Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chapter One; My legs really hurt

It was a really wonderful Easter here. I was worried it might be very difficult, having lost my Mom so recently. But I was so comforted by the Easter message of Resurrection, and the gift of family and friends, that I actually felt really close to my Mom throughout the day. What a blessing.

This Easter too, marked the first time Fred and I were able to take ALL TEN of our children to the Easter vigil! I was worried Lolo might not do too well through the very long ceremony, but she actually managed to hold it together. In fact, she is the reason for the post title today. I'll explain. After listening patiently to the blessing of the fire, and then processing into church, and NOT being able to hold her own candle,( I could picture her lighting one of her sisters heads of hair aflame) she was getting a bit squirmy last night. Then the readings began. The vigil mass has a whole bunch of readings. ( 7 total, but most pastors shorten it to 5) . Between each, the psalms are sung. It is both Fred and my favorite Mass to attend, so rich with symbolism and meaning, but it is loooonnnggg. Finally, Father proclaimed the gospel and finished  with everyone answering         'Thanks be to God '. Just as Everyone was seated Lolo called out nice and loud "Chapter One; my legs really hurt!" Of course I am certain everyone's legs really hurt with all the standing , sitting, and  kneeling, but Lolo was the only one to articulate it for the crowd. (We Catholics train them young!) Thankfully, she made it through the rest of mass without incident. And my girls have been besides themselves with excitement having their cousins Maria and Anna here since Good Friday. Plus- Our thoughtful Aunt Angela sent some adorable dresses for them to wear Easter morn!
Should we play dress up, or color Easter eggs? How bout both!

Joey led the team filling 1200 eggs fir the hunt!

My beautiful god-daughter finds her Easter basket!
Lolo looked like Pebbles Flintstone, but acted like Bam Bam

Our Egg Hunt was splendid, with so many old and new faces speckling the crowd, despite the rainy day! We put 1200 eggs out and the kids seemed to find every last one! What good sports kids are. Easter is such a beautiful time to celebrate all that is new, all that has been reborn in us. We are blessed! For any of our friends that were in attendance, we were so busy with the egg hunt we barely shot any photos. Please send me some photos in an email and I'll update the blog!
The frenzy begins
Ready, set, go!

any prize eggs? yup!

Hope you all had a blessed and wonderful Easter too!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ten things I did today

This was a particularly long week at Four Gables. Life is moving at lightning pace, and I am doing my best to keep up. Thankfully, though its cold outside, the sun is shining brighter each day. This gives me lots of hope that sooner or later, spring will take hold for good, and I can sit with Christine by my pool while we do the vitally important job of teaching our children (drum roll) how to play Marco Polo. Until then here is a quick peek at my day today, which resembled most of my days of late.

#10- finished grading and packaging up for shipment, all my kids work for third quarter. Remember that is one Sophomore in High School,, a seventh grader, a fifth grader, a third grader, a second grader, and a first grader.And I don't have an administrator. Phew!

#9- Got my hair colored. Amazing what that will do for my outlook on life. Thank you Laura and Designers Edge Salon!

#8- Attended a fish fry at our church put on by the Knights of Columbus and the boy scouts.It was really good food, and even better since I didn't have to cook it.Score!

#7- Read about the Pope for approximately one hour. Its no use, I am pretty much obsessed with him at this point. I spend at least an hour each day getting my hands on anything and everything I can about him so I can figure out who this man is and where he is taking the church.

#6- Got my kids ready for their second track practice. Before you think this is lame- that entails a dozen socks, shoes, feet, sweat pants, sweat shirts, and water.

#5- I went to Mass. Cause if I didn't do that, I wouldn't be able to do the rest of it all. At least not without screaming and cursing my way through it all.

#4-Made the stations of the cross with Sarah, John-Paul, and a very wriggly Sophia Grace.

#3-Took a lovely hot bath, complete with bubbles.

#2-Read a chapter of the Red Badge of Courage to Michael and Thomas.

#1- I blogged, for all of my wonderful readers out there, so you wouldn't miss me too much!

( P.S. This evenings activities may include, a movie, bumper pool( the balls and cues have arrived and we are all warming up our game), and maybe some cards. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back on Track

Since life isn't busy enough around these here parts, today we started our track and field back up. My kids are so incredibly excited to begin. Mary is part of the team for the first time after  watching and running 'unofficially' for years. I think my kids get most excited about Coach John who is all about teaching the kids sportsmanship and having a ball simultaneously.

Of course, three nights of practice every week, and meets every weekend from here until mid June is sure to wear us all out. At least we just finished third quarter and so the last one is generally filled with review so the classroom work will be a tab easier.  Thankfully, Fred will do most of the Track coordination and driving. I might ( cross fingers- say a prayer) even sneak in a few nights that are a bit quieter since I'll have only the two  little girls staying behind.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St Joseph

Today is the feast of St Joseph and the biggest celebration of feast days in our house, despite the fact I am not even slightly Italian.We just finished a novena to our patron St Joseph. My Dad had a strong devotion to him, and he died with all the sacraments of the church, surrounded by his family. Having married a carpenter, it made a whole lot of sense for us to become devoted to this quiet simple man.We named Andrew Joseph in honor of him, and since that devotion grew as our family did, the name took first place again for Joseph Simeon a few years later. Not one single word recorded of his, and yet he was the of primary important to Jesus and Mary, and is the protector of the Universal Church. The poor carpenter. yes.

Today was a special day for us here at Four Gables. Fred made it home in the nick of time to make it with the rest of us to mass for the feast day.  We made a favorite dinner- steak Alfredo  with mud hens for dessert. Then relaxed and played games this evening. If you'd like to know what that is join Pinterest.

St Joseph, pray for us.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Patrick's Day

My children are really Irish. I know this because for the last few days they have spoken about nothing but St Patrick's day approaching. It would be expected if Fred or I mentioned it a good deal, but we haven't and we don't. We just celebrate at the appointed time. But our children look forward to this day with great anticipation. They love corned beef and cabbage,They love soda bread,  they love ice-box cake ( which they have termed zebra cake).

Maybe its really my own fault. The only thing I have always insisted on for St Patrick's day is a raffle. My Uncle Dave ( God rest his soul)  used to hold a raffle at the end of dinner each year for St Patrick's Day. He would hold up various trinkets like leprechauns, and green little pipes,  or beads of some sort- to us young children and make us guess the number in his head. Fortunately for me I always seemed to win. And it had to be honest because my Uncle Dave was a priest and wouldn't ever cheat on a thing. (Even if I was his favorite.)  I won, fair and square.

So, when we began celebrating St Patrick's Day I would ask Fred to pick up something to raffle off.  Apparently this is what really makes the holiday special for my kids. They woke us up this morning so anxious to wish us a Happy St Patrick's Day! Naturally we did all the great food and green clothing, but they were just tickled that they won some prizes like cards,and bears, and shamrock glasses as well. 

I'll leave you with a small story about Irish women and marriage that I certainly believe is true. At least in my own experience it is. But if you'd like to verify after reading- feel free to ask Fred...


The first man married a woman from Italy. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a woman from Poland. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done and there was a huge dinner on the table.


The third man married a girl from Ireland. He ordered her to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty when he pees......

Friday, March 15, 2013


...the Ides of March! Because you just never know what might happen. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis I

I couldn't be happier tonight. So pleased with the choice for Our Holy Father. A humble, steady, strong, and  holy man. I will post the translation of his first speech from the balcony.It is just perfect. We have already said Our Rosary and once again we were able to pray for Our Holy Father's intentions...all seems right in the world tonight!

Brothers and sisters, good evening!

You know how the duty of the Conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother cardinals have gone to take him from the edge of the world... but here we are. 

I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan family of Rome has your bishop: thank you! And before anything else, I'd like for us to pray for our bishop-emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady keep him in her care....

Our Father....

Hail Mary....

Glory Be....

And now, together, let us start this road: bishop and people. This [new] path of the church of Rome, which "presides in charity" [over] all the churches. A path of brotherhood, of love, of trust between us. Let us pray always for ourselves: one for the other. Let us pray for all the world, that we all might know a great fraternity. I wish you that this journey as Church, that we begin today and on which my Cardinal-Vicar [of Rome] will help me, might be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city!

And now I'll give you my blessing... but first – first, I ask you this favor: before the bishop blesses his people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that he might bless me: the prayer of the people, seeking God's blessing for their bishop. In silence, please pray over me....

*Pope Bows to crowd*

Now I give my blessing to you and all the world – to all men and women of good will.... 

Brothers and sisters, I leave you, but only for now. Many thanks for your warm welcome. Please pray for me often!
I'll see you soon – tomorrow I want to go pray to Our Lady [Salus Populi Romani – her shrine at St Mary Major], because she's the one who cares for Rome.
Good night and sleep well!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bumper Pool

Fred announced to me on Sunday that he had purchased a bumper pool table at the local auction. I have never played bumper pool, so I didn't really know how to react. When I saw the table I felt a bit better though. Within 24 hours everyone has staked a claim on it. It became pretty clear to see that each family member had a different view of what they could get out of the table, and why it has been accepted so quickly. I won't waste words, where a picture ( or a few) will speak more readily:

What Fred saw- an opportunity to play a childhood game
What I saw- extra room for eating if we have a party
What the little girls saw- pretty table for tea parties with their dolls
What my boys saw- perfect poker table
You can see why it's going to be a hit. Now we just have to decide where to keep it, and whose turn it actually is to use.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fun by Proxy

I did some Spring cleaning today. It just felt like a good day to scrub. Its warming up out there, and the earth is more green than brown, so my step is lighter. I find myself so busy most days with ten kids going in ten directions that cleaning can be a necessary and welcome opportunity. Today though, I stepped back and realized just how blessed I actually am in the midst of it all. 

I called this post 'fun by proxy' because that's how I felt all weekend. Maybe it should really be 'happiness by proxy'.  One thing I never counted on as a Mom  was the ability to genuinely be happy and 'having fun' when I didn't actually do something myself. It would have seemed almost impossible to enjoy an event you are not attending, but it actually  does happen to me regularly now. For instance John-Paul was invited to a dance last night and we spent the afternoon yesterday picking up flowers, talking about where they were going to dinner, and getting clothes prepped. Meantime Andrew and Peter headed out for pizza and a movie with a group of about 60 Christian college friends who formed a  new group on campus. 

This afternoon four of the younger boys headed to the races with Fred. It takes years off of Fred's life to sit and watch cars run on a dirt track for a few hours and the smile it brings to him is worth every minute to me. Back at home I was busy getting dresses ready and pressed for the little girls who are at the father-daughter dance tonight. Can you picture how happy the three little ones were to be dressing up for a dance with their Daddy? The excitement in the air was palpable. While they were still giggling in the bath, Peter called and asked if he and his friends could take Joe, Tom, and Mike on a Trolley ride in Gettysburg and then grab dinner. What an awesome older brother. Andrew and JP headed to the vigil mass, came home for dinner with Matt and I, and then off Andrew went to a bon-fire. Matt and JP are picking out a movie for us to pop in til the others arrive back home.

All of these things have me completely delighted. My heart feels so full knowing my family is happy. I never anticipated being able to enjoy life this much, even when I am not really the one participating, but simply helping it keep happening. I guess love is like that. It reaches out of itself. Its full of surprises.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Popeless; Not Hopeless

An eerie feeling is afoot in Catholic church's around the world.  Yes, Jesus is  still present and the glowing light remains in every sanctuary as usual, but  there's no Pope. It sort of feels like the first time I came home from school and my Mom wasn't home. It was utterly incomprehensible for me to imagine my Mother NOT being there waiting to give me a snack. The whole house seemed empty, and I wondered what to do. The office of Pope is singular like that. It is not easily filled . And also like our Mothers taken for granted until they step out. The papacy is the supreme end of the authoritative line...the buck stops station...Almighty God.  For Catholics this is normal, and natural, and completely accepted. Not having a Pope is utterly chilling to us. No direct line up to heaven- Gadzooks! Say what you will about the church,it has certainly been built upon a firm foundation. One that has stood since Christ himself with a clear ( though sometimes troubled ) succession of Papal leaders. 

So it feels strange to have to stop and NOT pray for the Pope during mass each day now since February's end came and went. We Catholics pray for each other a whole lot and for our priests, bishops, cardinals and Pope, particularly in Mass, and so the difference is noticeable, and frankly uncomfortable- for me at least. I want my Papa! 

But we are Popeless, not hopeless. The last of the Cardinals arrived in Rome yesterday and the conclave begins on Tuesday, the feast day of St. Gregory the Great. With any luck we will soon have a new Pope and will be trying our best to get used to his new name and the feel of his papacy. These are important days for our Church, so remember to pray for the Cardinal and for Catholics everywhere, that our hope would not be in vain. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Wheels

Andrew and Peter have a new set of wheels. Their car was totaled a few weeks back, and we- I mean Fred has been looking at cars to replace theirs. We bought the totaled car back from the insurance company as it was still drive-able around town with some work, but Fred had to jimmy-rig so much of it together, that it looks like it has scars.  And then he began to shop for cars.


If you know Fred, you know that he loves me only slightly more than cars. I am infinitely flattered by this, as I am almost certain  that our kids do not suffer the same good fortune. Cars are Fred's love, passion, and weakness. In case you think I jest- Joseph, who was born 11 years ago while we lived in Vermont, is my living proof. On the day I brought him home from the hospital, Fred was so fixated on a new truck he simply had to purchase, that he made us stop and pick it up from the dealer and I wound up having to drive myself the rest of the way home from the hospital with my fifth son and the rest of the boys. When we got back to our home, his friends met us to see Fred's new  son truck.

After too many hours of making phone calls and deliberating over what was the best car for the boys to buy, Fred did the only reasonable thing he could do. He called his brother Dave and asked to buy one of his cars off of him. You see he had heard from his folks that Dave was selling his Fusion. And of course the whole 'car thing' runs in Fred's family. (Fred's dad being only slightly less entranced than Fred.) And  Dave takes good care of his cars. I mean like really good care of his cars. Cars are family, and are treated gently, and tenderly, and sweetly. So in Fred's mind there is no better or more trustworthy person on the planet to buy a car from than his brother. 

Never mind my protest that the car was a standard and the boys and I do not know how to drive a standard. "BAH! They'll learn!"  I figured if I couldn't win the ride home from the hospital argument, this one was futile to even begin, so the deal was made. The boys weren't bothered by this at all, mind you. Because, as I've said before- the car thing runs in the family ( on Fred's side). 

We've spent the last week giving lessons on driving a standard and nursing our whip-lash. Today the boys took it out on their own. I cannot begin to tell you the look on their faces as they drove off. Beyond the shadow of a doubt they got the bug. Fred has named the car for them- get this- The Black Pearl.He insists its a coincidence and should bear no resemblance in my mind to the Pirates  of the Caribbean  ship of the same name.   I suppose that since The  White Whale is what we call the 15 passenger van I drive, and the broken car down car is affectionately named Robbie the Red Car, and Fred's truck is the Blue Tiger;  The Black Pearl kind works- in a sinister sort of way. 

Drive safely y'all.  I've given fair warning.