Monday, December 30, 2013

The Close One...

Here is my big baby giving my small baby a kiss on the head! I love how Lucy has quickly taken on the big sister role. Granted, she's usually covering the baby's face with a blanket, smothering her with an over-sized stuffed animal, or giving her a kiss on the head and leaving snot behind...but, there is true love in all her actions :).

Here's me and all the kiddos on Christmas Eve before bed. That night I watched one of my all-time favorite movies, "It's a Wonderful Life." When Clarence says, "See George, you really had a wonderful life," I instantly hear a voice in my head reminding me that I really have a wonderful life!

This Advent seemed short, but also very magical. I feel so grateful that my oldest two children are in Catholic school as they seemed to truly grasp (as much as possible for ages 7 and 5) the meaning of the season...Joseph even brought home an awesome Nativity scene in a shoe box (definitely a keeper among the kindergarten crafts!). We try to teach them at home, but a little re-enforcement never hurts!

Here's Daddy making Christmas cookies with the kids! I always dread big projects like this (sadly, the clean up and anticipated bickering prevent me from looking forward to them!), but it was a special afternoon. And, bonus for me because Daddy took the lead and organized/completed the project. These are the memories that I want for my children!

Does my little Lucy look like a thief to you?!

Today is Monday, 12/30. The kids are still off from school, but Daddy is back to work (luckily for a short week!). I went to the mall with a friend to check out a new place called Tumble Town. It was a little pricey as I had to pay for five children, but we got a discount because five children is considered a "play date"...score! The kids had a great time and got some energy out...which is good...because we're staying home for the rest of the day. Taking six kids out by myself is not easy!

Anyway, Tumble Town is at the mall so we parked outside of the closest department store. As we were leaving, Lucy apparently grabbed a pair of glasses off of a table as I weaved the double stroller through the tight aisles. The door started beeping as we were leaving. I had no idea that Lucy had the glasses in her hands, so I told the kids that it must be a mistake and to keep going. No employees were around to check our belongings.

As I was getting everyone in the car, I discovered the little robber in the front of the stroller. The big kids saw that Lucy had "stolen" something too, and they were very upset about it (again, thank you Catholic schools for helping with conscience development!). Gianna promptly told Lucy that she had sinned. Joseph asked if we were going to jail. Cecilia and Justin didn't know what to say, but they were in a panic.

What else to do? Get everyone out of the car and march back into the store, of course. We beeped as we went through the door and still...there were no employees in sight. I put the glasses on the nearest table and we left. Gianna was still concerned that they would not know that they were returned (I didn't bother explaining that no one even knew they were taken!).

We talked about it all the way home. Joseph seemed to sum it up when he announced, "WOW...that was a close one!" If that's the closest call of the day, we're in good shape! Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Sky...

Last Thursday, my husband, Teresa, and I played the role of the Holy Family at Cecilia and Justin's preschool. Lucy (seen above) was...something!? She was supposed to hold a lamb (a pint-sized shepherd?), but she was really just a toddler walking around the altar!

It was great fun...and a great honor too. My mother pretty much summed up my feelings in an e-mail that she sent me after I sent her pictures..."Trish, you have reached the sky when you get to portray Mary!"

Behind the Holy Family are the teachers at the preschool. They are beautiful women (all mothers too) who work very hard to give our children a most valuable preschool experience. I will never forget their kindness toward my growing family (these years seem to be speeding up and my children will not be young forever...but I won't forget...and neither will my kids!).

I am so grateful for this preschool at this stage in my life. When I became a mother, I prayed for friends and community (I was new to Harrisburg and had not built up a support network yet)...prayers answered the day that I walked into Linglestown Christian Nursery School when Joseph was 2-years-old (before that, I had a great group of new mom network and breastfeeding group friends!). I have met many of my closest friends in these halls :).

I must get off the computer. Before writing this, I was trying to sneak in a little prayer for the end of Advent. As I sat down by the beautiful Christmas tree with a hot cup of coffee and a little Advent reflection prayer book, my baby immediately started crying in her swing (she was fussy so I thought the motion would comfort her). A few prayers in, I realized that I was ignoring Baby Jesus (quite literally last Thursday...ha!)!!! God's will for me was quite clear for me at this moment...and I was doing my very best to ignore it!

As soon as I picked up Teresa, she nuzzled into me and went fast asleep...she just wanted to be held. Luckily, taking care of my baby's need IS a prayer too! The tree and coffee (thank goodness for microwaves) aren't going anywhere!

Wishing all of you a most blessed Christmas. Praying that the baby Jesus will come into all of our lives and make us better people! 

Monday, December 16, 2013


I love this picture of my "twins" in brown and white! This picture was taken back in August on a hot day. The high today is around 25 and windy, so I'm loving the summer shot (although I still probably prefer the weather today to a humid 90+ day...I know, I've been told that I'm crazy!).

The world is sparkly outside my window. We got about 3 inches of snow on Saturday. It was perfect...enough to make everything look Christmas-y and beautiful, but not enough to cause any real problems (or even a school delay as it was over the weekend!). Although, I did just learn that a young 9-month-pregnant woman died on local snow-covered roads this weekend...and her baby survived. I'm praying for the woman, the family, and for the Christmas miracle baby. Stories like that really stay with me.

There is something else sparkling around here these days. That is, my children! There is magic in the air as we joyfully await the birth of Christ and, of course, Santa Claus! The twinkle of anticipation in their eyes is simply contagious.

Something extra nice that I have seen recently is Cecilia (age 4) being very kind to Lucy (age 1-1/2). They play together frequently, and I listen to Cecilia being extra patient and caring toward a toddler who is just learning to talk and so badly wants to be included. All of my children have their moments of being nice toward each other, but Cecilia's behavior is really standing out. I'll have to put in a good word for her with Santa Claus!

I'm going to get off the computer to enjoy the baby smiling at me. At almost 2-months-old, Teresa is finally able to communicate with me a little bit more. I must say that I prefer the smiles to the newborn wail! Speaking of Teresa, she is going to play baby Jesus at the preschool nativity play on Thursday. I will be Mary!

Somehow I think she will be more believable at her role :).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Remember, O most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mount Tepeyac you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection. Accordingly, listen now to our supplications and grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that, relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen.

Getting ready to play on a cold day! Justin was being very "3" and Lucy was just delighted because she was wearing a hat!
I love December 12th. It is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! I have shared in the past on this blog about the special favors that Our Lady has obtained for me under this title. I think my devotion started when I was living in a convent in Arizona.

Yes, a convent. And, no, it's not what you think :). When I had my teaching/traveling job, I had to find a place to live at each new location. I stayed in wonderful places, less than wonderful places, and a downright scary place! 

But, two favorites stand out. One was the convent in Phoenix, Arizona (I lived there with two religious sisters and one retired priest!), and the other was a Catholic Seminary in Washington, D.C. (where I met my husband!).

Anyway, I remember a big celebration at the convent for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. One of the sisters was of Mexican descent, and she had lots of family and friends over on December 12th! It started with Mass at the beautiful chapel (convenient to have a priest living right there in the convent!), and then we eat, drank, and laughed for hours!

Since then, I have had a special fondness for Mary under this title. And, she hasn't failed me when I have prayed for special intentions!

Today I was blessed to have six Catholic mom friends over to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe with me! Four more friends couldn't make it (it's a very busy time of year!), but they were with us in spirit. We said a decade of the Rosary as we prayed for each other's intentions. I love bringing Catholic moms together because of the fellowship, support, and laughter (we're really just a bunch of sinners trying the best we can!)...and, because of course, Jesus is present when two or more are gathered in His name! I think Jesus was pleased that the guest of honor this morning was his mother :). 

Lucy, Teresa and I at Teresa's Baptism last month!

Teresa is almost 2-months-old! She is so tiny and precious. As long as she's held, she's a delightful baby. Of course, there are times when I have to put her down!

I am ready to begin blogging again. But...a big will often be on-the-fly (which means it'll be like turning in the first draft of a paper...something I never did in, forgive the errors and rambling! If I wait until later to proofread/improve it, it'll never get published!).

I just received my 2014 schedule for the website. I am honored to be a part of their team again. I will be writing Gospel reflections as well as monthly personal reflections. I feel a strong calling to write (though I acknowledge that it may be more for myself than for what it brings to others...ha!!!).

In conclusion (trying to tie together my random I said, my blog posts are like rough drafts!)... today I am celebrating three of my favorite things: Our Lady of Guadalupe, my Catholic Mom friends who are a tremendous joy and help, and my return to writing (I dedicate this blog and all my writings to Our Lady of Guadalupe...praying that she will make it MUCH better and productive!).

Happy 2nd week of Advent, friends!