest flower heads available, and pick them until her little fist can clutch no more.  When she has gathered what she considers an acceptable handful, she delightedly capers up the stairs, cooing, “Mama!  Mama!  I have something foooooooooooor youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”

Yesterday morning, she repeated her ritual after scarfing down half a banana. While she had been dawdling over her little breakfast, I had emptied the (very) old cream pitcher I use to display Beanie’s offerings, and remarked on the light, cheery fragrance of fresh clover blossoms.  Once the banana was eaten, a small flower-seeking missile zoomed out of the kitchen, donned shoes, and flew out the back door.  Some moments later, I heard the telltale thud of size nine feet on the steps, and turned to see a hugely smiling Beanie, clover stems dangling from between her fingers and an impressive puff of white flowers crowning her fist.  She presented her find to me with a little flourish, and the announcement, “Mama, here’s your Beanie love present!”

It boggles my mind that with all the toys and all the things to explore in our back yard, the first thing Beanie wants to do when she goes outside to play is bring me flowers to say “I love you.”  If this is what our days being like grass means, I’ll take it.

Later in the day, Uncle and Cousin, who live not far north of us, stopped in for a visit.  My husband was delighted to have another music guy in the house, as he is currently constructing a FrankenFender, and Cousin was only too happy to test it out for him.  Before long, another guitar materialized, and the two of them sat and talked instruments while Uncle and I smiled and offered the occasional comment or question.  When I checked to see if anyone might be interested in lunch, the response from all three men was quite enthusiastic, and shortly thereafter, we all settled in for steak sandwiches.  Baby Guy slept through their entire visit, unfortunately, and Mr. Man gave up the napping ghost not long into lunchtime.  We knew he had to be tired when he turned down steak and bread.  The girls had a game going involving Polly Pockets, Transformers, and assorted other dolls in their room, and we really hadn’t heard much from them.

The sound of plates hitting the table, however, brought a smiling Beanie from the girls’ room, and she happily accepted a plate when I returned from tucking Mr. Man in to his crib.  All four of us grimaced, then stifled laughter, when she decided to wash down a mouthful of pickles with blueberry juice.  Uncle, to my delight, kept remarking on how all the tiny people seemed happy.  I was glad to be able to share a meal, some music, and some life with the branch of the family tree I hardly know, but whose members are decidedly pleasant and welcome company.  Hopefully the general clutter and chaos that characterizes our house didn’t scare them off.

After Uncle and Cousin left for their next destination, Daddy and I discovered that the boys were still asleep, so we turned on Dinosaur Train for the girls and stretched ourselves out on the living room couches to get a little rest.  Beanie decided to abscond with Daddy’s socks, as she frequently does unto anyone who reclines on a couch with socks visible, and catch a few snuggles.

I guess we were all a little tired.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for a peaceful day spent with family, and thank You for the safe travels You granted our uncle and cousin.  Thank You for the food You send to nourish our bodies and souls, for a shared love of teaching and learning, for our family’s passion for music and instruments.   Thank You for teaching us that houses divided do not stand, and for giving us the opportunity to strengthen our family’s house, building it with love, bread, and joy.  Please help us teach Your blessings that building each other and our family up is a gift and privilege from You, and that love shared is never wasted.

You say it’s your birthday, we’re gonna have a good time


Here’s the song reference.

Bugaboo’s fifth birthday was an absolute riot of activity and good cheer.  Time constraints will not permit me to go into a lot of detail, but if a picture really does say a thousand words, you’ll find the equivalent of War and Peace in the gallery.

Our day began well before 7:00, as both Bugaboo and Beanie were far too excited to sleep, and by the time Daddy left for work at 7:45, Bugaboo had opened all her gifts and was cheerfully playing with a few new toys.  We did “theme boxes” for her; she likes Tinkerbell, Strawberry Shortcake, Spider-Man and Transformers, so she had one box for each.  Each box had a small toy or two (except the Transformers one, which had a big Optimus Prime voice-changing helmet) and a quartet of books about the character.  She also received her first watch, which caused her to exclaim, “I must really be a big girl now!”

Grandma arrived about a half-hour after Daddy left, bearing with her a new scooter (and a helmet — Grandma worked in emergency x-ray for almost 50 years and has rather strong opinions about kids, wheels, and helmets), along with some snacks and crafts for all of  her grandbabies to share.  Suncatchers were painted, scratch art cards were scratched, and then everything chewable by Smudgie was hurriedly stowed for our weekly trip to the farm.

We passed a pleasant hour playing at the farm before I retrieved our big box of vegetables, made a quick stop at home to drop off the box (which also contained a half-dozen of the biggest eggs I’ve ever seen), then headed for the tribe’s favorite unhealthy lunch spot, Big Yellow M.  Grandma rode herd on the tribe in the play area while I waited in line for the food.  As I stood there, my mother suddenly appeared beside me and thrust Baby Guy into my arms, then turned and rushed back to the play area. I figured Baby Guy had gotten a little too wiggly, but then I heard the unmistakeable shriek of a frightened Mr. Man.  Casting about quickly to see what had happened, I spied Grandma spryly climbing the webbed-in steps of the kid Habitrail, where Mr. Man had become lost.  Bugaboo scampered past Grandma and played tour guide, and, after I had plunked our tray down on a table and secured Baby Guy in a high chair with a small pile of fries, Grandma and I switched places, as she discovered that there’s a bit of a trick to getting Mr. Man out of the Habitrail without injury to anyone.  We roundly praised Bugaboo for being such a caring and brave big sister, I gave Grandma mad props for getting into the Habitrail, and Mr. Man, after a little chocolate milk and a couple of fries, decided that he still likes Big Yellow M just fine.

After that, it was definitely time to head home for a nap.  Baby Guy, Mr. Man, and Beanie all went to sleep after brief protestations, but Bugaboo kept wandering out to make sure nothing else interesting was happening.  After about an hour, Grandma left to go check in to her hotel, and Bugaboo came back down the hall to see if, perhaps, maybe, there might be the tiniest chance that she could watch a little bit of TV to relax.  One “Tom and Jerry,” one “Puppy in My Pocket,” one “Mr. Men Show (during which she was joined by Beanie),” and one “Super Hero Squad” later, the rest of the tribe was awake, Grandma had returned, Daddy was on his way home from work, and Mommy was bustling about the kitchen trying to get dinner on the table at 5:00, which was when we had told Nonno and Deedaw (who were bringing little cousin Dubs with them).

One of our house customs is that if it is your birthday, you get to choose the menu.  Bugaboo decided that she wanted steak, macaroni and cheese, carrots, and bread for her feast, so at least there wasn’t any terribly difficult prep work involved.  Grandma did an heroic job of keeping the kids clear of the kitchen while I worked.  Nonno and Deedaw ran a little late, so by the time they arrived, we had fed the tribe and thus did not have to play musical chairs (we can seat eight at our kitchen table — ten poses quite the logistical problem).  As it happened, Nonno and Deedaw arrived with Dubs not long after Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man had cleaned their plates, and thus were met by an excited birthday girl who was wildly curious about the contents of the brightly colored bags her paternal grandparents had brought.  To her very great credit, she shared all of her birthday toys with all of her siblings and her wee cousin, too, even the much-desired actually-transforming-Transformers she received from Nonno and Deedaw.

Once the adults and Dubs had eaten, and Baby Guy had polished off a second helping of macaroni, we cleared the table for singing and cake.  While we were putting the food away, Mr. Man ambled in and began requesting art supplies.  There is a special kind of chaos that attends a two year old boy using paint and markers while his parents are trying to put away food and wash dishes.  After we had sung “Happy Birthday” to Bugaboo and passed around slices of cake, we discovered that adding frosting to the aforementioned two-year old boy is something that has to be seen, because there are no words in any language that adequately describe the resultant mess — or at least none that I could use in this blog.

After all the grandparents left in a flurry of hugs and kisses, we tucked in the boys and let the girls stay up a few extra minutes for an extended storytime (sort of mandatory when one has almost 20 new books).  As we tucked her into her bed, Bugaboo declared she had “the absolute best and most awesomest birthday ever!”

Mission accomplished.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for five years of Bugaboo, for her wit, beauty, and kindness.  Thank You for the large and loving family with which You have blessed her.  Please help us all raise her into a woman who will be a joy to her family and to You.

Believing the unbelievable


Here’s the song reference.

I heaved a largish sigh when I awoke to more rain yesterday; as badly as this area needs it to offset the dry winter, rainy days make erranding with the tribe rather challenging, and there were two that could not be postponed.  Happily, the tribe gave me something of a staggered start to the day, awakening one at a time, and eating breakfast without too much complaining.  By 8:45, all four had beed fed, dressed, and shod, the morning calls had been made, and we were off to the Parks and Recreation office to pick up the packet and tee shirts for Bugaboo’s tee ball team.  I’m still not sure how that gentleman from Parks and Rec convinced me that being the team mom would be a good idea, but we do go forth in love and service to the Lord and others, right?

Our next stop was a clothing store, as Beanie and I were both in need of some shorts that fit us properly.  We are regulars at this particular store, and the employees there are always delightfully friendly to the tribe, especially Mr. Man and Baby Guy, who grin up at the ladies from the comfort of their stroller.  Finding the right garments didn’t take us terribly long, and we were in and out in less than half an hour.  As I loaded the tribe into our van, I noticed a lady sitting in a van parked near ours.  She was alone and weeping.  After buckling Mr. Man’s car seat, I retrieved the box of tissues that lives behind the center console and walked it over to her.

She wept because she had just found out the heart of the child she carried within her had ceased to beat.  I don’t know her name, but she has my phone number. Please pray for her.   I have been her, and my heart aches with hers.  Coincidentally, our last errand involved Bugaboo’s birthday dinner.  She was born at 1:57 a.m. on May 23, 2007, after about 36 hours of labor and years of hopes, dreams, and tears. Four siblings preceded her into our hearts, but were bound for Heaven instead of earth.  As we headed for Wegmans, I remembered those days of sitting in my car, feeling helpless and crying.  I pray that lady will have peace, grace, strength, and friends and family with enough wisdom to NOT say, “Oh, you can always try again.”  I also hope she calls.  We always have room for a new friend.

There was quite the little traffic pileup as I tried to exit the parking lot, and I nearly turned around to find another exit.  Since we weren’t really in a huge hurry, I figured it was a good opportunity to sing a couple extra songs with the tribe and stayed in the line of exiting vehicles, which is why, moments later, the van erupted with squeals of delight when we all spied the cause of the vehicular logjam.

We weren’t the only ones who really wanted pictures of the family of geese crossing the street!

Our trip to the grocery store for birthday dinner ingredients was full of smiles and giggles, helped along by the lady who was running the CocoPop machine’s generous gift of a whole pop cake each for the tiny people.  The kids could sit and watch that machine pop out treats for hours, I think.  Baby Guy was particularly appreciative, this marking the first time he got one of what his siblings refer to as “big giant chips” all to himself.  We also picked up a few things for the kids’ lunches and dinners, since our evening plans would not allow Daddy and I to eat dinner until much later, after the tribe was abed.  It was a busy morning, even by our standards.

Our parish had a special Mass last night for couples wishing to renew their wedding vows.  Daddy and I thought it quite appropriate that the Mass was held on the eve of Bugaboo’s birthday, the night before a lot of our hopes as husband and wife came to fruition.  We were blessed with Nonno and Deedaw’s company, and they decided to join in the renewal as well.  Afterwards, we joked that when the kids are older, we will tell them the story of how Nonno and Deedaw got married twice in one year.

We laughed, in spite of the behavior one might expect from four small children who are all up and at church past their bedtimes, and cheered the other couples who were celebrating what the Lord joined.  It is probably safe to say that absolutely no one who knew my husband or myself on New Year’s Day of 2003 would have believed that on November 1 of that year, we would be married.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for miracles, including the four with which You have blessed our marriage, and thank You for making every day a cause for some celebration.  Thank You for tissues and prayers to comfort the brokenhearted, and thank You for all those who have comforted my husband and I through the years.  Please help us to see Your face in every person we meet, and to teach Your blessings that there is no day that passes without the miracle of love.  Help us also to teach them that part of following You is keeping Your covenants, and keeping the covenant You called us to as husband and wife.  And thank You, Lord, for the examples of covenant marriage with which You have richly blessed us.

And, Lord, please comfort that lady from the parking lot.  Please send her many comforters and much love.