Saturday, December 15, 2007

The first crib at Greccio

Fresco of the first crib by Giotto and assistants in Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi

"I wish to do something that will recall to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he lay upon the hay where he had been placed." When the good and faithful man heard these things, he ran with haste and prepared in that place all the things the saint had told him.

But the day of joy drew near, the time of great rejoicing came. The brothers were called from their various places. Men and women of that neighbourhood prepared with glad hearts, according to their means, candles and torches to light up that night that has lighted up all days and years with its gleaming star. At length the saint of God came, and finding all things prepared, he saw it and was glad. The manger was prepared, the hay had been brought, the ox and ass were led in. There simplicity was honoured, poverty was exalted, humility was commended, and Greccio was made, as it were, a new Bethlehem. The night was lighted up like the day, and it delighted men and beasts. The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery. The woods rang with the voices of the crowd and the rocks made answer to their jubilation. The brothers sang, paying their debt of praise to the Lord, and the whole night resounded with their rejoicing. The saint of God stood before the manger, uttering sighs, overcome with love, and filled with a wonderful happiness.

(Thomas of Celano, THE FIRST LIFE OF ST FRANCIS, CH XXX, NOS. 84-85)

Friday, December 14, 2007

what makes you tick?

I was asked this question yesterday, and slowly I'm unpacking it in my mind. What makes you react? What makes you think? What makes you laugh?

Reactions come quick and sharp when I'm hungry and tired. Or when I haven't had time to be still... pray and gather my thoughts all by myself. Being with my husband or a close friend and actually conversing with them-about things that matter, stuff of the heart and soul, is refreshing and replenishing to me.

My husband makes me laugh. He has a great, dry and witty humor, an uncanny ability to laugh at himself and the situation. My children make me laugh-often without meaning to, just by the circumstance that they wind up in such as when Fefe got stuck in the baby doll stroller, or when Spikey barrels down on the baby to kiss her toes...and the baby reacts with a giggle.

My family makes me think about how I grew up and what was important to me as a child. Looking up I see two examples -my childhood and family (then and now) and my husband's childhood and family (then and now). Both are so very different from each other. I struggle with ensuring my children a childhood filled with love, compassion, understanding and fun. I fear that they will look back and think of a mama who yelled, got frustrated and sometimes, cried. Although...maybe that is not such a bad thing. Maybe it is okay for them to see this part of me, too. After all, why should they be misguided to believe that it was all fun and games? This is the stuff of life. Frustrations, happiness and messes are all rolled up to evolve and shape itself within the very beings of us. Those imperfections are what we seek in one another, confirming that indeed, we are never alone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

play time

This is how my kids play together. They are all over each other. Laughing, screaming, crying, kicking, pushing, tackeling, and cackeling all the way... UNTIL, "MAMA!!!" Someone has been pushed too hard, tossed too much or pinched too often. Taming them is out of the question because this behavior is in their very core; like asking them to stop picking their noses, or keep their hands of the baby. Impossible. Both, they find irresistable, like playing rough with each other. So, I try to just tune out a little, kind of like leaving one ear bud out, just enough to listen for it to go too far, which, it will.

Friday, December 07, 2007

december morn

Today, I met a photographer out at the Arboretum to take pics of my three monkeys. It was such a weird morning, weather-wise. But the children were able to wear some great layers, and than we did a "dress-up" series with tu-tu's and cowboy hat/boots. Very fun to watch them interact with another grown-up, and ham it up for her. It has been over 2 years since I got their pictures done, and the last time was a family shot. I was four months pregnant with twins and those pictures were to capture a pivotal moment for our family. Little did we know how true that was to be. We lost baby Henry soon after and Sweet Sophia was born in October. I am still grieving our loss and it is a major milestone to even admit that to myself. This is one event that I will always question God in his infinite wisdom. Why?
I wonder if I'll always feel like I'm missing another.
This morning was almost therapeutic in watching my children and feeling the sadness and joyfulness and peacefulness. I am blessed, more than I deserve.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

august heat

So... it's hot here. triple digits hot. Fifi is cutting some teeth, her nose is running and she is eating my bracelet. I missed my run this morning. Red had to get into work early and so it was just not going to happen...although, if I had taken Fifi in her stroller, we could have worked it out... but than, what would be the point of running? (exercise? I don't think so! ALONE TIME)

well after Fifi unplugged the computer... nice, sparks included... we left for a playdate. Now I'm home and my kids are chasing each other, spitting at each other and telling me how mean the other one is. I am so so tired of this that I just ignore. Blah blah blah, I can't hear you!
When do they get enjoyable again???

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

off with the hair!!!

I did it!!! I finally got the swing bob I've been wanting for a few years. I couldn't get it though, because I promised Lorraine that I would not do anything drastic while I was pregnant...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sorry it has been so long since I've blogged. If there is anyone who still checks in here... well, I've just been preoccupied with being a Mama and a Wife.
I do want to put up some pictures and share some stories of our summer thus far. So, I'll be working on that. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Now you are 3!

You smile and laugh from the start of the day through the end of the night. You love to cuddle with "Mama" still and when you get hurt, you insist I kiss it. After I kiss your hurt, you quickly declare that you are all better and off you go! You have always preferred my hair down. You sleep with a pink bear and a yellow race car. You have the kind of hair that women find irresistible and must run their fingers through it. You are sunny and funny. I'll never forget after a very long day of grouchy children and even grouchier mom, I was tucking you into bed, thinking to myself, "I have got to do better tomorrow." You put your arms around my neck and said, "I forgive you Mama". At the time I thought it was a funny thing to say, but later that evening, and to this day, I remember what a profound thing you said. You are a beautiful child of God. Slow to anger (unless someone has something that you really really really want) and quick to forgive. I love you Tommy Bear!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

We rose early this morning, to go to 7:30 a.m. mass. This served two purposes: 1. to fight the "masses" at church; 2. to catch our kiddos off-guard and early enough, that they have no energy to act up! :)
I think we were successful on both counts!! We arrived at 7:30 exactly and sat our whole family 3 rows from the front! The children were well-behaved!! And this allowed me and Gino to actually enjoy Easter mass. It was beautiful and joyful and trumpets and Easter lilies. Fr. Tom's sermon was very straight-forward, "Live your faith everyday." Kind of aiming for the Christmas/Easter crowd. But that is OK! Because, the Good Lord knows I need this gentle reminder, too!!!

The children and I have been working on cascarones, (confetti-filled eggs). After much prompting from my sister, we are finally adding this tradition to our Easter celebration. Although her eggs are much more vivid... that's what I get for using the dollar store kit!!!

Wishing you and your families and joyful Easter Season!!

For my nephew, JP

This is such a quick, easy gotta-have chocolate pleaser. And besides, who doesn't keep Semisweet chocolate in the house?!

Molten Mocha Cakes
from EVERYDAY FOOD,Jan/Feb 2007, pg.48

serves 2 * prep time: 10 minutes * total time: 35 minutes
If you want to double or triple this recipe, just add 3 minutes or so to baking time.

2 T. unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
1/3 c. confectioners' sugar, plus more for ramekins and serving
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. espresso powder (I substituted with cinnamon)
pinch salt
3 T. all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter two 6 oz. ramekins, then dust with sugar. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 20 second increments, stirring after each, until melted. Let cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar, espresso powder and salt. Add chocolate mixture; whisk to combine. Add flour, and whisk just until combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into prepared ramekins. (Recipe can be made ahead up to this point, see tip below.)

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted 1/2 inch from edge of ramekins comes out clean, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out wet, 10-12 minutes (do not overbake). Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Runa a knife around inside of ramekins to loosen. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Dust with sugar; serve immediately.

How to make ahead:
Cover ramekins with plastic wrap after step 2; refrigerate up to 1 day. Bake 14-16 minutes.

Monday, March 26, 2007

forever, for always and no matter what

It's just been one of those days where I wonder what have I gotten myself into, as a Mom. The children have been fighting or getting into mischief from the very start of the day. The highlight came when I took them to the library and they were running around screaming and tackling each other while I stood in line to check-out with the baby in my sling. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to run out the door. I wanted to ... but I didn't. We somehow made it home. I fed them. I sent them to bed. Than I remembered how stinky (and consequently, uncomfortable) they were. So, I bathed them. Than I put them back to bed. And when I tucked each of them in, I thanked God for sending me these sanctifying little souls. And I sang to them.

I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living,
my baby you'll be.

They (4 and almost 3 years old) just melt with this song. They love it. It is of course, from the book, "I'll love you forever" that I can't read without crying. Tonight, I was so grateful for it, because it reminded me of all the other mom's out there, who have had rough days, and all the mom's out there who will always have it harder, and all the women out there, who would love to have a rough day like me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I got this from Summa Mama's Homekeeping Meme

Aprons- Y/N- depends on what I'm making... and if the kiddos are helping. When they help, everyone gets an apron. If it's a red sauce definitely. My favorite apron? My Pampered Bride apron that is signed by family and friends.

Baking-- yes, cookies or brownies. favorite? chocolate chip cookies!

Clothesline- Y/N-- Nope.

Donuts-- I have never made a donut in my life. I really try and just avoid them. (love/hate relationship)

One homemaking thing you do every day-- hmmm... cook? almost everyday.

Freezer-- Do you have a separate deep freeze? no, I would love a separate freezer... but we get by without one!

Garbage Disposal-- Y/N? Yes and I am thankful!

Handbook-- What is your favorite homemaking resource? my mom or my sisters - the internet is a fair back-up

Ironing--Love it or hate it? HATE IT, and I am terrible at it. Gino has those great Non-Iron shirts from BrooksBrothers.

Junk drawer--Y/N? Where is it? In my kitchen and the bathroom

Kitchen: Design and decorating? It's a 50's style kitchen with wood cabinets and yellow laminate countertops. All the appliances (including washer and dryer) are white. It's pretty big for the era it was built. We hope to move the w/d out next month!

Love: What is your favorite part of homemaking? Preparing a meal and eating together as a family.

Mop Y/N -- oh yes - wood floors everywhere... get mopped once a week

Nylons-- uh... no

Oven-- Do you use the window or open the door to check? both

Pizza-- What do you put on yours? I'm a supreme gal.

Quiet-- What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? read, get on the computer or call my sisters.

Recipe Card Box Y/N? yes

Style of house-- fifties style, hardwoods throughout, very simple- my favorite home

Tablecloths and napkins? Usually placemats. Most nights paper napkins, but sometimes cloth. - ditto

Under the kitchen sink-- organized or toxic wasteland? Organized. Some cleaning supplies and garbage bags is all...

Vacuum-- how many times per week? I have hardwood floors--no vacuuming. I swiffer all the time!

Wash-- How many loads of laundry do you do in a week? hmm... maybe 10?

X's-- Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?-- sometimes, if I have lots to do before my parents come visit, or we're having guests over.

Yard-- Who does what? The whole family. I love gardening, the kiddos love helping (?) and Gino is in charge of the grass!

Zzz's--I check doors, get a glass of water, check and kiss the kiddos and Gino, wash my face and teeth, than read.

Anyone else can play that wants!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Gone weedin'

This morning was absolutely beautiful outside. Finally, a day to get out in the garden and dead-head and weed.

I haven't been out there since the spring. It was too hot and I was too pregnant over the summer- than the fall came and I had a new baby and little time or sleep. Winter is almost past, and so it was such a treat to let Spikey run around outside, while I cleaned out the gardens.

This is probably my favorite gardening chore. Dead-heading. Getting rid of all the dead leggy growth that zaps the plants of energy and is unfruitful. I have the best prayer time as I meditate about what God wants me to dead-head in my life. What is zapping me of energy and is not fruitful? Many things. TV. Computer. Any relationships? Yes, those too. In each of these areas of my life, I have the opportunity to rearrange how I spend my time. This is something I will continue to examine in my life as this week continues. The forecast is set to be in the 70s - and for that I am grateful. I have a lot of clearing out to do!!!! And how timely, as lent begins this week.

Happy Birthday, JP

JP, you are the best baby brother a girl could ask for. I remember rocking you in the swings, singing to you when you were as small as Puddin is in this picture. I remember teaching you to dance with me when I came home from college, so I wouldn't forget the steps, and so you would know how to impress the girls. I remember dragging you off to whatever Youth Group event was going on, as a new Youth Minister, because than at least one person would be there. :)
I am so very proud of you - finishing up your last year at USaFA. How very exciting to know your next location, the next chapter, what great challenges lay ahead, and how sweet the journey has been. You have taught me about setting goals, and keeping them in sight so that you can than attain those very goals. Love you!!!! rita

Friday, February 16, 2007

On being Ruthian

The kids and I picked up my MIL today to take her to lunch.

My MIL is in her seventies and has Parkinson's'. It is always a trip with her. She told me for the first time (again) that she has Parkinson's' and that she cannot eat any wheat or flour. (I've only been around for 9 years, but hey, everyone needs a little reminder now and then, right?)

Two and a half hours later, we emerged from the restaurant. I was exhausted. Than we drove her to her hair appointment where she was going to get her hair washed and curled. She told me all about the gal who does her hair. She's awful. She uses her FINGERS to separate the curls, instead of a comb or brush. I found my MIL's disdain for the woman really funny. I mean, LOL funny. Every time I mentioned the salon (my kids ask lots of questions)- she would say, "I'm going to get my hair washed and curled and than combed with FINGERS." * you have to say it with lots of emphasis and disdain in your voice. Anyhow, I'm sure this is only funny to me, so, I'm sorry.

My sweet MIL could not remember exactly where this salon is, so we drove around for a bit, real slow, and annoying all the other lovely shoppers who are just trying to go along their own way. (I wanted to tell them all, "I'm sorry, I cannot control the fact that I don't know where I'm going!- she's in charge here!!!")

Well anyhow, we made it, and it was lovely.

The funniest line of all was when I first picked her up and she said, " whew! I took EXTRA pain killers today so I wouldn't be hurting, and honey, I'm flying!"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love is in the air...

Happy Valentines Day!

I have a lunch date with Gino & Puddin' this afternoon. I have more to post, but the kids want breakfast, or something.

Okay, it's about 8 hours later but I'm back. The kiddos are having "quiet time" in their rooms and Puddin' is laying on the floor fighting a nap.

My Gino and I ate at this fabulous and romantic place called La Duni. They are a Latin American restaurant that smells like a yummy kitchen and looks like a boutique when you walk in. Huge cakes with lots of fluffy toasted icing and layered with large pinkish reddish roses make the divider between the bar area and the eating area.
(Oh! The nap finally won... Puddin' is out)
The food is delicious but we're really there for the desserts. Quatro Leches Cake. Indulgent. That is the only word I can think of that will do it justice. Anyhow we had a great talk... these days, it always goes back to, "how can we make things at home run smoother?"... It's a never-ending discussion. Which is easier, having him work late on the weeknights, meaning, he doesn't get home until 8 ish and but we get him for the whole weekend , OR, having him home around 6:30, we eat dinner together, but he has to work at least 5 hours on the weekend? Either way, I hit my wall by 4 each day and I'm pulling my hair out, trying not to scream at the kiddos as they continue to do whatever the hell they want. And by the weekend, I'm seriously thinking of calling a doctor, any doctor, and telling him he needs to numb me out because I need a break. A mental, physical, emotional and spiritual BREAK.

So, where does this leave me spiritually? With little time to even desire prayer in my life. Heck, yelling and jumping and crying doesn't work. What makes me think prayer will help??!! hmf! Now I'm sounding like my four year old. Lorraine, my dear friend who I miss so much I will cry if I think about it, reminded me yesterday... "Rita, let's face it, you know I love you, but you're not the most patient person."

WHAT?! ME? Not patient?!

Okay... maybe not. This made my eyes water. Because it stung. It was true. I had not thought about it in a long time. But I was becoming less and less patient with the people I love. Gino, Kiddo, Spikey... everyone except Puddin. Now, I am on my knees praying for patience. I need it. I need a HEAVY dose of LOVE to go with this patience. So, for Valentines day, and perhaps as a prelude to LENT... I am seeking to love more and to be more patient.

LORD, have mercy!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Well here is my puddin'. She's 4 months old for this picture.
My little Love.

Three kiddos are kickin' my bootie. I feel like I'm running in circles all the time. From dressing them to feeding them to cleaning up after them, plus dishes, washing clothes, cooking meals, than feeding more kiddos, not to mention breast-feeding and diapering and burping and just cuddling whoever needs to be cuddled...
I'm losing my mind. Seriously, gone. Now, add in a sassy four year old with more stubbornness than even me, and we have got a mama on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Gotta go nurse the puddin.