Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Little Easter









A great Easter weekend.  A long, but lovely Easter Vigil on Saturday Night.  I didn't realize until it was in line that it had been over three years since I had received communion from anywhere and how much I missed it.  We had a great, low key Easter morning complete with stacks of french toast and bacon and nice little Easter baskets (that looked all handcrafted and lovely, but were in fact filled with rather clever purchases from Target).  We have officially decided we are a bowtie family.

I hope everyone else had a lovely Easter weekend even if it's not a holiday for you!  I know I'm looking forward to warmer weather and brighter days from here on out.

(The books we added to our collection this year are An Easter Prayer, The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale, and Tomie DePaola's Book of Bible Stories.) This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Little HolyDays: Celebrating the Holy Week

Growing up there weren't really Holy Week Traditions.  I knew about Palm Sunday because you got to wave around foliage at church and then we kind of skipped straight into Easter.  Now there's a whole new set of special days to learn about and celebrate - and a lot of church to attend.

In the midst of a very busy week here are a few things that are inspiring our Holy Week Celebrations in our Home.


  •  Food, Glorious Food:
    • Like the many symbols of Easter, a lot of our food has special meaning that is easily grasped by a small child
      • Hot Cross Buns - so many recipes out there!
      • Easter Bread - trying looking up a particular culture's Easter bread on google to make it more special to your family
      • Pretzels - from Catholic Icing
      • Resurrection Rolls - also from Catholic Icing
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A Few Thoughts on Sharing the Easter Story:

It's proven a little challenging to find ways that I want to celebrate these special days with my two year old.  Growing up the whole story was kind of glossed over with a lot of emphasis on the Resurrection - Jesus came back to life, yay, now go eat sugar until you're comatose.   There's a lot more to the story though, and not all of it's pretty.

Now, not everyone has the same qualms I do about these things - but oh boy do I find Passion and crucifixion related crafts disturbing.  No other time in our lives would we encourage our kids to color pictures or make crafts depicting someone suffering an agonizing death.  I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with "crafting" these parts of the story.  Teaching them?  Yes.  Crafts? No.  In my mind crafts, coloring, etc. isn't something you do for such a serious subject.  (Of course having a toddler who asks to fast forward thru the "scary parts" of The Little Engine That Could is a big factor in my mind too.)

 Now as many wise friends have pointed out - there is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday and that's so true.  It is a key part of the story and of the utmost importance and should not be censored completely, but I think every family needs to take into consideration exactly what and how much of those stories their children are ready for.  Personally, I feel more comfortable focusing on the joyful aspects first and the sorrowful later - when I can be assured that my son understands the importance of those sufferings.  Without that ability to understand the importance images of the crucifixion, etc. are just a "scary part" of a story he doesn't quite understand.

I think, for us, these are things that can be built up to in the following years - but for now there's still a lot of story to cover, symbols to explain and traditions to introduce so for now I'm sticking to a simplified account of the story.  "He was betrayed, then bad people did things that hurt him, then he died and buried by a kind man" seems enough for a two year old to grasp right now.

In the end this is just what feels right for our family, this year.  I hope you have a Wonderful Holy Week no matter how you share it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Work of Art, A Rite of Passage




Strangely I'm not angry - well maybe a little exasperated (it was done while I was at work) - this is something I've actually been looking forward to.  Having someone in the house to color on walls has been one of those things that just happens to Moms - like getting peed on on or thrown up on or smacked in the head with a toy. 

It's a rite of passage.

Though I still really hope that we have good washable paint!

p.s. He made the masterpiece with his window crayons and markers, from the look of things he was coloring where he was supposed to and got carried away!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little HolyDays: Celebrating Spring

Spring celebrations and Easter tend to get lumped in together now a days- we see crosses mixed in with baby chicks everywhere we go.  When trying to plan out some of our "Little HolyDays" I knew that as well as celebrating the big and little Feast Days and Holidays that I wanted to mark the passage of the year and the seasons.  This is in part because I think a great part of our society has a great disconnect from the natural world and I want to encourage that kind of awareness within my children.  I want them to understand the wonder of the seasons.  Like Kathleen in her post "A Christian Celebrates the Spring Equinox"  I too feel it's right to celebrate creation via the seasons.

So with that in mind I decided to attempt to find ways to mark our seasonal holidays from our religious "holydays" and marking out the first day of Spring as a special day in our calendar seemed just the spot to start.



This year, since Mr. Man is only 2, we plan on keeping thing simple, but in a way that can be added to in coming years.  Sadly a nice walk outside, even around the neighborhood was out of the question due to high, chill winds and a temp hovering around 19 degrees.

We started by taking a page out the proverbial Waldorf Book and set up a Nature Table. 


 The scarf and vase are from around the house.  The flowers, nest, eggs and animals are courtesy of Hobby Lobby (the rest of the animals are in reserve for Easter Eggs).



The trees I "Waldorf-Hacked" by using 40 cent wood cut outs from Hobby Lobby and using a little wood glue to fix them to a base - took about a hour or so to do.  Don't tell me I no longer use my theatre degree.

 We also tried our hands at making toddler version of Waldorf Transparencies.  It will be nice to have these in the decoration bucket for next year.   Inspiration for the birds HERE and inspiration for the flowers HERE



Our tools - tissue paper (leftover from Martinmas), construction paper and transparency paper.



 We hung the cut outs on the door and went to town - our 2 year old got the idea really quickly and it was just a long enough project that it kept his interest through the whole thing.









I finished it up by adding the other side of the transparencies and cutting them out and now they're up making our first day of spring a little brights.



One idea that we're saving one more year, but would like to begin for a Spring celebration to take us into Easter is to make a Resurrection or Hill of Calvary Garden.  The first day of spring is rarely spring like here in the midwest, so as much as I'd love to plan for digging in the garden I think a little indoor gardening will be a better plan.  Getting our fingers dirty and planting the seeds would be a nice "spring" activity and once the grass sprouts it will be just about time for Easter.  At the moment I'd rather focus on the resurrection in our Easter lessons than the other parts of the story.

I'll be sharing more of what we're doing Easter-wise in another week or so as the day approaches.

By celebrating Spring and the changes taking place around us I feel that we're setting the stage for all the religious celebrations to come while allowing us to stop and give thanks for a new season of green and growth after a long winter.

A Prayer for Spring
LET US PRAY

As the earth once again turns to face the sun we rejoice in this season of
spring. We give thanks, O God, that each day grows longer in light and that the
earth has been liberated from the grip of winter.
We remember the resurrection of Your Son Jesus from the depths of death’s
decay in the tomb, we lift our hearts to You in gratitude. We thank You for the
gift of a day and all the graces it holds.
We ask for the grace, O God, to live in a new way. Grant us fresh dreams and
new visions. May this day come upon us like Spring herself, so that our hearts
may be filled with hope.
May we thus taste more deeply the joys of simply being alive. May we find the
countless hidden treasures that You have scattered throughout this day and
season! May Your peace rest upon all the members of the earthen family with
whom You have made us one.
Amen.

Are you doing anything to mark the passage of the seasons?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Work: A Guest Post

Today I'm thrilled to direct you over to my guest post @Fumbling Towards Grace as part of Sarah's series "No More Mommy Wars".  There I share my reflections on what working motherhood feels like to me and some of the personal experiences I have had with our current life choice.  Our aim for this series is to share experiences on both sides of many hostile Mommy Battles - Working Mothers vs. SAHM's, Bottlefeeding vs. Breastfeeding and many other parenting choices and to encourage mothers and onlookers a like to stop instigating the Mommy Wars and encourage other mothers to stand strong in their parenting choices, knowing that they have support and solidarity in the mothering community.

*********



We're all back in school, sitting in adjacent desks with spindly metal legs and pressed wood tops.  We're each being given a test - it's long and complicated and at some point we will probably be asked to answer the multiple choice questions with an essay and vice-versa.  Somewhere during our cram sessions and study prep we got it into our minds that it's not just our work that determines our grades, but how our answers and results compare to those sitting around us.

That test we're taking is motherhood and we're all trying to cheat off our neighbors.

In a perfect world that would be the perfect way to ace the test, just look over at Ms. Across-The-Aisle who started her test a few years before you did and you’ll have all the answers and ace the test.  Except that we don’t have the same answers; in fact we don’t even have the same questions and in most cases we’re be given a completely different test.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

5 Awesome Things About Parenting No One Ever Tells You About

In general, I feel like parenthood gets a pretty depressing rap these days.  Kids are noisy!  Kids are messy!  Kids eat money!  Kids will destroy your life!

Run Away!  Run Away!

Okay, so I don't want to totally give parenthood a glossy rose-tinted image.  Kids are work.  Kids require money, time and so many other things and no, it's true, not everyone gets a well behaved, healthy and all around perfect child.  I wasn't one, and I know my kids will never be as such.

But in between the tantrums, the poop and the vegetable wars... parenting can be a lot of fun.

So I share my




1.  Kid's Books, Movies and Music
You get to read, share, discover and re-discover a wealth of books and no one can look at you side ways for perusing the children's sections of the bookstore or library if you have kids.  Same goes for movies.  Whether you love classic cartoons or new Disney movies - when you have kids you've got a Free Ticket to sit back and enjoy them without an eyebrow being raised.  And if you want to rock out to The Muppet's Green Album in your car... it's okay!  You have kids!


2.  Coloring Books
I never grew out of my love a new packet of Crayola's and a brand new coloring book.  Now I don't have put on my hipster glass to justify a little coloring de-stress because I liked it before it was cool.  It doesn't matter if, at the restaurant your kids are playing with something completely different and you're making a miniature Mona Lisa out of that picture of Chuck the Truck... you have kids, no excuse is necessary.


3.  Getting Messy
Still love to jump in puddles, craft projects that require a metric ton of glitter or the world's sloppiest brownie recipe?  Great!  Having kids means you can be as messy as you want to be and it's okay, because you have kids.


4.  Imagination
It's not just for little kids.  Having kids gives you every reason to let your imagination take flight again.  In fact, numerous best selling kid and young adult books started as a simple bed time story told by a parent.  Stop around your house like a T-Rex, talk in silly voices or just make your entrance to any room in the world by saying "I'm Batman" and it's okay, because you have kids!


5.  Wonder
You get another chance to experience wonder with kids.  Not in some creepy "Living vicariously through my kids by making them do everything I failed at" kind of way.  Rather in a "Wow, this world is pretty darn amazing" kind of way.  You get to go along for the ride as your kids discover everything from science and nature to literature and music.  Done right sharing those amazing discoveries can carry you through some pretty rough times.

*********

Seriously folks, kids are a lot of work.  They'll tax and test you to your limits.  You open yourself up to a whole different world of worry and potential heartbreak when they enter your world.  But, as much as we should warn future parents about the work that's involved and all the other costs and risks that come hand-in-hand with children we shouldn't be afraid to tell them of some of the great things that make all the ups and downs of parenthood that much better.

Even though parenthood means growing up it also gives us the chance to be a kid again and by doing so we shape the childhood of our future adults.

What's your favorite thing about having kids that no one ever talks about?




shared @ GrowingSlower Link Up

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Francis

A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend with some "interesting" questions.  Namely what was my favorite color and who was my patron saint.  In perhaps another lapse of my lack luster RCIA process I had to tell her that while my favorite color is green, we'd not been told to formally pick a patron saint for our process, but that I will always consider St. Francis of Assisi as my personal patron - a simple saint who has inspired many things in my life.

***************

This week the Catholic Church received it's new Pope. 

As an RCIA candidate, that is someone going through the process of joining said Church, it was an important decision.  Whether the new Pope would make me feel welcome or not was something that weighed heavily on my mind as the conclave approached and the doors were shut.

I was surprised at how much the pomp of the conclave touched me and how excited I became when I found out that the white smoke had been seen.  I was down right giddy.

Then came the announcement of who had been chosen to fill those red shoes - we had our first ever Pope Francis.

I was a little more than stunned.

I knew in my heart which Francis he had chosen.

St. Francis of Assisi.

My Francis.

The first saint I ever related to, even in the days when I was vehemently opposed to his Church.  The saint I consider the patron of my self and my family.  The saint I feel has universal appeal and has inspired countless Christians and non-Christians a like.

It was a powerful moment for me.

I'm still learning about our new Pope - like all men or women in positions of great power there are bound to be great and terrible things in his past simply because he is a human being just like me.  I know that he was not picked to be Pope because he is and always has been perfect, but rather that there is something special about his abilities and character that is necessary to the continuation of our Church.

But I am excited about what the simple decision of a name will continue to mean to me in the coming weeks and years.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Mountains:Molehills









A little glimpse into our day - the mess that envitably trails in the wake of fun....
and proof that we need bookshelves on available wall (that's only one of the piles of shelf-less books in our home).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Accepting 30

I had a birthday yesterday.   I was not particularly excited for this one.  Granted, thanks to a certain little boy the last birthday I really remember celebrating was three years ago I'm having a little trouble accepting what my age is.

I'm 30.

Anyone older than that is now rolling their eyes, but yeah 30 is kind of hitting me over the head.

When I was pregnant with Henry I struggled with many per-conceived ideas about where I was supposed to be in my life and reaching 30 drags up a lot of those thoughts for me.

Shouldn't I have a career from my college degree?

Shouldn't I have a bigger home?

Shouldn't I have more payed off on those loans?

Shouldn't I have more kids by now?

Shouldn't I have more accomplishments and fewer failures?


Needless to say I used to, and still have, many ideas of what 30 was supposed to look like in my life and that picture has drastically changed in the last few years.


But then I realize that I've spent way too much of the last 30 years worried about what others thought about me and how my life is supposed to look.  I spent most of my 20's not having a clue who  I was as a person.

So here's to my 30's.

I know that by the time I leave my 30's behind I'll have become a richer person in so many ways and I'm looking forward to living that to the fullest.

So here's to accepting 30.

I am going to rock my 30's.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Five Favorites

My body is insisting it's a morning person now - and I've been slowly accepting the change from late nights to early mornings and I'm afraid it's affecting my blog out-put right now.  So for the time being enjoy a few fun things via the 5 Favorites Link Up via Hallie @ Moxie Wife.


one.


 via Pinterest

two.

three.

four.
via Amazon.

five.
via Amazon


and an extra.


I've got a Lowe's giftcard with my name on it and plans for the spring.  Can you tell?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: A Review

The provider of my giveaway a few weeks back was kind enough to provide me with another book to review as compensation since I already owned a copy of "A Continual Feast".  I was more than happy to jump at the chance to get my hands on a copy of Lisa Hendey's "A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions For Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul."

To say the least I'm very glad this book has made it into my home and I think I will be referring to it many times in the future. 



Mrs. Hendey gives the reader 52 various saints, and ties their stories and struggles into lessons for mothers, complete with thoughtful questions, quotes, Bible passages for corresponding days of the week and prayers.  The layout of the book works nicely as a weekly or daily study, or as the type of material to have on hand and flip around to when you need a little comfort or inspiration.

I'm taking this book a few weeks at time, letting it all soak in as I read, but I haven't been disappointed yet.  One of my favorite parts of her collection is the use of male saints as well as female saints to teach her lessons - whether male or female these Saints have something to teach a mother about patience, wisdom, humility and so much more.

I fully recommend adding " A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms" to your library.

*While I was given a free copy of this book for my own use from Catholicfamilygifts.com the opinions expressed about the materials are my own*

Beautiful, Peaceful, Real





{Grabbing the camera just in time to capture this}




{This little corner of my house has a little more meaning after going thru the Rite of Convalidation on Saturday}


{Keeping it real}


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*P.S. a few of the wonderful women and mothers in my life are going through some incredibly trying times, please consider taking a moment to pray or send good vibes their way for strength, courage and healing*
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