Monday, July 24, 2006

Live, From Denver

Today's Catholic Mom Moment is taking place in the Denver Airport. Adam and I are on our way for a two week vacation in Chicago and we have a long enough layover to justify paying that ridiculously high wifi fee they charge for internet access.

My family unit feels a little splintered these days. Eric and Greg have remained home due to the fact that the football coach now determines Eric's schedule. We picked Adam up from camp on Saturday, so he was able to sleep in his own bed for two nights before setting off for his next adventure.

While in Chicago, we'll be in the city for a few days, but then we're heading off to my sister Erin's beach house on Lake Michigan for the bulk of the stay. Nana, nephew Patrick, and Gramps will be flying up to meet us. I am looking forward to a few weeks of relative quiet prior to the craziness of the school year starting again. How does summer always seem to fly by so quickly?

I'm not sure what my internet connectivity will be like for the next few weeks, so if you experience prolonged periods of blogging silence here, assume I'm sitting on the porch looking at the lake!

I can't wait to play with my nephews, to spoil my son, to talk with my mom and daddy and to rub my pregnant sister's belly! Isn't the anticipation of a vacation wonderful?!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mom Faces Fears

Since Adam's away at camp this week, Eric's an only child in the house. He misses his little brother big time, and is starting to get a bit stir crazy. So today, we had a special Eric day with just he and I.

First off, we went on a very nice bike ride which culminated in a Starbucks outing where we enjoyed iced drinks and read the New York Times. I was counting that and my walk as my exercise for the day, but Eric had something else in mind:

Rock Climbing.

We're fortunate enough to have an indoor climbing gym in town. Typically, my routine is to take the two boys and a good book to the gym. They climb, I read, and everyone goes home happy. Not today - Eric said, "Mom, you have to climb too or it's going to be boring."

As the Mom of an almost 15 year old, I can appreciate the fact that these chances to respond to such invitations will soon be few and far between. Soon enough, he will not want to be seen with me, let alone actually have outings with me.

So I pushed my fears aside and dove in.

Fears: How big my backside is going to look when I'm climbing, how it'll look truly dorky when I make it a third of the way up the wall and have to come back down, and finally, the fear of actually trusting the auto-belay to keep me from dropping three stories to the ground on my head.

Facing your fears is a good thing. I thought that I had them conquered until I was halfway up my first climb. I was on the first wall - me and the four through six year olds! One of the Moms who was standing next to the line saw me and said, "That's why I wore a mini-skirt, so my kids wouldn't talk me into climbing!"


I mounted the wall with great confidence, made it halfway, and decided that was a good effort for the first trip. I was ready to come down, but that's actually the hardest part. You have to let go of your death grip on the hand holds, lean back, and let the auto-belay catch your weight. I didn't quite follow the directions and bounced into the wall twice. Then I landed in a very un-gracious pile on the cushy floor. I had the four to six year old crowd in stitches!

Their giggles forced my competitive juices into overdrive, so I made it to the top and came down perfectly (well, at least less badly) on the very next try.

Several trips to the top later, we were both ready to head home. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty and my legs were was great! I love trying new experiences, especially after I've tried them! Next time, I may even take on the number two wall!

So I'm not ready for a trip to the walls at Yosemite, but at least I learned something new and had a great day with Eric while doing it. Life is truly wonderful.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Walker

When I was in college, my parents lived in Long Beach, California. I never really felt like I lived in Long Beach, as I was really only home for summers between my years at Notre Dame, but I do have a few vivid memories of my time there.

One of those memories is of a person we called "The Walker". He was a man, probably in his mid forties, who could be seen for hours on end walking around town. When we first spotted him, he was very heavy. We never knew the story of The Walker, so I sort of just made up my own story about him. In my version, The Walker had suffered a heart attack, forcing him from his job and putting the fear of God (and death) into him so strongly that he took to the streets.

The Walker would walk for hours on end. You'd see him at all times of the day, in various parts of town. He always wore the same outfit, but I don't think he was a homeless person. Over time, The Walker's physique began to change and harden. He went from very overweight, to moderately overweight, to thin. His walk went from a stroll, to a more purposeful stride, to an extremely slow jog.

I don't know what ever became of The Walker - I lost track of him when I graduated and was married and moved away from home. But I like to think that he found what he was looking for - he triumphed over the things that ailed him through his walking.

I was reminded of The Walker this morning when I was out on my own walk. This summer, I've been taking long walks (well, long for me...about one hour) several days a week. My route varies slightly from day to day, and the time varies by a few hours or so. One section of the walk takes me alongside a very busy artery with lots of traffic. Today I thought about all of the people passing by me in cars who must be wondering why some crazy person was out walking in the 90 degree heat. Perhaps some of them had even seen me on previous walks, as they went about their routine commutes to work. I began to wonder if they recognized me and wondered why I was always out walking. For some reason, I never pass other walkers along that busy stretch, so I might stand out to a passing motorist.

Maybe the Long Beach Walker was just like me - maybe he really wasn't walking all day, every day. Perhaps our paths just serendipitously passed by coincidence at varying times of the day when he was out taking his daily, hour long walk.

Have I become "The Walker" of Fresno? Only time, and a few more walks, will tell.

Canticle Magazine

Over at her blog, columnist Patrice MacArthur-Fagnant has given me a reminder about something I've been meaning to do for quite a while...subscribe to Canticle Magazine.

Canticle is edited by Heidi Hess Saxton, who also shares her Adoption column over at From Patrice's comments, it sounds like Heidi's doing great stuff with the magazine. I'm subscribing today and will let you know when I receive my first issue. Another of my favorite magazines is Faith and Family - we have info on the home page about how to subscribe to F&F and have your subscription support

Thanks for the reminder Patrice!!!

Mike's Wednesday Question

Mike's question this week is a real challenge to people like me! I think Mike asks great questions - they always get me thinking! You can read my response and share yours over at Mike St. Pierre's Notebook.

What's for Dinner?

Have you checked out this week's DWW recipes at yet? The Mocha Cocoa pie sounds so yummy. It's funny - cooking for three this week has been a little strange. Adam's at camp, so it's just been Greg, Eric and I. During the summer, we make liberal use of the gas grill, so cooking is basically grabbing meat, chicken or fish from the freezer, drenching it in marinade and grilling it up. Last night, the boys ate Mahi Mahi (easy when it comes from Costco all prepared) as we sat with our feet in the pool trying to stay cool. I love Christine's DWW recipes for the fact that they are easy, with few ingredients and little prep time. Soon, we'll be into the frenzied time of nightly football, so I think I'll be using her menu plans to help keep my sanity when school starts. What's for dinner at your house tonight? Who feels like cooking when it's 106 degrees outside?

For Today

Today's Readings

Today's gospel reading from Matthew is short, yet sweet and encouraging:

Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Today's Saint: St. Apollinaris - second century Bishop who sought the protection of his flock against persecution.

Todays in Catholic History - The parish of Mobile was established in 1703 to minister to the colonists of the area. The parish was actually established by the Bishop of Quebec, who sent two priests to the region. Today's Archdiocese of Mobile

Thank you, Lord, for another beautiful day. Help me to make today yours completely through my words, thoughts and actions. Give me the conviction of St. Apollinaris to live and uphold my faith. Help me to accept your yoke with meekness and humility. Thank you for the blessings of this day.

Today's Prayer Requests:
* Peace in our world
* Adam and his friends at camp
* The repose of the soul of Joshua
* For pregnant mothers and their babies, for health and safety


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You Gotta Love Ebay

Say hello to my new toy! She's a hot pink electric violin, purchased for $49 on Ebay by my wonderful husband. She doesn't have a name yet, but she can really rock. I just got home from my lesson, and my teacher had her hooked up on one of the big amps in the music store and was jamming away.

I will never sound that good, but who cares - a 43 year old mom with a hot pink electric! Now I just need to work on those dance moves!

When I grow up

When I grow up, if I ever do, I'd like to be just like Lucious Newsom, a 90 year old man who's still busy serving the poor. Click here to read this inspiring story.

Like that 94 year old man who played pro baseball yesterday, or like Lucious, I want to be busy doing what I love. I want to be physically and mentally well enough to wake up each day with a mission, and I'd love it if that mission were to serve others.

Take a few minutes to read Lucious' story, and I bet you'll feel the same way I do - it's great to read about inspiring people who are really just ordinary people doing extraordinary things thanks to God's grace. Thanks Lucious - you're a great role model for people like me!

Lost Junkies?

One of my bad habits is TV watching, preferably reality TV (ie. Survivor, American Idol) and I came to the Lost party a little late when my sister Erin gave Greg Lost - The Complete First Season for his birthday. Well now, we're hopelessly hooked on the show. Unlike the rest of the Lost fans who are lamenting summer reruns, Wednesday night at our house now means getting caught up on Season II. I love the show, so I thought I'd see if there are any other Lost fans among those who read this blog.

Last week's episode, a rerun, was The 23rd Psalm, which had some interesting religious themes. I was especially saddened by Charlie's hoarding of the Virgin Mary statues (filled with heroin) at the end of the episode. It was interesting to watch the parallels between Eko and Charlie...relationships with Catholicism, with their brothers, with the drug situation, with having second chances at a new life in their new surroundings.

We watch the show with the boys, and it's brought up plenty of interesting discussions with Eric, our almost 15 year old. I don't think the show is at all appropriate for young kids, but it's been a good catalyst for conversation around our house.

I'm not completely obsessed yet - I haven't checked into the "Lost Experience", but I will admit to having a few Lost podcasts on my iPod, which make my morning walks go by very quickly.

So tonight, we'll be watching - will any of you?

Praying for Our Priests

I was at a staff meeting this morning at our parish office where I'm in charge of our church website and one of our new priests announced that today was the third anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Fr. Dinh is new to the United States, so English is his second language. He is a wonderful, compassionate priest and a great man. While we were congratulating him, he shared some of his priestly "stats" for the past three years: at least one mass every day for three years, over 10,000 confessions heard, thousands of sick calls, preaching his way through all three lectionary cycles, and learning not only English, but also Spanish and golf.

Now those are some truly impressive credentials!

Today, I'm offering some special prayers for Fr. Victor, and also for all of our other priests - the old, the young, and those who may not have even yet discerned their priestly calls. They do so very much for us and I know that I do precious little for my priests in return. Thank you to Fr. Victor and to all of the men who answer God's call to a priestly vocation!

Monday, July 17, 2006

What Do You Think?

I received a note from blogger Mike St. Pierre inviting your comments on the following topic - let Mike know what you think here in the comments section, over at his site, or by emailing me at I think his idea sounds wonderful and much needed! I would definitely register my boys for this type of a camp.

Mike writes:

We are considering a new program on the east coast and I'd like to ask a favor: we've got the regional Steubenville retreats and many other sports camps but no where (to my knowledge) does there exist a FAITH AND SPORTS camp.

Here's my favor to ask: would you mind asking your audience what they would think of a 5th-8th grader 5 day Sports Retreat which would feature sporting during the day but devotions, Mass and inspirational speakers in the morning and evening? We would pilot a 5 day experience here in Baltimore for east coast Catholic families but if it went well, we could replicate it in other parts of the country.

Jodie On the Radio

One of our wonderful columnists has some exciting news to share. Please take a moment to read the following "newsblast" from Jodie Lynn, our Parent to Parent Columnist.

Calling ALL Moms! Our new baby is here: Inside Parenting Success Radio Talk Show!

Want to be a better parent? Desire knowledge to help make life with your kids easier? Now you can! Get updated information, solutions, tips and current advice/suggestions for all of your parenting challenges right on our new radio talk show. Please join us at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time every Tuesday -- we welcome you with open arms, healthy spirits, and thoughtful minds.

Jodie Lynn,, will have a new parenting radio talk show. Our subscriber list for the program is already over what we ever dreamed (around 80,000) - thanks to Randy Gilbert's Inside Success Show.

Randy is the owner and creator of the Inside Parenting Success Talk Radio Show and has incredible response for the new show as well as his other endeavors. Please join us every Tuesday for a new show - – finally, a radio talk show that is like no other -- for real parents with real challenges bringing unique interviews through targeted parenting experts, authors and creators of educational products that really make a difference in raising kids in today's society.

The first Inside Parenting Success show will air July 18, 2006, at noon Central time. Please visit our site, for a current schedule, which will be updated frequently.

We are going to blast into the wacky world of raising kids from baby to teens by answering all of your questions. We can even dig into pre-pregnancy and pregnancy.

Grab your favorite drink, get settled in your comfy chair and get ready to rock...who knows this might be your best year yet with your family...we certainly hope so!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Coping with Separation Anxiety

One of my chicks is sleeping outside the nest tonight - he's over at a good buddy's for the night, and I'm feeling a tad uneasy.

Am I the only Mom who loves sleepovers, as long as they're at her house?

Adam's in safe hands, at the home of a Mom who's probably even more vigilant and much nicer than I am, so I'm not concerned for his safety or security. The truth is, I just miss him!

And this is just the warm up!!!

Adam leaves on Monday for a week of sleepaway camp, where he will be joining this friend and five others for five glorious nights of real summer camp. There will be sleeping in bunks with sleeping bags, nightly campfires, archery, swimming, games, crafts and more. He's going to have a blast - he's been counting the days for weeks now and can't wait to get there.

But Mom's already got that creeping sense of dread that happens when I'm not able to "tuck in" one of my boys. (The truth is, during the summer sometimes they tuck me in!).

So tonight should be good practice for next week...the anxiety I feel is outweighed by the joy that fills my heart when I think of all the fun Adam is probably having right now. We're lucky, Adam and I, to have such wonderful friends and such fun-filled life experiences.

Maybe I need to find a camp to go to too!

RIP Joshua

For an update on how to help the family of little Joshua Schmiedicke who died earlier this week in a tragic accident, please visit Danielle Bean's web site where she has an update available.

As we join in prayer for the family, you might want to take a few moment's to read Angel in the Waters by Joshua's Mom, Regina Doman online at the Sophia Institute Press web site. It is truly precious.

How to Cope with the Identity Crisis of New Motherhood

is the title of a newly posted article by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur over at her Spiritual Woman website.

No matter the age of your children, Patrice's article is a must read - filled with great insights on embracing our always-changing roles as mothers. I loved reading this article and would add one additional idea about making time/taking time for daily exercise, as feeling good physically has great emotional benefits too.

Thanks for another great article Patrice!

Be Honest Now...

Mike St. Pierre asked an interesting (and scary) question this week over at his Notebook about the amount of work we really get done during a typical workday. I know that my own productivity is highest when I take the time to focus at the beginning of the day on prayer, exercise and a detailed "to do" list for the day. During summer, the wheels fall off the cart when the wonderful presence of two perpetually starving boys falls into the gameplan. What do you think about Mike's question? Ask me again in September, Mike!

Dine Without Whine

Have you seen this week's DWW recipes over at I'm planning to try a WW version of the Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake this weekend and the Simple Bacon Quiche for Sunday brunch.

I love featuring Christine's weekly recipes - if you take a look at her DWW service, you'll find the motivation to reinvest in family meals, and the recipes and shopping lists to keep it fun and easy. Our stock of her recipes continues to grow with new ones added each week, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Joining Our Prayers

Our family joins countless other families around the country this week in praying for the family of Catholic author Regina Doman and her husband Andrew at the tragic loss of their precious four year old, Joshua Michael. Regina was kind enough to be interviewed for a few years back. She is a lovely, faith filled mother and a talented author. Please join me in praying for Regina, Andrew and their children.

Joy Ride to Seal Beach

When I die, if I am lucky enough to get one big toe into heaven, I won't be at all surprised if I find out that God has an Irish accent.

What makes me say this? Well, this weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of my most favorite people, my childhood pastor Fr. Michael Collins, on the occasion of his 88th birthday. If I had to choose the holiest person I know, Fr. Collins would win hands down. That's a fairly bold statement, since he's in a horse race with my parents, two saintly grandmothers and a whole bunch of Catholic School Teachers. What sets Father aside though is his attitude - the ability with which he lives a life that is at once reverent and filled with fun.

I've known Father Collins since before I can remember. The problem with having such a beloved priest growing up is that he's set a fairly unattainable benchmark for every other pastor I've known since I was five. None compare, and it's for this reason that I felt it necessary to make the nine hour round trip on Sunday to be in attendance at Father's birthday party.

I arrived in Seal Beach about ten minutes before the commencement of the noon Mass, which Father Collins was scheduled to celebrate. When I caught sight of him laying aside his walking cane and being helped into his vestments, my heart caught in my throat. Was this my burly Irish pastor, former rugby star and volleyball terror?! I haven't seen Father for a few years, so I was emotionally unprepared for the frailty I was witnessing.

However, as soon as Father opened his mouth to begin Mass, I breathed a sigh of relief. There was that voice, that lovely, lilting Irish brogue, voicing the opening prayer of the Mass in a style that took me back to my schoolgirl days. Father Collins doesn't "say" Mass - he celebrates it. For me, attending one of Father's masses never ceases to lift me up, to polish any dullness that may have accumulated on my spiritual life, to make me feel loved and cherished by my God.

There were a few physical changes in this great man. He delivered his homily and distributed the Eucharist from a seated position. I did note, to my amazement, that he took his glasses OFF to read - those 88 year old Irish eyes are still smiling! But the homily he delivered was, as always, filled with a wit and a perspective that smacked me right in the heart. Father Collins has always been able to succinctly relate the scripture to everyday life, complete with one liners that you won't soon forget. Sunday's most memorable line for me was Father's simple prayer, recently authored by him, in keeping with the theme of driving envy and jealousy from our hearts:

"Jesus and Mary, get this trash out of my mind, once and for all. Amen"

Delivered with an Irish accent, it seems like the perfect prescription for some of the mindgames I play with myself.

Following Mass, we had a wonderful party filled with countless FOF - Friends of Father! Those present ranged in age over several generations - wheelchair ridden widows, appreciative kids of baby boomers, and three year olds who still love to play with Father's pet pocket mouse "Oscar" just like I did when I was little. We had a sing-along to a few of Father's favorite Irish tunes, and my own personal favorite: Rise and Shine.

On the long ride home, I said a prayer of thanksgiving for this wonderful man, who introduced me to my faith long before I could know or appreciate it fully. His voice, the one that taught and nurtured in me a love for a God who will never leave me alone, is the voice I frequently hear in my head in my private conversations with God.

At Mass, we sang one of Father's favorite songs - it's even more perfect now as I watch Father enter his twilight years:

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o'er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Thank you Father, for inspiring me in my own walk with Jesus! I can't wait to celebrate your 89th!

Is there anything cuter...

than a one year old celebrating his birthday with a hunk of chocolate cake? I love you PIII - thanks for inviting me to your party! Auntie Lisa

Way to Go David!

My brother-in-law Dave is an incredible guy! Not only is he married to one of my best friends and the daddy of the world's cutest two year old, he's a man of many accomplishments. He's also the type of person who sets goals for himself. Unlike my goals, Dave's are substantive.

One of them is the feature of Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn's feature column today! Dave and his friend Rich have been on a quest to spot every Chicago Cab between #1 - 100 and he's missing only one. Click here to read about Dave's quest.

Do you have a collection/obsession/quest? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Raising Great Kids

Cheryl Dickow, who is the author for June's Non Fiction Book Club Pick, has written to share the following information on a Parenting Seminar she will be presenting. I just wish I lived closer so I could attend!

Inspirational Workshop for Christian Parents, Grandparents and Care-Givers,

featuring Cheryl Dickow, author of “Raising Christian Children in a Secular World”*

Tuesdays, September26th, October 10th, and October 24th from 7-9 p.m.
Our Lady of the Lakes Parish Hall; 5481 Dixie Highway, Waterford, MI

$25.00 fee includes the three-part workshop, Cheryl’s book*, wonderful door prizes, refreshments, and a great opportunity to find the support you need as you raise your Christian children in our secular world!

For more information contact Jeanie Sharp at 248.623.0274 or Cheryl Dickow at or 248.917.3865 or visit

Dads - Needing help?

I know there are a few Daddys along with my own who frequent this space. None of the ones I know need "SuperNanny"!

But just in case you do, has asked me to share with you the fact that she's recruiting. Click here for more information on how you can apply.

Lindenville's Relocated

My friend Cami's blog has moved to new digs. Click here to enjoy Cami's new format for the Lindenville Journal. You'll enjoy your visits - Cami never ceases to inspire!

Have You Been Stuck In Traffic In Chicago?

Remember my recent post about the banners promoting Fr. Jim Martin's My Life With the Saints book that can be seen from the Kennedy in Chicago?

I've been contacted by a reporter who's looking to interview someone who's seen the banners firsthand. If you've seen them, could you drop me an email to or post a comment here. Thanks!

A Midsummer Night's Campout

Adam and I went camping last night.

Granted, it was in our own backyard. But if it involves Mom leaving her comfy waterbed and sleeping in a tent or Mom having to truck through dew-filled grass at 3 am to use the facilities, it's camping.

We started with s'mores at our outside fire ring. After fifteen minutes of being descended upon by mosquitoes, we realized we'd forgotten to put on bug spray. The great thing about camping in your own backyard is that if you forget something, you can just walk inside the house and find it.

Once we were coated in enough bug spray to scare off even the most persistent mosquitoes, the s'more cooking continued. Adam decided to cool off with a late night dip in the pool, and then it was time for bed. We snuggled into our two man tent, accompanied by five stuffed animals. I love the fact that they're still in the picture for my 11 year old! Through the "moonroof" of the tent, we could see a sky littered with stars. Adam insisted he heard a fox outside the tent - we have a little grey fox the boys have dubbed "chickenhound" who likes to climb our apricot tree and eat the fruit before we can get to it!

Prayertime included blessings for those who didn't join us on the camping trip - Eric, in his own room, and Daddy, who I'm sure was enjoying every square inch of the king sized bed!

Next thing I knew, it was morning. Adam slept in, but I headed back to civilization for my morning prayers and walk. We had such a great time we're talking about camping again tonight!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Getting Ready for Sunday

One of the most popular features over at is our weekly Gospel activities. I've just finished posting this week's stuff, so head over and check it out. Initially, we just had a weekly coloring page related to the Sunday gospel. Now, I'm happy to offer weekly word search and crossword puzzles, as well as the popular Mass Worksheet feature prepared by Elyse Wilson. For a few years now, these have been a popular part of my web site. I benefit greatly each week from studying Sunday's gospel in my preparation of these pages. By the time I've created the puzzles, come up with a coloring page, and formatted Elyse's worksheet, I've read the Gospel through several times. When I sit in Mass on Sunday morning, my heart reflects back to this preparation, and I hear the Gospel message with great joy and anticipation.

One of my favorite resources for preparing for Sunday's liturgy is the website of Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, who always has a great message related to the Sunday gospel. If you're a podcast listener, you can take in his weekly message on Catholic Exchange's weekly show with John Morales.

I've also had some emails lately requesting recommendations for books for Children's Liturgy of the Word. You'll find my favorites listed here - scroll down the page a bit and you'll find them. Remember, if you purchase your books at Amazon or Catholic Company via my links, you make a small donation towards the upkeep of the site, which is greatly appreciated.

While it may seem as though Gospel activities are just for kids, I think they'd be very helpful to adults as well, especially Elyse's worksheets. Also, you can help spread the word by asking your parish to include a note about in your Sunday bulletin. I have no advertising budget, so my site grows with the help of the Holy Spirit and word of mouth from friends.

Finally, I'm playing with a Frappr Map. If you'd like to mark your spot go here - I'd love to see where some of our activities are being used.

Adam Drumming - Week 1

Adam, first week of drum lessons - note the stocking cap when it's 100 degrees outside!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy First Birthday Patrick!

Dear Baby Patrick,

It looks like today you've outgrown the name "Baby Patrick" and you'll now join the ranks of your big cousin, Patrick P. in being called "Little Patrick"....Happy Birthday Sweetie!!!

I wish I could hold you today as you celebrate your special day, but your cousins and I are looking forward to being with you this weekend. It hardly seems possible that it's been a whole year since you arrived to turn the world upside down for your Mommy, Daddy and Justin!

When I think of you, I can't help but burst into a big smile! I know I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure you're the cutest one year old I know! I love watching you play, eat, read with your Mommy or be bathed by your Daddy. Your sweet disposition amazes me - maybe you're just a really good boy when Auntie Lisa's around!

I know that in no time at all, you're going to be swinging a bat, hitting golf balls and playing cards just like your Daddy. I expect you to keep him on his toes! The future holds so many wonderful, joyful experiences for you Patrick. Please know that I will always be here for you and Justin, no matter how big or small the challenges you face in life. You are in my prayers daily - I hope your next year is filled with fun, smiles, not too many tumbles learning to walk, lots of new (and loud!) words as you learn to talk, and a few long nights of sleep for your Mommy and Daddy.

I love you sweetie! Have a wonderful day!
Auntie Lisa

A Boy From Lawrence

This weekend, I completed my book spotlight on a wonderful book called A Boy From Lawrence, featuring an amazing man named Eugene Connolly. Eugene's widow Sally worked to compile all of his writings into a book that is a loving testimony to a life well lived.

Click here to read my spotlight on this great book.

What Would You Say?

I received an email from a reader asking about my policy on PG13 movies. As discussed here in the past, in our family there is no viewing of PG13 movies unless they have been pre-screened by parents. In some instances, that means actually watching the movie before the kids do (i.e. waiting for it to come out on DVD and then letting them see it only once we've viewed it). In other instances, it means consulting trusted review sources such as those I have listed over at This doesn't always make my children happy, especially when they are invited to see a movie with friends and have to decline due to Mom and Dad's rule.

Don't get me wrong, my kids have seen lots of movies that are PG13 - it's just that we, as parents, have determined that they are ok for the boys to view. My kids are almost 15 and almost 12...

The reader who wrote me was asking about how to handle this situation with her children who are substantially younger than mine. Her almost six year old is good friends with someone who gets to see lots of PG13s and he's wondering why he can't go see them as well.

I'd advise this reader to stick to her convictions. In my family, when my boys ask things like this, I tell them that I don't care what rules other families have, but that these are the rules in our family. I try to lovingly convey to them that their Dad and I are doing our best at what I consider to be our most important responsibility - the raising of two sons who will hopefully one day grow into two Godly and loving men. I share with them that I know their disappointment, but that the few rules we have exist because of our deep love for them. I also remind them, now that they are getting older, that choosing to live life a certain way may not always be fun and easy, but that it does signify the type of person you are trying to be. With Eric, who will enter high school in the fall, I remind him that the peer pressure he faces on topics like movies is nothing compared to what lies in his path ahead - pressure to smoke, to drink, to do drugs, and much more.

I don't have all of the answers on this topic - I only know how I've tried to handle this with my own boys. The PG13 rule doesn't make me popular with them, but hopefully someday when they have the same rule with their own children, they will remember me kindly. Why do I say this? Because I had a "No R movies" rule with my own parents before PG13 existed. I'm sure I thought it was dumb when I couldn't go see Saturday Night Fever with my friends, but now I'm thankful that my parents lovingly and consistently gave me this limit. It made my Mom the bad guy, and gave me an excuse for not seeing content I was emotionally unready to handle.

What would you say to the Mom of the 5 year old? I'd love it if you'd share your comments below or email me at with your thoughts and ideas.

Joyful Noise

My ears are ringing, and it's not from the aftereffects of last night's fireworks.

It's official - I am the mother of a drummer.

Perhaps given his affinity for sticks, it's not surprising that Adam would decide to take up the drums. He had his first lesson Monday and has been busily practicing ever since. The new drum set has taken up residence in the Music Room in a spot of honor. Adam came home from the first lesson with a simple page of sheetmusic covered in handwritten rhythms - to me, it looked pretty unintelligible. I said, "Do you know what this means?" (Inferring, "Did you really learn to read notes after only one thirty minute lesson?")

"Sure Mom, do you want to hear it?"

Of course I did, and I've been listening to it ever since - it's getting faster and louder with every playing!

Husband and #1 son tell me that this basic drum rhythm is played behind lots of popular songs. They're thrilled with Adam's progress toward being the totally excellent drummer dude for the family band. I'm happy too, but have started to worry about some practical considerations such as hearing loss and neighborly relations.

I wonder if Phil Collins' mom ever stressed out about what the people across the street were thinking?

All in all, in his three day career as a drummer, Adam's made amazing progress - but most of all, he's having a blast! Lots of practice is a good thing when you're falling in love with your instrument. It's such a joy to watch my children learn new things, even if they are a bit's better than the sound of video games!